Wednesday, 02 March 2016 16:28

Oyen will be buzzing as host of provincial hockey tournament

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Oyen will be buzzing as host of provincial hockey tournament Photo contributed

The midget Oyen Bees team are preparing for what many small-town hockey players always dream of, which is playing for a provincial title. What’s extra special for them is they are doing it in their own rink.

The Bees are the home team for the 2016 ATB Financial Midget C Hockey Provincials.
 The host Oyen and District Minor Hockey Association will have the seven-team tournament dominate the arena from March 10-13. The teams participating are: Zone 1  — High Prairie Legionnaires , Zone 2 — Kikino, Zone 3 — CR Knights , Zone 4  — Thorsby, Zone 5 — High Country, Zone 6 — Bassano Outlaws, Zone 7 — Viking and the hosts and Zone 6 Champions — Oyen Bees.
Team spokesperson Erin Logan says Oyen put in a bid to host in the fall of 2015.
“A very gifted and talented Sarah Hagens prepared our bid, which I am sure they just could not refuse. Once Hockey Alberta announces the host sites, the work begins,” explains Logan. “Hosting a provincial tournament of this magnitude takes countless hours and many volunteers. From organizing hotels, to planning the booth menu, scheduling workers, finding volunteers, seeking out referees, finding a photographer, the list is endless. Oyen Minor Hockey manages and operates their own concession throughout the winter hockey season. The parents of all hockey players work their booth hours which, in turn keeps our registration fees some of the lowest in the province.
“Our Town Recreation Department also assists in a major way by keeping our arena in great shape. Service groups have also volunteered to help by scheduling gate admission workers. Grandparents and OMHA alumni have also honed their baking skills by donating pies, chili, buns, squares and baking to keep our officials, participants and families happy.”
Opening ceremonies are Friday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m., but the tournaments first game will be Thursday, March 10 at 5:45 p.m. The Bees first game is later Thursday evening at 8:15 p.m. Organizers are encouraging supporters to bring noise makers and wear orange for the opening ceremonies.
All fans can come for the day or purchase a weekend pass to take in all the exciting action.
Logan adds there are themed days for the provincial weekend. Thursday is Jersey Day — wear a jersey to the game and you are entered for a prize. Friday is Grandparents Day. All grandparents attending are also entered for a prize. Saturday is Kids Day and a sweet treat will be awarded to one lucky attendee.
Local business owners are taking part and decorating their windows with Bees’ colours of orange, black and white. Several businesses are also offering specials for the weekend.
The squad which consists of third year/Grade 12 players: Morgan Duffield, Christopher Hickey, Carter Hittel, Jory Niwa, Noah Rolheiser, Conrad Scheuerman, Brayden Marr, Corsin Harris; second year/Grade 11, Garrett Hauck, Trent Peers;  rookie/Grade 10, Dawson Hittel, Wyatt Hoyt, Brendan Logan, Gavin Logan, John Rolheiser,  Brock Scheuerman and Justin Wells.
“These boys are all taking time next week to attend the other schools in the area and reading to elementary kids or playing some fun mini-stick games to thank them for their support,” explains Logan.
Besides the extra fun and business which is brought to the community with hosting a tournament, there should be some entertaining hockey to be played.
Logan explains the home squad is a talented group enjoying a good season. League play started in October with pre-tiering round action which determined their place within the Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL). Those games allowed them to be a contender in Tier 2 action.
After round robin play, the Bees ended up in second place, just behind Chestermere. They received a first round bye with that placing and have won the first game in a best of three series with Foothills. 
As the host site for Provincials, this gave the Bees a bye to the final round playoffs for Zone 6. Their rivals, the Bassano Outlaws, won three rounds to get to the final and will be the rep for Zone 6 as Oyen cannot be hosts and the zone rep simultaneously.
The Zone 6 championship banner was still up for grabs and Oyen and Bassano played recently to decide “officially who the champs were.”
Game one of the two-game, total point series ended 6-2 in favour of the Bees. Game two in Bassano ended in another win 5-3 and thus the banner will hang in the Oyen Memorial Arena for 2016.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor

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