Aldergrove just became a whole lot ‘Friendlier!’
Today, Aldergrove welcomes 10 teams from around the world.
The 2013 Peewee international Friendship Ice Hockey Tournament is officially here. After 16 months of preparation and planning, teams from Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada have arrived.
The International tournament will run until the 24th of March and will feature teams made up of boys and girls aged 12-14 years old. The tournament’s history is a long one with it getting a piece of its start right here in Aldergrove.
In 1986 Aldergrove Minor Hockey hosted an Atom B Invitational Tournament. One of the teams that participated was the Hachinohe White Bear from Hachinohe, Japan. Mr. Kaneiri was there.
In 1989 the citizens of the Japanese city of Hachinohe on the island of Honshu, celebrated their city’s 60th Anniversary. A local business leader by the name of Mr. Tadakiyko Kaneiri and his brother Kiyotaka had a dream to mark the occasion by hosting an International Peewee Ice Hockey Tournament for 12 and 13 year old children. They believed that bringing youth together from all over the world in an atmosphere where the emphasis was placed on fair play, sportsmanship, mutual respect and cultural exchange would develop greater tolerance and understanding and forge lifelong friendships.
Their dream became a reality when the first Friendship Hockey Tournament was hosted in 1989 in Hachinohe. All of the players participating in the tournament were assigned home stay or host families for the duration of their stay in Japan. The tradition of the host families has continued in each tournament.
The Friendship Tournament is not a business or profit driven event but rather a vehicle for young ice hockey players, both boys and girls, from different countries to play against each other in the spirit of friendship and fair play while experiencing the culture of the host country. Mutual respect and understanding are two of the principal aspects of this tournament that participants learn which in turn serves them well for the rest of their lives, both on and off the ice.
At the conclusion of the first tournament, St. Paul, Minnesota offered to host the second tournament in 1991 and thus the biennial Friendship Tournament was born. When the next venue is decided upon, the tournament flag (which will be hanging proudly in the Aldergrove Arena starting this Saturday) is passed to the next host country. Since the tournament’s inception it has be held in Cranbrook, BC - Christchurch, New Zealand - Aldergrove, B.C. – Canberra, Australia – Tomakomai, Japan – Hachinohe, Japan - Johnson/Como USA and most recently in Hudson, Wisconsin, USA. Aldergrove has attended every tournament and represented Canada with great pride.
The tournament prides itself on the fact that there are no losers. All participants “win” by being part of the tournament. Teams participating are not national “rep” teams but rather teams consisting of players who may not normally be selected to play against international teams or visit and compete in an international event. The players are ones who play ice hockey for the local community or town, not just to win but for the enjoyment of participating and doing what kids do best…have fun and create friendships.
Please help us welcome the world over the next 12 days here in Aldergrove. Let’s show our guests good hospitality, good sportsmanship and most of all good Friendship.
Opening Ceremonies for the tournament take place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Aldergrove Arena with all games wrapping up on Sunday, March 24.
For more details check out: www.peeweefriendshiphockey.com