SaskFirst Bantam Top 80 Set for Saskatoon
February 15, 2019 - The Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA), in partnership with the Western Hockey League (WHL), is set to host the SaskFirst Male Bantam Top 80 Tournament, February 15 to 17, at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon.
Following the Top 160 tournament that took place in December, the Top 80 players, born in 2004, were selected to take part in this three-day tournament. Participants have been divided into four (4) teams for the weekend. The event will begin with team practices to start the day. Following practice the teams will take part in a presentation from the Western Hockey League. The competition begins in the afternoon on Friday and the schedule is a round-robin format with games carrying on through the weekend.
The Bantam Male selection process began in late November with Regional Camps held in the North and South portions of the province. From there, the top 8 goalies, 24 defencemen, and 48 forwards were selected from each regional camp to take part in the Top 160 Tournament.
The SaskFirst Bantam Program is open annually to all second year male Bantam (U15) players in the province. The program is intended to provide players opportunities 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 attendance and will be scouting players for their Bantam Draft in May 2019.
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 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, Brayden Schenn, and Derrick Pouliot, just to name a few. Up and coming players such as Ethan Bear, Kole Lind and Cale Fleury also went through the SaskFirst Program.