As many as 43 peewee and bantam teams will compete in the third annual Ridge Meadows Hometown Hockey Hero Tournament, starting Friday at Pitt Meadows Arena and Planet Ice Maple Ridge.
This year, the tournament is honouring Brad Hunt, a defenceman with the Edmonton Oilers organization. He currently plays on their AHL team, the Oklahoma City Barons.
Hunt played minor hockey in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, then joined the Ridge Meadows Flames of the junior B league.
He moved up to the BCHL and played three seasons with the Burnaby Express, earning a scholarship to Bemidji State University.
Hunt recorded 112 points in four seasons with the Bemidji Beavers, then signed an amateur tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He had 33 points in 65 games in his first season with Chicago.
He made his NHL debut last year, playing three games with the Oilers. He also recorded 50 points in 66 games with Oklahoma.
This year, he’s played 11 games with Edmonton, recording three points. He also has 13 goals and 37 points in 39 games in the AHL.
“Brad is a model of determination and character. He is a player who never gave up throughout minor hockey, despite not always making the highest-level team, and his perseverance is a direct attribute of the type of character that all young hockey players should aspire to,” said Dave Lige, an off-ice trainer and sports psychologist.
“In addition, he is a highly respectful young man who generously donates his time and others resources for the betterment of the association and the game.”
Hunt has donated a signed Oilers jersey to be given away at this year’s tournament. The event will feature 27 teams from outside the Lower Mainland.
“The size of a tournament could not be done without a lot of volunteers, and we wish to thank everyone who has stepped up to help with all the various jobs, whether they were on the planning committee or are coming to sell raffle and 50/50 tickets, work in the office or scorekeep and timekeep – everyone is appreciated,” said Carolyn Gosling, tournament chairperson and secretary treasurer for RMMHA.