Anthony Aguanno can still remember the anticipation and atmosphere surrounding what was then called the Bauer Challenge Cup. Now playing for the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Aguanno and his teammates on the Mississauga Rebels were crowned the champs of the tournament in 2012.
“I remember that the tournament was our first real test as a team together and how hard it actually was to win,” said Aguanno, who played alongside top NHL prospect Jack Hughes on the Peewee Rebels. “Reflecting back now it’s really great to have been able to play with and against so many great players that competed in the tournament.”
Previously called the Bell Challenge Cup, Bauer Challenge Cup, and GTHL Challenge Cup, the annual Peewee-aged tournament ran for over 20 years over the Christmas break. After a hiatus in 2017, the tournament has been re-imaged as the Tom Wilson Peewee Classic and has seen some modifications, including the addition of a Minor Peewee division.
“I am most looking forward to hanging out with my teammates and having lots of fun on and off the ice,” said Nicholas Ilias, a player with the Minor Peewee Toronto Titans. “To prepare for the tournament, I have made sure to eat well and to get a good sleep.”
Ilias’ Titans team are one of 16 Minor Peewee teams competing across four divisions. Meanwhile, the 10 participating Peewee teams will be divided into two divisions. Each team will have a guaranteed four games. In addition, selected players from each team will compete in a Saturday-afternoon skills competition that will include a skating relay and breakaway challenge.
“I’ve been training hard with my team and ripping pucks,” said Sebastian Cohen, a member of the North York Rangers Minor Peewee team. “I’m looking forward to playing teams outside of the GTHL.”
Six years after playing in the tournament, Aguanno still recalls the intense competition that the tournament brings.
“Players can expect great competition. For Peewee-aged players it was certainly a top tournament and remains among one of the more memorable ones for me.”
The Tom Wilson Peewee Classic runs from October 19-21, 2018 at Scotiabank Pond. Click here for a full tournament schedule.