Kevin Anderson


Over the Christmas holidays, the Kapuskasing Ice Hawks atom rep club participated in the 20th Annual Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa, finishing second among in a field of 17 highly competitive Major Atom “A” teams.

“It was awesome. It was quite the experience,” said co-head coach Sebastien Lessard. “The kids exceeded expectations, but they’ve been doing that all season long. They’re an amazing group of young players.”

After the round-robin portion of play saw the Kap club go 2-1-1, the Hawks found themselves in seventh place, just barely making it into a quarter-final position.

“The caliber of hockey was really high and everyone had a chance to beat everyone else,” said Lessard. “Out of 17 teams, 15 teams won at least one of their four games. Only the Chinese team went undefeated and blew everybody they played out of the water.”

In the quarter-final, the Model Towners would face a Nepean squad, which had felled the Hawks by a 4-3 score during the round-robin.

This game would provide a much different result, as the Kap club left no doubts who the better team was in an 8-3 drubbing of their opponents.

“They were the second-place team heading into the championship brackets,” said Lessard. “That was a big win for us.”

From there, it was on to face the Mississippi Thunder Kings in the semis.

“They were leading 2-0 but we came back to win 4-2,” said Lessard. “Winning that game for us was almost like winning a championship. It meant that they were going to get to play on the same ice as they had watched the Ottawa Senators play on the night before. When we told them the game would also be live streamed through the NHL Network, that was the cherry on top.”

Lessard said the support for the Kap club was phenomenal.

“As soon as people found out they could stream the game, our phones didn’t stop vibrating with messages of support on Facebook and Messenger… even during the game!” he chuckled. “After the game was the same story. Some people had sent messages that they had watched from Mexico, Florida etc… and there were a lot of people from Kap in Ottawa, who came to support the kids. It was amazing.”

Despite a 4-2 loss to the China Winter Sports Hunters in the final, Lessard said the incredible experience was still be reflected in the team’s players nearly two weeks later.

“We just had our first practice since the tournament and the kids are still beaming,” he commented. “And we as a coaching staff and parents can’t express what this experience has been like for us. The kids took us on a great ride and so incredibly proud of them.”

This tournament said Lessard, is all in preparation for the atom Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) championships, which Kapuskasing will host in the spring.

“We are using every game, every tournament as a building block, that next step toward the OHFs,” he commented. “We are challenging them each and every day to take their game to a new level so that they’re ready for the provincial championships and so far they’re exceeding all expectations.”

The Bell Capital Cup, formerly the Bell Canada Cup is an annual ice hockey tournament staged in Ottawa, Ontario between Christmas and New Years It is open to youth teams aged 9–13, from all over the world. The tournament attracts over 500 teams annually was named by Guinness World Records as “the world’s largest hockey tournament”.  Proceeds from the tournament help to fund local minor hockey programs in the Ottawa area.