Top 2009 AAA Teams Go Front And Center At Iconic Tournament
It’s not usually in May, but nobody’s complaining.
The AAA division of the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament kicked off on Monday, as a select group of young hockey players from across the world are fortunate enough to experience one of the coolest events in all of youth sports.
Twenty-two teams are participating in this year’s tournament, after tournament organizers jumped through as many hoops as possible to make sure the prestigious tournament would take place, albeit in the spring instead of its usual middle-of-winter locale.
The tournament is taking place across two weeks (15 days to be exact), with the AA-Elite, AA and A divisions playing from May 1-8, and the AAA, BB and School divisions playing May 9-15. In all, 130 teams from 13 different countries are taking part in the unique springtime Pee Wee Quebec. For the AAA teams, six countries are represented – Canada, the United States, Latvia, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia.
“It wasn’t a simple task to move the tournament,” said Patrick Dom, the general manager of the Pee-Wee Tournament in January when the organizers announced the move to May. “Our biggest challenge was the availability of the Videotron Center. It is between shows and games of the Remparts de Québec that the schedule will be built. We have no choice but to hold the event over two weeks to get it all together.”
It won’t look like it normally does, but that doesn’t mean that the 22 AAA teams won’t be bringing the heat.
Canada’s squads seem ready to defend home ice, as five of the top 10 teams on our last World Hockey Hockey Canadian rankings for the age group appear on the Pee Wee Quebec schedule.
The No. 1 ranked Huron Perth Lakers are coming off a historic season in which they captured the first All-Ontario Championship in their association’s history, and they also won an Alliance title too. Needless to say, they’re a heavy favorite heading into this one, especially when you consider that they’ve gotten a little rest after winning those winter season titles.
The other four ranked squads will have something to say about that, of course. The No. 5 North York Rangers, the No. 8 Semiahmoo Ravens (from all the way on the west coast of Canada), the No. 9 Sun County Panthers and the No. 10 North Shore Winter Club (from Vancouver) will all be ready to go in the biggest tournament these kids have ever played in.
Meanwhile, the U.S. clubs participating will be looking to make their spring hockey opportunities count, too. The New Jersey Devils squad is a collection of top players in the area, but when you consider that the New Jersey Hockey Academy finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country, that means they’ve got some strong skaters getting ready to don that Devils black and red for the tournament. The Boston Jr. Terriers finished ranked No. 6 in the country, as well, so expect some bite from them.
The teams that are traveling in from across the pond certainly will want to make their stays count, as well. They look to be a collection of tournament teams hailing from the aforementioned Latvia, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia. The Czech Knights ’09 group just watched their 2010 counterparts win a World Selects Invitational title in dominating fashion – if they skate anything like their younger peers, they will certainly be a team to watch in Quebec.
The other foreign clubs competing are the Hungary Talent, Riga HS, and Slovakia K&B Stars. We can’t wait to see what they do against their North American competition after the last few seasons have limited – or prevented entirely – cross-continent competition in youth hockey.
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