33rd Silver Stick begins Friday
This weekend, Hockey Town Canada becomes the centre of minor hockey action, with the start of the 33rd Terry O’Neill Pembroke Silver Stick Tournament.
The massive regional minor hockey tournament will be offering the best of minor hockey in the region, drawing in teams from across Eastern Ontario, some parts of Southern Ontario and Quebec.
The competition will draw more than 120 teams from five age levels – Atom, Peewee, Bantam and Midget – hit the ice at both the Pembroke Memorial Centre (PMC) and the Pembroke and Area Community Centre (PACC).
“Our final numbers last year were 118 teams, so we are up about seven teams this year. It’s mostly the same teams along with a handful of new teams this year – one from Blind River and a few from Southern Ontario,” said Norbert Chaput, tournament director.
The Silver Stick's official opening ceremony will be held at the PACC Nov. 10 at 6 p.m., right at the start of the Pembroke Atom Kings first game of the tournament, where they will be facing Kemptville.
During the opening ceremonies, Silver Stick founder Terry O’Neill will be performing the ceremonial puck drop.
“He's one of the original founders of the Pembroke Silver Stick and the tournament is named after him. So our corporate sponsors will be there and Terry O’Neill will be dropping the puck,” said Chaput.
Each Silver Stick weekend represents a different age level; the weekend of Nov. 10-12 is the W.C. "Wib" McLaughlin Novice and Atom Weekend, followed by the Bill Kutschke Peewee Weekend Nov. 17-19, then the Frank Nighbor Bantam Weekend Nov. 24-26, and finally the Art Bogart Novice and Midget Weekend Dec. 1-3. Each tournament starts around noon on the Friday of the tournament weekends, and wraps up in the late afternoon on Sunday. Games are being held at both the PMC and the PACC, with the PACC hosting the playoffs and final rounds.
Last year’s tournament saw the addition of the Novice C division and this year’s Silver Stick will welcome Novice B.
“We do have a new division this year, the Novice B division, and it will be run the last weekend from Dec 1st to the 3rd. At this time we have seven teams, but we're trying to get one more team,” said Chaput. “We decided to add the division mostly because there are many local teams in Pembroke, Arnprior and Renfrew that have had to travel to go and play in another region, so now will be able to just play here in Pembroke.”
Chaput expressed that the main mission behind the annual tournament is to give regional hockey players a chance to gather together and compete in their beloved sport, while promoting sportsmanship and Pembroke minor hockey.
“The Silver Stick promotes sportsmanship and that's what our big thing is,” said Chaput. “Also, for the area, it's a huge boost. One of the main goals of this tournament is to support Pembroke minor hockey and the funds raised from Silver Stick go directly to Pembroke minor hockey. It also provides great economical spin-offs in Pembroke and in the area – it's great for the hotels, great for the restaurants and all the businesses in Pembroke.”
All tournament schedules and results will be posted on the Pembroke Silver Stick website at www.ss-pembroke.pointstreaksites.com/view/ss-pembroke/home-page.