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SOUTH WESTERN ONTARIO SPORTS IS SPONSORED BY:

Annual Silver Stick qualifier Dec. 27-30

Get ready for four days of pure hockey excitement at the 40th annual Rotary Minor Hockey tournament, a Silver Stick International regional qualifier, Dec. 27-30 at the Stratford Rotary Complex, William Allman Memorial Arena and Dufferin Arena.

Teams from across Southern Ontario will take to the ice in this local end-of-year tradition, playing in eight Minor and Major divisions–ranging from Atom to Midget.
They’ll be competing for the Silver Stick regional banner –- plus the opportunity to advance to Silver Stick’s prestigious North American finals.

Adding nostalgic flair to the event will be memorabilia and photos from its inaugural year, including its original trophies, on display in the Rotary Complex’s Tim Taylor Lounge. The complex will also host an Egg Producers’ breakfast, featuring back bacon on a bun, Dec. 27 and 28 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The “Big Six” draw –- a highlight of the tourney since its founding –- will again be held for six prizes, including two Stratford Festival tickets, an iPod Touch, a Blackberry Playbook, and a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey signed by Dion Phaneuf. Draw tickets will be sold during the tournament for $2 or three for $5.

First year – 1973

The event came to life in 1973 when local Rotary Club president, Dr. John Pyper, approached the Stratford Minor Hockey Association with his concept of a jointly-operated hockey tournament to attract visitors to the city.

The idea has been a hit since then and in 1996, the tournament was awarded the distinction of being a Silver Stick qualifier.

Opening ceremonies will take place Dec. 27 at 5:15 p.m. in the RBC Arena at the Rotary Complex. Grant McPherson, who served on the first year’s executive committee, and John Wilson, who played in the first tourney, will deliver keynote remarks.

The finals will take place the morning of Saturday, Dec. 29 for Atom and Peewee divisions, and the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 30 for Bantam and Midget divisions.
Admission to all games is free and proceeds, as they have since the start, will be split evenly between Rotary and Stratford Minor Hockey.

Anyone wishing to lend memorabilia or photos to the anniversary display is asked to contact Gary Lingard at 519-273-0296 or garyl@wightman.ca.

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