The 13th edition of the USA-Canada Cup kicked off in Kitchener but this year the local hockey tournament looks different.
The event, hosted by the Waterloo Girls Minor Hockey Association, features teams at the U15, U18 and U22 levels.
Before the pandemic, the event would see hundreds of girls travel from south of the border to play.
This year there are no American teams visiting. Instead, there are 78 Canadian teams from as far as British Columbia.
“Anytime you play a team out of your division. Where you never see them play before. It’s a great opportunity for the kids,” said Chad Campbell, head coach with the KW Rangers.
The Rangers got off to a fast start, taking a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Gloucesters in their first game of the tournament.
“It’s a development year. So I think just everyone is here and wants to get better. So they’re always working hard on and off the ice. Which is good to be around,” said team captain Katina Duscio.
The head coach said the tournament is a unique opportunity for players to compete in front of scouts from the NCAA, U SPORTS and Hockey Canada.
“The scouts like it because they’re seeing so many teams over so many days. So they don’t have to travel. They just have to travel to two or three rinks,” said Campbell.
15-year-old Kitchener player Caitlin Kraemer is hoping for her big break soon.
“I want to try to go to the states and play D1,” Kraemer said.
The tournament runs through Sunday, Dec 5.