Former National Hockey League defenseman and Western Hockey League coach Richard Matvichuk joined the Burnaby Winter Club (BWC) as its new Hockey Director in August and it didn’t take long for him to learn about the great impact the annual Pat Quinn Classic has on the community and future hockey stars.
“It’s a big deal,” said Matvichuk, as four BWC teams prepare to compete in the fifth edition of the annual holiday season minor hockey tournament. “It’s a special tournament with top athletes from all over North America.”
Matvichuk, part of the Dallas Stars’ Stanley Cup championship team in 1999, says young players gain important experience from tournaments such as the Pat Quinn Classic. “This tournament has a great reputation –it really speaks for itself. It’s all about excellence and I am so excited to be a part of it, for the first time.”
Burnaby Winter Club teams have enjoyed success during the last four years of the Pat Quinn Classic with multiple medals. This year, BWC will field two teams in the Peewee AAA Elite Division. BWC Academy is in the Bantam AAA Division and the Club’s Academy Prep team competes in Bantam AAA Elite. “We have the opportunity to see where our kids are at compared to the other top minor hockey teams,” said Matvichuk. BWC is also one of the tournament venues.
Matvichuk is “thrilled and honoured” to participate in his first Pat Quinn Classic. “I had the chance to meet Pat during my playing and coaching career, so being part of this competition is something very special for me.”
He adds the Pat Quinn Classic is more than the games on the ice. “The hotels are full and the whole city gets involved. If you are in Burnaby during the holiday season, you have to go to the tournament. It’s a full showcase of hockey and high-calibre talent.”
Minor hockey players from more than 50 teams from as far away as Dallas and San Jose will compete in five divisions in this year’s edition of The Pat Quinn Classic taking place December 27 to 31. The Bill Copeland Sports Centre, in Burnaby Sport Park, is the feature rink. Other venues include Burnaby Lake Arena, Burnaby Winter Club, Kensington Arena and Burnaby 8 Rinks.