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'Electric' atmosphere at Rotary Place as OHF championships begin

'It's been a great experience. There is a pretty upbeat atmosphere in the rink,' says U15 Terriers captain

The 2024 U15 A Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) championship tournament is underway at Rotary Place in Orillia.

The tournament opened Friday morning with a 3-3 tie between the Temiskaming Shores Puckhounds and Woodstock Jr. Navy Vets. The Woolwich Wildcats defeated the Copper Cliff Reds 3-1, and the Jr. Navy Vets downed the hometown Millwood Logistics Orillia Terriers 3-1.

Event co-chair Andy Long says the competition has been fierce.

"The games have been really close," he said. "We hope that kind of competition will continue. It's good to see."

He says the atmosphere at the tournament has been "electric."

"The fans here are pretty passionate," he said. "This tournament crowns an Ontario champion, so it's pretty loud and there are a lot of proud parents in the stands."

Rotary Place was a busy community hub during the first games of the weekend.

"The fan base has been great," Long said. "We've had a pile of people come through the doors. It's a pretty exciting time here at the arena."

A weekend pass to the tournament costs $25, or $15 for seniors, which includes a program. Single-day tickets cost $10, or $6 for seniors. Children 10 and younger with an adult get in for free.

Long hopes the community will continue to support the tournament throughout the weekend.

"If you want to see some good hockey at a reasonable price, it's happening here right now," he said. "This is the second time ever that a single A Orillia minor hockey program has hosted this. It's a pretty big deal."

Terriers captain Caden Cheslock believes his team has a chance to win gold this weekend.

"I think we play with a strong work ethic," he said. "We've played Woolwich this season, so we have some experience playing teams at this level."

Cheslock, 15, says hosting the prestigious tournament has been "pretty cool."

"It's been a great experience. There is a pretty upbeat atmosphere in the rink," he said.

This weekend, the Terriers are using the Jr. C Orillia Terriers' locker room.

"It's really cool," Cheslock said. "I love that we all have our own booth. It really makes it feel like this is our home arena."

Terriers starting goalie Sam Weaver says the key to winning the tournament is staying calm.

"We've played in big tournaments like this before," he said. "We just have to play our game and help each other out."

Win or lose, Weaver says the tournament is "all for fun."

"We aren't really letting the moment get to us. We are just trying to soak it all in and enjoy it," he said.

Weaver, 14, says the tournament makes him feel like he's playing in the big leagues.

"It's cool walking into the arena and seeing all the vendors here," he said. "This has been a good experience."

A full schedule of events and more information about the OHF championship tournament, including results, can be found on the event's Facebook and Instagram pages.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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