The first JLMC U9 event of the NHL All Star Series for 2017 took place at the Lammas Ice Rink in Sutton-in-Ashfield on Saturday which saw the “Rangers” win the Stanley Cup!
With more than sixty under nine year old players taking part in the five and a half hour Jamboree, the Stage 1 Development initiative was another huge success for the Junior League Management Committee as players traveled from Bradford, Coventry, Harringey, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Sheffield, Solihull, Swindon, Trafford and home club Sutton to take part in the “sold-out” event.
The tournament format was split between round-robin lrague games and then knock-out style play-off’s with semi-final and final games. The competition provided twenty games over the five hours of ice time with all of the kids playing in four games or more. Using the one minute fifteen second buzzer system each team consisted of two lines so the games were high tempo, all-action extremely competitive encounters between all seven NHL All-Star teams.
With team selection a hot topic at player registration, the “NHL Draft” was reasonably successful and the rosters for the Bruins, Flames, Kings, Leafs, Oilers, Rangers and Sharks were all well matched. A couple of mid-tournament trades between Leafs and Sharks and Rangers, and Flames and Rangers provided a more even distribution of skill base which was all designed to provide the very best level of competition.
After four hours of play the league standings were:
1. Leafs, 11 pts
2. Rangers, 10 pts
3. Kings, 9 pts
4. Flames, 8 pts
5. Bruins, 7 pts
6. Oilers, 5 pts
7. Sharks, 5 pts
The placing game between Sharks and Oilers resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Sharks who went in to the play-off’s.
After an ice surface interval the play-off’s got underway and even though there were some tired legs, the effort and determination to reach the final was fantastic to see from all of the players.
The first game saw Flames overcome the Bruins 2-0 securing the first semi-final slot against unbeaten competition leaders the Leafs.
Game two was between Kings and Sharks which turned-out to be a real nail biting encounter. With the teams tied level at 2-2 after regulation time, the game went to penalty shots. It took the thirtieth penalty to settle the tie in favour of the Sharks who went through to their semi-final 3-2.
The first semi-final between Leafs and Flames was another really tight game which was settled by the odd goal and the Leafs unbeaten run was brought to an end as the Flames won 3-2.
Having completed the mammoth penalty shoot-out the Sharks then faced Rangers in another thrilling semi-final. The Sharks come-back to a fairy tale ending was not to be as the Rangers secured their place in the final 2-1.
The final got underway between the Flames and the Rangers and both teams were playing their hearts out. It was a very tense end-to-end game with both goalies making some huge saves and keeping the game even. With a little over two minutes to play and the game tied at one goal each, it was the Rangers who managed to put themselves ahead and with the seconds counting down the Flames rallied hard but the Rangers stood firm to win the Stanley Cup. Final score Flames 1, Rangers 2.
After the final game event organiser Gary Apsley said: “These U9 events are hugely important for the development of our youngest players and today we have seen just what can be achieved when parents give up their time to support their kids.
“It has been a long afternoon and the kids are shattered but for the odd tear of disappointment everyone has played a full part in the event and I am sure lots of new skills have been learned and new friends made.”
JLMC Chair, Jaqueline Pye, was delighted with the outcome for the event and said: “I am so pleased. Once again our NHL style event has been a great success and I am grateful to Alison Frost and her team at Sutton Sting for hosting the event and supporting our Stage 1 development plans.
“I am also grateful to the Coaches and Managers from all the visiting teams who have worked tirelessly throughout the day and for no reward other than the satisfaction of knowing they contributed a huge part to the success of the Tournament.”
The JLMC has plans to host more of the NHL style events for Under 9’s as well as rolling-out some new initiatives for Under 11’s and Under 13’s. More details via the usual media outlets over the coming days and weeks.
In the meantime the second event in the NHL Tournament Series will take place on Saturday 11th March at Sutton.