The 39th annual Spud minor hockey AAA tournament begins Thursday at rinks in and around Charlottetown. Promoting the tournament, from left, are Declan MacEachern, a member of the Charlottetown peewee AAA Abbies, Bruce Donaldson and Tammy Muirhead, co-chairpeople of the event, Jeff Young, director of finance, and Seth Morris of the peewee AAA Abbies.
Craig MacLauchlan always looked forward to playing in the Spud minor hockey tournament.
“Growing up it was always the biggest tournament around,” he said. “We loved playing in it. All the teams from away and stuff, it was always a big challenge.”
Now playing with the Charlottetown Islanders in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), MacLauchlan has a message for the player who will play in this week’s tournament when it begins on Thursday.
“Make sure you have a lot of fun,” the 19-year-old Charlottetown resident.
“That s what it’s all about. . . That’s where your fondest memories come from is those types of tournaments.”
MacLauchlan, who played for Sherwood growing up, remembers winning the tournament in atom. He was named player of the game and received a pair of gloves, while his linemate Ross Johnston, who now plays with the Victoriaville Tigres, was the division’s most valuable player and received a pair of skates.
The next generation of QMJHL players will be showing their skills at rinks from Pownal to Rustico and Slemon Park.
“You’re going to get to see players who are going through the AAA ranks and future stars of the Q and the university (level),” said Bruce Donaldson, one of the tournament’s three co-chairpeople.
“It’s always nice to reflect back and say we were a little piece of their development when they came to the Spud.”
There are 77 teams taking part with about 2,000 players. There are teams from the three Maritime provinces and one from Newfoundland and Labrador.
The number of teams is down a bit in the bantam and midget levels.
“We’re starting to see some of that consolidation throughout Atlantic Canada,” Donaldson said.
The tournament is in its 39th year, making it the
oldest AAA minor hockey tournament in Eastern Canada.
Donaldson said the tournament has a great committee, which has worked hard to get ready for the tournament and ensure the players have a great experience when they come to town.
Championship Sunday will take place at MacLauchlan Arena.
“It’s a great day to come and spend some time watching some very good hockey from novice all the way through to midget,” Donaldson said.
Source for Sport 2014 Spud Hockey Tournament:
u What – The oldest AAA hockey tournament in eastern Canada. This year marks the 39th year for the championship, which is a major fundraiser for the Charlottetown Minor Hockey Association.
u When – Thursday to Sunday.
u Rinks – MacLauchlan Arena, Cody Banks, Simmons, Slemon Park, Pownal, APM, Eastlink Centre, Rustico and Crapaud.
u Executive – Co-chairpeople Andrew Hall, Bruce Donaldson and Tammy Muirhead, 50-50 co-ordinator Joey Smith, treasurer Jeff Young and rules committee chairperson Chris Chaisson.
u Website – http://spud.goalline.ca/.