Range of local teams put in strong showing at WMC during last weekend’s 43rd annual Woolwich Fall Memorial Tournament, now in second year as early bird

[Veronica Reiner/ The Observer]

Some 35 teams from across Ontario gathered for the 43rd annual Woolwich Memorial Fall Tournament at the WMC in Elmira over the weekend, with half of the local teams dominating their divisions.

“It was an excellent weekend – lots of work, but worth it in the end, definitely,” said tournament organizer Brandon Brubacher. “All the divisions were really even. It was exactly the same turnout as last year.”

The minor bantam A, minor midget and major midget Woolwich Wildcat teams each won their divisions against five competitors.

“The depths of the team,” said Patrick Leonard, a trainer for the minor bantam A team, on the key to success. “Just from top to bottom, every player played so well throughout the tournament. It was a big team effort.”

The minor bantam team pulled through and managed to win every single game in their division. Their final scores were 4-1 against the Orillia Terriers, 4-1 against the St. Thomas Junior Stars, 5-1 against the Woodstock Junior Navy Vets, 8-4 against the Essex Ravens and 8-4 against the Guelph Gryphons.

Other Woolwich teams include the minor peewee A, major peewee A, and major bantam A.

The event drew in players from all over the province, including Peterborough, London, Muskoka, Burlington and Stoney Creek.

This marks the second year Brubacher has run the tournament, continuing with his entirely new design from the traditional layout.

“This tournament used to be in November,” explained Brubacher. “It was called the Woolwich Weekend Tournament. And then I started running it last year and just decided to change it last year for a new thing. Just to change it up. I changed it to an early bird in September, because it was kind of tough to compete with the Toronto tournaments.”

He organized other initiatives for the tournament this year that gathered quite a profit.

“We had a great raffle,” said Brubacher. “We made about $3,000 on the raffle and silent auction. That money just goes directly back to minor hockey, which is awesome. So I take the sponsor money, purchase teams for the raffle and silent auction, and it all just goes back to minor hockey, which is great.”

The prizes were all hockey related, such as NHL jerseys and hats for raffle prizes, as well as NHL signed jerseys, signed pucks, and pictures for the silent auction. Brubacher was pleased with the turnout of the event, with his only wish being that he could have had the opportunity to watch more of the games.

“We were pretty organized, so everything ran smoothly,” said Brubacher. “Honestly, it sucks that I don’t get to watch as much hockey as I’d like to because I have to run the tournament – you know, managers are coming in to register, and then updating the points, etc. I love running it, but you don’t get to watch much hockey. It was such a good weekend though.”

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