Xtreme players take part in the Alberta Cup
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:33 am
The top hockey players born in 1999 invaded Strathmore on April 24 to 27 for the annual Alberta Cup tournament, with the Airdrie Xtreme making its presence felt.
A total of 11 players from the team took to the ice during the four-day event, as they tested their skills with players from across the province.
“Everyone is playing some real fast-paced hockey out there, and it really keeps you on your toes,” Airdrie native and South Zone team forward Cody Gibson said.
“The entire experience has been good though, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
“I think having the chance to play a lot of games during the course of an event like this teaches you a lot as well,” he added. “It really helps you learn about where you need to be as a player, and what you can do to get better.”
Gibson was one of eight Xtreme players on the South Zone team, with fellow Airdrie natives Gary Haden, Tyler Petrie and Jonathan Lake joining him up front.
Goaltender Ben Laidlaw of Cochrane, defencemen Landon Melzer of Canmore, Zachary Bokenfohr of Calgary, and forward Zachary Cox of Rocky View County also represented the Xtreme on the South Zone squad.
Three Xtreme teammates joined forces on the Central zone squad, with defenceman Taylor Fawns of Didsbury, and forwards Mitchell Visser of Didsbury and Brett Trentham of Three Hills teaming up with players that they have gone against during the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL) season.
“It’s a little bit different at first when you become teammates with guys you have gone up against when you take them on during the year,” Trentham said. “However, once you get to know them, you all become really close.”
Although everyone was getting along with their new teammates, both Gibson and Trentham admitted it was a bit odd to go up against their fellow Xtreme team-members during a consolation semi-final on April 26.
“It took a little bit to get used to that,” Gibson said. “But once you get going, it’s just like any other game and you want to beat one another.”
“It was actually a lot of fun to go against the other guys,” Trentham added. “I was up against Gary (Haden) during a couple of face-offs and we were bugging each other quite a bit.”
While the main purpose of the Alberta Cup is to help determine who will play for Team Alberta in October at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup tournament along with the 2015 Canada Winter Games, it is also the last chance for Western Hockey League (WHL) teams to take a look at players before the WHL Draft on May 1.
Although the stands at the Strathmore Family Centre were filled with scouts from all 22 WHL teams, Trentham said as a player, he had to keep that out of his mind.
“You really just have to block all of that out,” Trentham said.
“You can’t control what others think of you, so you just have to do your best and see what happens.”