Girls to play in boys’ tourney

This weekend’s annual Tom Thumb tournament will set a precedent as a girls team will compete with the boys for the first time in tourney play.
“To my knowledge, this will be the first time,” said John Pierce, co-coach of the Skates and Blades Atom girls’ team, which will be among the 14 to compete here this weekend.
“The girls really appreciate this as a tremendous opportunity to finish off our season,” he added.
The team had to do a lot to get that opportunity, which included garnering approval from the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association and authorization from the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association, as well as making sure other local coaches were fine with the idea.
“We had no problem playing the girls [this weekend],” said Food Town Fury co-coach Ken Sisco. “We’ve played them before and they’re about at the same level of the other teams.”
The girls, part of the seven-year-old Fort Frances Girls’/Women’s Hockey Association, have played six games against local teams in exhibition play this season.
Pierce said while the main point of the whole tournament is to have fun, he expected the boys may turn it up a notch against his team.
“I think maybe the boys feel more compelled to beat the girls,” he admitted. “For us, we’re just looking to have some fun and get a chance to play more games.”
The field also will include the five host teams—Times Tigers, West End Motors, Taggs, the Fury, and Skates and Blades (boys)—as well as two teams from Emo (the OPP and Rockets).
Teams from Kenora, Dryden, Red Rock, and Thunder Bay also will be on hand.
Round-robin action begins Friday morning and runs through Saturday evening. Finals in the ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D’ divisions are slated for Sunday morning.
Afterwards, the Tom Thumb house league will hold a wind-up at the auditorium from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Fans can support the local teams by buying tickets ($5 for a sheet of 25) for a penny auction, with various prizes up for grabs. A separate draw for an “Easton Z-Air” roller hockey bag, with tickets going for $1 each, also will be held.
Adult weekend passes cost $10, seniors’ passes are $6, a day pass is $5, and kids under-16 can get in for free.