There are 12 top midget teams from across Canada in Kelowna this week as the 33rd annual Kelowna International Elite Midget Tournament takes place at Rutland and Memorial Arenas Wednesday through Sunday.
Kelowna’s midget tier 1 team will carry the local hopes into the event against teams from hockey hotbeds like Notre Dame, which will send two teams, along with clubs from Thunder Bay, Swift Current and Wenatchee.
Hockey academies will be well represented as well with teams from the Kelowna-based Pursuit of Excellence, the Okanagan Hockey Academy and the Calgary Edge Academy.
Rounding out the field are Hollyburn, Ridge Meadows and Comox Valley.
As far as the Kelowna Fripp Warehousing Junior Rockets, the team is having an excellent year and brings a solid crew into the tournament.
At 10-2-3, the Jr. Rockets are first place in the OMAHA standings. Overall the team is 24-4-4, out-scoring its opponents 111 to 60.They also had an unbeaten streak that hit 19.
“We’re going into the tournament to win it, just like any other team,” said head coach Eric Blais. “We’re excited to play against this tough competition.”The Kelowna International Midget tournament prides itself on the strength of the teams as well as the tough schedule and the chance for players to be exposed to scouts.
It’s an event that features tough, hard hitting and fast-paced hockey.
“We’re looking forward to another great year,” said Jim Mazzei, tournament media liason.
“These are some of the best midget teams anywhere in the country and the competition will be very stiff,” Mazzei said.
Action begins at the tournament Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Rutland Arena with the Pursuit of Excellence against Hollyburn.
The Kelowna Jr. Rockets open the tournament Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Memorial Arena against the Wenatchee Wild Under-18 team.
Games continue through the week with the top four teams playing in semi-final games on Saturday at 5 and 7:30 p.m. at Rutland West.
The championship game is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Arena.
There is more information online at www.kimmt.com.