By Tina Comeau
What has become an annual December tradition will play itself out again at the Mariners Centre this week, when the Yarmouth high school’s Cook’s Cup hockey tournament is held.
The tournament is being held a little later in the month than in past years. The tournament will get underway on Thursday, Dec. 20, and wraps up Saturday, Dec. 22.
It also sees a lighter roster of teams than in previous years. Hosted by the Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School boys’ hockey team, this year’s tournament also has teams from Par-en-Bas (PEB), Barrington and Park View.
Yarmouth head coach Kyle Boudreau says this year’s team is a younger squad than in past years, given that there are six Grade 9 players on it. The student population of the high school changed this year with the opening of the new building on Forest Street. Aside from changing the make-up of the team’s roster, the addition of another grade level at the high school – which increases the school’s overall student population – means the team has been bumped back up to a Division 1 school. Last year it was a Division 2.
The remainder of the Yarmouth team is a mixture of Grade 10, 11 and 12 students, with more of the younger grades than the senior grade.
“We’re a very youthful team,” says Boudreau, who feels this bodes well for future years.
Despite the youthfulness of the squad, in comparison to other teams, Boudreau says the Yarmouth Vikings have been having a good season. “I couldn’t be happier,” said Boudreau, who is joined on the team staff by Dane Marshall, Josh Trask, Jordan Hamilton and Chris Ellis. This is the sixth year for the Cook’s Cup, which is sponsored by Cook’s Dairy. The tournament also serves as a fundraiser for the Yarmouth team.
Yarmouth goes into the tournament as the defending champions, having won the cup last year over the Barrington Barons.
While the Barons will be one of the teams looking to stop Yarmouth from repeating as tournament champs, so too will PEB.
Serving as the head coach of the Par-en-Bas team is another Boudreau, this one named Julien. He too is pleased with the success thus far of his team this season. One of the highlights for the PEB team came in winning their division at the Glen Murray high school tournament in Bridgewater last month.
Asked how this year’s PEB squad compares to last year’s, Julien Boudreau says things are working out very well.
“After last year we lost five Grade 12s who were most of our top players. We didn’t know how we would rebound from that,” he says. “This year we picked up nine new players. With a team of 17, nine is a big chunk of new guys, but they’ve stepped right up to the plate. It’s been amazing.”
Because of its school population, PEB is a Division 3 school, but this doesn’t mean the team isn’t keeping up with the higher division-ranked schools.
“They don’t look at the skill set or anything like that when they rank you, they just go by the population of your school,” says Boudreau, who says he has an “army” helping him out on the bench with the coaching and the running of the PEB team. This includes Greg Cottreau, Tom Cormier, Adam Cottreau, Andrew Dulong and Chris d’Entremont.
Playing high school hockey involves a lot of commitment, say both local coaches. Ice practices go mornings before school with Yarmouth’s practices getting underway at 6:45 a.m. and PEB’s at 7:30 a.m. Then with some players comes the juggling of hockey, school and work.
Aside from playing against teams in their respective division ranks, the two Yarmouth County teams also play in a small league that includes Barrington and Bridgewater.
“Everybody plays everybody four times,” says Julien Boudreau. “Two times at home and two times away.” A benefit to this schedule is both PEB and Yarmouth play their home games at the Mariners Centre.
• Cook’s Cup tournament runs Dec. 27-29
Game pass – $3 students, $5 adults
Day pass – $6 students, $10 adults
Weekend pass – $10 students, $15 adults
• Seafood chowder will be sold to the public on Friday, Dec. 21 from 12-6 p.m.
• Cook’s Dairy is the tournament’s main sponsor. The tournament also benefits from other sponsors and local businesses that donate items for the tournament.
Thursday, Dec. 20
6-8 p.m. Yarmouth vs PEB
8-10 p.m. Barrington vs Parkview
Friday, Dec. 21
12-2 p.m. Parkview vs Yarmouth
2-4 p.m. PEB vs Barrington
5:30-6 p.m. Opening ceremonies
6-8 p.m. Barrington vs Yarmouth
8-10 p.m. Parkview vs PEB
Saturday, Dec. 22
10 a.m. to noon semi-final game (3rd place vs 2nd place)
2-4 p.m. Championship game (1st place round robin vs semi-final winner)