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Canadian team ready to play in Mitchell bantam tourney

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The St. Vital Victorias hockey team will travel from Winnipeg, Canada, to Mitchell to provide a little international flavor at the Mitchell Marlins bantam hockey tournament this weekend.

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The team from Winnipeg will make the eight- hour, 30-minute trip to Mitchell today and opens the tournament against the Marlins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Mitchell Activities Center.

“I think it is going to be a good experience for the fans and the kids as well,” tournament director Al Huls said. “This is good for the community. The teams that are going to be coming here are going to be using our restaurants, hotels and seeing what the community has to offer.”

Huls, who’s been a part of the Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association for seven years, said this is the first time the bantam tournament has hosted a team from Canada since he’s been involved. He added the bantam team hosts one tournament a year.

The four-team tournament will be played on both sheets of ice and also features one squad from Fairmont, Minn., and another from Omaha, Neb.

St. Vital Victorias competes in one tournament per year that is a day’s drive away from Winnipeg, according to coach Robert Remillard. In the past, St. Vital Victorias has competed in Phoenix, Ariz., and Chicago.

“We were just looking for a good tournament to participate in,” Remillard said. “We have been in big tournaments, but I like smaller tournaments because they are fun for the team.”

The Victorias are 10-8-1 on the season and are preparing for league playoffs. They compete at the AA Minor Bantam level in Winnipeg and Remillard said playoffs are set to begin in a couple weeks.

“We are looking to compete really well at this tournament,” Remillard said. “We just want to have fun and have a good bonding experience for all of our players and their families.”

A total of 47 people, including players, coaches, parents and managers, will travel to the tournament this weekend. The tournament begins Friday and concludes Sunday.

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