The Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs will be the focus of Alberta senior hockey in March 2018.
Bonnyville has been selected as the host of the 2018 Sr. AA Provincial Tournament. The four-day event will take place in late March. Bonnyville will host the six best Sr. AA teams in Alberta, including the Pontiacs. If the Pontiacs win their league then the team who comes in second will also take part in this tournament.
“We’re happy to be hosting it,” said Floyd Isley, General Manager for the Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs.
This tournament will run in the same season as the 65th anniversary of the Sr. Pontiacs organization
“This is the dessert for the anniversary season,” said Dennis Germain, president of the Sr. Pontiacs.
Provincials will be just one of the events the organization will be having in honour of the anniversary.
This isn’t the first time that Bonnyville has applied to be the host of this tournament.
“Usually every year at the end of November you put in an application to host the provincial tournament that year,” said Isley. “We had applied for it a couple years ago and at that time didn’t get it. This time we did.”
Hockey Alberta has changed the application format. Now they want to have the host of the tournament known two years in advance. Bonnyville applied and was selected for next year. Wainwright was chosen to host the 2017 tournament.
This season the team has had a bit of a tough time filling roster spots. The players who play in senior hockey have jobs and families that they have to take care of, which can make commitment to a team of this level hard. This tournament will help with filling roster spots next season.
“It’s good for recruiting players. It makes it a lot easier when you’re hosting provincials. A lot of the players want to come play for a team that they know is going to be in provincials,” said Isley.
Just like with the World Junior A Challenge, the provincial tournament will bring in money to the Town of Bonnyville. Although a few days shorter, it’s the same idea.
“I think financially it’ll bring in a little bit more money,” said Isley. “You bring in six teams, you’re filling hotel rooms and buying meals and all that kind of stuff. So the town will definitely financially benefit from it too.”
The tournament will bring the best of the best in Alberta senior hockey to Bonnyville. This will show fans in the area some of the other team who play at this level.
“It’ll be a really nice showcase tournament to show people a number of teams from outside our league in senior hockey. It should be a lot of fun,” said Germain. “It’s a big event and we hope to be playing when the gold medals are handed out.”
The Sr. Pontiacs will be looking for volunteers for this tournament, along with other events they will hosting throughout their 65th anniversary season.