Players of all ages take the ice during Lake Cowichan’s minor hockey jamboree. (Gazette file)

Lake Cowichan hockey jamboree ready to take the ice

All six age groups will play games at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena over the course of the day

For the 46th year in a row, Lake Cowichan’s minor hockey teams will take the ice together for the annual jamboree this Saturday.

All six age groups will play games at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena over the course of the day, although the highlight, as always, is certain to be the skills competition, where players from all age levels will be divided into two teams that compete to see who has the right stuff.

“It’s a yearly thing,” Lake Cowichan Minor Hockey president Todd Vaughn related. “We try to almost copy the NHL doing their [all-star] skills event. It’s the one day a year we guarantee every team in the association is playing at home.”

The novice players take the ice at 9:30 a.m., followed by the initiation game at 11 a.m. The skills competition goes at noon, with the atoms (1:30 p.m.), peewees (3 p.m.) bantams (4:30 p.m.) and midgets (6 p.m.) rounding out the day.

“The skills competition highlights the skills the kids learn as they move along,” Vaughn explained. “It’s something they start learning about right from day one.”

The oldest players serve as mentors to the younger ones during the skills competition, and players learn to embrace that role as they age up through minor hockey. Players of all ages get excited for the Jamboree, as do parents and coaches.

“You look forward to seeing how the kids have gone from being just barely able to stand up on skates to being really good skaters,” Vaughn said.

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