SAN DIEGO JR. GULLS
With yearly Quebec opportunity, Jr. Gulls offer it all Continued from Page 6 Payie’s father Ken played in the tournament some 40 years ago for a team out of Toronto. “The Quebec tournament is the pinnacle of Pee Wee tournaments,” Ken said. “Having the Jr. Gulls organization promote the participation in this storied event is great representation for the organization and Southern California hockey and provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for kids and their parents to experience. These events shape and stay with you for a lifetime.” This year, Cody Betsch represented the Jr. Gulls in Quebec. “It was all so fun,” Betsch said. “I’ll most likely never be able to do that stuff again, like pond hockey or eating maple candy straight from the snow. I think everything we did is kind of unforgettable. I think about it a lot and love telling people about it.” “I think this trip was amazing for my boys (twins Cody and Kevin),” added April Betsch. “Thinking about leaving them in a different county, with strangers, was unimaginable. Coach Pierre (Dufour) and Coach Craig (Carlyle) met with us and explained all about what a great opportunity this would be and how much they would grow from it. Knowing that the Jr. Gulls can offer this event is a huge benefit for future Pee Wees.
My boys came home excited and even more in love with the game of hockey.” Dufour also played in and won the tournament in 1987, and had the chance to bring both his sons, Liam in 2018 and Nolan in 2020, to share in this experience. “We are so happy as an organization to have been able to offer this experience to our Pee Wees,” said Dufour. “The memories and friend-
ships that our players and families have made as a result of this opportunity is just incredible. “I heard a good comment when we were there this year from a local hockey fan. They said, ‘winning a hockey game is a bonus, but the real memories are to get the chance to experience and soak in all the activities the
tournament has to offer.’ I agree 100 percent with that sentence.” Aside from Quebec and playing top-quality competition from all over the state and region, the Jr. Gulls also encourage all of their teams to participate in events that are more than just hockey, ones that will expose the players to different cultures or parts of the country or experiences that are unique and memorable. In the past few years, the Jr. Gulls had a Squirt team play in China, a Bantam team travel to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and hosted a visiting Czech Republic team. “Of course, our teams travel to compete and to play hockey, but we look for tournaments that offer more and the ultimate is the Quebec Tournoi for our players,” said Dufour. “Our families make the Jr. Gulls stand out from other associations. It is amazing how engaged they are in our program and how willing they are to travel. “Our goal is to give our players every opportunity to be as good as they can be while along the way creating great memories and having fun. We are very fortunate to have families that share this attitude.”
TRYOUTS: JUNE 5 ll a e ’r e w t a h w e se w o n – m ra You’ve heard about our prog
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California Rubber Hockey Magazine