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Quebec Pee Wee Tournament is a once in a lifetime, educational experience

Friday, 08.20.2010 / 4:16 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Imagine a hockey arena that holds more than 15,000 people filled to capacity with screaming fans. More likely than not, you pictured the Nassau Coliseum or another hockey arena that a team in the National Hockey League calls home.

But when that many people gather for a hockey game, it isn’t always for an Islanders versus Rangers game. Every year in Quebec City, more than 15,000 people gather at the Pepsi Colisee for the largest Pee Wee Level Hockey Tournament known to man.

For the past 20 years, Bob Nystrom and Benoit Hogue, both former Islanders, have been bringing a team to the tournament. Their team, called the Jr. Islanders, is filled with Pee Wee Level hockey players from all over Long Island.

This year, Nystrom and Hogue are looking for talented hockey players born in 1998 to fill their Jr. Islanders roster. The second two-day mini camp to be held on Saturday, August 28 from 2-3:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 29 from 5-7 p.m. will allow the coaches to select the most talented skaters to come back for a Jr. Islanders tryout.

The skaters who make the Jr. Islanders team will participate in the 52nd Quebec Pee Wee Tournament which will be held February 10 through February 20, 2011 at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City.

“My favorite part (of the tournament) was playing in the (Pepsi) Colisee because the Quebec teams play there and the Ramparts play there and it’s huge,” said Selbern Narby IV, who played in the tournament last year. “A lot of people came to see our games.”

Narby, who played for the Jr. Islanders in Quebec this past February, currently plays for the Long Island Rebels in the Bantom Minors, but he really enjoyed his once in a lifetime opportunity playing against other Elite Pee Wee Level hockey players from all around the world.

“It was different because I never really versed any team out of the East Coast and seeing how good they were was fun and exciting,” Narby IV said. “Probably the coolest team we played against was the Slovakian Stars. They were really big and it was just really cool because you could see how good they are. They probably play hockey year round.”

While he gained a lot of knowledge on the ice, Narby also learned a lot about living in a culture very different than what he is used to by growing up in New York.

“I really liked it (living with a billet family) because I got to see how people in Quebec live their lives different from how we live our lives here. It was really fun because they had a rink in
It was different because I never really versed any team out of the East Coast and seeing how good they were was fun and exciting,” Narby said. “Probably the coolest team we played against was the Slovakian Stars. They were really big and it was just really cool because you could see how good they are. They probably play hockey year round. - Selbern Narby IV
their backyard so we played a lot (of hockey).”

Since the Narby family is from Huntington, it was guaranteed that Narby IV would enjoy his experience and learn a lot from it.

“My son had a great time going up there and staying with the billet family and seeing how they live,” said Narby’s father, Selbern Narby III. “I think the best thing he got out of that was living with that family and seeing how ice hockey is such a major part of their family’s life. A lot of the kids have little rinks in their backyard so after the games they would go home and eat dinner, then go out and skate even after they got done playing.”

There’s no question that the Canadian culture is very different than living in America. So when Liam Donnelly’s father, Mike Donnelly, had the opportunity to bring his son to the first Jr. Islanders mini camp this year, he jumped at it.

“I’m actually a teacher and it (the tournament falling during the school year rather than vacation) certainly does have an impact, but given the value of what they’re going to take away from that experience of being there for a week, I think that in itself is a good educational opportunity,” Donnelly said.

“(If Liam makes the team), he’s going to learn so much about other kids from other places and just the culture. That is real learning,” Donnelly continued. “In the classroom we try to do a lot of real life learning activities and this is certainly one… This is just one of those experiences that they can go to another country and take away something special, knowing about having lived with the families and really kind of gotten to know their culture. I think that has an extraordinary value for them especially at such a young age.”

While Donnelly believes the tournament will offer great educational value, attending the Quebec Pee Wee Tournament has actually been a goal of his son Liam’s since he was a Mite.

“I think for him (my son Liam), it’s (the tournament is) something that he’s looked forward to for years,” Donnelly said. “He’s heard so much about it and now it’s his year to try and participate in it. That has him really fired up. He’s real excited.”

“From my perspective, I think it just is such a nice experience for the kids to go up there and learn more about the culture and be able to participate against so many good teams from around the world. That has me excited for him,” Donnelly said.

Coaches Nystrom and Hogue are still looking for skilled hockey players. At the Jr. Islanders mini camp held in June, young hockey players from all over Long Island had the opportunity to showcase their skills. Some of those players were asked to come back for the second mini camp, while others were asked to come back for the tryout.

After the second camp, select players will be asked to attend the invitation-only tryout, and the 2011 Jr. Islanders team will then be finalized. At that point, the Jr. Islanders team will have a series of practices, in conjunction with their travel hockey team, getting them ready for February.

The date of the tryout is yet to be determined, but will be held in September or October. Players who wish to attend the mini camp will need to bring a proof of birth date, proof of USA Hockey Registration and their tryout fee of $40 for one day or $75 for both days.

If your child is interested in the Jr. Islanders and missed the first mini camp, now is the time to sign up. For more information, please contact Michelle Winter via e-mail at




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