Montreal wins its first ever Brick Invitational Tournament, players to remember include record breaking scorer and Mattias Ekholm helps hands out awards
By Woz2 months ago
The 2023 Brick Invitational tournament has officially wrapped up with the Montreal Canadiens taking the crown this year. It marks the first time a team from Quebec has won the famous tournament inside West Edmonton Mall. Here are a few things you should know about this year’s tournament.
It was a final worth watching as Montreal went up 3-0 in the first period, but the Minnesota Blades didn’t go down without a fight as they would make it a 4-3 game by the end of the second period. In the third, both teams would trade goals quickly to make it 5-4 but time wasn’t on Minnesota’s side as Montreal was able to take advantage of an empty net twice and win the final 7-4.
Known initially as Team Quebec Brick, or the Montreal Meltdown, the club was allowed to use the name “Montreal Canadiens” by the NHL organization to represent the Canadiens at the tournament. The same goes for the Detroit Jr. Red Wings and the Detroit Red Wings organization.
When people hear about this tournament, they think of future NHL stars and players. Well in a few years don’t be surprised if you hear the names Liam Tep, Cameron Coombe, and Kwency Fontaine.
Tep, who represented the Canadiens, set the record for most points in a tournament with 15 goals and 29 points in eight games. Right behind him was Cameron Coombe with 18 goals and 28 points. The record was previously held by current Habs forward Cole Caufield who scored 18 points in 6 games back in 2010-11 according to Eliteprospects who have the all-time points leaders listed.
May want to update that list pretty soon here.
Fontaine, also on the Canadiens was a player who caught the eyes of many. While he didn’t rack up the points like his teammate Liam Tep, he put up six goals and 15 points. It wasn’t his production that stood out, it was the way he played, dangling anyone who was in front of him and then unleashing a wicked wrister.
It’s wild to think that these kids are 10 years old, at their oldest. It’s important to note that this was the second Brick Invitational for Fontaine and Tep as they played last year. Tep managed to score only three points in six games in the previous year with their leading scorer, Flavio DiPlacido scoring 14 points. Let that sink in, Tep scored 25 more points than last year and outscored his previous team leader by 14 points.
I understand that a player can improve plenty within a year and it helps to be a year older but you don’t hear many players having a 25-point jump. I’m no scout, but how can you not be impressed by those numbers?
And while Fontaine wasn’t lighting the lamp he still got plenty of attention for puck skills, hockey IQ and positioning.
Some will say that he should’ve passed on that end-to-end play it’s also important to remember he’s 10 years old. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him to become more of a complete player. So far the talent he wields is extremely impressive for his age.
I didn’t get a chance to watch Cameron Coombe but the fact he was right behind Tep in points says enough scoring 2.25 goals per game.
Of course, you don’t want to put too much pressure on these kids especially since they’re still a few years from being draft eligible for the CHL but it’s also fun to predict or think “Oh yeah watch for him when the 2031 NHL Draft comes around.” Personally, I’m excited to follow their young hockey careers.
The closing ceremony of the tournament is also worth mentioning as Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm was in attendance for the final and to help give away a few awards for the tournament MVP, leading scorer, and first and second-team all-stars. Former NHL player Nik Antropov also joined Ekholm to hand out the awards and take pictures. He was a coach in the tournament.
I don’t remember which awards they were respectively for but the MVP and leading scorer were awarded either a Connor Bedard-signed stick and a stick signed by Connor McDavid.
And the most heartwarming part of the closing ceremonies is the parade and jersey swap with all the teams involved in the tournament. Every team is welcomed back onto the ice for a small parade and then players are able to exchange jerseys with each other. In the end, it’s all about the kids who played in this fantastic event and were able to create lifelong memories.
It’s great that Brick Hockey makes sure that every team is represented in the end and they’re not sent packing their bags early.
One comment I saw on social media wondered why The Brick Invitational received more attention this year than ever before and there are two reasons behind that. Platforms such as ours have been able to give tournaments the much love it deserves, and others online are sharing the highlight reel goals that quickly go viral on apps such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.
Then you have the Connor Bedard factor.
Closer to the 2023 NHL Draft, a clip of him scoring in the tournament resurfaced on social, and the fact he’s dubbed a generational talent created more buzz and curiosity this year.
I think this tournament will only get more popular in the coming years because of social media, and the virality of it will only continue.
Big shoutout to all the organizers, and volunteers who help make this unique tournament happen within our city and help showcase all the young talent and give them a taste of what it would be like to play in the big leagues. And thank you to Brick Hockey for allowing us to create social media content and being a part of the festivities.
Safe to say I’m already looking forward to the 2024 Brick Invitational.
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