By Tina Comeau
Yarmouth is once again about the live up to its reputation of being a hockey town.
After months of planning and preparations, The Redwood Cup hits the street, literally, on Thursday, Sept. 26, with games scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m.
The event wraps up on Saturday with the women’s and men’s finals, which will be played in an outdoor arena on Lobster Rock Wharf.
All of the games during the three days are free to spectators.
On Wednesday Yarmouth’s Main Street underwent a transformation to ready it for play, as 10 hockey nets were set up on Main Street.
Forty minutes is set aside for each hockey game and there will be around 190 round robin games played before the tournament moves into the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. You can view schedules by clicking here.
“Welcome to the teams from across Canada,” says Yarmouth County resident Paul MacDonald, who is the chair of the local volunteer committee for the national championship event. “Come out and support this amazing event. The nation will be watching. Good luck to all.”
Teams invited to compete at this event have included winners and finalists from each of the men’s elite, women’s elite, 19 and under (male) and 17 and under (male) divisions of the 21 host cities of Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! The spring events, which are qualifiers to the national event, included such places as Halifax, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Montreal, Kelowna, Edmonton, Moncton, Toronto, Fort McMurray, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Calgary and St. John’s.
Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! has seen participation in the program increase an average of 30 per cent annually since it’s inception in 2003 in Halifax. This year, 5,360 teams have taken part – which sets a Guiness World Record for the largest hockey tournament.
The Montreal Red Lite, winners of the Redwood Cup in 2012 (they represented Trois Rivieres last season) will be in Yarmouth to defend their title. The men’s division team winners of The Redwood Cup will receive a $40,000 cash prize, which is a 60 per cent increase in the prize purse from last season, and their names will be engraved on the actual Redwood Cup.
The women’s division winners will also have their names engraved on the cup and will take home a $10,000 cash prize.
The cash size of the winning prize purses is calculated based on the number of teams in each division that participated in PlayOn! this year.
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The 19 and under and 17 and under divisions don’t compete for cash prizes, but the winners will receive replica Redwood Cup trophies and prizes provided by sponsors.
The 2013 Redwood Cup is sponsored by Booster Juice, Pro Hockey Life, StubHub!, KPMG, Kenwood, and UPS.
While provinces all across Canada will be represented by teams, so too will Yarmouth as a team the Yarmouth Bulldogs are competing in the U-17 division. The team, made up of Dysen O’Connell, Matt Baker, Brayden Donaldson, Brad Berry, Ty Duffus and Logan Cottreau, qualified for the event after placing second in their division at Play On! in Halifax in the spring.
Another local team is the Yarmouth Avengers, playing in the Men's Elite Division. The team members include Michel Saulnier, Sean Doucette, Ketton Hubbard, Julien Boudreau, Devin Muise, Jordan Scott and Andrew Nickerson.
A third team with some Yarmouth ties is the St. John's India Bears team of Newfoundland, which is made up of former Yarmouth Junior A Mariners Kenny Mahoney, Kevin Reid, Brandon Bussey and Jared Hicks. Other team members are Alex Powell, who once came to a Mariners training camp here, and Dylan Sheldon, who played in the MHL.
There are also teams from Clare and Digby in this event.
The organizers of The Redwood Cup are happy to see this national championship finally arriving in Yarmouth.
“It is going to be a really exciting tournament and we're looking forward to showing Yarmouthians what Play On! is all about!" says Charles Musco, national operations director for Play On!
The Women’s National Championship Game will be played on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. on Lobster Rock Wharf, followed by the Men’s National Championship Game at 5 p.m.
These games will be broadcast on CBC television starting at 5 p.m. (There is a one-hour delay to the broadcast.)
Another visitor coming to Yarmouth for The Redwood Cup is country artist Dean Brody, who was recently named the Canadian County Music Association’s Male Artist of the Year for a second consecutive year. He will perform a couple of songs during Saturday’s finals at Lobster Rock Wharf – his hit single Canadian Girls during the halftime of the women’s final and a new song, Bounty, prior to the men’s final.