The snow may hold off for a little while longer, but volunteers at one local community centre are already preparing for the facility’s landmark hockey tournament.
The Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre’s Winter Chill Classic outdoor hockey tournament will be held from Jan. 20 to 26, 2014 at the centre’s Norberry site, at 26 Molgat Ave.
One of the event’s main volunteer organizers, Edna Sears, said the tournament will have three divisions — a 5/6 house league, a 7/8 house league and a 9A3 division — will the possibility of a 10A2 division, too, depending on the level of interest.
Each team will be guaranteed three games, snacks and drinks will be provided after each game, player of the game awards will be presented after each game, each player will receive a participation gift and there will be a free pancake breakfast for players on the morning of Jan. 25.
Sears said one of the benefits of the tournament is that it gives the centre’s players a chance to compete against teams from other catchment areas.
"We like to have a wider reach. It’s nice to play new teams with as different set of players to keep things varied," said Sears, who lives in St. Vital.
Last year, for example, teams included South Winnipeg Bruins, Central Corydon Canadiens and Park City Avengers, as well as local teams such as Southdale Bears and Dakota Winterhawks.
Sears said the tournament helps foster friendships and build community spirit.
"We like to hold outdoor tournaments and the kids seem to enjoy them. The key to community-building is having neighbours and teammates playing together and spending time together," Sears said, noting the tournament is not intended to be a fundraiser. "It’s meant to support the hockey players.
"At our community centre, everybody seems to be very friendly and outgoing. You get to know your neighbours, as lots of the kids go to the same school and play hockey together."
Sears and other volunteers have shown their community spirit by helping make the event, which has been running for at least 10 years, a success.
"The tournament wouldn’t be possible without the help of numerous volunteers that help during the week. Two years ago, the event was on the verge of being cancelled but Tracy Thiele stepped up and volunteered to help organize the tournament with me.
"She was in charge of the pancake breakfast, finding volunteers and recruiting the teams," Sears said.
"And last year, Sheri Loewen co-organized the tournament with me. She was in charge of the pancake breakfast, getting silent auction prizes and finding volunteers. The tournament would not have been a success without the help of these ladies."
Entry deadline for the tournament is Dec. 16. For more information, including registration fee costs, email Sears at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carmelle at email@example.com