Kitchener – Yes They Did!


After 3 days of the most exciting and energetic special hockey tournament ever tournament chair John Thompson said it best -

Yes I Can
                     Yes We Can
                                            Yes We Did!
                                                                        and now Michigan
                               YES YOU CAN
The city of Kitchener welcomed the SHI teams with the same hospitality that makes SHI_Tourn_130314_0149
their Oktoberfest the biggest and best outside of Germany. From the host organizers, The Kitchener Minor Hockey Association to the title sponsor, The Kitchener Rangers everyone performed flawlessly. After hosting a major event like the Memorial Cup they made sure that every little detail was taken care of. And then they turned to the host club Kitchener Ice Pirates with help from supporting clubs Guelph Giants and Cambridge Ice Hounds to make sure that the spirit of Special Hockey filled the rinks. And did it ever.
The weekend started with the opening ceremonies, an SHI tradition reminiscent of the Olympics, held in the newly refurbished Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, affectionately known as "The Aud". The honorary chair of the tournament was retired NHL referee Bill McCreary who lead a roster of other notable NHL players and referees, such as Todd Warriner, Ray Scapinello and Al SHI_Tourn_130314_0162McDonough to serve as honorary captains for each attending club. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night was the tribute to Stompin Tom Connors and his most famous song known simply as "The Hockey Song".  Tom Connors had just passed away on March 6th. The Kitchener media, including the CTV network, local radio stations and newspapers were on hand daily informing everyone in the region about the festivities going on at the Aud.
And speaking of the Aud, every team got to play at least one game in this marvelous facility, complete with live video on the Jumbotron. Off to the side was the play by play banter of the tournament video producer. How he managed to memorize every player's name on every team is still a mystery, but it might explain why he also mis-pronounced almost every single one. But nobody minded because it made him all the more entertaining.
Then to top it all off was the final banquet. Over 2000 people packed the banquet halls of Bingeman's, Kitchener's mega entertainment complex. Jim Perkins, of the Capital City Condors was introduced as the new SHI president, and with the other formalities quicly dispatched the partying began. SHI_Tourn_130316_0053Leading the way was the Oktoberfest band led by Onkel Hans himself, the Oktoberfest mascot. The dance floor was packed and the party went on all night. The energy was unbelievable. This had to be the best closing party in SHI history.
The highlight of the evening, though, may very well have been the passing of the torch. An Olympic torch from the Vancouver Winter Games belonging to Pat Doherty, past president of the Ontario Hockey Association, was used to "pass the torch" from Kitchener to Michigan, next years host of the SHI tournament.SHIday3-004A
For more stories and videos go to the links below or go to the 2013 SHI Tournament Website.

Local Heroes - Volunteers of SHI 2013 -
CTV News

CTV News Video - Opening Day

Sunday March 17, 2013 - Waterloo Region Record

Saturday March 16, 2013 - Waterloo Region Record

Friday March 15, 2013 - Waterloo Region Record

Thursday March 14, 2013 - Kitchener Post

Wednesday March 13, 2013 - Waterloo Region Record

Friday February 15, 2013 - Kitchener Post