Of nations, friendship and turkeys
The popular Nations Cup tournament pitting Team USA against Team Canada was played for the first time at the Tier 2 level Thanksgiving weekend and the Americans won the inaugural event at Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser.
The Nations Cup had been strictly for Tier 1 teams under the Selects Tournament until now.
With 60 teams playing across seven divisions the GLSC was abuzz with shouts of “USA” and “Canada” in all five arenas.
“The reaction to the event was great from the Tier 2 teams,” said tourney director Mike Coleman of GreatLakesHockey.com. “This format has been so well received among the Tier 1 teams over the past several years that we felt the Tier 2 teams should have a chance to play in a tournament representing their countries, too.”
The tourney scoring system awards points for every win and tie in each of seven divisions.
The Americans won the Mite, Squirt, Bantam Minor and Midget Minor divisions for the overall title, losing the other three divisions: Pee Wee Minor, Pee Wee Major and Bantam Major.
“The parents really seemed to like the format,” said Coleman. “One of the ’99 dads from the Macomb Mavericks told me it was the best event and celebration he had ever been to.”
A glitch with not having all of the Team Canada and Team USA jerseys ready for everyone at the start of the tournament made this first tourney a little more stressful said Coleman.
He added: “But it all worked out in the end and watching the ’99 USA celebration after Allen Park beat Mississauga in the first seed game with all the other ’99 teams raising the Nations Cup was worth all the hours and stress.”