One-year hiatus for Kelowna midget tourney

Scheduling conflicts for some invited hockey teams have put the annual event on hold for 2018

A longstanding winter tradition in Kelowna has been put on the sidelines.

Due to scheduling conflicts for many of the invited teams, the 2018 edition of the BDO Kelowna International Elite Midget Hockey Tournament (KIMMT) next January has been cancelled.

Changes in league scheduling by midget hockey associations across Western Canada have prevented several teams from attending the tourney next year, including six from the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. The B.C. Major Midget League’s Okanagan Rockets would also be unable to compete due to their 2017-18 schedule.

The challenge of finding enough quality teams to replace those lost was simply too much to overcome for the tournament committee.

“…after much deliberation, we regret to announce that the KIMMT tournament must take a hiatus for the coming 39th tournament while we contemplate our options for future tournament dates in 2019,” the KIMMIT committee said in a statement.

In its 38-year existence, the annual five-day tournament has brought together teams from across Canada and the U.S. to showcase the talents of midget-aged hockey players.

Some of the players who have competed at KIMMT over the years include Brett Hull, Joe Sakic, Paul Kariya, Jarome Iginla, Justin Schultz and Tyson Barrie.

The tournament has served as a valuable scouting tool for major junior, junior A and junior B teams, as well as college and university programs.

More than 50 scouts from Canada and the U.S. attended the 2017 tournament.

This year’s tournament champions were the Northern Alberta Xtreme.

As for the status of the tournament in 2019 and beyond, the organizing committee will weigh its options on a year-to-year basis.