Popular Atom Fiesta hockey tournament returns for 43rd consecutive year this weekend

By on March 15, 2017
The SOMHA Atoms will be playing their first game Friday afternoon at the Sun Bowl Arena in the 41st Annual Atom Fiesta. They will play their second game Friday evening at 7:45 p.m. following the opening ceremonies, which are set to begin at 7 p.m. (Richard McGuire file photo)

The SOMHA Sun Devils Atom Development team will be playing their first game Friday morning at the Sun Bowl Arena in the 43rd Annual Atom Fiesta. They will play their second game Friday evening at 7:45 p.m. following the opening ceremonies, which are set to begin at 7 p.m. (Richard McGuire file photo)

A minor hockey tournament that was organized to celebrate the opening of the Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos is still going strong 43 years later.

The 43rd Annual Osoyoos Atom Fiesta hockey tournament is now one of the longest running minor hockey tournaments in the entire province.

A total of 14 teams – seven in Tier II and seven in Tier III – will compete in this year’s tournament which kicks off Friday morning at the Sun Bowl Arena as well as the Oliver Arena.

The South Okanagan Minor Hockey Association (SOMHA) Sun Devils Atom Development team will be the host team.

The Sun Devils will kick off the tournament hosting Spokane Friday at 10:15 a,m. at the Sun Bowl Arena.

They will play their second game at 7:45 p.m. against Tri-Cities following the official opening ceremonies at the Sun Bowl Arena.

The Sun Devils will continue their busy weekend at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday against Moses Lake at the Sun Bowl Arena and will finish off the round-robin portion of the tournament Saturday at 5:30 p.m. against Cranbrook, once again at the Sun Bowl Arena.

Campbell River, Penticton and Cranbrook will be the other teams in the Tier II division.

Competing in the Tier III division will be teams from Princeton, Kimberly, Williams Lake, Saanich, Quesnel, Fernie and Sicamous.

Playoff games in both divisions will begin early Sunday morning with the finals in both divisions set to be played at the Sun Bowl Arena at 12:45 in the Tier III division and 2:30 p.m. in the Tier II division.

Teams from hundreds of miles away are coming to this year’s tournament as many teams plan an extended stay in and around Osoyoos as part of the Atom Fiesta.

The Sun Bowl Arena is usually packed to near capacity for the opening ceremonies of the Atom Fiesta and it’s expected there will be another full house early Friday evening.

With so many teams travelling from outside the community every year, the Atom Fiesta has traditionally provided a nice economic boost to the community as dozens of players, coaches and family members stay in local hotels and motels and eat at local restaurants and pubs.

Hockey fans are invited to take in the action all weekend in Osoyoos and Oliver. All games are free of charge. Opening ceremonies begin Friday at 7 p.m.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

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