SaskFirst Bantam Tournament Kicks Off Easter Weekend
The Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA), in partnership with the Western Hockey League (WHL), will host the Bantam SaskFirst Tournament this weekend at the Cooperators Centre in Regina.
A total of 160 of the top Bantam players were selected to take part, and will face-off against their peers from across the province in the three-day tournament with games set to begin Friday afternoon.
The players attended two Regional Camps in early December and the top 8 goalies, 24 defenceman, and 48 forwards were selected from each regional camp to take part in the SaskFirst Preparation Tournament which took place over the Christmas holidays. The players in attendance at that tournament were evaluated to provide them feedback for the second half of the season. The same players will now attend this Spring SaskFirst Tournament where they will once again compete against each other and undergo another evaluation.
The SHA is the only provincial branch to host two tournaments for bantam aged players. The addition of the Preparation Tournament also allows the players an additional opportunity to get seen by scouts from a variety of leagues, including the Western Hockey League (WHL) who will have representatives from all 22 teams in the league in attendance and will be scouting players for their Bantam Draft in May.
The SaskFirst Program was introduced by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) in 1988 and since that time the program has brought great pride and accomplishment within our province. The SaskFirst Program was designed to provide a better understanding of the game as well as to promote the development of quality players, coaches, trainers and officials. The participants are enriched as individuals and can achieve self-satisfaction and enjoyment as part of the hockey community. The SaskFirst Program promotes a team concept which encompasses the pursuit of common goals. It is emphasized that everyone on the team must pursue their personal goals within the team environment and that no one individual is more important than the team. Team success comes from all team members melding their talents, skills and energies toward the achievement of the team's goals.
The SaskFirst Program is a gateway to Hockey Canada’s High Performance Program which includes their National Teams such as the World Juniors. There is a long list of notable players who have gone through the Bantam SaskFirst Program which includes NHL players Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks), Brayden Schenn (Philadelpia Flyers) and Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh Penguins) just to name a few.