COVID-19 wiped out the holiday tradition of the Mac’s tournament in 2020 and 2021.
But organizers were bound and determined that the 2021 version would be played so they moved it from December to April and are calling it the Reboot.
It took nearly two and a half years for the Calgary Buffaloes to finally step onto the ice to defend their 2019 title.
The Buffs went up against Okanagan Hockey Penticton on Wednesday morning at the Max Bell Centre for their first game and it was evident they didn’t have much left in the tank.
The Buffaloes just got home from the pacific regionals on Tuesday night after losing a tough series to the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs.
Despite losing the opener, Buffaloes player of the game Carter Anderson says his team still has plans to win it all.
“I mean it’s a privilege to defend the title from a couple of years ago,” Anderson said.
“I remember I was watching them go out and win that and it feels really good to be playing here and representing the Buffaloes and go out and win that title back.”
SCOUTS OUT IN FULL FORCE AT THE MAC’S
The Mac’s runs from April 6-10. 24 teams will battle it out including the Greater Vancouver Canadiens. It’ll be the first time at the Mac’s for 16 year old forward Grady Lenton and he knows the scouts will be out to watch.
“That’s a big thing we’ve all been talking about as well so we’ll just play our game and hopefully that will come,” Lenton said.
It’s also the first time at the Mac’s for teammate Lukas Tokic. The 17-year-old forward says its exciting knowing Scouts are here.
“It’s a great opportunity but you want to be calm and just play your game. You don’t want to think about them too much,” he said.
“It’s definitely in the back of your head when you’re out there for sure.”
Fans are also happy the Macs is back. Shannon Vernon played in the tournament back in 1981 and says he’s been coming to the games as a fan since 1985. “Oh it’s just nice to be here. The last couple of years have driven me crazy not being here. I usually come for about 15-20 games every year.”
FANS LOVE HAVING THE TOURNAMENT BACK
Fans are also happy the Mac’s is back. Shannon Vernon played in the tournament back in 1981 and says he’s been coming to games as a fan since 1985.
“Oh it’s just nice to be here. The last couple of years have driven me crazy not being here. I usually come for about 15-20 games every year.”
TICKETS GOING FAST
The Mac’s has always been a Christmas tradition so moving it to April for the 2022 edition is a lot different. There weren’t many fans in the stands for Wednesday morning’s game between the Buffaloes and Okanagan but tournament general manager Jesse Hale says that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of interest.
“I know we kind of expected maybe a little less turnout but we crashed the website because so many tickets are being bought,” Hale told CTV.
“That’s kind of a good and a bad thing I guess but people are coming back to watch and hopefully they continue to do so throughout the week.”
The champion will be crowned at the Mac’s on Sunday.