Previewing The Brick Invitational

Jun 22, 2022 | John Klinck

Photo from Instagram | @brickhockey
Photo from Instagram | @brickhockey

Iconic tournament returns after two-year hiatus; 2011 and 2012 events ready to go

Visit most malls, you know what you’re going to see. 

Stores. Food courts. Retirees power-walking.

One particular mall in Edmonton, however, will host one of the greatest youth hockey tournaments in the world over the next few weeks.

The Brick Invitational — a tournament played at the Ice Palace inside the West Edmonton Mall — is back.

After being impacted by COVID-19 for the last two years, The Brick will be taking place for the 31st time, and it will have two birth years coming through town for some elite hockey.

“We are pleased to confirm the Brick Invitational’s commitment to host two separate tournaments in the coming year, including rescheduled dates for the tournament that was deferred from 2021. Regrettably, we were not able to accommodate the 2010 birth-year players from the original 2020 tournament year,” said Brick Invitational chairman Craig Styles in an announcement on The Brick website.

“Our committee has already commenced planning for this monumental endeavor, with full support of the teams, volunteers, sponsors and suppliers. There is still a lot of preparation required and we will need to be mindful of any health restrictions and/or safety protocols that may be in effect at this time, however we strive to provide a truly exceptional experience for all players and families in attendance.”

The 2012 birth-year participants will play from June 29 through July 3, while the 2011 teams will play from July 4 through July 10.

The kids are young, but if you look at the alumni list The Brick proudly displays, it’s easy to see that it’s a tournament worthy of following. It’s a who’s-who of NHL all-star talent, with players like Auston Matthews, Steven Stamkos, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Tyler Seguin, Zach Werenski, Seth Jones and the three Hughes brothers – Quinn, Jack and Luke – all being notable tournament alums.

The Brick organizers achieve the feat of bringing future NHLers together by having a substantial list of requirements for teams to meet. To apply for a spot at the tournament, teams have to spell out how long they’ve been in operation, what tournaments they play in, how the organization is structured and the quality of their coaching staff, and if they can make a three-year commitment to bringing a competitive team to Edmonton. That just gets applicants to the waiting list.

That’s why most of the teams are all-star collections from a state or province. On the schedule, you see team names like Team Brick Alberta, Team Minnesota, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, the Boston Jr. Bruins, etc., as team organizers bring together the region’s best. For instance, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings may feature some Detroit Little Caesars players (the AAA organization affiliated with the NHL franchise), but AAA players from other teams across the state of Michigan try out for the summer team squad.

This year’s tournament features the Toronto Bulldogs, the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Toronto Pro Hockey, the B.C. Junior Canucks, Team Brick Alberta, Team Minnesota, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the Western Selects, Team Chicago, the Manitoba Junior Ice, the Boston Jr. Bruins, the Saskatchewan Jr. Pats and Team Pennsylvania for both age groups. 

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s seven Canadian clubs and seven American clubs, making for the perfect split between the two powerhouse countries. As the hockey world starts to assume a little normalcy, the battle for North American bragging rights is reinvigorated in Edmonton this summer. 

Connecticut Jr. Rangers beat Team Brick Alberta 3-2 in overtime in the 2019 title game for the last edition of the tournament. In 2018, it was an All-Toronto finale, with the Bulldogs topping Pro Hockey 2-1, again in overtime.

In 2017, the Bulldogs beat the B.C. Junior Canucks 6-5 in overtime. Michael Misa, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s OHL Draft, had an assist on the game-winner and a whopping 18 points in the tournament.

What’s going to happen this year? The World Hockey Hub will be watching closely and ready to report on the highlights of the tournament. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest from The Brick!

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