The CHE Experience!

For many of us, our minor hockey days have long since vacated our brains as the humdrum and monotony of everyday adult life takes over our mental faculties.  Wake up, get the kids off to school, head to work, head home, drive the kids to practice, eat some food, go to bed.  It seems the older we get the faster time goes, and it’s not until we’re able to escape the day-to-day life that we’re able to appreciate the little things.  This is where CHE steps in.  Our holiday hockey weekends provide a brief but exhilarating reprieve from the daily grind, and for a short window of time, everyone gets to feel like a kid again, and here’s why.

The Hangover Roadtrip

Philosophers and Facebook moms love to say “It’s not the destination, but the journey that’s important” or something along those lines, and for our adult hockey players this holds true.  The tournament begins when you’ve loading up the 3 – 5 vehicles with your gear and luggage for the trip with your teammates.  The 5 or so hours spent on the road getting to the tournament are typically the most energetic hours for every player on the team, as the excitement of the weekend ahead gets everyone’s blood going, and from the time you leave the driveway to the time you get into your hotel room the hooliganism expected from a 12 person road trip is at fever pitch.

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Tournaments were always a highlight of every youth hockey players year, but it always seemed like the parents were having more fun that the kids as they travelled room to room in the hotel for drinks, cards and general revelry until the wee hours of the morning.  With CHE you’re both the player and the parent and there is no shortage of shenanigans in the hotel whether you’re doing the hotel room beer crawl or playing practical jokes on your teammates.  The stories of what goes down each night don’t often get revealed to outsiders, but there’s always plenty of evidence of good times had in the hotel lobby each morning as blood shot eyes try not to make contact with any direct light.

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Once you’ve gotten your entire team out of bed, filled with coffee and over to the arena the fun just keeps going.  There’s never a shortage of bellowing laughter coming from the dressing rooms as players reminisce about all of the debauchery that took place the night before.  Luckily we provide complimentary Gatorade for the players to replenish their electrolytes for the big game ahead.  After the game is finished and the player of the game awards have been handed out, it’s time to head back to the locker room for a refreshing beer and the whole cycle starts again.

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At CHE we try and do all of the thinking for you so you can make the most of your weekend away.  Our all-inclusive packages make sure your team is in a great hotel that located exactly where you want to be.  We include the basic meals like breakfasts and lunch to make sure your fuzzy head doesn’t need to make any tough decisions, and our professional tournament staff is always around to answer any questions you might have.  And if you’re lucky enough to survive the chaos of the weekend, you might just head home with the championship trophy!

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So this season, when the daily routine is causing your hair to fall out, grab your teammates and head to one of our fantastic holiday hockey tournaments.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

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Viva Las Vegas!!!

Sin City just might be the most exciting vacation destination in the world, with a smorgasbord of adult activities, you’re guaranteed to find one if not ten things that will make a trip to Las Vegas the adventure of a lifetime.  Known as the perfect spot for a bachelor party, it’s similarly a perfect spot for you and your teammates to get away for weekend of absolute debauchery, and as difficult as it is to boil it down, here’s the top 5 reasons to head to Vegas with your team this spring.

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November 15, 2014: CHE tournament in Chambly, Quebec.

  1. First Class Hockey Tournaments

First and foremost, you’ll be treated to a first class hockey tournament that CHE is renowned for.  A 3-game guarantee with tournament games played at the Las Vegas Ice Center Twin Rinks and Fiesta Rancho Sobe Ice Arena, both located just 5 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.  With all of the hotel options in Vegas, we offer a tournament entry-only option where teams can book their own accommodations, as well as an all-inclusive hotel package at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino right in the center of all the action.  Our professional tournament staff will make sure you’re in a competitive division with separate age and skill levels, and even though they say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” you just might leave with the Gamblers Cup and a gold medal around your neck.

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  1. Cards, Dice and Slots!

There’s a reason that a massive city of almost a million people sprang up in the middle of the Nevada desert and it’s not their refreshing water springs.  The absolutely massive casino’s take up entire city blocks and the extreme size and over the top extravagance makes each unique casino an adventure of its own.  Places like the Bellagio try to draw you in with a stunning fountain display out front.  The new Cosmopolitan has floor-to-ceiling glass offering incredible views of the strip while you play at one of 83 tables with everything from Blackjack to War.  Then there’s the MGM Grand which takes size to a whole new level with 170000 square feet of gaming.  If you’re looking to take a break from the strip Then D Las Vegas is in downtown Vegas and is one of the only 2 level gambling establishments in the city, with 3 to 2 blackjack pay and dancing dealers.  The allure of winning big has always been the biggest draw to Vegas.

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  1. Unbelievable, one-of-a-kind shows.

Known in the 50’s and 60’s as the home to famous crooners like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Las Vegas still has the draw to bring some of the world’s best acts into town to stay.  The World’s best musicians, magicians, acrobats and comedians all end up in Vegas.  There are currently 9 different Cirque du Soleil shows to choose from if you’re into a spectacle.  Comedians such as Carrot Top or Terry Fator are always in town, but many top name stars make stops in Vegas every weekend so you might luck out with a Louis CK or even Andrew Dice Clay show.  David Copperfield has been a staple in the Las Vegas illusion game at the MGM Grand, but for something a little smarter you can go check out Penn & Teller at the Rio Hotel & Casino.  If you’re more of a Broadway type, shows like Jersey Boys or the Book of Mormon can be caught any night of the week.

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  1. Buffets to Michelin Stars

If you consider yourself a foodie, then Las Vegas is the city for you.  One of the main ploys to get you in the door of a casino is the plethora of all-you-can-eat buffets and if you’re not concerned with spotting a celebrity chef, the buffets are a great option to eat good food for almost nothing.  The Village Seafood Buffet at the Rio is one of the only seafood only spots in town and a perfect spot to go eat crab and lobster until you explode, or head over to Caesars Palace and check out the Bacchanal Buffet which has every type of food you could want in this 25000 square-foot restaurant.  If fine dining is your taste, you can hit up Le Cirque at the Bellagio which has received a AAA Five Diamond rating for 13 straight years, or head down the strip to Caesars Palace to eat at NobuAureole in Mandalay Bay has incredible seasonal dishes prepared by acclaimed Chef                Charlie Palmer, but for those who require the best of the best, you have to go to Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand to experience Las Vegas’s only spot to receive 3 Michelin Stars.

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  1. Incredible outdoor activities

As hard as it is to tear yourself away from the glitz and glamour of the Vegas Strip, beyond the casino’s lies a vast array of activities that will blow you away.  If you’re a golfer, there’s a ton of courses to choose from, but some of the more famous tracks include the Tom Fazio designed Shadow Creek, Coyote Springs and Cascata, which all make the most of the undulating desert terrain for dramatic views and difficult shots.  You can take a day trip and check out the Hoover Dam in just over 40 minutes, or continue to drive for a couple more hours and you’re at the Grand Canyon.  You can head to Battlefield Vegas and try shooting some fully automatic rifles or hop in an actual tank and crush a car.  If that doesn’t get your adrenaline going, Exotics Racing gives you the opportunity to max out Lamborghini’s, Porsche’s, Ferrari’s, Austin Martin’s and more.

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So that’s my list, and although there seems to be a lot of things on it, it truly is just the tip-of-the-iceberg for all of the amazing and exciting experiences Las Vegas has to offer.  That said, even if you only did 3 things on the list, there’s no doubt in my mind that this will be the most memorable weekend for your entire team, though you may not remember much.

CLICK HERE to view all details, dates and prices for our amazing Las Vegas tournaments.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Tournament of Champions Season

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After 4 years of success and continuous growth at our Tournament of Champions (TOC) tournament in Las Vegas, Canadian Hockey Enterprises is thrilled to announce the expansion of our Tournament of Champion series of tournaments this November and will now be in Las Vegas, Banff, and Montreal.

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On November 6 – 9, 2014 we will once again be heading to beautiful and exciting Las Vegas, NV to kick off the TOC tournament season with winners and runner ups from our 2014 tournaments flying in from all directions.  Team can book their own accommodations, or choose to stay on the CHE package at beautiful Excalibur Hotel & Casino right on the strip.

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The following weekend, November 14 – 16, the TOC championship trophy will travel right across the continent to the wonderful and unique city of Montreal, QC.  Montreal has arguably the greatest hockey culture and history in the world, and the Habs are in town on Saturday night to play the Philadelphia flyers, and teams who participate will be staying in downtown Montreal at the Chateau Champlain Marriott.

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Once the TOC trophy has been handed to teams in the desert, then teams in la belle provence, the cup gets back on a plane and heads to the Canadian Rocky Mountains for the TOC event in spectacular Banff, AB November 21 – 23, 2014.  Teams will be able to choose a 3 or 4 day package staying at the Caribou Lodge and Inns of Banff, both walking distance from the city center.

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For more information on all of our Tournament of Champion (TOC) events, please CLICK HERE to view our 2014 Fall Tournament brochure for men’s and women’s teams.

 

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Adult Tournament Season Recap

Hello friends!

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but for those of you who know me and our business you’d know we just worked our way through an extremely intense month of Adult Hockey Tournaments.  Each spring, typically starting on the last weekend of March and wrapping up on the first weekend of May, Canadian Hockey Enterprises runs 23 adult recreational hockey tournaments in Banff, Ottawa, London, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Chicago, Niagara Falls, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Atlantic City, Kelowna, Montreal, Quebec City and Lake Placid.  Needless to say we rack up a lot of air miles in April!  It’s an incredibly busy and stressful time for everyone in our office, but it’s also extremely rewarding as the bulk of our work from September to March comes to fruition during the tournament season.  Whether teams have been coming for 20 years or it’s their first time, we have great opportunities to connect face to face with our customers and seeing the smiles on their faces during the games makes all of the effort worth while.  So I asked some of the staff to share some of the more memorable stories they had from this past month and I’ll be posting the stories throughout the next couple of weeks.

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Mike McCabe thought he was a lucky man when he found out he was heading to Chicago April 2 – 6 to run our Chicago tournament once again. There were 16 teams heading to the windy city  from Phoenix to Finland and everywhere in between, and for those lucky enough to get an extra day off work, some teams were able to catch the Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild game on the Thursday night.  But what Mike didn’t know was that his luck would pale in comparison to Dan Walper of the Great Canadian Oilers from Delisle, SK.  The Oilers were enjoying a sneak peak of this years Central Division Championships, having a couple of cool refreshing beverages along with a full United Center crowd.  It was anything but  typical Thursday night for the boys from rural Saskatchewan but it got even stranger with the announcement of the night’s 50/50 draw, as Dan looked at his ticket with a shocked expression having realized he’d won!!!  His team didn’t get to take home a trophy, but at least Dan had $14 000 to bring with him, and I’m sure every cup winner would trade him in a heartbeat.

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Stories like these are what make this job exciting and what inspire us to come up with new and exciting tournament ideas for our teams to take advantage of.  Over the year’s we’ve slowly introduced new locations such as Chicago and Phoenix that have proven to be extremely popular, while some other destinations like Denver and St. John’s have fizzled out.  We want to know where YOU want to go and will be running an ongoing survey as we share some of our stories.  The top 2 locations from this posts survey will continue on for the next 4 or 5 posts until we have solid evidence that teams want to go _______!   So make sure you vote for your preferred location on each post so we can set up the tournament of your choice.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterrpises

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Reason’s to go to Banff this Spring

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I get it.  Whether you’re from Toronto or Texas, the polar vortex has made this winter a bit of a monster and a little fun in the sun sounds fantastic. I’m here to argue that if you haven’t yet made it south, you’re better off saving your vacation days for a real Canadian vacation to beautiful Banff, Alberta.

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1. World Class Late Season Skiing/Snowboarding

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned back country shredder or a first time skier, there’s perfect terrain for all levels of experience.  If you don’t want to spend too much time travelling, you can hop on a shuttle bus to Norquay mountain 2 minutes from downtown.  If you’re looking for a bigger mountain experience Sunshine Village offers over 3000 skiable acres with uber advanced runs like Delerium Dive, to your basic green run  and is just 10 minutes outside Banff, or head another 25 minutes down the Trans-Canada Highway and hit up Lake Louise Resort.  The Banff National Park is truly blessed with 4 world class ski resorts (Nakiska, Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise) within a half hours drive and will absolutely blow any ski bums mind, especially anyone living east of the Rockies.

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2. Ever seen an Elk?

If you’re not from Banff, haven’t been to Banff and don’t hunt wild game in Alberta, you probably haven’t seen an elk; I know I’d never seen one before going there.  Renowned for it’s wildlife, the National Park in which the town of Banff is situated provides a sanctuary for many Rocky Mountain animals, but while bears, wolves and sheep can be quite shy, Elk are quite confident that no one will bother them.  If you stay in Banff for more than 1 day your are pretty much guaranteed to see a gang of elk bedded down in a field on the side of the highway, feeding on someones front lawn or just cruising down Banff Ave.  Just be careful cruising the back streets at night as you don’t want to run into a big bull.

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3.  Brilliant Winter Activities

Snowshoeing, dogsledding, nordic skiing, hockey and winter camping; if you’re not a skier but still enjoy being active in the winter, there’s no shortage of things to do in Banff.  What better way to spend a winters day than renting a set of cross country skis and heading up to Lake Louise to ski around the lake with the massive, glacier covered mountains as a backdrop.  The Fenlands (Banff’s new Recreation Centre) was completed just two years ago and features 2 NHL sized ice surfaces and the most picturesque curling club you’ve ever seen, using post and beam construction with plenty of windows to let the natural beauty of the outdoors into the facility.  CHE offers adult recreational tournaments there March 28 – 30, April 4 – 6, April 11 – 13 and April 25 – 27.

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4.  Mmmmmm…..Hot Springs

You’ll surely be looking for a way to relax and wind down, and while there are plenty of traditional Apres-ski experiences in the village, it’s recommended that you head up the hill and hit up the natural hot springs.  Against the backdrop of Banff’s spectacular alpine scenery, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is a modern facility that’s been visited by tourists for over a century.  It can often get very crowded with tourists in the summer months, but during the spring season you’ll get the benefits of relaxing in the naturally heated water in the crisp winter air with almost no one else around to interrupt the tranquility.

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5.  Shops, Sites and Snacks

As one of the most popular ski destinations in the world, Banff is one of the most visited cities in all of Canada, but not everyone who visits comes to ski.  During the day the main drag (Banff Ave) is packed with shoppers heading from one shop to the next looking for a new sweater, a perfect gift or a delicious piece of chocolate.  Though there’s definitely an influx of tourist shops featuring little statues with beavers dressed as Mounties, there’s also a number of wonderful art galleries with fine works depicting the scenic views associated with the town, such as the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or Bow Falls.  At night the town really comes to life with plenty of restaurants and bars to accommodate all tastes, whether you want to grab a burger at Banff Ave Brewing Company or some fine dining at Le Beaujelais.

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So if you haven’t already blown your winter vacation time, or even if you have but have a yearning to try something different, hop on a plane to Calgary and head to Banff National Park this spring to experience Canada like you never have before.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

MONT-TREMBLANT POND HOCKEY CHALLENGE

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DON’T DELAY..CALL OUR OFFICE AND SIGN-UP NOW! Bonjour and hello from Mont-Tremblant! 12 of a possible 32 Teams from Montreal, Ottawa area and all around Quebec  and Ontario are heading into the Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, February 21-23, 2014 for CHE’s 1st annual Pond Hockey Classic which highlights a 4 game guarantee starting Friday afternoon and ending Sunday noon…This is going to be “real hockey” just like when we were kids – only better. Picture this scene…6 rinks on Lake Ouimet, steps from the HOST HOTEL The Grand Lodge..Bring your skates, stick, shin pads and elbow pads (don’t forget your helmet) and walk from your hotel suite to the frozen lake, where you will see a zamboni preparing one of the glistening surfaces ..while walking that LONG 100 foot trek,  you can warm up by the outdoor fire on shore and after your game walk with your skates on hover to the “barn bar” for a cold one! In the background you can quickly look up to the back drop of beautiful Mont-Tremblant, a short 5 minute drive from our Pond Hockey Tournament…On Friday night around 7pm CHE has invited all the teams and guests to a rousing Meet and Greet party, with more beer, munchie platters and some great entertainment…

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CHE encourages you to bring your family or put 3 guys in one room as EACH ROOM is complete with 2 separate rooms (king and queen beds), a sitting area with a pull-out couch, 2 full bathrooms and a kitchenette for cooking options and entertaining…talk about spacious!  Minutes away from the Grand Lodge you can choose many other winter activities including cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, horse and sleigh rides and of course head to the mountain and do some skiing or shredding at Mont-Tremblant…

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In the evening we have spectacular nightlife at the town of St. Jovite, 5 minutes away, where you can enjoy the “Jutras Sports Bar”  or a more relaxed evening at “St. George” or Rock all night at “Jack and Johnnies”..of course if you want to go to the Village of Tremblant CHE is providing a complimentary bus shuttle on Saturday night where you can join the ski bums right at the base of the mountain and party all night at the Petite Caribou or Diable..what a party..

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For sure after this spectacular Mont-Tremblant Pond Hockey Classic is over on Sunday you will drive home exhilarated from the hockey and pumped about all that Tremblant has to offer. Don’t delay and call our office today to sign up your team of 6 (4 vs 4 format-with 2 players on the bench). CHE is determined to have 32 teams so we are offering an EARLY BIRD draw if you give your deposit by December 15th, 2013..Call to enquire and see you on the POND!

Paul Crowley
President of CHE and
Pond Hockey Director

Canada’s 2014 Men’s Olympic Roster

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The US quickly announced their team shortly after the Winter Classic, Sweden, Finland and Russia quietly released their line-ups on the internet as the week went on, and then there’s Canada.

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As of yesterday, the Team Canada roster was to be announced by 10:30 am.  By 10:30 am this morning, the roster was going to be announced at 11:00 am.  At 11:00 am, Steve Yzerman finally took the stage.  Team Canada did an amazing job of dragging out the announcement of the team, culminated by Mr. Yzerman’s extremely long winded introduction.  But finally, after 4 long years of anticipation, countless rosters and bubble men presented by the various sports news outlets, and plenty of office bets, the Team Canada roster was officially released in full by 11:42 am.

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With the depth of hockey talent available, there were many spots that were locked up well before the announcement, specifically in the goal tending department where all 3 selected (Price, Luongo, Smith) were expected to make the team.  There’s really only 2 players on the roster that caught me off guard; Dan Hamhuis and Steve Stamkos.  Hamhuis’s selection surprised me for no other reason than I had no idea he was even on the radar.  There are so many strong Canadian defensemen that I honestly didn’t think Hammer was even in contention, but as a big, strong defensive minded player, I think he’s a great pick and really rounds out the Canadian D as there’s plenty of fire power with Subban, Doughty and Weber.

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Most people had Stamkos on their line-up even though he suffered a broken leg less than 2 months ago and has barely skated since.  I think that most people assume that he’ll be back to full form by the time the games get going in February, but the likelihood of him going from a walking cast to competing at the level the entire country is expecting is a bit of a stretch.  My reasoning is not whether Stamkos has the necessary speed and skill to be on the Olympic team, he obviously has it in spades.  My concern is whether or not it’s worth assuming he’s going to be a full capacity in a month while leaving so many talented players to watch on TV.

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Speaking of players who didn’t make it, how about Stamkos’s teammate and 2010’s outside-looking-in man Martin St. Louis.  Everyone has had St. Louis on the bubble for the entire season as there’s a plethora of reasons why he should or shouldn’t make the team.  Pros: explosive speed and creativity with the puck which work perfectly on the Olympic ice, natural leader, has been top 10 in scoring in the NHL each year since 2010, has carried Tampa Bay since the departure of Stamkos (proving he doesn’t rely entirely on Stamkos), and plays for Yzerman!  Cons: he’d be the oldest player on the team (last 2 Canadian Olympic Golds have featured many players in their late 30’s/early 40’s), he’s not very big, doesn’t have the Team Canada traditional resume.  Right now he’s sitting 24th in the NHL in points and the only players ahead of him in points that aren’t headed to Sochi are Canadians Joe Thornton, Taylor Hall and Tyler Sequin.  Call me crazy, but on a team loaded with play making centermen, why they took Duchene or Benn (both behind him in points and Centermen) made it over Marty (a natural winger) is beyond me.

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The image above displays what might be considered Team Canada B, and although they probably wouldn’t do very well at this year’s Olympics, we’d be tickled pink if we could send this team to the World Championships at the end of the season.  So while I complain ademently about St. Louis being left off the roster again, our country is so deep in exceptional hockey talent that ultimately there’s no way to pick a team without leaving a few superstars and well deserving players at home.

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Overall it looks like Team Canada will be a strong contender to bring home the Olympic Gold in men’s hockey, and though they’ll have to compete against some pretty heavily star laden teams like Sweden, Russia and Team USA, I know I’m not alone in my excitement to watch a full tournament of all star teams compete for their country.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises