Quinn Classic draws packed house of teams

Thirteen-year-old highly touted prospect Connor Bedard among the many stars of the future to hit the ice in the 56th annual Burnaby hockey tournament

It’s a full house competing for the prize at the Pat Quinn Classic Hockey Tournament.

The Burnaby minor hockey tourney hits the ice Friday, Dec. 28, featuring 47 teams contending over four divisions at four local arenas and one in Coquitlam.

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The 56-year-old tourney, formerly known as the Burnaby International Bantam before taking on the Pat Quinn Classic banner in 2015, features elite and AAA bantam and peewee divisions, plus the debut of a girls peewee division.

The Burnaby Winter Club will be looking to repeat as champions in both the boys bantam elite and peewee elite divisions. A Seattle team, the Juniors, will be vying to bring the bantam AAA crown back to the Emerald City after the Seattle Admirals won it last year.

In the boys bantam elite group, 12 teams will battle for bragging rights, including academy programs from the Burnaby Winter Club, West Van, Okanagan, Shawnigan Lake, Victoria (Pacific Coast) and New Hampshire-based Seacoast Performance. Teams from Langley, Rocky Mountain, North Vancouver, Salmon Arm-Vernon, San Jose and Alaska round out the other elite teams. The West Van Academy prep team includes highly-touted prospect Connor Bedard, a 13-year-old forward whom the Hockey News wrote about last month, using comparisons to Sydney Crosby and Connor McDavid to describe the teen's accomplishments to date.

Sixteen teams are in the bantam AAA mix, beginning with the host Burnaby Minor, a BWC varsity team, as well as Canadian programs from Kelowna, the Victoria Racquet Club, West Van Academy, North Shore Winter Club, Richmond, Port Moody and Nanaimo. Two teams from the Arizona Bobcats program, the under-13 and u14s, have made the trek, as did squad from Everett, Seattle, Los Angeles (California Golden Bears), northern California and San Diego.

The BWC will be looking to defend its peewee elite title, facing off against Alaska, Kelowna, Juan de Fuca, Langley, North Shore Winter Club, Richmond, Semiamhoo, Prince George and the Victoria Racquet Club.

The female peewee division, which will play most of its games at Coquitlam Planet Ice, features nine teams from the Lower Mainland – Abbotsford, Burnaby, Langley, Ridge Meadows, Tri-City and Vancouver, plus squads from Seattle, Prince George and Victoria.

Other facilities utilized for the tournament are the Kensington Park Arena, Burnaby Winter Club, Burnaby Lake Arena and Burnaby 8-Rinks.

The finals are scheduled for Dec. 31 at Bill Copeland Arena.

Admission is free for spectators. For full schedule and other information, visit www.patquinnclassic.com.

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