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Orillia to become 'hockey town' in April as host for OHF championship

'At this age level, it's the best hockey you will see,' says organizer of April 19-21 event that will be hosted at twin ice pads of Rotary Place
Brad Carnahan, left, and Andy Long, are bringing the 2024 U15 A OHF championship tournament to Orillia this spring. The event will be held at Rotary Place April 19-21.

The 2024 U15 A Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) championship tournament is skating into Orillia this spring.

The event, co-chaired by Andy Long and Brad Carnahan, will feature the five best U15 A rep hockey teams in Ontario playing in a Memorial Cup-style tournament from April 19 to 21 at Rotary Place in west Orillia. 

"When I floated the idea of this out to the parents, we received a huge response," Long said. "I love organizing this kind of stuff, so it was a fit."

This will be the second time Orillia will host such a tournament. Carnahan organized the U17 A OHF Championship tournament at Rotary Place in 2015.

"Orillia is known as a hockey town," Long said. "This will be a great experience for the kids."

Long says the OHF championship is unlike any tournament the players have competed in before.

"It's first class," Long said. "Everything is over and above, including a big dinner and banquet before the tournament starts."

Already, 105 hotel rooms have been booked throughout Orillia for the tournament, providing a "massive" economic boost to the community.

"The restaurants will be full," Long predicted. "We are bringing over 100 hockey players, coaches, and parents to town."

As part of hosting the tournament, the Orillia Terriers U15 A team will automatically earn the right to be one of the five teams who compete for the coveted OHF title.

They will be put to the test against the top two teams from northern Ontario, one from southwestern Ontario, and one from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.

"We are a good team," said Long, who is also the manager of the U15 team. "We can always compete against the best teams and are currently tied for first in the York Simcoe Minor Hockey League."

For the players who compete in the tournament, Carnahan says it will be "the crown of their minor hockey career."  

"When I see the kids from the 2015 tournament, even eight years later, this is what they talk about the most," he said. "The Orillia team was fortunate that year to go undefeated in the round robin and lose in a tight 4-3 game in the finals."

Carnahan says the OHF championship is "an incredibly exciting tournament."

"At this age level, it's the best hockey you will see," he said, noting that weekend passes will be sold at the door for $30, or $12 for a day pass.

The tournament comes with a hefty bill for the organizers who must pay for the ice time and costs for the banquet. Numerous sponsors, including Jaybre Insurance, the primary sponsor, have come forward to help.  

"It's been overwhelming the amount of support that has come from the community to put this together," Long said. "It's amazing to have the community's backing on this thing."   

Long and Carnahan have also had the support of volunteers such as Jess Willison, the head of programming for the tournament.  

"She's been first class with this whole thing," Long said. "She's collecting images from the sponsors and doing up a great brochure."

The organizers need more volunteers for the weekend of the tournament for various duties such as working the gate. If you would like to sponsor the tournament or volunteer, you can contact Long at 705-323-5300.

Long encourages local hockey fans to stay posted for the tournament schedule and more details about the teams and players involved, which will soon be available here


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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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