The puck drops on the 37th edition of the BDO Kelowna International Elite Midget Tournament this afternoon at Rutland Arena.
Twelve teams will compete for the 2016 title, including the host Kelowna Fripp Warehouse Rockets and the BCMML’s Okanagan Rockets.
The final is set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Rutland West.
The host Rockets will open the tourney Wednesday night against Pacific Academy from Victoria. Puck drop at Rutland West is 7 p.m.
Kelowna head coach Lee Hamilton is looking for his tier 1 team to elevate its play to a new level over the next four days.
“For us, this is the pinnacle of what we’re aiming for right now,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been preparing our team to be able to match the speed, match the play for major midget because obviously this is one step up from what we are used to.”
The Okanagan Rockets are making their fourth appearance at the tournament. The major midget team won in both 2010 and 2014, before coming up short in its bid to go 3-for-3 last year.
“It’s a great tournament for the whole community and we’re happy to support it,” said Okanagan Rockets’ GM Braeden Pistawka. “It’s a tournament that showcases a lot of skill.
“For us, it gives us a chance halfway through our season to play a lot of meaningful games and to showcase a lot of our player to scouts who come out to this tournament.”
Here’s the schedule for the first day of action:
Wednesday, Jan. 6
1:30 p.m. Okanagan Academy Red vs. Coeur d’Alene Rutland E.
2 p.m. Moose Jaw Generals vs. Delta Wild U18 Rutland W.
4 p.m. Okanagan Rockets vs. Burnaby Winter Club Rutland E.
4:30 p.m. Okanagan Academy White vs. Waterloo Wolves Rutland W.
6:30 p.m. Yale Lions U18 vs. Saskatoon Contacts Rutland E.
7 p.m. Opening Ceremonies Rutland W.
7 p.m. Kelowna Fripp Rockets vs. Pacific Academy Rutland W.