It was a memorable weekend for players on the U9 Ice Sharks and U12 Vikings hockey teams as they took part in the Quest For the Cup tournament at the Nottawasaga resort Centre Ice Sportsplex north of Barrie.
The summer hockey teams only practiced together six times before embarking on the event organized by the North Bay Hockey Program.
"The kids' friendships and their team spirit grew," said Brian Belfitt, event organizer.
"The Sharks and Vikings connected and bonded immediately. North Bay is truly blessed to have some of the greatest hockey influences such as Dan Selin, Tim White, and more. We had the privilege during our 6 practices to train with Ontario's #1 female hockey player Maria Dominico. Maria brought a lot of fun and skill to our sessions and helped create the great dynamic our team had."
The U9 Ice Sharks left the tournament without a win. Belfitt says, for many of his 2015 birth year players, this was their first chance to play in a real hockey game.
"With every game, they continued to grow and become stronger as a team and as friends," noted Belfitt.
"They had the biggest of smiles and truly were living their best life. Overall it was a great experience for these young players, the first game for many of the kids including my own son, Ethan Belfitt. I'm so proud of these little 2015 kids. I'm not sure who learned more about the game of hockey, the players or myself.
"I'm truly blessed to have had this amazing experience. The U9 Ice Sharks will forever have a place in my heart."
Meantime, the U12 Vikings worked hard in their first two games of the round robin with scores of 6-1 and 9-1, while losing a hard-fought third contest 4-2.
The semi-finals were also exciting as the Vikings pulled out a 3-2 overtime win.
"What a game from both teams and what a performance by these young men," said Belfitt.
In the finals, the Vikings lost 3-0 to the NewTec Blues; the only team that beat them in the round-robin portion of the tournament.
"Regardless the outcome, the U12 Vikings celebrated as they had accomplished such an amazing victory obtaining a silver medal in the first-ever Quest for the Cup," said Belfitt.
Belfitt says the North Bay Hockey Program looks forward to visiting again in 2023 when both teams will be looking for gold.
Team members include:
North Bay U9 Sharks: Ethan Belfitt, Lockett Arnett, Nathan Barber, Benjamin Vietmeier, Connor Gibbons, Cailum Badowski, Lance Landry, Jamie Larochelle, Griffin Golden, Ainsley Worrell, Owen Barber, and goalie Joshua Ferland. Coaches: Frank Gibbons, Marc Ferland, Brandon Larochelle and Roark Arnett.
North Bay U12 Vikings: Benjamin Belfitt, Emmerson Turner, Kingsley Hutchison, Tristan Morin, Elliot Farnsworth, John Langlois, Dawson Zylstra, Liam Dayton, Liam Blake, Frederick Kmith, London Dayton, Jaiden Trinidad, Easton Assinewai, Kurt Bardos, and goalie Dylan Simmonds. Coaches: Brian Belfitt, Brent Assiniwei, Steve Dayton, Corey Farnsworth, and Travis Kmith.