Non-Stop Hockey at 55th Martin Van Gool Memorial Hockey Tournament

 

Mayor Bill Steele and Golden Puck President John Van Gool dropping the puck to kick off the Tournament.

It was a weekend of minor hockey excitement in Port Colborne this past weekend. The Golden Puck Hockey Committee held its 55th Annual Martin Van Gool Memorial Hockey Tournament at the Vale Centre.

With 47 house-league teams from all across Ontario, participating in three different age divisions, it was certainly one busy weekend for the organizing committee.

“We had the Vale Centre booked non-stop all weekend. As well as calling in favours from both Fort Erie and Ridgeway to help fill our needed ice-times,” said tournament convenor John Van Gool. “And while there may have been a few hiccups that caused a headache or two and required quick thinking on behalf of the tournament volunteers, I’m confident that the tournament could be seen as a resounding success.”

Officially kicking off at 9:00am on Friday morning, a total of 77 games were played to crown the winners in the Novice, Atom and PeeWee division.

In the PeeWee title game Pelham defeated Mount Brydges 3 to 2.

The Novice final saw a short staffed Osprey team defeat Hagersville 7 to 0.

After three overtimes the Atom Division final came down to a sudden death shootout where Lindsay defeated Kawartha 5 to 4. Nolan Hilderbrandt scored the shoot out winner.

Shortly following the tournament Van Gool – who’s father was an original member of the Golden Puck Hockey Committee and for whom the tournament was renamed in his honour – had praise for all of the teams participating in the tournament, saying he has received a great response from the parents and coaches alike.

“It’s a fun tournament to run because it’s geared towards a level of hockey that may not see the teams travel very often. That’s why it is genuinely great to see how excited they are when say a local team is playing one from Elmvale, or when a team from Barrie is playing one from Langton.”

“It’s their turn to feel the same way travel teams feel, and it shows in how much fun they have.”

When asked how he manages to run a successful tournament year after year, Van Gool replied “A great group of Committee members and student volunteers, as well as lots of tea.”

Considering email inquiries over the tournament begin in September each year, it seems this tournament isn’t due to slow down anytime soon.

“But we’ll be back at it again come September to get ready for next years tournament.”

 

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