The St. Albert Miners are hosting the President’s Cup lacrosse championship for the second time in five years at Leduc Recreation Centre.
The Aug. 30 to Sept. 6 tournament is the third senior B nationals in Alberta since the Spruce Grove Slash hosted in 2012.
Go Auto Arena, the home for the senior B and junior A Miners, is unavailable for nationals because of the installation of ice before the start of the tournament.
Last year’s President’s Cup at Kahnawake, Que., featured the Akwesasne Bucks (Can-Am Lacrosse League), Capital Region Axemen (Quebec Senior Lacrosse League), Six Nations Rivermen (Ontario Lacrosse Association), Team Nova Scotia, Ladner Pioneers (West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association), Snake Island Muskies (Three Nations Senior Lacrosse League), the host Kahnawake Mohawks (Quebec league) and the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League champion Miners.
After winning three-straight President’s Cups, the Miners (4-3-1) lost the bronze-medal playoff 12-6 to Kahnawake.
Six Nations defeated Akwesasne 9-5 for the championship.
The fourth-straight nationals for the Miners, bronze medallists in 2014 at Coquitlam, B.C., was also the fifth in six years and seventh since 2010 as RMLL provincial champions.
The Miners finished the season 25-4-1 overall and were 22-1 as winners of 22 consecutive games before back-to-back losses of 8-6 to the Axemen and 12-8 at the President's Cup with four games left in the round robin.
Tournament all-stars included Graedon Cornfield (20 goals, 39 points) on the first team and Richard Lachlan (21 goals, 38 points) and netminder Matt Hiebert (1-0-1, 5.08 GAA) on the second team.
The run of three President’s Cup in a row for the Miners started in 2016 at Leduc with eight teams split into two pools instead of the single round-robin format to determine the playoff pairings and continued in 2017 at Hagersville, Ont., and 2018 at Nanaimo, B.C.
Teddy Bear Toss
Highlighting this year’s feature game at the John Reid Memorial Tournament is the Teddy Bear Toss in support of the St. Albert Food Bank.
The St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres play the Los Angeles Jr. Kings on Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. at Go Auto Arena and fans are invited to bring a teddy bear, wrapped in a plastic bag, to throw onto the ice after the Sabres’ first goal.
The 42nd annual St. Albert bantam tournament runs Jan. 16 to 19 at the Go Auto, Mark Messier, Troy Murray and Jarome Iginla arenas.
The 42-game draw consists of four divisions divided into two pools to form the A, B and C playoff brackets.
The Sabres also have pool games on tap at Go Auto Arena against the Balgonie (Sask.) Prairie Storm on Jan. 16 at 10:45 a.m. and the St. George’s Saints of Vancouver on Jan. 17 at 1:30 p.m.
Tournament organizers are expecting more than 1,000 students will attend the Prairie Storm game and approximately 600 will cheer on the Saints against St. George’s.
Last year the Sabres finished 1-4 and the tournament winner was Delta Wild Academy Green (6-0) by a 6-3 score in the final against the Okanagan Hockey Academy (4-1-1) of Edmonton.
The tournament website is johnreidmemorial.com.
Meanwhile, the Sabres (17-5-1, 105 GF/66 GA), with four returnees on the roster, are ranked second behind the Red Deer Rebels (18-1-2, 93 GF/32 GA) in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League at the Christmas break.
The Sabres are back in action Saturday against the host Leduc Oil Kings (12-9-1) at 7:30 p.m. and Monday’s game against the Sherwood Park Flyers (10-8-4) starts at 6:45 p.m. at Jarome Iginla Arena.