This weekend (28th/29th May) saw the return of North Ayrshire Ice Hockey Clubs annual tournament after a 2 year break due to the covid-19 pandemic. The tournament was fittingly changed to The Ronnie Miller Memorial Tournament after the passing of the much loved , influential and respected former chairman of the club.
The first of a double weekend tournament saw teams from Ayr, Inverness, Kirkcaldy and Lanarkshire face off against the hosts of North Ayrshire at under 12s and u 16s age groups.
The early morning start did not seem to effect the kids as the u12s kicked off the day at 8.30am with the North Ayrshire Penguins (a team that was put together from the Learn to Play academy Rookie Revolution in just 7 months joining up with 1 line of u12 players ) striking first with a 3 nil win over their Ayrshire counterparts the Bruins. This was closely followed with a hard fought nil nil draw between Kirkcaldy Redskins and Lanarkshire Lightning. After an ice cut from the Ka Leisure Ice staff it was time for the opening game for the u16 North Ayrshire Predators against Lanarkshire Lightning, which the home team won 2 goals to 1. Fife Flames were then pitted against the furthest travelled club of Inverness Highlanders which saw the current league leaders from the east coast in Fife come out on top with a 3 nil victory.
The Penguins then returned to the ice and continued their winning ways with a 5 nil win over the Highlanders while in the next game Ayr Bruins were put to the sword by an on form side from Lanarkshire resulting in an 11 nil defeat for the South Ayr team.
After another quick ice cut it was time for the Predators to face off against Fife Flames, Fife were off to a flyer scoring quickly to start off the game and eventually came away with a 5 nil victory. Lanarkshire Lightning then entertained Inverness Highlanders in an eventful game. Lanarkshire took the lead very quickly and prevailed with an end score of 3 nil, however the game was halted for a hard controversial hit on AJ Shum from Inverness which resulted in the youngster being stretchered off and taken to hospital for further checks. I think everyone at the tournament were delighted when the news broke that AJ was fine and would be attending the rink for day 2 on Sunday.
Returning to the u12s saw Ayr Bruins take on Kirkcaldy Redskins and Lanarkshire Lightning face off against Inverness Highlanders, the results followed the pattern with Kirkcaldy winning 12 nil and Lightning coming away 5 nil winners.
Gracing the freshly cut ice was the final 2 u16s games with the Predators taking on the Highlanders and Fife Flames v Lanarkshire, The hosts coming away with a 4 goals to 1 win and Fife on the clean sheet street with a 4 nil victory over Lanarkshire.
With day 1 coming to a close it was down to the u12s to finish things off. The Penguins were up against an on form Fife team and they were not for taking their foot off the gas as they continued the form with a 6 nil victory over the youngsters from North Ayrshire, this was quickly followed by the final game of the day, Ayr Bruins v Inverness Highlanders. Both these teams were looking for their first goals of the tournament, Ayr quickly found the net and went from strength to strength to dominate the game by scoring 15 goals, Inverness did manage to find the net and the game ended 15-1.
Into Day 2 and it was a return to a fresh ice pad for Kirkcaldy v Inverness and North Ayr Penguins V Lanarkshire. Fife picked up where they left off previously and turned in a resounding 17 nil victory which was followed by a 10 goal to 2 win for Lanarkshire Lightning over the Penguins.
So the semi finals were confirmed as :
U12 Semi Final 1 – Fife(6) v Ayr(1)
U12 Semi Final 2 – Penguins(1) v Lightning(8)
U16 SEMI Final 1 – Predators(3)v Lightning(0)
U16 SEMI Final 2 – Fife(2) v Highlanders(0)
As the afternoon was drawing to a close the finals were scheduled and ready to go.
U12 Final Kirkcaldy(1) v Lanarkshire(3)
U16 Final Predators(1) v Fife Flames(4)
North Ayrshires chairman Scott Campbell and Vice Chair and sponsor Andy Kerr from Kerr Roofing were joined on the ice by the late Ronnie Millers family for the presentation of medals to all players who took part as well as the winners trophies to the under 12s winners LANARKSHIRE LIGHTNING and to the under 16s winners FIFE FLAMES.
Weekend 1 then came to a close with players from all teams showing the spirit of hockey by embracing each other with fist bumps, hugs and handshakes. Every one of the kids showed great sportsmanship and friendship. A special thanks went out to the net minders Caiden MacColl from North Ayrshire and Daniel Haddan from Fife Flames for guesting for Inverness and Lanarkshire resulting in these 2 kids playing every u16s game, a phenomenal feat and sure signs of dedication to their sport.