Local atom teams ready to shine in tournament

Penticton atom hockey teams hosting squads from B.C. and United States this weekend

Action is expected to be good during the atom A and B development hockey tournament this weekend.

Fifteen teams, including Penticton Game Time and Penticton Speedway, will hit the ice at Memorial and McLaren Arena, the South Okanagan Events Centre and the Okanagan Hockey School rink.Brad Heintz, coach of Penticton Speedway, only wants to see his players work hard and have fun. He admits it’s better to win than lose, but said this is about the players developing their skills.

“Right now we’re working on positional play with the kids and passing,” said Heintz. “I look at the tournament as a good way to do that. We get four games in three days, it’s a great learning opportunity.”

Heintz laughed when asked if he hopes to see the players do as they have been shown.

“We certainly hope so,” he said. “From what I have seen they are improving quite a bit. I’m loving what I see so far. This is such a great age to watch the improvements through the season.”

Imri Togyi, coach of Penticton Game Time, said his team is excited to meet the stronger, bigger organizations.

“We expect to see a good level of competition from a number of teams represented from the southern part of the province,” said Togyi. “I know our other team is very excited. It’s a chance to showcase what we have been able to do so far.”

Heintz added he hopes people will come out to watch. He said people can expect to find great raffle tables, one which will be drawing an iPad. Among the teams playing will be Salmon Arm, Spokane, Kelowna Legends, Kelowna Capitals, Kamloops, Trail, Semiahmoo, Arbutus, Revelstoke, South Okanagan, Summerland and Burnaby Winter Club. The B division features six teams. Penticton Game Time opens the tournament with a game Friday against Salmon Arm in Memorial Arena at 5 p.m. Speedway has their first game against Summerland at McLaren Arena at 5:15 p.m. that evening.