Mac’s minor hockey tournament becomes latest COVID-19 casualty

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Even if you ignore the legions of volunteers that are required to make the tournament run smoothly, that’s still a lot of people. More than we’re generally seeing get together at one time during this global pandemic.

Everyone understands that, but it still stings. The Mac’s Tournament is a big deal for teenage hockey players, especially from Calgary.

“I think it’s definitely something they look forward to every year, it’s one of the benefits of playing in Calgary,” said Calgary Buffaloes coach Brent Harrison, whose team was crowned champions in the most recent running of the tournament. “The (Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League) is a big, important league and we’re always trying to win the league and get to the Telus Cup, but the Mac’s is something that’s different and special.

“You get the fans out and it’s just an exciting time of year in the city. The kids have looked forward to it their entire hockey careers, so it’s just unfortunate for the kids where this might be the only year they had that opportunity.”

Tournament organizers did consider running a modified Mac’s Tournament this year that would have primarily featured local teams but ultimately decided against it. Part of the magic of the tournament is it brings teams from across the hockey world together and gives everyone the chance to see how they stack up.

This really is best vs. best, after all, with genuine NHL superstars like Sidney Crosby, Wendel Clark and Jarome Iginla all playing at the tournament in their younger years.

“We put some thought into having a tournament with just some local teams, but it’s not really the Mac’s Tournament at that point,” Herbison said. “(The Alberta teams) play each other so many times, there’s really no advantage to having that kind of tournament, so we decided not to go that route and just postpone until next year. That’ll give us some time to make some improvements and come back bigger and strong next year.”

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