Ball tourney terrific success

By Geoff Lee

May 24, 2016 12:01 PM

A St. Joseph School player (in red) scrambles for the ball with an Ecole St. Thomas player during the RBC Cup ball hockey tournament that involved 10 elementary schools.

TSN may have slipped up in their coverage of the RBC Cup championship game Sunday by naming just one winner.

There are actually four other RBC Cup winning teams in Lloydminster and they have the banners to prove it.

College Park School, Rendell Park Elementary School, E.S. Laird Middle School (RBC DS Allstars) and Lloydminster Comprehensive High School won their respective grades competition at the RBC Cup ball hockey tournament May 16 to 19.

The competition took place outside the Centennial Civic Centre where the ice hockey tournament took place with the same level of enthusiasm from players and the event sponsor, RBC Dominion Securities in Lloydminster.
“This is great,” said ball hockey sponsor rep Dave Bryson, vice-president and investment advisor, who funded the tournament with $15,000 from the branch.

He said it was money well spent.

“Love it, couldn’t be better,” he said with one day to go in the outdoor tournament.

“The more I tell people at the games that we’re hosting this, the more people come out to watch so it’s a great time.”

He said every day representatives from the five Junior A hockey clubs contesting the actual RBC Cup came out to help out.

“Today, a fellow from Trenton (Golden Hawks) came out and played with the kids before their game,” said Bryson.

“He played goal and our kids took some shots on him.
“Every team has been great.”

Bryson also refereed a lot of games, and took time to credit the organizing job of E.S. Laird Middle School teacher Morgan Mann who headed up the tournament committee.

“It started with Morgan Mann and the schools—he had every school play off,” said Bryson.

“Morgan’s been great spearheading this event and all the volunteers for it.”

Mann said when one is hosting a national event it’s pretty exciting for the whole community.

“I think it’s necessary to bring some of that to the young people in our schools and let them share in the excitement in hosting this event.”
He said it couldn’t be done without sponsors and in particular, Dave Bryson and RBC Dominion Securities, who got behind the ball hockey event with funding.

Mann wore multiple role hats throughout the event including spokesperson, and noted it’s exceeded his expectations.

“It think the weather’s cooperated—kids as per usual—they’ve been fantastic,” he said, as the Grade 7 students took to the rinks on the third day of the four day tournament.

“They brought lots of energy and spirit to the competition so yeah, it’s going really well.”

Every school in Lloydminster was represented in the tournament with participation from the RBC Cup players adding to the enjoyment for the kids.

“A couple of them have guest refereed and took on some advisory roles as coaches,” said Mann.

“That’s meant a lot for the kids playing through the week to meet some of these players.”

Each of the winning grade level champs was presented with a banner by Bryson who will add the names of the team rosters on them for schools to hang in their gyms.

At the end of each game, players from both teams shook hands in a show of sportsmanship and they were treated to a hotdog and a drink.
“Each day they arrive on the bus smiling and ready to play and they are leaving smiling, so that’s good,” said Mann.

The game was better than school for Elijah Lopez from Ecole St. Thomas who tangled with College Park in the early going.

“It’s really fun,” he said, before dashing back on one of the dirt rinks.
Ditto the enthusiasm of his teammate Devon Orieux. “It’s good, it’s fun—there’s no school,” he said.

Cheering his team was Jeremy Blais, a teacher at St. Joseph Elementary School, who said the tournament means a lot to the students.
He said they can come out and play against other schools and they can be involved in the RBC cup.

“They’ve been really excited about it all week,” he said.
“They’ve been going to the games (RBC Cup) and to get a chance to come down to the rink during school and participate in this has been a big thrill for them.”

Not surprisingly Blais said he didn’t have to twist anyone’s arms,  so to speak, to find ball hockey recruits at his school. “We had a lot of students who wanted to come down, but we got to bring a select few and it’s been a really good honour for them,” he said.

Also cheering on the players was RBC Cup volunteer Gord Henry who shuttles players and officials to and from the Civic Centre.

“I just came out to watch the kids go at it and it seems like they are having a very good time,” he said.

“It’s going to be a great week and I am looking forward to the Bobcats making it to the weekend.”

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