Nine- and 10-year-old Aboriginal youth raced around the ice at West Edmonton Mall's arena over the May long weekend for a hockey tournament featuring teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The Super Novice Little Chiefs Novice Cup was played from May 16 to 18 and attracted four regional teams and hundreds of spectators.
Tournament organizer Gerald Hum said he would have liked to have seen more teams entered, but was happy with the quality of teams that did participate.
The Northern Manitoba Flames and the Southern Alberta Treaty 7 Bisons played strong games, but could only watch the final game between the Alberta Central Sled Dogs and the Prince Albert Grand Council Blues.
The final game needed all three periods and then some before a winner was crowned.
"It all came down to sudden death and then a nine player shoot out," said Hum.
In the end it was a goal by a Blues player that lead the team back to Saskatchewan with the coveted trophy.
Adding to the excitement of the final game, the goal came from a third line player who hadn't had much luck finding the net all weekend, said Hum.
"It was the young guy's only points of the whole tournament." It was the only one that really mattered.
And even for the teams that didn't win, the weekend was a success. With a skating rink so close to a water slide, huge amusement park, roller coasters and a miniature golf course, what kid wouldn't have a blast?
The Manitoba team had never been to West Edmonton Mall, so they were excited.
"For the people from [Manitoba's] Cross Lake and Norway House it was like a vacation. It was like going to Disneyland and getting to play hockey too."
Hum said the games are more than just winning or losing, it's about team work and fun.
"As long as the kids are enjoying it, then everything goes well," he said.
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