Haliburton hockey players Graeme Armstrong and Addison St. Cyr helped to push their Central Ontario Wolves U13 Peewee AAA team to a semi-final finish at the 61st edition of the renowned Quebec International Peewee Hockey Tournament last month.
The Wolves arrived in Quebec City on Tuesday Feb. 11 to participate in the tournament.
After settling in at their base camp in Stoneham Quebec the Wolves hit the ice on Wednesday Feb. 12 for an exhibition game against the Cyclones a local team from Quebec City. Showing no signs of road rust the Wolves won 7-0. The next day the kids kicked off official tournament play with a game against the Montreal-based Lac-St-Louis Grenadiers in the 18000 seat Videotron Center. The Grenadiers rallied to tie the game up late in the third and won it in overtime 2-1. A tough way to start but things would get better eventually.
On Friday Feb.14 the team took to the ice for their second exhibition contest versus the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Unfortunately for the Wolves their American neighbours showed them no love on this Valentine’s Day prevailing 4-0. The kids took advantage of the off-day on Saturday to regroup and prepare for a return to tournament play on Sunday. Their next opponent would be the Slovakia Stars who had journeyed more than 4000 miles to participate in the tournament. The Wolves were excited to play against their first European team and were in good form this Sunday evening earning a 3-1 victory and a spot in the sweet sixteen.
With their next tourney game a full four days away the team spent their week mingling and trading pins with players from all over the world including Japan and Australia. In between the pin haggling the Quebec Winter Carnival visits the skiing the tubing and a special backstage tour of the “Hometown Hockey” trailer and meeting Ron MacLean the Wolves managed to stay sharp and win three exhibition games: 2-0 versus the Adirondack Jr. Stars (New York State) 5-0 against the Zurich Lions (Switzerland) and 4-1 versus Detroit Compuware.
Finally on Friday Feb. 21 the Wolves faced their stiffest test yet when they faced off against the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins. After a hard-fought battle the Bruins scored with two minutes left in the third period to take a 2-1 lead and put the Wolves tournament hopes on life support. Not ones to be easily discouraged the Wolves rallied to tie the game with thirty seconds to play and then won it 3-2 in 3-on-3 overtime to vanquish the Bruins and join the Elite Eight.
The next game for the U13 Peewee Central Ontario Wolves was Saturday Feb. 22. The Wolves earned the semi-final berth as the only surviving Canadian team with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. However the Wolves bowed out later that night with a 5-0 loss to the high-flying Czech Knights who won the tournament the following day.
Submitted by Judi Brocklehurst