While most people will spend their Christmas morning unwrapping gifts huddled around a Christmas tree, four Williams Lake boys will be hopping on a bus to Calgary for a hockey tournament.
Brothers Chase Dubois and Daine Dubois and cousins Colton Thomas and Trey Thomas, all players on the Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, will attempt to repeat as champions at the international Mac’s AAA Midget World Invitational Hockey Tournament.
While no small feat to win, all four and their coach, Trevor Sprague, are heading into the tournament with confidence, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
Aside from the business end of the tournament, some of their family members will meet them there on Christmas day where the team has a catered turkey dinner planned at the Westin hotel they’re staying at.
“They’ve got their secret Santas all packed up and ready to go,” Sprague said, adding spending Christmas day with the team is a great way to build team chemistry.
For Chase and Colton, this will be their third trip to the Mac’s Tournament. For Trey and Daine, this will be their first time attending the annual event.
“Being away from home is different, for sure, but you’re still in the Christmas spirit,” Chase said.
As the defending champions, the team finds itself in the toughest pool in the tournament alongside the Calgary Bisons, the Lloydminster Bobcats, the California Avalanche and the Yorkton Terriers.
“It’s going to be tough because every team wants to play their best, but I think we have a good team this year and can repeat,” Colton said. “Our team’s been doing really well lately and we’ve just got to keep up our good play and we’ll do well.”
Chase said winning the tournament last year was “the best experience of my life.”
“We’re going up against the top teams so they’re going to be gunning for us,” he said.
The Cougars (17-6-3) are coming off two wins during the weekend versus the Great Vancouver Canadians and are now tied for the top spot in the BCMMHL with the Valley West Hawks.
The team stopped in Williams Lake for a fun, team-building three-on-three tournament at Total Ice Training Centre on Friday, Dec. 18, prior to the weekend’s results.
“The guys need to come to the tournament and be ready,” Sprague said. “Chase and Colton, they’re some of the best leaders in our room. I love the tournament. It’s an unbelievable experience for families, as well.”