Silver Stick has rich history
By Darren Lowry

As of the most prestigious youth hockey tournaments in the country, the Silver Stick tournament has a rich history of great international play. That history continued on in Huntsville, Alabama on Dec. 4-6, when more than 20 Midget and Bantam A and B teams gathered at the Municipal Ice Complex to compete at the Southeast regional for the chance to advance to the finals.

“What makes this tournament unique is that it is international,” said Huntsville tournament director Chris Crenshaw. “The winning teams from each region advance to the finals tournament, where teams from both Canada and the United States play each other.”

Huntsville’s tournament is named the Howard Radford Memorial Silver Stick regional tournament after a civic pioneer in Huntsville whose efforts led to the first regulation ice surface being built in Huntsville in 1973. Radford managed the rink until his passing the following year.

Silver Stick International held its annual meeting in Huntsville in 1975, and just two years later, the city hosted its first Silver Stick regional tournament. In 1979, the University of Alabama-Huntsville formed an ice hockey team.

The tournament’s awards also have a strong history behind them. The Larry McGrath Memorial Scholarship is a national $1,000.00 endowment awarded to two American and two Canadian players each year. The Huntsville tournament also has its own scholarship and MVP award, named after two late citizens who made contributions to Huntsville hockey.

 

The Joe Seikel Scholarship is awarded to a midget player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and scholarship. In addition, the Reg Pelletier MVP award is given to the most valuable player in each division.

The Silver Stick tournament was started in 1958 with the intention of furthering international relations between Peewee- and Bantam-age players from the Ottawa and the upper New York state area. The tournament was named after its unique trophy, which was a hockey stick made of silver donated by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper at the first tournament. The original trophy now rests at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Relative replicas are now used at the North American finals.

The first finals took place in Port Huron, Michigan in 1963, which was soon voted as the permanent site of the Peewee and Bantam finals each year. Six years later, Sarnia, Ontario was established at the permanent site of the Atom and Midget finals.

More than 75,000 players and coaches take part in the tournament across North America each year.

The Mites, Squirts, and Peewee A teams will also play in their own Southeast tournament in Huntsville, to be held on Dec. 11-13.





 
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