There are holiday traditions that date back decades, including the nearly 40-year-old GTHL Challenge Cup. Two days after Christmas, the best Peewee AAA teams from across the continent will take to the ice at Scotiabank Pond to compete in the four-day long event. Over the years, the best-on-best tournament has seen the likes of Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Rick Nash, Eric Lindros, Brendan Shanahan, and more compete for the coveted cup.
This year’s tournament will see 15 teams compete across three divisions. Here’s how the divisions (all named after tournament alumni) match up.
The Nash (as in Rick) Division is led by the Soo Jr. Greyhounds (9-0-0). The Greyhounds have gone undefeated in the regular season, winning nine straight games. The Ajax-Pickering Raiders (18-2-3) aren’t far behind, coming off a four-game winning streak. The middle-of-the-pack Don Mills Flyers (13-8-1), Ottawa Jr. 67’s (8-5-6), and Huron-Perth Lakers (9-13-3) will have two solid teams to get past in order to advance in the tournament.
|Soo Jr. Greyhounds|
|Don Mills Flyers|
|Ottawa Jr. 67’s|
Both the Whitby Wildcats (24-8-4) and Ottawa Valley Titans (13-5-1) lead their respective divisions heading into the tournament, while the Affton Americans (28-8-6) are coming off a three-game win streak and have a strong regular season record. The Richmond Hill Coyotes (16-4-2) will also prove to be a challenging team to beat. They sit five points back of tournament-mates, the Ajax-Pickering Raiders. It will be up to the Mississauga Reps (4-15-2) to pull off an upset.
|Ottawa Valley Titans|
|Richmond Hill Coyotes|
If their near identical regular season records are any indication, the Toronto Marlboros (17-3-1) and the New Hampshire Avalanche (17-4-2) will be the teams to beat in the Stamkos division. The Waterloo Wolves (9-10-7) and Southern Tier Admirals (14-4-0) both sit in the top three of their respective divisions, while the Toronto Red Wings (11-9-1), despite a better record than the Wolves, sit as a middle-of-the-pack team in the GTHL. This could be anyone’s division to take.
|Toronto Red Wings|
|Southern Tier Admirals|
|New Hampshire Avalanche|
For more information on the GTHL Challenge Cup, visit the tournament website.