Don John­son Cup on this week at Bay Arena

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY LIL­LIAN SIM­MONS

The Don John­son Cup At­lantic Ju­nior B Cham­pi­onships is tak­ing place this week at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts. Open­ing cer­e­monies are set to get un­der way at 7:15 p.m. Wed­nes­day, April 15.

This marks the first time ever a town in Trin­ity Con­cep­tion will host this pres­ti­gious tour­ney. Three prov­inces are vy­ing for the Cup. Slate­works Ju­nior Stars, which in­cludes play­ers from the Bay Arena and the Cee Bee mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tions, is host­ing the tour­ney.

“The At­lantic Ju­nior B Cham­pi­onships tour­na­ment usu­ally in­cludes four prov­inces, but New Brunswick can’t make it be­cause of uni­ver­sity ex­ams,” ex­plained tour­na­ment or­ga­nizer Brian Hur­ley.“We’ve got a num­ber of play­ers that won’t be play­ing for the same rea­son,” he added.

Along with the host team, four other teams will be in the run­ning dur­ing the April 14-19 tour­na­ment: the Grand Falls Ju­nior Cataracts; the Cum­ber­land County Cool Blues, Nova Sco­tia; Sher­wood A&S Scrap Metal Fal­cons, PEI; and the win­ner of NL Pro­vin­cial Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships that that took place ear­lier this month.

“This is the high­est level of ju­nior hockey played in this prov­ince, and we’re ex­tremely pleased to have been cho­sen to host such a pres­ti­gious cham­pi­onship,” Hur­ley says.“We put a lot of time and ef­fort into or­ga­niz­ing the event and we’re looking for­ward to putting off a first class tour­na­ment and en­sur­ing every­one en­joys them­selves in the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion area.”

The awards ban­quet is sched­uled to take place at the Bay Roberts Lions Club, Satur­day, April 18 at noon.

Eco­nomic boost

The cham­pi­onships will pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic boost to the re­gion, as vis­it­ing teams will be stay­ing in Har­bour Grace, Carbonear and Bay Roberts dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

The event is ex­pected to gen­er­ate more than $100,000 to the lo­cal econ­omy over the five days. Or­ga­niz­ers say ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers, friends and fam­ily are ex­pected to be in the area from all four At­lantic Prov­inces.

Bay Roberts Mayor Glenn Lit­tle­john says his town “has a long hockey his­tory and her­itage dat­ing back to the glory days of the Rovers, Point­ers and Tigers. Our com­mu­nity and the Ju­nior Stars or­ga­ni­za­tion are ready to host a mem­o­rable cham­pi­onship for all who come.”

Mean­while Don John­son says he’s hon­oured that a tro­phy in his name is be­ing played for in his home prov­ince.

“As a for­mer pres­i­dent of the St. John’s Ju­nior League I am al­ways very proud of the league. I am looking for­ward to this year’s tour­na­ment and I look for­ward to see­ing both lo­cal teams com­pete for the cham­pi­onship,” he said.

John­son played hockey in three At­lantic Prov­inces, in­clud­ing two years at the se­nior level with St. Pat’s in St. John’s, both times the team won the his­toric Boyle Tro­phy. He has served as pres­i­dent with sev­eral as­so­ci­a­tions and leagues and as chair­per­son with the Cana­dian Am­a­teur Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion. Dur­ing his term in of­fice the CAHA re­turned to in­ter­na­tional hockey and the Canada Cup and hel­mets were made manda­tory. The first Don John­son Cup was played in 1982 in Kens­ing­ton, PEI.

Tour­na­ment sched­ule

Mean­while, the first game in the At­lantic Lot­tery 2009 Don John­son Cup, At­lantic Ju­nior B Cham­pi­onship gets un­der­way Tues­day, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. when CBN plays the New­found­land and Labrador pro­vin­cial champs.

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