Excitement is brewing for a northwestern Ontario regional spring AAA hockey team, as they travel to Winnipeg this weekend for their first tournament of the season.
The newly formed Northern Wolverines solely made up of players born in 2009, will be taking part in the Early Bird North American Hockey Classic starting Friday (April 22, 2022).
Mike Svienson, who serves as an assistant coach for the Wolverines, says the excitement level is through the roof for the team's first tournament of the season.
“They’re fired up, I had a text from a parent on the team who said that her kid was describing today [Wednesday] as the day before Christmas,” said Svienson.
Going into this weekend’s tournament, Svienson said the game plan is to have the players get comfortable with each other.
“The one challenge that there is with the kids is the vast majority of them were among the top players on their AA teams all winter and now they have players that are as good or better than they are. The expectation would be that we would do very well at this tournament, we want to try and win it.”
The 17-man team is made up of players from Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Emo, and Fort Frances who are some of the best in the region.
This weekend’s event will be the first of three tournaments in Winnipeg over the next three months under the North American Hockey Classic umbrella Svienson noted.
“Down the road, the big plan for the team in July is to compete in the Chowder Cup in Boston.”
The Chowder Cup is a long-standing North American youth hockey tournament, and if the Wolverines qualify they will compete against teams in their same age group from all over the US and Canada.
The Wolverines will kick off the tournament on Friday (April 22, 2022), when they take on the South Sask Selects at 8:15 a.m., before taking on the Manitoba Kings at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Their final game will be on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. against the Manitoba Timberwolves.