4th Annual Tournament of Champions

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For many years here at Canadian Hockey Enterprises we’ve run a small tournament, maybe 12 teams, that ran in November each year in Las Vegas.  We’d always had a fall event in Montreal, but decided in the early 2000’s to offer something in Las Vegas to give our western teams an option for tournaments in the fall, at least an option with cheaper flights.  Then 5 year’s ago, with tournament enrolment hitting a record low with just 4 teams teams, we decided the November Las Vegas tournament needed a makeover, and the Tournament of Champions (TOC) was born.

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The premise is simple; create an event where each division is made of of teams who either won or placed 2nd within that same division at a different tournament the previous spring.  As if people need an extra incentive to head to Vegas, we decided to give a discount to all teams that make it into the finals during our spring tournaments.  Teams that win their division receive a $500 discount and teams that finish 2nd in their division receive a $250 discount.  So in the spring of 2010 we began handing out our TOC letters to championship teams at all of our spring tournaments, and the “Let’s go to Vegas” banter began almost immediately.

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It was pretty obvious right away that our teams loved the idea.  Come November 2010 and the tournament that had just 4 teams the previous year had 24 teams ready to compete for the championship trophy.  The it grew to 28 teams.  Then 32 teams.  And as of tomorrow morning, our 4th Annual Tournament of Champions will have 39 men’s & women’s teams competing for their shot to hoist the Champions Cup.

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This year we have teams coming from all over North America and you can keep up with scores and results through our website.  Here’s a list of the teams attending.

  • Santa Barbara Rasputins – Santa Barbara, CA
  • Beaumont Fogduckers – Beaumont, AB
  • Dofasco Penguins – Hamilton, ON
  • Varsity Wings – Calgary, AB
  • OC Labatt – Santa Ana, CA
  • Moberly Lakers – Kamloops, BC
  • Las Vegas Hot Shots – Las Vegas, NV
  • Strange Brew – Caledonia, ON
  • Jadaco – Toronto, ON
  • Himark – Edson, AB
  • Pilot Butte Old Timers – Pilot Butte, SK
  • Iron Sheiks – Richmond, BC
  • Ipsco Junior Ingots – Regina, SK
  • Red Wings – High Prairie, AB
  • Drumheller Ratz – Drumheller, AB
  • Vipers – Holly Springs, NC
  • Chiefs – Victoria, BC
  • Warriors – Salmon Arm, BC
  • Millet Mulishia – Leduc, AB
  • Bulyea Bandits – Strasbourg, SK
  • Puck This – Las Vegas, NV
  • Those Guys – Concord, NH
  • L.A Chill – Malibu, CA
  • Highrollers – Stony Plain, AB
  • Hosers – Edmonton, AB
  • Phat and Slow – Calgary, AB
  • Blackhawks – Coquitlam, BC
  • Hinton Old Warriors – Hinton, AB
  • Scouts – Levittown, NY
  • Cyclones – Tampa Bay, FL
  • Ice Aged – Rossburn, MB
  • Hawks – Calgary, AB
  • White Rock Aces – Richmond, BC
  • Krumbs – McKinney, TX
  • Hatrick Heroes – Newport Beach, CA
  • Canadian Bacon – Caledonia, ON
  • Molson Canadian – Culver City, CA
  • Crimson Kings – Orange County, CA
  • Chicago Hawks – Chicago, IL

From everyone here at CHE we wish all participating teams the best of luck this weekend, and if you happen to be in Las Vegas, head over to the Las Vegas Ice Center and check out some of the action.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Entperprises

Robbie Ralph #TBT

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By far the most rewarding part of my job is the interesting people I get to work with and for throughout the year.  Over the years at Canadian Hockey Enterprises we have created a stable staff members so incredibly varied and interesting it’s always great seeing some long time friends in the hotel lobby.  Whether it’s listening to Gilles Gilbert complain about light beer, or seeing Murray Price stroll through the lobby in Banff wearing strictly neon apparel, our unique staff members are what makes our tournaments so great.

Then there’s Rob Ralph, or Ralphy as he’s affectionately known.

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Seen here in his natural habitat, a young(ish) Rob Ralph, sporting a beautiful red suede brimmed CHE souvenir hat, tries to convince a flock of females to give him their leftover food.

Rob has been with CHE since the beginning and it’s his sense of humor and exuberance that makes him a pleasure to work with.  Always willing to play the roll of class clown, Ralphy always has that timely story, joke or commentary to cut the tension in the room., most of which revolve around food.  When he’s not working tournaments you can find him replacement workers on buses past picket lines, selling hot dogs in Bracebridge or dancing to disco…anywhere he can find it.   If you’d like to see a little bit about Ralphy you can friend him on facebook here and see some of his hilarious and valuable insights, or take a look at this article about his sons, but mostly talks about Rob’s history (here) including his time performing as Ogie Ogilthorpe/bus driver in a live action Slap Shot Tour.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Adult Camp #TBT

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Man Paul looks great in that tracksuit!

Found this beautiful old brochure for our Adult Hockey Camps in Lake Placid, NY for Throw Back Thursday.  Strange thing is, 12 years later our 2013 brochure design has changed quite a bit, but all 3 faces on the 2001 brochure will be back in Lake Placid this October 10 – 13.  In fact, I’m pretty sure this picture perfectly captures the halfway point of the 26 year relationship we’ve had with both Dean Gervais and Richie Macias who’ve attended almost every camp in Placid since the beginning.  We have some fantastic, long time relationships with many customers from the different aspects of our business, but there really is nothing close to the bond that’s held between CHE and our adult campers, and the adult campers bond with each other.  So if you’re in love with the game, like travelling, eating great meals and meeting new people drop us a line as we still have a few spots left in Lake Placid this year.

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Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

CHE Camper Lights Up Petes

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The OHL season opened up last night, and though there was a lot of hype surrounding Mississauga Steelheads exceptional player Sean Day, it was the Kingston Frontenacs Darcy Greenway that started the season with a bang.  The Frontenacs were in my hometown of Peterborough last night and they held nothing back as they romped the Petes 11 – 4, with Greenway netting 3 along the way to take an early lead in this seasons scoring race.

Darcy was a long time CHE camper, attending our Elite and Jr./College programs in Peterborough every summer for at least 6 years.  You could tell from an early age that he was very skilled, but it was his attitude and work ethic that always made him stand out.  After a couple of great seasons averaging just under a point a game, it looks like he’s been working hard during the off season and is on pace for his best season yet.  Keep up the good work Darcy, we’ll be keeping tabs on you as the season continues.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Jim Bedard #tbt

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I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this classic shot of Jim Bedard in the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame located at the brand new Gale Center Complex in Niagara Falls.  Beyond listing all of Jimmy’s outstanding accomplishments as a goaltender, this photo highlights something he’s not as known for; that beautiful flowing mustache.

Having played professionally from 1977-1992, starting with the Washington Capitals and finishing his career in Finland, Jim is currently the goalie coach with the Detroit Red Wings and will be working with CHE at the Goalie Camp July 29 – August 3 in beautiful Kelowna, BC. (spots still available)  Though you won’t get to see that fantastic duster, or his flowing hair, you can get a glimpse of the demeanor and expertise Jim brings to his coaching clinics by watching the following link. Click Here.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Lord Love a Duck! #tbt

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If you’ve participated in a youth or adult tournament with CHE, you may or may not have noticed that there is always a Lefty Wilson Division.  Since 2002 we’ve made a point of commemorating the great man who graced our office and tournaments with his humor, good nature and wonderful stories.

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Lefty was the trainer for the Detroit Red Wings from 1950-1982 and was instrumental in the adoption of goalie masks, including Terry Sawchuk’s iconic mask covered in stitches.  He also served as the emergency backup goalie and played 3 NHL games; 1 for the Red Wings, 1 for the opposing Toronto Maple Leafs and 1 for the opposing Boston Bruins. As you can see by his closed eyes in the Red Wings picture, he wasn’t terribly fond of getting hit by the puck.

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In 1987 Lefty joined the CHE staff.  He was our designated trainer during tournaments, which primarily consisted of him telling players they weren’t actually hurt and to get back up.  He helped us put together meal tickets in the office, often bruising his hand from the incessant stapling, to the point where we bought him the automatic stapler which we still use today.  More than anything, he provided staff and customers with a never ending string of laughs.  With patented G rated lines such as “go scrub your kilt”, “lord love a duck” and “keep your head up kid” as he raised his left fist and pointed the stub of his right index finger at you.

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Everyone who every knew or met Lefty misses him dearly, especially the staff at CHE.  So if you get a chance today, have a drink in his honor but don’t forget to say his patented toast: “Over the lips and past the gums, look out liver here she comes!”

We miss you Lefty.

Everyone at Canadian Hockey Enterprises

What a Roster!!! #tbt

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Former CHE Camp staffer Jason Callaghan was kind enough to scan and email his copy of the 1995 staff photo for this weeks edition of Throwback Thursday.  Within this photo there’s 2193 NHL games played, 7680 minor pro games played, a couple of Stanley Cup rings, an NHL Rookie of the Year winner, a few Memorial Cup Champions, a Calder Cup Champion, a few European league Champions, and of course, CHE legend and friend Lefty Wilson.  Even 18 years later there’s still 4 people in the photo that work in the office daily, and many of these players still instruct at our camps each summer.

I’d like to thank Jason for sending in the photo and www.hockeydb.com for existing so I could figure all of this stuff out.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises