For Gregory Gibson, president of the Wayzata Youth Hockey Association, the most exciting part of the impending Wayzata Youth Hockey Tournaments is the anticipated intensity of the games. He still recounts with relish how, during the tournament in Washington, D.C., two years ago, the team won a game by one goal during the overtime session. “Out of the 16 games we played, only one game was won handily.” He is expecting similar fierce and heated competitions this year.
The sheer number of teams taking part is sufficient to conjure up excitement. “Out of the 40 teams, 38 are from outside of Minnesota,” Gibson says. He is particularly thrilled about the prospect of presenting Plymouth to the out-of-town teams. “We will have a wonderful time hosting all these children, parents and grandparents in this five-day event,” hosted at the Plymouth Ice Center.
For people interested in joining the sport, Gibson recommends they go to the website and register. There are also scholarships for families in need. “Hockey is a fun game where anyone can learn to participate. You can play from young to old. People come in all sizes and shapes. And we have programs for all levels, ” says Gibson on the inclusiveness of the sport.
Gibson also thinks playing hockey matters because it provides a rare platform for kids to directly engage with other kids in today’s society, through which they can learn about collaboration, acceptance of victory and failure, among other life lessons. What does he enjoy the most about watching the kids play? “The smiles on their faces,” he says without hesitation.
Freeze: January 5-7
Junior Gold Invitational: January 12-14
Junior Gold Classic: January 25-28