In the next edition of the international pee-wee hockey tournament in Quebec in February 2023, there will be for the first time an all-female division that will bring together 12 teams from Quebec and anywhere in the world.
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The news was announced by the contest’s general manager, Patrick Dom, during the evaluation of the 62nd edition that had just ended.
To make room for this new category, class A will be discarded. Dom also suggested that the organization is asking whether or not to retain the school class, which was introduced in 2018.
“I think it’s going to be a success,” the general manager said of women’s hockey in the tournament.
“We got there. We need to stop celebrating women only once every four years when they win an Olympic gold medal. We do this every year. Contests are always a springboard for different things. There, we will be the springboard for women’s hockey. We showed it to the Cree team, it was a reward to be here. Women also have the right to their candy, ”she continued.
According to Patrick Dom, in addition to the Quebec teams, women’s teams from the rest of Canada, the United States, France and Switzerland have already been confirmed for next February.
“External demand is already there. Currently, the demand for a 24-team division is easy. We’ll start at 12, but we’ll see over time what it will do, ”Dom suggested.
Level of competition
In international competitions, Canadians and Americans are more often at the top. The organization of the pee-wee tournament is not afraid of big differences with teams from other countries.
“We definitely can’t make a division into AAA, AA, BB first. For the first year, we will make them all play together and we will see this project evolve. Of course, we’re not going to talk about star teams from Quebec, ”Dom explained, noting that Caroline Ouellette’s women’s team of star players will continue to work against the men.
“It’s something we want to maintain because it’s important. It’s possible that the girls will play for two teams: theirs and the Carolina team”, he defined.
The future of the school
As for the reflection on the presence of school hockey in the tournament, the plans were not thwarted. The organization raised the idea of maintaining the division, but in the Pavillon de la
Youth with a final at the Videotron Center. The idea of everyone falling is also on the table.
“The tournament always has an international flavor. The school division has been in place for many years with always the same two teams from outside. It’s good for hockey, it’s a good division and the caliber is very good, but unfortunately, for an international tournament, that’s not what we’re looking for.
“Whether from the United States or Europe, we want to attract other teams, but there aren’t many school models like ours that are reproduced elsewhere, where young people are just playing for their school,” he said. by Dom.
Satisfactory balance despite losses
The results of the pee-wee tournament will be written in red ink, but this is clearly not a surprise for the organization, which says it is extremely pleased with the simple fact that the event took place under special conditions.
Although the taste was not the same as the usual contest in February, the incredible operation was successfully carried out. There are no major pitfalls and only four cases of COVID-19 are listed, none of which are among the players.
“We knew that by forcing the move in May, we were playing with the DNA of the tournament. Except that the priority was always young people could be on the ice. A volcano had to erupt in our face so we couldn’t show the contest, ”said event president Michel Plante.
Beside him, Patrick Dom also didn’t play the ostrich. With a total of 139,712 spectators in attendance, the tournament was far from the usual tally, but in the heat of May, nothing could be more predictable.
“We’re talking about 70,000 fewer viewers compared to 2020. It’s definitely painful. Governments helped us before the contest. We all know that May will be harder.
“Even I, if I didn’t just work, I would have been better off at home with beer around the pool. We love the tournament, but we understand that. In addition, we arrived with 28, 30 degrees. We have a difference of 60 degrees from one tournament to another, it’s not logical! ” said Dom.
However, the general manager assured for the future of the tournament, even though the numbers are not yet known.
“The accounting secretary will tell us that, but it’s definitely not good. We won’t hide it, the ticket office is an important source of income. Never mind, we did it and it’s a success, except financially. We’ll lose money, but nothing risk for the continuation of the contest.
Tribute to Guy Lafleur
In addition, the pee-wee tournament promised to pay tribute to Guy Lafleur accordingly, with a trophy in the name of the one who marked the tournament.
“We will really take the time to pay tribute to him for the man he was, with a trophy worthy for him,” Dom assured.