Ice Kats host 90 teams for an­nual tour­na­ment in city

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - MIKE DAVIES Ex­am­iner Sports Di­rec­tor [email protected]­ter­bor­ough­

Com­pe­ti­tion from other tour­na­ments is forc­ing the Peter­bor­ough Girls’ Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion to reeval­u­ate a 38-year tra­di­tion.

The an­nual Ice Kats tour­na­ment has been held on the first week­end in De­cem­ber for all of its 38 years. This year’s edi­tion fea­tured 90 teams in 20 divisions us­ing all four city are­nas and six ice pads.

But only eight of the Ice Kats’ 18 rep teams and none of their AA squads, the high­est level in girls’ hockey, par­tic­i­pated. Ever since the On­tario Women’s Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion granted Whitby a tour­na­ment on the same week­end it’s been a strug­gle to at­tract AA teams and in more re­cent years all rep divisions. The PGHA has com­pen­sated by adding house league divisions, said PGHA pres­i­dent Ca­role Wag­ner.

“Our tour­na­ment is turn­ing into a B and C tour­na­ment and we have huge house league num­bers,” said Wag­ner. “The goal of all this when we started it 38 years ago was to hold a week­end where all of our teams, re­gard­less of what level they were, got to play in a home tour­na­ment. That’s not hap­pen­ing any­more.”

The tour­na­ment has av­er­aged 90 to 95 teams in re­cent years but was once as high as 125, she said. The Whitby tour­na­ment has grown steadily si­phon­ing teams from Peter­bor­ough.

“They have so many ho­tels and are­nas all within a short dis­tance of each other. Why would you come to Peter­bor­ough when you can play in Whitby,” said Wag­ner.

It’s one of the rea­sons the PGHA and other lo­cal arena users lob­bied the city to build the pro­posed new twin-pad closer to the other are­nas and not at Trent Univer­sity. A plea that fell on deaf ears, she said.

“We keep go­ing to th­ese meet­ings (with the city) and we keep talk­ing about what every­body is sug­gest­ing and I don’t know why we are go­ing be­cause they don’t lis­ten to any of it,” said Wag­ner.

It’s par­tic­u­larly hard to at­tract ban­tam and midget teams, said Wag­ner.

“The ban­tam and midget AA teams are look­ing for show­case tour­na­ments be­cause NCAA and Cana­dian univer­sity coaches are at th­ese things,” said Wag­ner.

The PGHA ex­ec­u­tive is ex­plor­ing op­tions of ei­ther mov­ing the tour­na­ment to an­other date or cre­at­ing a sep­a­rate tour­na­ment for ban­tam and midget. A lack of ice-time in the area may make it im­pos­si­ble, she said.

“We talk about maybe do­ing a ban­tam and midget show­case early in the fall and do­ing some­thing else later in the year but we’d have to flip ice with some­body be­cause there is no extra ice for that to hap­pen,” said Wag­ner.

This is the first year that the PGHA has had more of its house league teams (11) in the tour­na­ment than rep teams (8). Since house league games are shorter they’ve not re­quired as much ice-time and for the first time in a long time or­ga­niz­ers have not had to book time at are­nas in the county.

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