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New Ontario AAA bantam champion will be crowned this week in Rama

North Central Predators a contender; will open action Monday against Thunder Bay

Ontario’s top bantam teams will skate into our region this week as they look to capture the 2018 Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Bantam AAA Championship.

The tournament at the Rama MASK features the reigning champions from the six different regions of the province in addition to the host team, the North Central Predators.

Action will begin Monday morning at the MASK and wrap up Friday with the gold-medal game at 7:30 p.m., followed by a closing ceremony.

The Predators will kick off their bid for an OHF crown Monday at noon when they face off against the Thunder Bay Kings. Other teams at the event include the Don Mills Flyers, Whitby Wildcats, Waterloo Wolves, Nickel City Sons and Ottawa Valley Titans.

“For kids in this age group, this is like their Memorial Cup,” said Predators president Roger Crandell. “We’re pretty excited about this because it’s a huge event that is great for our organization, great for Rama, great for Orillia and, of course, great for our talented young hockey players.”

When the Predators won the right to host the provincial tournament, they had hoped to earn their spot in the event, but they fell just short last weekend at the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) championship where they went undefeated but had to settle for a well-earned bronze medal.

While they did not garner gold, they are legitimate contenders at this week’s event and have had an excellent season since the moment it began.

The McLean and Dickey Insurance major bantam Predators finished atop the western division of the ETA standings after they compiled an impressive 22-10-2 regular-season record. During those 34 games, the Preds scored 150 goals, while allowing just 94.

They have continued their strong play in the playoffs, ousting the Ajax-Pickering Raiders and the Quinte Red Devils. At the OMHA championship, the Preds defeated Hamilton in triple-overtime to win the bronze medal.

Heading into the much-anticipated OHF championship, the Rama squad is unbeaten in the post-season thanks to a 6-0-1 record in the ETA playoffs and a 2-0-2 record at the OMHA championship.

In addition to the games this week at the MASK, there will be opening ceremonies, vendors throughout the arena during the event in addition to a banquet and closing ceremony slated for Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club.

Orillia native and former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Bill Watters is the event’s honorary chair.

All games will be played at the MASK. Admission price is $10 per game or $5 per senior/student. You can also purchase a day pass for $15 ($10 for seniors/students) or a Monday to Thursday pass for $50 ($35 for students/seniors) and a championship day pass for Friday’s action for $15 ($10 for seniors/students.)

For up-to-date information and scores, follow along on Twitter: @2018BantamChmpnshps. You can also check out the tournament page on PointStreak where game summaries will be updated in real time. The games will be livestreamed on


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Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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