'Tis the season for presents and eggnog and holiday cheer, but when it comes to the local AAA hockey talent, 'tis also the season to hit the road for out-of-town tournament play.
The largest contingent is competing at the Toronto Marlboros International Holiday Classic, with no less than five local squads taking part in the annual tradition.
Action began on Dec. 27 for the entire local crew, with all entrants ensured four games over the span of three days
The Nickel City Minor Midget Sons were solid defensively, but could not pull the trigger at the other end of the rink, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Markham Waxers.
The Sons have a pair of games on the slate for today, facing both the Kitchener Jr. Rangers and Burlington Eagles.
The Major Bantam Nickel City troops got two games under their belts on Dec. 27, emerging without a victory.
The Sons were beaten by both the Don Mills Flyers (1-0) and the Clarington Toros (5-2), looking to hit the win column when they face Team Comcast in Game 3.
The Sudbury Major Bantam Wolves kept it respectable out of the gate, falling 3-1 to the Mississauga Rebels.
Coach Trevor Blanchard and company are hopeful that a similar effort today against both the Hamburg Hawks and Peterborough Petes will translate into a pair of wins.
The Sudbury Minor Bantam Wolves knew they were in tough and they were right. Team Comcast drubbed the locals 10-0 before Sudbury bounced back in a much-closer loss, defeated 5-3 by the Hamilton Huskies.
Meanwhile, the Nickel City Minor Bantam Sons earned a split on Dec. 27, blanked 7-0 by the host Toronto Marlboros before knocking off the Barrie Colts by a final score of 4-1.
The Sons are back in action today, battling the Suffolk PAL Hockey crew.
About an hour's drive down the QEW, the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves are facing a double-edged sword.
Coach Peter Michelutti Jr. and company have tightened things up considerably, keeping both games close as they kicked off the Cogeco Golden Horseshoe Midget AAA Tournament with a tie and a loss.
Surrendering just two goals against, the Nickel Capital Wolves scored only once, playing to a 1-1 draw with the Toronto Marlboros before being edged 1-0 by the North York Rangers.
Finally, the Bell Capital Cup dropped the puck to start play in their holiday mainstay one day later, with the Sudbury Minor Peewee AAA Wolves, the Nickel City Peewee AA Rebels and the Copper Cliff Atom AA Redmen all taking to the ice today.