For the 2022/2023 season, the Ames Bantam Black team looked for a new "destination tournament" similar to the Squirt International tournament for the Squirt team. Prior to COVID, the Bantams attended a South Bend, IN tournament and had an amazing time visiting the Notre Dame campus, and even playing at Notre Dame's NCAA DI arena. When we inquired this year, the South Bend/Notre Dame tournament was returning to pre-COVID protocols - we immediately joined!
The week of the tournament, the team was notified that we would be placed in the AA division, instead of the A division we had registered for. Never to give up an opportunity for a challenge, we pushed forward! We ran into some stout competition, but we can now say we've played against Barrie, Ontario & the Carolina Hurricanes' Junior Canes teams! While we took some lumps on the scoreboard, the experience was irreplaceable and we can confidently say we never gave up & we improved our game over the weekend - not to mention getting to watch a Mens Notre Dame hockey game, tour campus, etc!
After the tournament, the tournament host (Hockey Time Productions) contacted us about a free additional tournament due to the incorrect placement level in South Bend. There's been discussion for a few years amongst some coaches and I about a true team-style trip - hotels/buses/parents staying separate/etc. We found the Buffalo Outdoor Classic, cancelled a different tournament, and started the wheels in motion to make this idea come to life. Without a whole team of folks, this doesn't happen for our athletes, but our Buffalo trip can be described best as: PERFECT!
Thank you to everyone who made this happen, in all facets. Definitely a trip of a lifetime with these growing athletes, and something future teams should consider!
Coach Matt, Coach Josh, Coach Adam, Coach Dalton, Manager Heather, Driver Joe
December: Bantam Orange takes 2nd place at JTs Slapshot tournament in Des Moines