Sixteen teams and 272 kids played their hearts out over the four days of the 17th Gil Martin Tournament hosted by Langley Minor Hockey at the Sportsplex.
It was the largest yet, a slight increase over the last time the event was held, in 2019, which had 15 teams playing over three days.
Tournament director Mark Brandow said this year’s edition appeared to be a hit, with parents telling him they were delighted to see the event resume after the pandemic forced a cancellation in 2020, happy to be “getting back into the arena and seeing the kids engage, and so many happy faces.”
“I thought it went very smoothly,” Brandow told the Langley Advance Times.
Long-range, Brandow would like to see the event accommodate more teams.
“I would like to grow it to 32 teams.”
COVID-19 restrictions were in effect, including requiring proof of vaccination and wristbands for those watching.
Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Ravens took home gold in both the U13 tier one and tier two contests, with the U13 A1 Ravens defeating Kamloops Blazers on Sunday, Nov 14, in the championship final.
Ravens won 9-1.
Semi players Jayden Simpson and Neil Zhou were two of the all-star forwards of the tournament with Liam Zemrau as one of the Top Defence.
Simpson was named MVP of the tournament as well.
Semi’s U13 A2 team downed Cloverdale to become tier 2 champions.
The tournament honours the memory of Martin, a longtime coach and executive with the local hockey association, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 60.
He had coached in various age divisions within the Langley Minor Hockey League (LMHA) and also served on the association’s executive.
An online account notes that Martin “firmly believed motivation, a positive healthy attitude and effective communication to be intrinsic elements of quality instruction and ultimately success in sports and life. “
To honour Martin’s philosophy, the organization launched the PuCKS program (Promoting Community through Kids in Sport), a registered charity which works with marginalized kids between the ages of six to 18 years old, to help them pay for registration and team fees.
A portion of the proceeds from the weekend tournament will be donated to the PuCKS society.
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