I have to say that the tireless work put in by Kevin and Denise Wilson are one of the major reasons why this tournament runs so well. They put the vast majority of the Re/Max Cup together, including prizes and awards, and they deserves some kudos off the top. Well done, Kevin and Denise, in putting together this awesome tournament, and thank you for making it so enjoyable for both the players and the fans.
The Mob, who are the three-time defending champions, return this year to defend their dynasty. They have a pile of talent on their roster, and will be tough to dethrone again this year. Being a veteran team, The Mob know what it takes to win, and have the skill to make that happen in all zones. Goaltending is always a major part of the story with The Mob as well as they routinely get MVP-quality netminding. Because of their dynasty, The Mob should be the favorite to win the whole thing once again. They'll play in Pool A.
Shake 'n Bake, who were runners-up last year, are back to try to knock the The Mob off their perch once more. Like The Mob, there is ample talent and skill on their bench, and they always get clutch goaltending when they need it. They're young, they're hungry, and they're getting sick of silver. Shake 'n Bake will out-work, out-hustle, and show all the doggedness needed to be the champions. They'll play in Pool B, and they could be the money pick to upset the The Mob if they meet.
Pool A will also feature Those Guys... Again, a pile of blue-collar, hard-working individuals who battle hard. They'll be a tough out for any team, and could be a sleeper pick in Pool A. Brothers United are looking to upset The Mob in their pool after tweaking and improving their roster. They'll also prove to be a tough out for any team that meets them in the playoffs, and this team should be considered as "upset specialists" if they aren't the favorite in any game. Bar Down is a rag-tag group of kids who will make up any shortage in experience and savvy veteran play with determination, effort, and athleticism. While they aren't favored to come out of an intensely-competitive Pool A, they could bust Pool A wide-open with a win or two.
Pool B features the Warriors, a team of veteran players who know the game of ball hockey as well as any other team in this tournament. While they may not have the reputation of The Mob, they certainly can be a threat in this tournament with some timely goal-scoring and solid defence. The Warriors should find themselves in a playoff spot later this evening. The Misfits, like the Warriors, don't carry the weight of lofty expectations into this tournament, but they will be good. They are a threat in Pool B for a number of upsets, and could shake the pool up nicely with a few wins. Expect this team to come hard and hungry into the tournament. The wild card in this pool is a new team called Mikisew. The early word on them is that they are fast, skilled, and like scoring goals, so we'll see how that works for them as the games play out.
All in all, these eight teams look like they'll make up the most hotly contested Re/Max Cup yet!
If you want to catch the final of the Re/Max Cup, head down to Glenwood Community Center at 27 Overton Street in Winnipeg for 1pm on Sunday. I'll be there, and it should be a great afternoon of amazing hockey, lots of laughter, and a championship ceremony!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!