QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC
Bonjour de la Ville de Quebec. Hello from Quebec City, the beautiful capital of the province of Quebec. This historic old city, truly a winter wonderland, is alive with electricity and excitement as teams from all over North America and the world arrive for the 57th edition of the Tournoi International de Hockey Pee Wee de Quebec – the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament. It’s the oldest, biggest, and greatest Pee Wee hockey tournament in the world, and it never fails to delight the players, coaches, and families no matter the outcome of the games. Everyone is invited to dive right into all the good energy of the competition and to absorb all the warmth and style of French-Canadian culture.
Right now in Quebec City, just as the Pee Wee Tournament is beginning, the annual Quebec Winter Carnival is reaching its crescendo. Giant snow sculptures, ice palaces, parades, and parties add to the festivities. Between the Tournament and the Carnival, the whole city is surging with energy. It is unique and, as the French say, magnifique.
Today, the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) made their Quebec City debut at a beautiful rink right in the middle of a shopping in the suburbs of the city. Not only is the rink surrounded by stores, but it is also surrounded by amusement park rides like a roller coaster and a ferris wheel. Metaphors for the ups and downs of sports competition? Perhaps.
In any case, the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) were matched in a pre-tournament exhibition game against a local team called the Typhon. The Typhon were excited to play and jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the first period. But the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) , many of whom left the New York area late last night or very early in the morning, kept chipping away hoping to find their stride. In goal for the Americans, Katie DeSa played skillfully, thwarting a number of Typhon opportunities. As the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) picked up speed, there were a number of close calls – pucks hitting posts, cross bars, and the like – but the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) couldn’t break through. Then with a little less than two minutes left in the second period, fortune finally prevailed when Tristan Aitkenhead hammered home the rebound of a 2-on-1 between Tatum Fitzmaurice and Shea Thibault, and it was a 1-1 hockey game.
The third period belonged to the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA). Taking advantage of three different Typhon penalties, the New Yorker Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) saw the momentum turn their way. At the 8:40 mark Connor Welsh banged the puck past the Typhon goalie to complete a goal mouth scramble. Tristan Aitkenhead and Shea Thibault earned the assists. Later, Connor commented that when he scored what would prove to be the winning goal, it “felt amazing!” Oliver Flynn sealed the deal with 40 seconds left as Joey Potter and Douglas Messier earned assists. Gavin Moffatt, who played the second half of the game in goal, was strong as well, and the team skated off with a 3-1 exhibition win.
The New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) were coached by New York Rangers legend and Hockey Hall of Fame member Mark Messier and his father, Doug Messier. Doug was returning to Quebec City for the first time in three years after a long and highly successful run as the coach and general manager of the New York Pee Wee Rangers. In 2011, Doug’s Pee Wee Rangers squad won the whole tournament at the Elite level. To say the least, the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) are in very capable hands. After the game coach Mark Messier praised the effort of his team noting that the team battled through fatigue: “Some kids left the New York area at 3:30 this morning. So it took us a while to get our legs going, but once we did, we were in good shape.”
Tomorrow night, the New York Americans (Pee Wee Rangers AA) play their first tournament game in the brand new the Videotron Centre. There could be more than 10,000 fans in the seats for what will surely be an interesting evening of hockey.