Sports

Blues, Islanders ready to challenge out-of-town teams

For each of the 61 teams participating in the 2013 Richmond International Bantam Midget Hockey Tournament, the chance to play opponents they wouldn’t normally is as attractive as the titles up for grabs.

“That’s really what it’s all about,” says Glenn Wheeler, coach of Richmond’s Bantam A1 Blues that enters this week’s tournament (Dec. 26 to 31) still looking for its first victory of the season.

It’s important, Wheeler says, to put things into perspective.

“Sometimes you can play in a tier where you see the same teams over and over again,” he says. “And then if you don’t travel a lot, and go to local tournaments, you see the same teams again. You miss out being able to see how you stack up against a larger range of teams.”

So, while the Blues may  still be in tough to pick up wins during the tournament, Wheeler is confident they’ll at least be competitive—particularly against teams more comparable to their own.

Many of the U.S. programs, for example, will divide their players into two teams—one to compete at a higher, more-experienced level and the other consisting of primarily first-year players. It’s the latter, says Wheeler, that more closely resembles where the Richmond Bantam program is currently at.

“We’re very young with 16 first-year Bantams,” says Wheeler. “So it’s less about wins and losses, and more about celebrating the smaller achievements. We work with the players a lot on mental growth and on their skills. It’s important the valleys don’t get too deep.”

To illustrate the progress the Blues are making, Wheeler points to a pair of results against the Vancouver Thunderbirds over a six-week period. Richmond was outshot 57-12 and lost 6-0 in their first meeting with the Thunderbirds, and although they also lost the second game, 1-0, actually outshot the Thunderbirds 27-23.

Richmond Bantam A1 Blues are scheduled to play their first tournament game 5 p.m. Friday versus the Nanaimo Clippers A1 on the Forum at the Richmond Ice Centre.

Additional games are slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. versus the New Westminster Royals A1 on the Stadium at Minoru Arenas, and Sunday at 10:45 a.m., also on the Stadium rink at Minoru Arenas, versus the Utah Regulators.

 

Local teams in action

Round-robin games:

•RICHMOND BANTAM A1 BLUES

Dec. 27—5 pm, Ice Centre, Nanaimo

Dec. 28—3 pm, Minoru, New Westminster

Dec. 29—10:45 am, Minoru, Utah

•RICHMOND BANTAM A2 BLUES

Dec. 27—12:30 pm, Minoru, Surrey

Dec. 28—2:45 pm, Ice Centre, Chilliwack

Dec. 29—1 pm, Ice Centre, Everett

•SEAFAIR BANTAM A2 ISLANDERS

Dec. 27—12 pm, Ice Centre, Cloverdale

Dec. 28—7:30 am, Minoru, Saanich

Dec. 29—11 am, Ice Centre, Semiahmoo

•RICHMOND MIDGET A1 BLUES

Dec. 26—2:30 pm, Minoru, Burnaby

Dec. 27—9:30 am, Ice Centre, P. George

Dec. 27—5:30 pm, Minoru, Anaheim

Dec. 28—5:30 pm, Minoru, Littleton

•RICHMOND MIDGET A2 BLUES

Dec. 27—3 pm, Minoru, California

Dec. 28—12:15 pm, Ice Centre, Everett

Dec. 28—8 pm, Minoru, Terrace

Dec. 29—3:45 pm, Minoru, North Delta

•SEAFAIR MIDGET A2 ISLANDERS

Dec. 26—3 pm, Ice Centre, Cloverdale

Dec. 27—7:30 am, Ice Centre, Orange Cty

Dec. 28—2 pm, Oval, Saanich

Dec. 29—1:15 pm, Oval, Mission, Arizona

 

Playoff  games:

•BANTAM A1 DIVISION

Dec. 30—10 am to 5 pm, Ice Centre, Oval

•BANTAM A2 DIVISION

Dec. 30—9:30 am to 5 pm, Ice Centre, Oval

•MAJOR MIDGET DIVISION

Dec. 30—2:30 to 8 pm, Ice Centre

•MIDGET A1 DIVISION

Dec. 30—12:30 pm to 8 pm, All rinks

•MIDGET A2 DIVISION

Dec. 30—10 am to 7:45 pm, Ice Centre and Minoru Arenas

 

Championship games:

•BANTAM A1 DIVISION

Dec. 31—8:30 am, Bronze, Oval

Dec. 31—8:30 am, Gold-Silver, Ice Centre

•BANTAM A2 DIVISION

Dec. 31—9 am, Bronze, Ice Centre

Dec. 31—9 am, Gold-Silver, Ice Centre

•MAJOR MIDGET DIVISION

Dec. 31—9:30 am, Bronze, Ice Centre

Dec. 31—2 pm, Gold-Silver, Minoru

•MIDGET A1 DIVISION

Dec. 31—9:30 am, Bronze, Ice Centre

Dec. 31—11:15 am, Gold-Silver, Minoru

•MIDGET A2 DIVISION

Dec. 31—8:30 am, Gold-Silver, Minoru

Dec. 31—9 am, Bronze, Minoru

 

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