Bobcats’ experience at Quebec Pee Wee tournament proves memorable
It’s been more than a month since they returned from the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, but Arizona Bobcats players, parents and coaches are still basking in the excitement of what many describe as a milestone event in any hockey player’s youth hockey experience.
The Bobcats’ Pee Wee team spent more than a week in Quebec in mid-February, and in addition to competing in the 58-year-old tournament that annually hosts 150 teams and approximately 2,000 players from around the world, they also got to experience the atmosphere of the city and enjoy some important bonding time with their teammates.
The roster for the Bobcats’ Pee Wee team that traveled to Quebec included forwards Palmer Coupe, Cameron Ferraz, Mighton Johnson, Jake Livanavage, Charlie Salem, Oren Shtrom, Preston Soderblom and Jack Walters; defensemen Dayton Craik, Dylan Gordon, Ryan Gorzynski, Ryan Hawley, Max Marr and Ethan Poole; and goalies Max Geddes and Gorial Yaro.
Coaches who went on the trip included Ron Filion and assistants Mark Gordon and Jim Livanavage, and every player had at least one parent join the festivities for at least part of the trip.
“I had been to watch the tournament as a kid, but didn’t play in it and hadn’t been as a coach until this year,” Livanavage said. “I know it’s a lot of money and a lot of time away from school, and there were some doubts early on about whether it was worth the expense, but having been there now, I think every team that has the opportunity to go to the Quebec tournament needs to go. The experience was incredible for everyone.”
Arranging all the details for the trip and raising money to offset the high cost of traveling to Quebec, wasn’t easy. Team manager Lisa Poole was instrumental in coordinating those efforts, while also still handling her day-to-day responsibilities of managing the Bobcats’ Pee Wee team for all their other events and attending to her full-time job with an industrial distribution company.
“It was a tremendous amount of work,” Poole said. “It was very time consuming, but it was worth it. The event administrators make things very organized and provide a detailed checklist of instructions to take you through everything step by step. The biggest help, with the players’ billet family coordination, came from our billet captain, Sophie Picard, who has been with Ron’s teams for 10 years now.”
Once the Bobcats learned they had been accepted to participate in the Quebec tournament back in October, Poole and her team got to work arranging travel permits, airline tickets, hotel reservations for parents and coaches, registration payments and the many other small details that all come into play to make the trip a smooth and successful one.
Marianna Eggert, Walters’ mom, spearheaded the fundraising effort, which was a major undertaking. The Bobcats solicited donations and held an online auction, among other activities, and a number of other parents helped out.
“It’s a very expensive trip for parents, not only to get there, but to stay the whole 12 days,” Poole said.
Poole added that the Quebec tournament was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her son and his teammates, along with all the families who got to attend.
“It was awesome – the games at the Videotron Center made them feel like stars, like they were in the NHL,” she said. “The whole ambience was like that of a true professional game.
“The organization and the people who put on the tournament are incredible in their dedication. They have put in years and years to make sure this event goes off without a hitch. And there were so many things to do in Quebec and in the outskirts – the carnival, skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling and pond hockey games. The team came back as a really tight-knit group, and the parents felt that same sense of team bonding.”
— Greg Ball