By: Vince Clark
The 33rd annual Rob Thomas Memorial Hockey tournament will be a bit different this year.
While there will be some familiar teams in the men’s division, such as the Ol’Kings, Ol’ Blues, Bin Muckers, Bannock Boys and Smudge Pans, there will be a few new teams and some notable omissions. The Powerview RCMP detachment will ice a team for the first time in years, led by Tyler Stokes, who has also taken on organizing the tournament. The Winnipeg River Rats will also be back, as well as the Ol’ Cox, both of whom haven’t played in the tournament in a couple years.
The shocker this year is the St-Georges Voyageurs, who will be unable to ice a team for the first time in decades. “We just couldn’t get enough guys together” said Mathew Kosi, a stalwart Voyageur. The defending champion St-Georges Saugers also won’t be in attendance due to team leader Colin Cyr’s unavailability. This leaves the tournament wide open for the remaining teams, as the Saugers had been seemingly unbeatable over the last few tournaments, often decimating opponents by double digit margins.
The Women’s division will also be making a return after a two-year hiatus. The division will feature three teams, No Drama, KOFY, and The Shields. There was a fourth team which was an RCMP team planning to travel all the way from BC to participate, but they will no longer be able to attend. There is however still an RCMP team in the female division, as The Shields are made up of Female RCMP, Customs Officers and Winnipeg Police Service Members.
Lastly, there will be a co-ed RCMP game taking place on Friday, March 6th at 9:30 pm. This is a totally new thing for the long running tournament, and is sure to be intriguing.
The men’s division features several former high-level junior players and has wildly better-quality hockey than anyone might expect for a recreational tournament. Come out and watch! You won’t be disappointed.