The John Reid Memorial Tournament starts 8 a.m. Thursday at Servus Credit Union Place.

The 39th annual St. Albert bantam AAA invitational tournament, hosted by the St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres and St. Albert Raiders Hockey Club, showcases players on 16 elite teams from western Canada, western United States and Ontario.

The 42-game schedule consists of four divisions divided into two pools to determine the playoff pairings in the A, B and C brackets.

Thursday’s opening ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. at Go Auto Arena and the winner of the ninth annual $1,000 John Reid Memorial Scholarship will be announced.

Saturday’s A semifinals are 1:45 p.m. at Mark Messier Arena and 2 p.m. at Go Auto Arena.

Sunday’s championship game is 2 p.m. at Go Auto Arena.

The only St. Albert team to win the tournament was the 1983 Territorial Leasing Sabres.

Visit www.johnreidmemorial.com for the schedule and results.

The Sabres are competing in the Kal-Tire division of the John Reid pool and Thursday they play the Okanagan Hockey Academy of Edmonton at 10:45 a.m. and the Colorado T-Birds at 8 p.m. and Friday against the Yale Hockey Academy of Abbotsford, the defending champion, at 2:30 p.m. All three games are at Go Auto Arena.

The Skybox Grill division includes the Calgary Bisons, Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, Notre Dame Hounds and Toronto Marlboros.

The C2 Homes division of the Jarome Iginla pool features the Pursuit of Excellence Academy of Kelowna, Red Deer Rebels, Rink Hockey Academy of Winnipeg and Rocky Mountain Roughriders of Colorado.

The Remax-Brian Cyr division is comprised of the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins, Delta Hockey Academy Wild, Lethbridge Golden Hawks and Phoenix Jr. Coyotes.

A four-day pass is $40 for adults ($30 with no program) and $25 for students and seniors ($18 with no program).

Daily admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Youths 10 and under get in free. There is no charge for Raiders Hockey Club and St. Albert Minor Hockey Association players wearing their team jackets.

The highlight of Saturday’s tournament banquet, starting at 6 p.m. at the Ramada Conference Centre Ballroom, is the presentation of the John Reid Memorial Award for heart and hustle to a Sabres player.

The tournament was renamed in Reid’s memory in 2004.

The MVP award winners and all-star team selections will also be announced.

The guest speaker is Nathan Dempsey, a former NHL defenceman (21 goals and 88 points in 260 games with four teams) from Spruce Grove who is the campus director of Vimy Hockey at Vimy Ridge Academy School in Edmonton.

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