Greater Tulsa Reporter
2012 CHAMPS: The Jenks Trojans celebrate last seasson’s GTR Cup win at the BOK Center.
Format changes are in store for the 2012-13 GTR Cup hockey tournament. Tulsa high school teams will no longer compete, instead turning competition over to kids aged 4 to 14.
“The high schools have split away from the Tulsa Youth Hockey Association (TYHA),’’ says organization President Bob Waterstradt. “Some of the high school players went to Oklahoma City to play on traveling squads and the Tulsa high school teams (Jenks, Union, Broken Arrow and Tulsa) decided to do their own thing. They are not under our umbrella.’’
When the GTR Cup unfolds on Dec. 28-29 at the BOK Center, the TYHA will hold competition in three divisions: mites, squirts and pee wee-bantams. There will be six games each day starting at 7 a.m. and concluding in the afternoon prior to the Tulsa Oilers games. Each team is guaranteed three games.
The mite division consists of four teams with two first round games. Winners play for the GTR Cup, and the losers play in the consolation game. The squirt and pee wee-bantam divisions each have three teams, and the championship game participants will be decided on points. Over 121 children will suit up on the BOK Center ice.
“This is a golden opportunity for our kids in Tulsa to play on the big ice over the holidays,’’ says Waterstradt. “The kids are excited to play on the same ice the Oilers play on, and Taylor Hall (Oilers general manager) wanted to highlight local hockey when his team was in town.’’
The GTR Cup will serve as a fundraiser for the TYHA. Young players will wear their jerseys and solicit donations during the Oilers games. Parents are required to purchase two tickets to the Cup games, and the Oilers will return $5 of each ticket to TYHA.
“The word is going out and people are very excited for their little guys to play on the big ice downtown,’’ Waterstradt says. “Grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters will come to see them play. I’ve been around the rink quite a bit as president (of the TYHA) and when parents heard the high schools weren‘t playing, they asked what group was. They were really enthusiastic when they heard, and I think it’s going to be great.’’
Championship games will be played on Dec. 29 before the Oilers game, and winning teams will be honored during the Central Hockey League game.