No, not everybody understands yet the "real" purpose of the Skater's Edge Three on Three Hockey Tournament. One last opportunity for hockey playing kids to be kids, to let loose in a shinny-like environment, free from the stress of their more structured games that keep many of them busy from September right through to March.
There still are some parents who somehow have mistaken this playful get together for the NHL playoffs they were watching the night before. But ask most of the players, and rest assured, they understand.
"It's fun, because it's always go, go, go," said Alex Léger, mere moments after his team (JLM Crushers) edged the St Charles Turbos 4-3, with Leduc setting up teammate Noah Groulx with a cross-crease pass with about 2.8 seconds to play.
"There's no whistles, no nothing," continued Léger. "There's a lot more room on the ice, because you're only three players. You have to get used to the passing, and you have to get back, obviously." A member of the Dr James Dunlop peewee houseleague team in Valley East this past winter, Leduc finds himself reunited with his buddies, many of whom have joined him during his four previous appearances at the spring-time tournament.
The chemistry returns quickly, even if many of these players are on opposite teams throughout the Northeast Houseleague season. "The guys who are on my team right now are my friends," said Léger. "I've known them for a long time, and I can see how they play, so we adapt really good. It's easy."
Léger scored a pair of goals to lead the way for JLM, with Dylan Lalonde rounding out the scoring. Rily Dupuis, Bobby Lachance and Justin Carriere answered in a losing cause for St Charles, as the Turbos dropped to 0-2 on the day.
The bantam houseleague encounter that followed would see the Swift Wiskey Jacks break open a close 2-1 game after the opening period (games are limited to a pair of 12-minute straight time sessions), pulling away from the Evil Monkeys 6-1.
Blake McNally and Mike Shaw scored two goals apiece for the Wiskey Jacks, with Trent Smith and Zach Mercer adding one goal apiece. Action this weekend finds the Peewee and Bantam Divisions being contested at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex, with the Novices and Atoms out at the Edgar Leclair Community Centre in Azilda.
Playoffs are set for Sunday, with championship finals running from approximately noon until 3:00 p.m. at both venues. Some of the teams that posted a pair of wins on Friday included the Dekes of Hazzard and Valley East '01 Warriors in the bantam division, and Bad Boys, Bullet Boys and JLM Crushers in peewee play.