Pee Wee hockey fan Rascal the AWG raven prepares to welcome all the teams to Soldotna.
Families and young hockey players from all over Alaska traveled to the Kenai Peninsula last week for the Pee Wee Tier II Hockey State Tournament held at the Soldotna Sports Center. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post # 10046 members, Robert Peterson, Herb Stettler, Roy Gordon and Sam Huddleson presented the National Colors as KPHA Ice Hawk defenseman Brady Perkins sang the national anthem during opening ceremonies Wednesday night.
According to KPHA team manager Phil Sonnichsen, eleven teams and some 200 hockey players accompanied by moms and dads, brothers and sisters, granddads and grand moms, aunts and uncles and a huge number of fans participated in the statewide competition. At opening ceremonies one hockey fan was overheard saying, "Hockey may get faster but it just doesn't get any better than the Pee Wees."
In all 28 hockey games were played leading up the championship game on Sunday. "We got the tournament here because our state representative lobbied long and hard to bring it here, and we are very appreciative of all the folks from Fairbanks, Anchorage, and around Alaska who came down to visit us and support their teams at the tournament," said Sonnichsen. The tournament was a huge community effort, "As the host association the KPHA got together with many, many business members in our community to come with the funds for everything required to put on this great tournament," added Sonnichsen.
Another visitor and huge hockey feathered fan, Rascal the 2006 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) mascot made an appearance during the tournament's opening ceremonies and even took a few shots on goal. According to AWG sports director Chris Hayes, many of the Pee Wee age group hockey players at the tournament will become eligible to try out next year for Team Alaska who will represent the United States and Alaska at the 2006 Arctic Winter Games to be held on the Kenai Peninsula.
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