Desert Cup tournament wraps up in Las Vegas
Some of North America’s best 2001, 2002 and 2003-born hockey players competed for gold in the 2016 Desert Cup championship games at the Las Vegas Ice Center in Nevada on July 9.
The Desert Cup is an elite AAA tournament hosted during the first week of July every year in Las Vegas. With talented players, guest coaches, and team mentors representing all areas of North America, the Desert Cup is quickly earning a reputation as one of the best and most competitive Bantam and Pee Wee development tournaments.
After a week of intense competition, Team Can-Am (2001/2002 Division) and Team Atlantic (2003 Division) were awarded gold medals.
The third annual tournament saw over 120 top players compete in Sin City from July 4-9. Players travelled from nearly every region to attend the select tournament – from Canadian and Northeastern U.S. hockey hotbeds to emerging markets including Nevada, Arizona, and beyond.
In addition to the team awards, several players were recognized for their individual accomplishments during the week-long showcase, including:
1. Top Forwards: Hunter Strand (Anchorage, Ak.) & Greg Spitznagel (Summit, N.J.)
2. Top Defensemen: Mark Gordon (Tempe, Ariz.) & Roman Schmidt (Ottawa, Ont.)
3. Top Goalies: Hayden Williamson (Oakville, Ont.) & Dixon Grimes (Belleville, Ont.)
4. Championship Game MVPs: Erik Atchison (Las Vegas) & Jack Slayton (Oyster Bay, N.Y.)
5. Bronze Medal Game MVPs: Camdyn Barber (2001/02 – Portland, Ore.) & Danny Minnehan (Cypress, Calif.)
“The 2016 Desert Cup was another fine example of the rapid growth of ice hockey in North America,” commented founder Brad Bricknell. “I’d like to thank the city of Las Vegas and the LVIC for helping us in our goal of developing the next generation of elite hockey players.”
In addition to a high level of competition on the ice, players were treated to personal instruction from tournament guest coaches including former NHL stars Valeri Bure, Derrick Smith and Eric Lacroix, pro players Noel Rubin and Jason Payne, and top junior hockey executives Mike Oke, Jake Grimes and Dino Caputo. Each team was also assigned a mentor, including current junior hockey standouts Josh Allan, Jake Smith, Marcus Crawford, Jake Bricknell, Ryan Heeps, Matt Latin and Troy Timpano.