Mini Game Memory Will Last Forever

The arena was loud and full of faces.

Trying to pick out my parents was impossible from the comfort of my crease. I could see the entire rink stretching out in front of me. The stands were tall, and the depth of the ice was the equivalent of looking down a long strip of land, like a football field.

I was zoned in, focused to play my part for the team.

If you grew up playing hockey, you may remember taking part of a mini-game between periods of a junior, college, pro or NHL game or perhaps you watched your kid hit the ice at a similar event.

In my case, it was an Oshawa Generals game where my minor hockey team took on a rival squad for five minutes between periods.

This moment will stay engrained in my mind for the rest of my life.

I was around seven or eight years old when I got to experience playing in front of over 5,000 people at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. I have never felt so many eyes on me at once despite the fact many fans took this opportunity to get beverages or use the washroom.

I was goalie for this game, but I played all the positions on my house league team.

As our mini game began, I could hear the puck drop from what sounded like a kilometre away. The game was slow for the crowd, but fast for the players involved. 

As the puck was coming down the ice, I lost it in the view of the logos on the ice but quickly picked it up again on the opponent’s stick as he split the defence. 

It was a breakaway, only me between him and the goal line. For an eight-year-old boy, it felt like a do-or-die scenario. 

I was thinking it took a long time for the puck to come to our end as I briefly looked up at the clock tracking our little segment of this Ontario Hockey League game. 

The opponent was closing in, about 10 feet from the net. I figured it would be a simple wrist shot since it was house league and very few opponents went for dekes — at least that is what I thought from the previous experiences I had in net that year. 

I stayed square to the shooter while making sure I was taking as much of the net as I possibly could. Being a kid, it is hard to cover all of a regulation net.

He is seven feet away now. I know he is taking a shot at this point. I can see his eyes looking toward my glove hand, targeting the upper corner of the net.

It probably looked open to him as he pulled back the puck and took a shot.

What feels like a flash for me, must be an eternity for the crowd used to seeing young men fly up and down the ice. I can sense more people coming back to their seats to get ready for the third period of the Generals game as bodies are flooding down the nearby stairs in the stands. 

I see the puck rising and think it may be going over the net. I take no chances on missing this once in a lifetime opportunity in front of this many people. 

I flash the leather.

Then I glance at the glove.

It is buried in the mesh and seams.

My hockey highlight was over as fast as it started. 

The rest of the game saw our team on offence for majority of the time. No one scored on either team, there was no time for overtime. Like many kids, I may never play hockey in front of a crowd that large again.

Events like these may have inspired some to go on to professional hockey careers. For others — like me — it created a memory that will last a lifetime.

There are many programs run by higher level hockey programs that allow youth hockey players and teams to take part in these mini-games. As a parent, team manager or coach, reach out to your local team to see if there promotions like this available in your area.

It may just create a lifetime memory for your player.

Elite Level Hockey


The post Mini Game Memory Will Last Forever appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

Hockey Tournaments

Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 10-May 16

Every week, Elite Level Hockey will be previewing some of the best minor hockey tournaments in North America during the spring hockey and winter seasons. Tournaments are not ranked in any way and are selected to help promote boy’s and girl’s minor hockey at all levels and age groups.

Madison Girls CAN AM Hockey

The Madison Girls takes place in Middleton, Wisconsin from May 14-16, 2021. This tournament is home to defending champions Wisconsin Badger Women’s Hockey Team of 2019. Games will be played Friday through Sunday to determine the 2021 champions.

There will be a three-game guarantee, where four teams in each division will compete. Divisions include Tier 1 Elite teams and Tier 2 Travel teams. 12U, 14U, 16U, and 19U are part of both tiered tournaments. Games will consist of three 14-minute stop time periods. 

View more on the Madison Girls tournament

New Jersey Spring Classic

The New Jersey Spring Classic takes place in Randolph, New Jersey from May 14-16, 2021. 

The format of the tournament is a Round Robin with playoff games, with three games guaranteed. Divisions playing are AA U16 Midgets and A U18 Midgets. Games will be played through Friday evening to Sunday evening. 

There are five U16 teams playing: Devil Dogs, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Metro Moose, NJ Spitfires, Savages, and Wolverines. 

There are four U18 teams playing: Metro Moose, Mid-Atlantic Black Knights, NJ Spitfires, and Wolverines. 

These teams will compete in each division to see who takes the first, second, and third place rewards.

View game schedule and results

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet hockey tournament presented by Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL) will take place between May 14-16, 2021.

The annual tournament will feature teams from the Midget, Bantam, Pee Wee and Squirt divisions of the LCAHL, with 2003 to 2012 birth years. 

The registered teams are scattered all across Michigan, with a few coming from Ohio to compete in the tournament. Games will take place at select arenas with a few taking place at the BELFOR Training Facility (Official practice facility of the Detroit Red Wings). 

Teams are guaranteed four games with the possibility of tournament results being used in 2021 fall division placement.

View more information about the tournament.

Cowgirl Shootout

The Cowgirl Shootout will take place between May 13 – 16, 2021 in Nashville, TN. 

The all girl’s tournament is part of the Rose series, which is an offspring of the widely popular Brick series tournaments. 

The elite girl’s hockey event will feature teams from across North America in the 2008 and 2009 division.

 Teams will play on both rinks of the Ford Ice Center, Bellevue and Antioch, where the Nashville Predators often practice. 

View schedules and more tournament information.

More tournaments to watch out for this week (some tournaments may be cancelled due to the pandemic):

  • Preview Challenge Tournament
  • Madison Girls
  • TCS Iron City Cup
  • BLPA Bash Laurel
  • Battle on the Border
  • TCS Showdown in Coral Springs
  • OneHockey Boston May Parity Warmup
  • Hockey Fights Cancer
  • Windy City Spring Classic
  • Top Tier USA
  • Doritos Spring Challenge
  • DRAFTDAY Prospects 05 Spotlight
  • New Jersey Spring Classic
  • Chicago Quest for the Cup
  • Pittsburgh Spring Challenge
  • Rush Spring Showcase
  • The Right 7
  • Detroit Showdown AAA
  • Milwaukee Summer Ice Cup
  • Pikes Peak Spring Classic

The post Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 10-May 16 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Coincidental Minors: Episode 1

The post Coincidental Minors: Episode 1 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


How to Get Noticed By Hockey Scouts and Recruiters

As young players move through the ranks of minor hockey and edge closer to their draft year, the same thought sits for many: ‘Where do I go after this year?’ 

For some, this is a motivating force that drives them to train harder on and off the ice, while leaving others with some feelings of anxiety and uncertainty if they go unnoticed. So what exactly is the key to moving forward, and are there any avenues for greater exposure?

At the higher ranks when players are in junior hockey, showcase camps are prominent throughout the hockey season and in the summer, where certain organizations host weekends of player development and competitive games. At most of these, collegiate and OHL scouts are invited to come and watch the talent, with their goal of picking up a few stand-out players who make the most of their weekend performance. The majority of these come at a cost of $200-$500, and picking your spots for entering the right showcase is critical so money isn’t wasted.

Unfortunately in minor hockey, showcase camps like these are slim to none, but that doesn’t mean recruiting isn’t occurring. While players and parents may not see it, there is always someone in the stands from an organization looking for talent. OHL and junior teams have designated scouts they send to league games throughout the season and across the province, constantly seeking out players ahead of the spring draft and spring junior camps. Scouting is quite high near the beginning of the season, when fresh talent is emerging and players are excited and energized to kick off their first few games with success. Early bird tournaments and Christmas tournaments are big recruiting grounds as well, since scouts have the ability to watch multiple teams play across the span of one weekend. 

The minor midget year is a big season for all players as they look forward to their opportunity to be drafted in the following spring. At this age group in AAA only, one of the few showcases and arguably the biggest one at the minor hockey level in Ontario is the OHL Cup. This tournament is hosted after playoffs end, and it features the top minor midget teams across the province as well as a couple teams from the United States. It is invitation and qualification-based, as you must be ranked in a certain position at the end of your season (pending on your league) in order to receive the invite. There are also ‘wild card’ invitations as well, where 10 teams outside of the invitees are matched up and play a single-game qualification to receive their tournament invite. The rules for qualifying for the wild card matchups differ across the leagues in Ontario. 

The OHL Cup is very heavily scouted, as there is an abundance of talent when looking at the players of the top teams in the province. Most scouts already have their primary list of players on their radar, but this tournament is a chance for some to move up the draft list if they have a stellar performance. It takes one solid week in front of the eyes of these scouts to make an impression, and there’s no better time to prove yourself when you’re up against some of the best players in your age group. It is safe to assume that every OHL team will be present during this week, as well as many NCAA Division 1 programs making the trip up north to seek out players for future scholarships. In terms of showcases at the minor hockey level, this is one that all players would definitely want their team to be in.

Another invite-only tournament is the OHL Gold Cup, hosted in the spring for minor midget players. 160 players are selected across all the Ontario minor hockey leagues, with each league building one or two teams depending on their player density. This tournament serves as a recruiting and scouting ground for Hockey Canada officials to evaluate players to be a part of Team Ontario, in which the team will go on to compete at the national level in various tournaments for the U17 categories. The selected players for Team Ontario will also go on to compete as one of three Canadian teams at the U17 World Hockey Challenge, an international competition where many scouts from all over the world will be present. While this event is primarily focused on scouting for global tournaments, having the opportunity to participate can put a player in front of many sets of eyes that could lead to greater networking, connections, and opportunities at higher levels in the future.

With these opportunities present at the minor midget level, many people might ask how their child can get noticed at a young age without access to these big showcase tournaments. The answer here is quite simple, and I’m sure it has been heard many times before: you need to CONSISTENTLY stand out above the rest. Sometimes, parents will try to find summer tournaments and camps to try and get their kid exposed to coaches, but at the end of the day it is up to them to perform and catch their attention. This comes from within the player, as they have to possess that desire and competitive nature to want to get better and be the best player they can be. It takes a certain spark or ‘wow’ factor to catch the attention of scout, and each player needs to find their own edge as they grow up and develop. While player development has seen tremendous growth over the years, there are a lot of kids out there who possess the technical skills to be great. It ultimately comes down to how a player is able to utilize those skills and craft their game to gain the attention of scouts as they grow up. If you’re good enough, the interest will come to you at the end of the day.

Amateur Hockey Scouting

The post How to Get Noticed By Hockey Scouts and Recruiters appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

Hockey Tournaments

Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 3-May 9

Every week, Elite Level Hockey will be previewing some of the best minor hockey tournaments in North America during the spring hockey and winter seasons. Tournaments are not ranked in any way and are selected to help promote boy’s and girl’s minor hockey at all levels and age groups.

Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes AAA hockey tournament will take place in Edina, Minnesota from May 6 – 9, 2021. The five-game guaranteed tournament is open to boys and girls in the 2006 to 2014 age levels. 

Body checking will begin at the 2008 level with USA hockey certified officiating.  Team trophies will go to first, second, and third place finishers, with two stars of the game awarded in each game. Due to COVID-19 the regular 20-minute stop time periods will be cut to 17 minutes to allow for disinfecting. 

Past winners of the tournament include Machine Force, Jr Islanders, and the Southside Warriors.

View more on the tournament.

Warrior Boston Girls Invite

The Warrior Boston Girls Invite will run between May 7-9, 2021 and is the first tournament in the Warrior Invite Tournament Series. 

The tournament will include Elite, and Tier 1 level hockey programs at the Girls 2006 to 2011 age groups, as well as HS Girls, and Girls U19, U17, and U16. 

The youth divisions offer a four-game guarantee while the other divisions will consist of a three-game round robin before playoffs. 

Over 250 teams competed in last years events, with individual, team and MVP awards going to tournament champions. 

All games of the tournament will be streamed live on

View more on the tournament.

CCM Showdown

The CCM Showdown place in Woodbridge, VA. from May 7-9, 2021. This tournament includes AA, A, and B divisions for U16, U14, and U12 age groups for boys. In the series of games, the 1st and 2nd periods will be 12 minutes, with a 15-minute third period. 

The CCM Showdown will follow the USA Hockey rules. 

View more on the CCM Showdown.

Finnesota Cup

The Finnesota Cup takes place in Eden Prairie, MN. from May 6-8, 2021. This tournament is a girl only invitational for U19, U16, and U14 age groups. Each team will battle in a 4-game guarantee with the championship games being livestream.

The Finnesota Cup will have three 15-minute periods. There will be no tie games. The championship game will have 4-on-4 overtime with 5-minute intervals. If the game is still tied, there will be a standard 3 shooter format shootout. 

View more on the Finnesota Cup.

Other tournaments to watch out for this week: (Note: some tournaments may be cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic)

  • Finnesota Cup
  • Walleye Chop
  • Doritos Spring Challenge
  • Weekend Hockey – Niagara Falls
  • Stars & Stripes
  • Battle on the Border
  • Warrior Boston Girls Invite
  • St. Louis Ultimate Hockey Tournament
  • Showdown in Chi-Town
  • Park City Mountain Cup
  • OneHockey Syracuse May
  • New Jersey Spring Classic
  • Boys Harrow Invite
  • Colorado Select ‘She Persisted’ Tournament
  • Ring of Fire
  • Spring Stampede
  • Chicago May Madness
  • Battle of Detroit
  • CCM Showdown

The post Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 3-May 9 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Hockey Fuel For Early Morning Games

It’s tough enough getting our athletes up and out the door for early morning games, trying to feed them beforehand adds another layer of stress and challenges. Considering it takes about four hours for a full meal to completely digest, it’s safe to say our athletes aren’t going to wake up at 2 or 3 am just to eat. But, trying to practice or compete on an empty stomach isn’t effective either.

While a quick drive-thru donut or fast-food breakfast sandwich might be convenient, they’re typically laden in fat and sugar which will leave players feeling sluggish or experiencing an energy crash before the end of the game.

Eggs are another common choice, but remember, eggs contain protein and fat but no carbohydrates. Be sure to pair eggs with whole grain toast, fruit, or a bagel for their body’s main source of energy.

Since there’s likely only two to three hours between wake-up and game-time, opt for fuel that’s easily digestible and wait until after practice/game for slower digesting dairy and higher fat meats.

Which foods are good fueling options? Whether at home or on the road, give these ideas a try to fuel their game instead of merely getting through their game.

  • Oatmeal with berries
  • Half or full Dave’s Killer Bagel
  • Breakfast “cookie”
  • Strawberry chia seed muffin
  • ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Crepe with berries and hazelnut spread
  • Berries with small handful of almonds 
  • Greek yogurt with granola 
  • Pancakes/waffles topped with berries and Greek Yogurt

Reluctant breakfast eaters? Leftover pasta or half a chicken wrap are great options too!

Don’t forget about water! Rehydrating — especially after waking — is essential for reducing muscle cramping, increasing energy, and maintaining focus.

Questions about early morning fuel specifically for your athlete? Visit

The post Hockey Fuel For Early Morning Games appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.