Marci Cook Memorial tourney overcomes hurdles
Ethan Zelem of the Simcoe Pita Pit novice Warriors celebrates a goal in the opener of the 34th annual Marci Cook Memorial Simcoe Arms Tournament at the Simcoe Rec Centre Thursday. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
The 34th annual Marci Cook Memorial Simcoe Arms Tournament went off without a hitch, despite some hefty challenges placed in its way.
The yearly March Break, four-day local league event brought over 40 teams to Norfolk County, though things were a little different this year. Recent restrictions placed on the seating area of Talbot Gardens – the tourney's main site in past years – meant the bulk of games were played at the Delhi Arena with the secondary site remaining the Simcoe Rec Centre.
“It was a little bit trying with the extra venue being in Delhi and not just five minutes up the road, but we had a lot of volunteers. (Convener) Bob (Kowalsky) and his group did a really, really good job,” said Simcoe Minor Hockey president Adam Walker, adding Norfolk County helped offset some of the extra mileage cost for referees.
In the end, two Simcoe teams, the Malo Molars atoms, and Simcoe Arms peewees qualified for their respective finals but were downed by squads from Cambridge and Brantford respectively, both by a score of 4-2.
Other championship outfits represented Coldwater (novice), Tavistock (bantam) and West Lorne (midget).
Teams coming from outside of Norfolk sympathized with SDMHA regarding the unexpected change in venue and didn't mind driving a few extra minutes, Walker said.
“Everybody understands what we're up against and feel bad for what we have to go through,” he added.
“I talked to a lot of the coaches, a lot of the teams, they would like to see this played out of one complex in the near future, as we all would. They said if this was a one or two year fix they really enjoy coming to these tournaments – for a couple years they would continue to do this. If they have to continue to play so many games out of the Rec Centre they won't continue to (come) but hopefully, in the meantime, we can make it work.”
Cook, who died of breast cancer in 2014, was known as a tireless volunteer when it came to minor hockey. Many of Cook's peers return to the rink each year to pitch in.
“This is one of the very few tournaments throughout the year we're not begging for volunteers right up to the day before the tournament,” Walker said.
“Unfortunately, a lot of times it falls on our executive members – they're the ones that are stuck doing those convening shifts. This weekend it was all covered by a lot of her friends that want to carry on her legacy. That's a really, really good thing and it's nice they want to do that for her.”
A full list of results is available at simcoeminorhockey.com.