Ex-NHL stars lead bantams into battle

Two men with Stanley Cup rings will coach their Colorado Thunderbirds at this weekend's bantam AAA tournament in Chilliwack.

Two former National Hockey League stars bring their minor hockey team to Chilliwack for this weekend’s International Challenge Cup bantam tournament.

Joe Sakic and Adam Foote coach the Colorado Thunderbirds, the only American team in the field. The two men were longtime teammates on the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, winning Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001.

Both have a son playing on the T-Birds and they called Chilliwack tournament organizer Roger Huitema to see if their team could come.

“I was like, ‘Uh, yeah, you’re in. I’ll find a spot for you, for sure,” Huitema laughed. “‘I don’t even know what your calibre is, but you’re in.’”

Colorado will clash with their Chilliwack hosts Saturday night  at Twin Rinks, with puck drop at 8:15 p.m.

“All we ask is that everyone respects the privacy of these two former NHLers,” Huitmena cautioned. “They are coming as parents and coaches, and are not looking for the limelight at all, I am sure.”

The tournament’s 16 team field includes six of the 10 projected top teams in Western Canada and is must-see viewing for scouts. Close to 80 talent evaluators filled the stands at last year’s tournament.

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