The EIHA JLMC held their first U9 tournament at Sutton’s Lammas Centre on Saturday, with over 60 players from all over the country taking part.

Players were drafted into six teams named after NHL franchises and the teams played three-on-three games at the 36×18 rink for seven hours.

While the NHL saw no Canadian teams make the playoffs, in Sutton the Leafs and Canucks contested the u9 Stanley Cup Final with the Leafs holding on to a 5-4 win to raise the famous trophy.

Players travelled from as far south as Chelmsford and north as Whitley Bay to be part of the development tournament which JLMC Chair Jacqueline Pye hopes will be the first of many.

“I want more of these development events throughout the year,” she said after the tournament. “We haven’t done anything out of the ordinary, but have achieved a special outcome with every player being involved with lots of ice time during the games which helps their development.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the coaches, manager and on-ice volunteers – the rink was perfect, the day was brilliant and I look forward to the next one.”

Andre Payette is well known as a power forward and tough guy but he was in the stands in a much more important role – a hockey parent.

“It was a great day for the players, the final was fantastic to watch. I was shouting for the Canucks but the Leafs were just too strong and held on for the win.

“I wanted to get my hands on the Stanley Cup too but the Leafs players wouldn’t let go of it!”

Photo: U9 tournament winners The Leafs (photo Gary Apsley).