Forty-three hockey teams from across Ontario are in Greater Sudbury for the annual Silver Stick hockey tournament, which starts today.
The tournament, which is for children and teens between the ages of 10 and 15, is scaled down from previous years.
Peter Michelutti, the northern Ontario director of Silver Stick Tournaments, said Greater Sudbury usually hosts about 80 teams each year. The tournament was cancelled in 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michelutti said many of the tournament’s volunteers are over the age of 60, and a large number have opted not to participate this year.
“We lost almost 70 per cent of our volunteers,” he said.
Michelutti said this year’s tournament almost didn’t happen, but they decided to go ahead with the smaller numbers and extra COVID-19 safety measures.
“The kids want to play hockey,” he said.
“We’ve had about probably almost every team call me in the last four days. And what’s going to happen to the tournament?
“I guess they want to get life going again. And they want to get away from hiding under a rock.”
As an added precaution Michelutti said the public won’t be able to attend this year’s tournament. Only parents, players and coaching staff will be allowed in the stands.
Teams also won’t be shaking hands before or after games, and coaches will need to be masked behind the bench.
But Michelutti said he believes the tournament will “go off without a hitch this year.”
Morning North6:26The Silver Stick Hockey Tournament is going ahead but in a scaled down version