“It went much better then previously. A lot of the participants they heard of everything that went on where we had originally been declined,” said Kyle Sargeant, the main organizer of the 4-4 Hockey Tournament which concluded this past Sunday at the Taber Arena. “They respected the new rules and the facilities and they respected the fact it took a lot of work it get it going,
“The beer gardens made a lot more money this year. There wasn’t any liquor in the stands or on the bench. A big reason was the weather which helped a lot. It wasn’t as nice out. Plus, we had the police make a couple more rounds and their presence helped. They were there a couple of times Friday night which was the big night they needed to be there to let every know it was going to be different this year. I think it went 500 times better.”
Sargeant was grateful that extra volunteers came on board to help run the tournament.
A lack of help was viewed by many as one of the problems last year. Some felt the 4-on-4 Tournament got out of control with alcohol use in unlicensed areas.
“We had a lot more people step forward and help out,” said Sargeant.
“We had a lot more people come forward for time keeping, 50/50, running security for the doors, it was awesome. Most of the teams policed themselves.”
“It made a difference in the dressing rooms by cleaning up after themselves and keeping their rooms tidy. We looked after the garbage and the recycling for the employees. We tried to respect the facilities a lot more.”
As far as the product on the ice went, a new champion was crowned in the 16-team field as a Lakers roster made primarily of Enchant and Lomond skaters emerged victorious, and which saw some changes in the upper echelon of teams.
“It was two teams that had never seen the final before so that was nice to see some new teams in there. There were a couple upsets. We had a ton of University Lethbridge Pronghorns players, including the women’s team, which was a first,” said Sargeant.
“They didn’t get blown out and they surprised a lot of teams. They had a 3-2, 4-2, 5-2 and a 6-2 game so they were right in it.”
The tournament was on the verge of becoming a 20-team field with rosters enough for 19 teams, but then one team dropped out.
“Two other teams just ended up hopping on other squads,” said Sargeant.