Three days and 76 games later, the 2015 London Blizzard Invitational Sledge Hockey Tournament is finally in the record books.
On Jan. 23, the 11th edition of the tournament got underway in London once again with close to 500 players representing 36 teams from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and the United States hitting the ice.
Described by London Blizzard co-president Sigmund Bernat as “the largest sledge hockey tournament in North America,” teams competing at the event were broken down into four divisions — Intermediate A, B and C as well as Junior Development.
Citing an excellent response from participants, Bernat said that the success of the tournament can be in part attributed to London’s location in southern Ontario and the concentration of sledge hockey teams in that area.
He also notes that many of the clubs that participate have such a positive experience at the event, it brings them back year after year. ‘We have teams that have been coming just about the full 11 years since the tournament began,” said Bernat.
The Elmvale Bears were the first of five teams to slip on their gold medals when things wrapped up with the tournament finals on Sunday morning, defeating Cruisers Sports All Blacks 4-1 for the Intermediate A championship.
In Intermediate B, it was the Mid- American Eagles shutting out the Edmonton Impact 3-0 for gold before the Brant County Sliders edged North Bay 2-1 in the Intermediate C title match.
The Mississauga Jr, Cruisers and Windsor Ice Bullets each headed home with gold from their respective Sledge Development divisions after posting 2-0 and 3-1 wins over the Durham Steelhawks and Kawartha Blazers respectively.
Of the two London squads participating in the event, only the Blizzard Intermediate C squad would come away with extra hardware, earning bronze after edging the Northern Sliders 5-4.