Utica Jr. Comets to play in Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament
The Utica Jr. Comets team headed to the Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament got a few pointers on hockey — and French — from a pair of their full-sized Comets counterparts over the weekend as a sendoff.
The 2010 birth year Jr. Comets team will head north to participate in the 63rd edition of the tournament. There will be 120 teams participating, coming from 15 countries including the first team from Kazakhstan in the tournament’s history. Teams will come from England, Austria, Canada, South Korea, United States, France, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine. It’s also the tournament’s debut of an all-girl division, made up of 12 teams from Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
There are 20 teams in the Comets’ division. The team departs Thursday and plays its first game Friday against Team Romania Wolves, the 9:15 a.m. game to open the day’s schedule in the division. The Comets will be there for eight or nine days, depending on how successful they are, noted coach Shawn Weiman.
It is, Weiman said, “a once-in-a-lifetime tournament,” similar to 12U baseball at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
On Saturday, the players had a visit from two members of the AHL Utica Comets, Nick Hutchison and Sam Laberge. Hutchison, who played in the Quebec tournament as a youth player, had some insights for the players. Laberge gave a quick language lesson in French to offer the young players some help when they are in the city where both languages are spoken.
“We’ll go there and try to give it our best and enjoy the moment,” said Weiman. His son Connor is on the team.
The team has a few connections to the AHL Comets, including Samuel Cull, whose father Trent was the coach for Utica from 2017 to 2021, as well as Nick Brewer, son of current Comets assistant coach Andrew Brewer. Utica University men’s hockey head coach Gary Heenan assists with this team, which includes his son Jack.
One thing the players talked about Saturday was the tradition of trading pins. Each team brings pins to trade to others, with the goal of collecting as many as they can, maybe even one from every team.
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