tourney-cancelled

The annual house league Easter tournament in Chatham, Ont., was cancelled due to lack of entries, and officials say the main culprit is the recession.

Another minor hockey tournament has fallen victim to Canada's economic downturn.

The annual house league Easter tournament in Chatham, Ont., was cancelled last week due to lack of entries, and officials in the city's local minor hockey association say the main culprit is the recession.

"I think a lot of it had to do with the economy," Brock Sleightholm, president of the Chatham Minor Hockey Association (CMHA), told the Chatham Daily News.

There were 34 teams that signed up for last year's Easter tournament. This year the number dropped to nine, and included only two entries from Chatham.

Two of the five divisions set up for the tournament didn't even have teams registered.

"Everybody's worried to death," Sleightholm said. "They're worried they're not going to have a job next week."

The tournament was scheduled to run April 10-12. The CMHA is still hoping to ice a mini-tournament of five or six teams as an alternative to the cancelled tourney.

Keith Vanderiviere, CMHA house league vice-president, told the paper it didn't help matters that the tournament actually fell on Easter weekend this season, which doesn't happen every year.

It might be a case of families being unwilling to pack up and play hockey for that holiday weekend, especially since a lot of house league seasons are finished by then, he said.

Despite the cancellation, the CMHA is still planning to start up the Easter tournament again next year.

"I think things will turn around by next year," Sleightholm said. "It might be a whole different ball game. People might be back to work by then."