OLDS — Olds Minor Hockey Association is hosting two major tournaments in March: provincials and a conference tournament.
Olds will be hosting the U13 AA provincial competition March 30 to April 2. As host, Olds will get an automatic berth in that tournament.
Before that, the Olds Minor Hockey Association will host the U18 AA South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) conference tournament March 9-12. In that tournament, every team gets a berth, including Olds.
The winner of that competition will go on to play the winner of the other conference in a best of three series. Then the winner of that will represent the SCAHL in the provincial tournament.
Olds Minor Hockey Association president Rob Turville says both events are a big deal for the association and the community.
He says four teams from across the province will be in town for the U13 AA provincial competition and six teams are expected to attend the SCAHL conference championship.
“It is a huge economic benefit to the community, being able to host something like this,” Turville said during an interview with the Albertan.
He said in both cases, the players, coaches family, and friends will descend on Olds, pumping the economy as they stay in hotels, buy meals and take in other entertainment or attractions.
“And not only that, it’s great for our organization because, I mean, these kids get pretty excited to get to play in front of their home town and all their friends from school are going to show up and all their family members are going to be there,” he said.
Turville said the provincial competition, being the pinnacle of hockey success at that level in Alberta, are especially exciting for those kids.
“You get to watch them play on the top stage, kind of at the top level for their age division, so that’s a pretty neat experience and I think something that these kids will cherish for years,” he said.
Turville said the SCAHL conference tournament is also exciting as it’s an important stepping stone to possible greater glory.
“Once again, it’s one of those things where your season could be over unless you win, right? It’s win and move on,” he said. “In that sense, it is still very intense.”