U18A Cougars to host invitational tournament

LIVERPOOL - The Queens County Minor Hockey Association (QCMHA) Cougars U18A team will host the first George Fletcher Invitational tournament March 7-9 at Queens Place Emera Centre.

The tournament was named after Fletcher, a long-time teaching assistant at Liverpool Regional High School and coached many teams in baseball and hockey.

He died at the age of 77 in September 2023.

Cougars' Head Coach Ian Kent said the team had a break in their schedule prior to the March break, so decided to put together an invitational tournament. He, along with other team organizers then want to honour someone, that had recently passed, and name the tournament after them.

"George was always such a vibrant member of our community and he is missed. Everyone has nothing but positive things to say about him. It was a natural choice and there has been a great response from our community," said Kent.

"He was a TA in the school and has been involved in our community since I was a kid. He always worked hard to make relationships and support the kids in our community and always coached and supported our players and teams at every level."

The tournament will feature six-teams from the North, South and Central hockey leagues: West Hants, West Colchester, Truro, Bedford, and Chebucto, and of course the host club that has had an impressive season so far and has had a great start heading into the playoffs.

The team finished the 15-game regular season in the South Division with a 14-1 record, good enough for first place in the six-team South Division and tied for first overall in the league. They are currently involved in the round-robin league playoffs and won their first two games.

"We're having a good year. We have a group of boys that have been playing together for a long time," said Kent. "Like a lot of small areas we have this one option at this age. There was a bit of a baby boom for hockey players in the 2007 year and we're lucky to have a nice pocket of talented hockey kids and their excited about finishing their last couple of years playing in front of their home community."

He gave the example of team captain, Koen Shand, who has played Major Bantam hockey and with the South Shore Midget AAA Mustangs. But decided this year to return to his local club to play out his final year.

The team does have a busy few weeks. This past weekend they were scheduled to play their third and fourth playoff games. This weekend, Feb. 23-25, they are heading to the annual Summerside Capitals tournament.

They will then play cross-over league semifinal games with winners heading to the Day of Champions hosted at Queens Place Emera Centre March 24.

They will also play in the Joe Lamontagne Memorial Tournament held in Cole Harbour March 15-17.

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