The 13th edition of the US-Canada Cup started in Kitchener, but this year the local hockey tournament looks different.

The event, organized by the Waterloo Girls Minor Hockey Association, features teams at the U15, U18 and U22 levels.

Before the pandemic, the event would see hundreds of girls traveling from south of the border to play.

This year there are no visiting American teams. Instead, there are 78 Canadian teams from as far away as British Columbia.

“Every time you play a team outside of your division. Where you’ve never seen them play before. It’s a great opportunity for the kids, ”said Chad Campbell, KW Rangers head coach.

The Rangers got off to a fast start, notching a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Gloucesters in their first game of the tournament.

“It’s a year of development. So I think everyone is here and wants to improve. So they are always working hard on and off the ice. It’s good to be around,” said team captain Katina Duscio.

The head coach said the tournament is a unique opportunity for players to compete against scouts from the NCAA, U SPORTS and Hockey Canada.

“Scouts like it because they see so many teams over so many days. So they don’t have to travel. They only have to travel two or three tracks,” Campbell said.

15-year-old Kitchener player Caitlin Kraemer looks forward to her big break soon.

“I want to try to go to America and play D1,” Kraemer said.

The tournament will run until Sunday, December 5.

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