CT U12 Girls Get Noticed at Canadian World Tourney
Team sponsor, Olde Crabs Hockey Club LLC, founded by Ron Faanes, PHD, Roosevelt Class of ’59
(Article and photos provided by Ron Faanes and Lindsay King)
Background and Ties to Minnesota
The Olde Crabs Hockey Club, LLC, was established in 1991 when a bunch of guys playing against each other on various teams in Westchester County, NY decided to join up to form a team to play in over 50 division of Snoopy World Hockey Tournament in California. One of their players was killed in an auto accident. They hosted a charity tournament with all proceeds going to the American Diabetes Association as requested by his family. After 3 successful early years and 4 years negotiating with the IRS, the Olde Crabs were granted 501c non-profit charity status. The Fall Tournament Hosted at the Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury , CT, draws 28-32 teams from across the US and Canada in 50, 60,70 and women’s 40+ divisions, is celebrating 15 years and has raised over $300,000 to support local charities. The Hockey Club founder was Ron Faanes, a Roosevelt grad, class of ’59. Minnesota Hockey Magazine did a story about their tourney and the yearly participation by the Minnesota Old Timers hockey club. You can read that story by clicking >> HERE.
The following is the story of the Connecticut Junior Rangers U12 Girls, one of the benefactors last year, written by Lindsay King and edited by Ron Faanes.
Quebec Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, February 8-19, 2023
For over 60 years, 11 and 12-year-old hockey players from all over the globe have convened in Montreal to battle it out for what has colloquially referred to as “The Pee-Wee World Championships”. The tournament takes place at the Videotron Center, with a capacity of 18,000 fans. These young players have repeatedly called this tournament a “once in a lifetime experience”, often playing in front of more than 10,000 people and televised for all to see. The tournament is annually attended by over 2,000 competitors from over 40 countries, and takes place during the Quebec City Winter Carnival, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, as the largest winter festival in the Western Hemisphere. For the first time in over 60 years, the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, the most prestigious amateur hockey tournament in the world, created a girls division. Twelve girl’s teams from around the world were selected to participate; the Connecticut Junior Rangers U12 Girls was one of the 12 selected.
This group was thrilled to have the occasion to compete against the best female youth hockey players in the world. The CT Junior Rangers felt they were up to the task to compete on the world stage.
The tournament, more than hockey, presented an opportunity to be immersed in French-Canadian culture, touring such historic landmarks as Old Quebec and the Citadelle of Quebec. It was about meeting, competing against and forging friendships with players from all over the world who share the same passion.
Women’s hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Making its Olympic debut in 1998, those former players are now back in their communities, serving as role models and ambassadors for the game. There’s a long way to go, but the number of girls currently playing hockey globally is greater than ever before, and the numbers only continue to accelerate. The tournament’s decision to include girls in the Annual Tournoi International de Hockey is yet another example of progress being made and boundaries being broken.
The Path to Respectability
The CT girls went 4-1-1, losing in the Quarterfinals to the eventual Champions, the West Durham Lightning 2-0.
Over the course of the tournament, the girls beat teams from Montreal (2), New Brunswick and England. They also tied a very large team of Kazakhstan boys in an exhibition game 2-2.
Playing in front of thousands of people, on the big stage, our girls played their hearts out game in and game out.
Given that our team is made up of half 2011’s in a vastly predominant 2010 tournament, our girls were often outmatched in physical size, but never in speed, skill or grit.
Off the ice, the girls took in all Quebec had to offer. They went to the Winter Carnival and the Old City, fortunate that many of our days were unseasonably warm! They also loved the 63 year traditional of pin trading with teams from all over the world. It was great to see the “value” of the CJR girls’ pins increase as they continued to win throughout the week! Initially the boys were disinterested… not the case by the end of the week! And glancing through a larger lens, having Ukraine participatingthe tournament drew fans and emotions from all, and it was special to see our girls find understanding and warmth in supporting them. As is often the case, the lessons learned throughout the week were not confined to hockey.
All of the girls in the tournament were a part of something truly special. To be the very first girls division to play in the biggest youth hockey tournament in the world is something no one can ever take away from them. It was a great week for girls hockey, and to be a part of it in this way was a special experience these girls will cherish throughout their lifetime. Thank you for helping make this possible for them.
Please enjoy these photos from the tournament.
Warm Regards, Ron Faanes & Lindsay King