By Alex Morrison
I made it up to Red Deer yesterday, after a flight to Calgary, then a drive north. Being here 2 years ago, this is not unfamiliar territory, as 2 of the 3 rinks that were used last time are once again in play here. The nice new addition is the Collicut Centre, which has a beautiful looking sport court surface laid down over the concrete floor. Games at the twin sheet facility, Kinsmen Arena, have a different feeling, as the concrete surface really doesn’t let these players show off all of their skills, especially skating.
32 teams are playing at this weekend’s event, all from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
It is really interesting for me coming up here, since Hockey Alberta runs the event, and my job is to make sure teams are seeded for the NARCh Finals properly. Quite a different experience for me, as I am usually running around like a headless chicken, making sure everything is running smooth. Most of my time here is watching games, and talking to team managers that have expressed an interest in coming to California. I was impressed early this morning with the Northern Leafs, a Bantam team from Prince George, BC. They only have 7 skaters, but all of them were solid players. I would not be surprised to see them in the final tomorrow. It would be great to see them come down south this July to experience the event that we are so proud to put on.
There are at least half a dozen teams that will be making their way to San Jose this summer, and they are very excited to be coming. Both Red Deer and Sherwood Park will have a contingent heading south. The really neat part is, some of these players have never experienced a NARCh Finals before. I will be very interested to see what their reaction is down there, and wonder what they will tell their hockey friends when they return from the trip.
I will have more later from Alberta!