Yale’s Ben Thornton battles for the puck with a B.C. North Zone defender during Bantam Bantam Elite invite hockey action on Saturday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Yale’s Ben Thornton battles for the puck with a B.C. North Zone defender during Bantam Bantam Elite invite hockey action on Saturday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

OHA Edmonton wins inaugural Bauer Bantam Elite

Event to become annual tournament after successful debut

OHA Edmonton are the first-ever Bauer Bantam Elite invite champions.

The inaugural hockey tournament welcomed 16 of the top Bantam teams from Western Canada and the United States, including Abbotsford’s Yale Lions Bantam Prep squad.

Edmonton defeated the Delta Green Bantams 6-3 in Monday’s final at MSA Arena.

St. George’s earned third place at the event, downing the Burnaby Winter Club 6-4 in the bronze-medal game, also at MSA Arena on Monday.

The tournament opened on Friday with the 16 teams divided up into four pools. Besides the gold- and bronze-medal games, all the pool play and the remainder of the playoff games occurred at the Summit Centre.

Yale lost 3-1 to the Edge Mountaineers in pool play on Friday, but then bounced back with a 10-0 win over the St. Albert Sabres. The Lions also defeated the B.C. North Zone Kings 6-1 on Saturday to finish with a 2-1 record in pool play and advance to the playoff round.

Playoff action saw Yale lose 2-1 to the eventual champions from Edmonton on Sunday to dash the club’s championship hopes. They closed out the tournament with a 4-4 tie against the Mountaineers on Monday.

Tournament chair Krista Christiuk said the inaugural event went well.

“It was an awesome weekend and we had a lot of great feedback,” she said, noting that over 90 scouts from junior and professional hockey leagues checked out the action. “We want this to become an annual event in Abbotsford and want to be thought of on par with the John Reid tournament.”

The John Reid Memorial Bantam Hockey tournament is a well-established tournament which occurs in St. Albert, Alta. every January.

Christiuk said the plan moving forward is to have the event remain in Abbotsford and run every Thanksgiving weekend.

For more on the event, visit bantameliteinvite.com.