Annual hockey tournament draws 14 teams

Organizer Dusty Smith says they had the most ties ever seen at the tournament

Spencer McColl of the OMH team makes a toe save in their Friday night A-division match against the Chilliwack Greasers. Fourteen men’s teams took part in the annual “Dusty’s Tournament.” The Greasers won the game handily and went on to win their division title.

When you’re the long-time organizer of a men’s hockey tournament, it might just end up being named after you. That’s the way it’s gone for the annual “Dusty’s Tournament” that attracted 14 teams to the Hope Arena last weekend.

This is Dusty Smith’s seventh year coordinating the event, which drew teams from the Fraser Valley and as far north as Quesnel.

“A lot of teams have guys that grew up in Hope and they end up coming back for the tournament,” said Smith. “It turns into a bit of a reunion.”

Action started at three o’clock on Friday afternoon and most of the visiting teams stayed overnight at six motels, said Smith.

“An Abbotsford team even rented a minibus from Meloshinsky’s to get them from their motel and back.”

Good idea, as Saturday night was party night in the mezzanine.

“The beer garden was the most packed that I’ve seen it in the seven years I’ve been running the tournament,” said Smith, a recently-elected councillor for the District of Hope. “A lot of guys were there with their wives or girlfriends.

“Mark Petryk brought in a DJ from Vancouver and we also had a beer pong tournament, with six teams.”

Back on the ice, Smith had split the teams into a six-team A-division and two pools of four teams in the B-division. The $800 entry fee gave teams a three-game guarantee, with three periods of 20-minute running-time — and also helped pay for the referees and scorekeepers.

“We had 26 games, so we had six refs working on the weekend, with the two-man system,” said Smith.

Choosing where to place a new team can be a bit of a guessing game, Smith explained, as a team might undersell their skills, to get put in the easier side of the draw. Returning teams are easier to assess.

“There were a few blow-outs — but we also had the most ties I’ve ever seen at this tournament,” said Smith.

In the B-division final, Abbotsford’s T-Snakes won easily over the WSBR team organized by Brock Bergen, with players from Hope, Agassiz and Chilliwack.

In the A-final, the Greasers from Chilliwack had a 4-2 win over last year’s champions, the Abbotsford Flyers, said Smith. Winning teams were awarded commemorative shirts.

Hope Minor Hockey has tournaments scheduled for its Hockey 3 and 2 divisions, on the Feb. 13-15 and Feb. 27 to March 1 weekends, respectively.

On the March 13-15 weekend, the men are back at it, with the men’s league tournament. As league president, Smith has the honour of organizing that one as well.

“We’ll have six local teams, then we’ll bring in six or eight other teams,” said Smith.