The 17th annual Mike Dea Classic basketball tournament tips off Thursday for the Bellerose Bulldogs, Sturgeon Spirits and St. Albert Skyhawks at St. Francis Xavier High School and SFX Sports Centre.

The Spirits and Skyhawks are competing in the 12-team women’s draw and the Bulldogs are entered in the 16-team men’s draw.

The Bulldogs hook up with the Saint Francis Browns of Calgary at 12:30 p.m. and depending on the outcome they play the Sturgeon Heights Huskies of Winnipeg or the Leduc Tigers at 6:30 p.m. in the consolation bracket or 8:30 p.m. in the quarter-finals.

The Spirits dribble the ball against the host SFX Rams at 10:30 a.m. A win would put the Spirits in the 4:30 p.m. quarter-finals against the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats of Calgary and a loss would set-up a 2 p.m. Friday tilt against the Leduc Tigers or the Prince George Secondary Polars in the consolation draw.

The Skyhawks, last year’s Mike Dea champions, are in action against the O’Leary Spartans or Luther College of Regina in the 2:30 p.m. quarter-finals.

The result will determine if the Skyhawks hoop it up at 4 p.m. Friday or in the 8 p.m. semifinal.

Visit www.stfrancisxavier.ecsd.net/ for schedules and results.

The Skyhawks are coming off a 30-5 season of excellence as the 2014 metro Edmonton division one finalists and 4A provincial bronze medallists. They lost only two players to graduation.

The Spirits (3-5) and Bulldogs (0-8) missed their respective division two playoffs.

The St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres host the Sherwood Park Flyers in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League Thursday.

Faceoff is 7 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.

The Sabres (9-4-3) were undefeated in seven games and winners of four in a row prior to Tuesday’s home game against the Spruce Grove PAC Saints (9-6-2). The score was unavailable at press time.

In the nitro north division, the Sabres are battling the Flyers (11-2-3) and SSAC Southgate Lions (11-4) for first place.

The next game for the St. Albert Raiders in the Alberta Major Bantam Female Hockey League is Friday against the Sherwood Park Royals.

Puck drop is 8 p.m. at Go Auto Arena.

In the north division, the Raiders (5-5) are ranked last and the Royals (6-3-2) are fourth.

The last game for the Raiders was their 4-3 win over the second-place Edmonton Lightning (6-3-3) Nov. 7 in St. Albert.

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St. Albert Gazette

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