LA to host Canadian hockey team Thursday

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By The Staff

Can you say road trip?

A Canadian high school hockey team from Kenora, Ontario, made the 1,500-mile journey to take part in the Taos Tournament this weekend.

The Canadians, though, are making a little side trip.

On Thursday morning, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers will play host to the Saints of St. Thomas Aquinas at 10:15 a.m.

Los Alamos also will take part in the Taos Tournament but for now, it is focused on its Canadian visitors.

According to the Kenora newspaper, the Kenora Daily Miner and News, the idea for the trip came from Saints coach Travis Batters. He and school board trustee Mike Faveau were in Northern New Mexico a few years back and made some contacts.

According to the newspaper, Batters said they looked at possibly attending the tournament last season, but said it was too late for proper planning.

The whole team and their parents have worked on some fundraising to help out and Batters said there was a “buy in” with several families making plans to travel to Taos to support the Saints at the tournament.

Along with the exhibition game against Taos, the tournament guarantees the Saints a total of four games Friday and Saturday in Taos with the possibility of two more on Sunday.

According to the Kenora Daily Miner and News, Batters said  teams that have gone to OFSAA (the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ Boys A/AA hockey championships) have had more success if they’ve played a variety of opponents during the year. Batters said the Saints, in 2010-11 when they earned a provincial berth and won one game, took part in a variety of high school tournaments that season.

“We look forward to a successful tournament,” Batters told the Kenora Daily Miner and News. “We watched some of the games from the State championship on the internet last year and they looked comparable.”

The St. Thomas Aquinas’ boys hockey club took top honors at the AA Raiders Tournament in Killarney, Manitoba with a 4-0 record last month. They were 3-1 regular season play.

 The Hilltoppers have a 6-1 record and sit in third place in their league. The Toppers will face LaCueva, Cibola and Coronado and there is a good chance they will face the Canadian team, as well.