Mac’s Tournament cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

One of the biggest hockey tournaments in Western Canada will not be taking place this year.

The organizers of the Mac’s AAA Hockey Tournament, which takes place annually from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 in Calgary, announced on Tuesday that this season’s event would not be held due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The social responsibility in regards to the safety of the participants, volunteers, spectators and facility staff is one of the prime factors in this decision,” Mac’s Tournament chairman Larry Herbison said in a statement that was posted on the event’s website.

“The challenges for international teams, Western Canadian teams, and associated hotel and team logistics while maintaining the current guidelines associated with COVID-19 could not be met to ensure the safety of everyone.”

The event, which features Under-18 programs from across Canada and also has international squads take part, was first held in 1978.

The Prince Albert Mintos have traveled to the event on multiple occasions and reached the quarter-final round this past season.

The Calgary Buffaloes won last year’s final by a score of 6-2 over the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Around the WHL

Forwards Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice will not be heading overseas after all.

Swedish third division side Karlskrona HK announced on Monday morning that the deals that they had signed earlier this month with the two players did not get approval from their respective WHL clubs.

Both players are eligible to be selected in next month’s NHL Draft, with Greig being a potential first round pick.

Incoming Regina Pats forward Connor Bedard is training in Sweden with the HV71 junior program but is not expected to play in any games for the club.

Draisaitl Honoured

Leon Draisaitl is the first Prince Albert Raiders alumni to be named the most valuable player in the National Hockey League.

After leading the league in scoring during the 2019-20 campaign with 110 points in 71 games, the Edmonton Oilers forward received the Hart Memorial Trophy on Monday as the league concluded their year-end awards prior to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It’s a huge honour and all I can say is a huge thank you to my friends, family and the Edmonton Oilers, along with the city of Edmonton,” Draisaitl said in an interview with Oilers great Wayne Gretzky that was posted on the league’s social media pages.

“Without those people, this would never have happened.”

Draisaitl, who is also the first-German born player to win the award, recieved 91 first place votes to beat out Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers for the award.

He also beat out the pair for the Ted Lindsay Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in the league and is voted on by the members of the NHLPA.

The other major award winners that were announced on Monday were Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators (Norris Trophy – best defenceman), Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets (Vezina Trophy – best goaltender) and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche (Calder Trophy – best first-year player).