“What's happening with this year's silver anniversary tournament... is that we have teams from one end of Nova Scotia to the other. They're not congregated in certain areas,” said Dan Boyd, the tournament's chairperson.
Teams are coming from Glace Bay, North Sydney, Antigonish, Yarmouth, Amherst, Horton, and Sackville, with the host team being Windsor's Avon View Avalanche.
“We're very pleased that we're able to get high caliber hockey teams,” said Boyd.
What makes this year even more special is that the festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“We're one of the longest running high school hockey tournaments in the province,” said Boyd.
It was started in 1992 by King's-Edgehill School.
“King's-Edgehill ran it right up until 2012. But they don't play Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation hockey anymore. So given the chance, the Avon View Avalanche were asked to see if they were interested in continuing the legacy of the tournament and in 2013, we did,” Boyd said. KES now plays in the Prep School Hockey Federation.
The opening game is Nov. 10 at the Hants Exhibition Arena at 7:30 p.m. between the host team and the 2015 defending champions, the Sackville Kingfishers.
“We're anticipating a fairly significant audience for that game based on Avon View's (regular season) opening night audience, which was quite remarkable,” he said.
Due to Remembrance Day being Friday, Boyd said they won't be starting play until 1 p.m. - and will host games at the Newport and District Arena until 5:30 p.m., when the action will move back to Windsor for a 6:30 p.m. bout.
“If you want to see some of the best high school hockey in the province, it's going to be (in Hants County),” said Boyd.
Games will be played from 9 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Nov.12, and then the championship final on Nov. 13 at 1 p.m.
“I expect both Cape Breton teams to be real tough,” said Boyd.
Playing in the Chook Smith division are Avon View, Sackville, Amherst, and North Sydney. Competing in the Howard Dill division are Glace Bay, Horton, Yarmouth and Antigonish.
The divisions are named after two Windsor hockey stalwarts.
“Chook was a player for years and an icon in Windsor hockey circles and Howie Dill being a legendary hockey historian,” said Boyd.
All teams will play a minimum of three games before semi-final games are decided.
Boyd said the tournament will have a positive impact on the economy of the area, and will draw hockey fans from near and far.
“It can't help but have an economic spin off,” said Boyd, noting there are “eight teams of 20 guys each, with parents galore in town.”
Birthplace of Hockey schedule
Thursday, Nov. 10 — Hants Exhibition Arena in Windsor
7:30 p.m. — Sackville vs Avon View
Friday, Nov. 11 — Newport and District Arena in Brooklyn
1 p.m. — Horton vs Yarmouth
2:30 p.m. — Amherst vs North Sydney
4 p.m. — Antigonish vs Glace Bay
Friday, Nov. 11 — Hants Exhibition Arena in Windsor
6:30 p.m. — Sackville vs North Sydney
8 p.m. — Avon View vs Amherst
Saturday, Nov. 12 — Hants Exhibition Arena in Windsor
9 a.m. — Horton vs Glace Bay
10:30 a.m. — Antigonish vs Yarmouth
Noon — Avon View vs North Sydney
1:30 p.m. — Horton vs Antigonish
3 p.m. — Glace Bay vs Yarmouth
4:30 p.m. — Sackville vs Amherst
7:15 p.m. — No. 2 in Chook Smith division vs No. 1 in Howard Dill division
8:45 p.m. — No. 1 in Chook Smith division vs No. 2 in Howard Dill division
Sunday, Nov. 13 — Hants Exhibition Arena in Windsor
1 p.m. — Championship game