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PEEWEE HOCKEY: Paul Bunyan International tournament begins today

BEMIDJI — The annual Paul Bunyan International Hockey Tournament (PBIHT) hosted by the Bemidji Peewee hockey officials begins today and continues through Monday.

The tournament will officially begin 8 a.m. today with the opening ceremonies at the Sanford Center. The ceremonies will be highlighted by a bagpiper, the parade of teams, a welcome by tournament officials and a video featuring former tournament participants who have played in the National Hockey League.

The tournament will include 16 games today, 16 more on Sunday and eight championship and consolation championship games on Monday. Saturday’s and Sunday’s games will be held at the Bemidji Community Arena, Nymore Arena and City Arena rinks. Monday’s championship bracket games will be played at the Sanford Center while the consolation games will be held at the BCA.

“We are excited to host the tournament,” said PBIHT co-chair Lisa McNamara. “Preparing for this tournament is like preparing for a wedding. You plan and plan and plan because you know it’s going to happen.”

In previous years the tournament began on Friday and ended on Sunday. At the request of the two teams from Michigan, however, this year’s tournament was switched to a Saturday through Monday schedule.

“Last year we polled the tournament teams and the Michigan teams asked that we hold off a day so they didn’t have to travel on Christmas Day,” McNamara said.

Monday’s championship round games will be streamed on the tournament’s website, There is no admission charge for the tournament games. The public is also invited to join the players and the coaches at the spaghetti feed 2:15 Sunday at the Community Arena. Tickets for the feed are $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

Following the dinner the players will participate in a skills challenge.

Bemidji has been placed in the North Division pool along with Eagan, Champlin Park and Grand Forks Greyhounds. Bemidji will open its tournament 10 a.m. today at Nymore against Eagan. At 4:30 p.m. Bemidji will tangle with Champlin, also at Nymore.

Bemidji will complete its pool play 9:45 a.m. Sunday against Grand Forks.

The South Division pool includes Bismarck, Andover, Hermantown and Calumet, Mich. In the East Division are Grand Forks Seawolves, St. Cloud, Virginia and Crookston while the West Division squads are Fargo, Rogers, Marquette, Mich., and Brainerd.

Brainerd is the defending champion while Grand Forks took the 2011 title, St. Cloud the 2010 crown and Bemidji the 2009 championship.

P.B. International Peewee Hockey Tournament

Pool Play Schedule

Saturday, Dec. 28

BCA: GF Seawolves vs. St. Cloud, 10 a.m.; Fargo vs. Rogers, 11:45 a.m.; Virginia vs. Crookston, 1:30 p.m.; Hermantown vs. Bismarck, 4:30 p.m.; Calumet, Mich. vs. Andover, 6:15 p.m.; Marquette vs. Fargo, 8 p.m.

Nymore: Bemidji vs. Eagan, 10 a.m.; Champlin vs. G.F. Greyhounds, 11:45 a.m.; Marquette vs. Brainerd, 1:30 p.m.; Champlin vs. Bemidji, 4:30 p.m.; Virginia vs. G.F. Seawolves, 6:15 p.m.; Brainerd vs. Rogers, 8 p.m.

City: Bismarck vs. Andover, 10 a.m.; Hermantown vs. Calumet, Mich., 11:45 a.m.; G.F. Greyhounds vs. Eagan, 4:30 p.m.; Crookston vs. St. Cloud, 6:15 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 29

BCA: Eagan vs. Champlin, 8 a.m.; Bemidji vs. G.F. Greyhounds, 9:45 a.m.; Fargo vs. Brainerd, 11:30 a.m.

Nymore: Andover vs. Hermantown, 8 a.m.; Rogers vs. Marquette 9:45 a.m.; G.F. Seawolves vs. Crookston, 11:30 a.m.

City: St. Cloud vs. Virginia, 8 a.m.; Bismarck vs. Calumet, Mich., 9:45 a.m.

Bracket Play

Sunday, Dec. 29

BCA: North 4 vs. South 4, 5 p.m.; East 3 vs. West 3, 6:45 p.m.; North 1 vs. South 1, 8:30 p.m.

Nymore: North 3 vs. South 3, 5 p.m.; North 2 vs. South 2, 6:45 p.m.; East 1 vs. West 1, 8:30 p.m.

City: East 4 vs. West 4, 5 p.m.; East 2 vs. West 2, 6:45 p.m.

Championship Games

Monday, Dec. 30

Sanford Center: Headwaters Bracket, 9 a.m.; Blue Ox Bracket, 10:45 a.m.; Lumberjack Bracket, 12:30 p.m.; Championship Bracket, 2:30 p.m.

Consolation Championship Games

Monday, Dec. 30

BCA: Headwaters Bracket, 9 a.m.; Blue Ox Bracket, 10:45 a.m.; Lumberjack Bracket, 12:30 p.m.; Championship Bracket, 2:30 p.m.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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