The inaugural Greater Bay Championships took place this month at the Ice Castle located in the elegant Mission Hills Mall, Shenzhen, China. This brand new tournament was hosted by Powerplay Sports and Entertainment with tournament officials provided by China Hockey Group.
The famous location made for a great atmosphere and the tournament kicked off with the youth divisions (May 2nd-4th) featuring teams from Hubei, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The Chongqing Hockey Prince team came out on top in the U8 division, while the young guns from the Hubei Panthers took home the U12 title. The kids from the youth sides also got to test their individual abilities in a fun Skills Competition which included a fastest skater race and a puck control contest.
The adult competition commenced the following weekend (May 9th-11th), and was highlighted by some high level hockey with the Super Series between the Yokohoma Grits team (Japan) and the Hong Kong Tigers. The Grits team from Yokohoma featured many players that have played professional hockey in the Asia League or overseas, as well as former Japanese National Team players. The Hong Kong Tigers team consisted of many of the top players in Hong Kong, many of which had been brought over via the China Hockey Group’s specialised intern program designed to improve the quality of hockey in Hong Kong while providing work experience. Players participating in this internship have generally played in the NCAA program or high level junior hockey in North America.
The 4 game series was very evenly contested as the players put on a spectacle for those in attendance:
- Game 1 – 2-2 tie
- Game 2 – Tigers won 3-1
- Game 3 – Tigers won 2-1 in overtime
- Game 4 – Tigers won 6-3
The Tigers managed to come out on top in the highly competitive series, showing the quality of hockey in Hong Kong and the strength of their top local league, the CIHL.
In the other divisions, the Asian Tigers captured the Asian Division defeating the Yokohoma Grits B Team 6-3, while the HK Tigers beat Shenzhen 5-3 in the International B Division.
A big thank you goes out to the sponsors. Conzpt Group Asia sponsored some stylish new sunglasses for the individual award winners, while Red Bull provided a huge supply of energy drinks to keep the players at the top of their game.
A highly successful inaugural tournament wrapped up with an after party held at the Hard Rock Cafe to celebrate the first year of what hopes to be a mainstay in the Greater Bay area. There is already keen interest in next years iteration of the tournament, and the 2020 tournament dates have already been announced (details below). We would like to thank all the players, support, sponsors and officials for a great tournament and look forward to seeing you next year.