The Lakeland Panthers U15AA team took home the bronze medal in a 6-3 win over the St. Albert Saints in their home tournament at the RJ Lalonde Arena on Sunday.
The Panthers played four tournament games beginning Friday morning at the Bonnyville and District Centennial Centre as 10 teams from as far south as Taber and Calgary, and as close as Lloydminster and Wainwright, came to play in the competition.
Grady Blain & Mason Benko
Panthers coach Ryan Blocha said it awesome to see the team play at home with a busy tournament.
“It was really nice to have a tournament for that group of boys. They haven’t had a tournament in our area since the team’s come to this area. So it was really nice to have something for us around here,” said Blocha.
This bronze finish is a positive trend for the Panthers. At a tournament in Red Deer earlier this season, they also earned a bronze medal. So far, through six league games in the NAHL, the Panthers are 4-2.
“I really like our team. It’s really a good group of kids, good group of parents, all willing to learn and work. The biggest things I look for is kids that are okay to make a mistake, but just get back up and get better. And that’s exactly what they do. They are a hard working group of kids. We tried once to slow our pace down to see what we could do and we definitely didn’t like it. The boys want to work and they’re showing that that’s what they love to do,” said Blocha.
Cale Rupp and Carter Hughes
Putting on a big hockey tournament again in the area is no small feat and requires a lot of hands and heads to make it happen.
Travis Farrer was one of the main organizers of the event, which worked as a fundraiser for the club as well. With raffle items donated by local businesses, there was also a 50-50 where if you sponsor your kid for ten dollars, you could win $1000.
“Basically, our parent group went around and looked for local companies and people that were willing to sponsor the youth sports program,” said Farrer.
“Big shout out should go to the parent group obviously for their volunteering and helping out and the C2 staff did a great job with the ice. And Gary Goreniuk and the refs.”
The Lakeland Panthers play Friday night in St. Paul at 7:30pm against the NEBC Yukon Trackers and Saturday afternoon at the RJ against the Peace River Sabres.
“Our whole group, everybody contributes in their own way, brings their own skill set. And that’s what makes us a good team. We all work together and help each other out along the way.”
- Panthers beat CAC 12-0
- Panthers lose to Strathcona Warriors 6-4
- Panthers lose to Taber Golden Suns7-6
- Panthers beat Wainwright 7-3
- Panthers beat St. Albert Blues 6-3 (Bronze)