Sports

Semiahmoo Bandits repeat as Jim Veitch Memorial champs

Andy Bodner celebrates his team
Andy Bodner celebrates his team's victory with his mom, Tamara Veitch.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The Jim Veitch Memorial trophy is staying in the family for another year.

A year ago, nine-year-old hockey player Andy Bodner became the first person in his family to win a 30-year-old trophy named for his grandfather when he and his Semiahmoo Bandit teammates won the Jim Vietch Memorial Tournament in Mission.

Two weekends ago – fittingly, over the Family Day weekend – Bodner, one of 17 grandchildren in the Veitch clan, and his teammates did it again, successfully defended the trophy by going undefeated in six games – a run that culminated with a 6-1 win over Langley in the championship game.

"I can't imagine a more wonderful way to spend Family Day," Bodner's mother, Tamara Veitch, told Peace Arch News. "My three sons never had the privilege of meeting their grandpa but they sure get to feel him through this amazing memorial tournament."

The tournament has been a mainstay on the Mission Minor Hockey Association calendar for decades, and honours Veitch, a longtime coach, executive and volunteer in minor hockey who was also instrumental in bringing the junior 'B' Mission City Outlaws into existence.

Vietch passed away at 43 years old from a heart attack when Tamara was just 16.

"He died so young, and it was a big blow to our family, and it was also a big loss for our little community, because he was so well-known, so visible," she told PAN last year.

In addition to defeating Langley in the final, Semiahmoo also defeated teams from Kamloops, Chilliwack, Mission, Surrey and Richmond.

Like last year when Bodner, an Ocean Cliff Elementary student, and the Bandits won the trophy for the first time, a host of family members – including Bodner's grandmother, Shirley – were again on hand to watch this year, Tamara said.

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