Small tournament became great
After more than sixty years of existence, the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament remains a place of unforgettable encounters and memorable moments where thousands of players aged 11 and 12 years come to defend the colors of their team. The biggest names in hockey as Brad Park, Guy Lafleur, Gretzky and the Howe brothers, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Steven Stamkos and several others, during their career, participated in this event. Others, like Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe took place in the stands.
The tournament was founded in 1960 by Gerard Bolduc. In its first edition, the tournament hosted 28 teams and nearly 20,000 spectators.
It was in a spirit of conviviality that the father Bolbuc decided, in 1959, to create a hockey tournament in Quebec Pee-Wee. Tired of taking his troops in Goderich Ontario, he holds that the Old Capital, the following year, the host of such a sporting event . The tournament is then integrated with the Quebec Winter Carnival festivities held in February.
One of the first players to participate in the tournament and reach the heights of professional hockey in the NHL was Brad Park. In 1962, little Guy Lafleur skated on the ice from the Coliseum. For three consecutive years (1962-1964), he is the star of Pee- Wee tournament and scored a total of 64 goals. It has long held the best individual performance of the Pee-Wee Tournament in Quebec City. Ten years later, during one entry, a kid named Wayne Gretzky outplayed goalies 26 times.
Gerard Bolduc led the tournament from 1960 to 1975. In 1975, Father Bolduc passed the torch to Alex Légaré, who has managed the organization until 2000. An important point then appears in the agenda : innovation. The tournament must attract new teams and a larger number of spectators.
In the early years, the tournament took place among the activities of the Quebec Winter Carnival, it is detached since 1977. In 1980, Mr. Légaré created the America’s Cup and the following year, the Quebec Cup in addition to meetings of the International Class and the International Cup. In 1984, Manon Rheaume was the first girl to defend the net of his team. In 1989, to the astonishment of all, Russia and Japan both joined the tournament.
To mark 50th edition, the tournament organized a legend game. This game was presented at the Pepsi Coliseum February 21, 2009. Players present marked the tournament in their own way. Some have had exceptional careers in the National Hockey League, others have rather marked the junior and professional hockey minor. In 2020, about 1,296 players have played in the NHL or AMH after playing in the pee-wee tournament. In 2011, the event has attracted a team of Australia, the fifth and final continent to participate in the tournament. Two teams of Africa and some of Asia had already taken part.
In addition to allowing thousands of young people to live a dream, the tournament has always had Patro Roc-Amadour at heart. In over 60 years, the tournament gave the Patro more than $ 2,433,000.
In 1960, there are nearly 20,000 spectators cheering on the tournament’s little favorite. In February 2016, the all-time record was set, 236 279 during the first tournament at the Videotron Center. How young players can generate so much passion and emotions? The secret of such longevity and enthusiasm among fans lies in the spirit of the tournament.
The initiative of experienced organizers and the collaboration of many volunteers have contributed to the world renown of the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.