July 16th, 2024

U13AA Hurricanes capture Thanksgiving Classic tournament

By Lethbridge Herald on October 10, 2023.

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Lethbridge U13AA Hurricanes were crowned the 2023 ÔAÕ Division champions at the Thanksgiving Classic in Calgary.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes U13AA team had plenty to be thankful for after the weekend after winning their division at the third annual  U13AA Thanksgiving Classic in Calgary.

The 32-team tournament ran from Friday to Monday and had elite teams from all over western Canada and the Hurricanes went a perfect 6-0 to win Co-ed ‘A’ Division.

“Well I think the success of this little group comes from that they’re really good hockey players from Lethbridge,” said head coach Charlie Mattersdorfer

“But they’re all really good buddies. They’re like (a) tight-knit group, family like, and they all care about each other. It doesn’t matter who scores a goal, they’re happy for one another. So I think being in a tournament that big of that calibre, I think that had a big part to play. They want what’s best for each other, not for themselves.”

Mattersdorfer says it’s just the relentless pressure and the pursuit of the puck, when asked about the team’s strength.

“It doesn’t matter what area of the ice we’re in  — neutral zone …  offensive zone, defensive zone — they’re just relentless. They take  all (the)  time and space in all areas of the ice and yeah they just played as  a group,” said Mattersdorfer.

“They didn’t stray away from being individuals and they stuck together as a team, and I think   at the end of the day that’s what kind of got us to the end championship.”

Mattersdorfer said the experience was great.

“Like just coaching kids at this age and they’re all like sponges and they want to learn,” he said.

“They want to compete and when you get a group of 17 young athletes that are like minded and they want to come to the rink every day and they forget everything else but having fun playing hockey, it was awesome. So the whole experience was great and then obviously kids love winning and so there’s nothing better than that, when we go to a tournament of that side  and that calibre and come away with a victory.  So yeah, it’s just a great experience overall.”

The Hurricanes opened up with a 7-4 win on Friday over Edmonton SSAC, followed by a convincing 19-0 win over Sturgeon Sting and a 9-2 victory over the Calgary Buffalo Wranglers on Saturday to wrap up round robin play.

In the quarterfinals on Sunday, Lethbridge beat West Central Wheat Kings 8-1 before knocking off the Red Deer Wesco Chiefs 4-3 in a semi-final.

The Canes then drew the Humboldt Broncos in Monday’s final where they won 5-3.

Jake Gerstenbuhler earned a first team all-star award while Easton Mattersdorfer got a second team all-star nod.



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