U17 Victoria Vipers ball hockey players practice at Archie Browning on Monday night ahead of the Western Challenge Cup in Greater Victoria this week, starting July 12. Submitted

Western Challenge Cup brings 40 ball hockey teams to region

Esquimalt, Langford and North Saanich rinks to host tourney

Victoria is hosting hundreds of Western Canada’s top male ball hockey youths this week for the Western Challenge Cup.

The 45-team tournament has five divisions, U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19, with up to 15 players per team. The Western Challenge Cup is hosted by the Greater Victoria Minor Ball Hockey Association, which is entering one team into each division, all as Victoria Vipers.

“For us to get this tournament is a testament to how quickly ball hockey has grown in Victoria,” said Nan Aulakh, a director with the GVMBA and one of the many volunteers putting together the WCC. “The growth is a bit scary at times. We were a small collection of parents and kids organizing a small number of games. Now we have more than 500 athletes.”

(Video shows Victoria Vipers practice ahead of Thursday’s WCC.)

The tournament starts on Thursday after many months worth of work, with about 90 games in total happening at CFB Esquimalt’s Wurtele, Esquimalt’s Archie Browning, North Saanich’s Panorama and Langford’s Eagle Ridge rinks.

Teams are coming in from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That includes 10 teams from the Edmonton and Sherwood Park area, and many from the Lower Mainland. Each is a regional elite team, with clubs pooling the best available talent for each age group.

“When you see the U15 Sherwood Park BallHogz and Alberta Extreme, you’re seeing the best players in that group, among the best in Alberta,” Aulakh said.

Last year the GVMBA sent more teams to the WCC in Sherwood Park than any other association, which Aulakh believes led to them winning the right to host it this year.

“We were told they appreciated our commitment and our dedicated group of volunteers,” Aulakh said.

The challenge in putting together the WCC went far beyond finding the arenas to host the requisite number of games, Aulakh added.

“t’s finding sponsors to cover the costs, it’s finding referees, because we do have wonderful referees in Victoria but not enough, and it’s finding volunteers for so many things.”

Don’t under estimate the economic impact as entire sections of hotels have been blocked off for teams travelling in.

GVMBA has five U15 boys who will also play for Team BC in Fredericton, N.B., for nationals at the end of July, plus two more on the U17 team and one on the U19 team.

From the sidelines

The skate-free version of hockey is similar due to the rink. It’s five-on-five with shift changes. However, offsides work differently in ball hockey. Once the puck carrier crosses the blue line into the opponent’s zone, the offensive zone expands back to the centre line. Rules are also designed to be safer, with no body contact permitted at any age and automatic high-sticking calls over the shoulders.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

More opioid harm reduction resources needed for B.C. youth

Front-line workers advocate for a youth-targeted supervised consumption site in Greater Victoria

Help Polar Express and pancakes fight child hunger

Rotary of Victoria and Breakfast2Music look for event sponsors

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car in Victoria

Prior to fecal incident, witnesses said cyclist was verbally abusive to driver

Colwood’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Search for supportive housing in Saanich remains ‘fluid’

BC Housing looks forward to meeting new council

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Mistrial declared in Dennis Oland’s retrial in father’s murder

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Most Read