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Even off the ice, the Memorial Cup mesmerizes

Myriad events in downtown Kamloops are packing them in during the 10-day tournament

Kamloops residents and future hockey all-stars were out and about in downtown Kamloops on Saturday, May 27, checking out Memorial Cup events like the ball hockey tournament, the Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit and the Molson Canadian Hockey House.

While the ball hockey tournament has wrapped up, other events are ongoing, such as the Fan Zone at the Hockey House behind Sandman Centre.

The Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit at Kelson Hall showcases Kamloops Blazers and NHL memorabilia, as well as tournament trophies and NHL trophies, such as the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given each year for best sportsmanship, and the Ted Lindsay Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association.

"It's pretty incredible, just the fact they've come here to Kamloops to showcase the trophies and awards and even just the video they have playing showcasing the 100 greatest players. It's incredible. Phenomenal experience all around," said Matt Klassen, who checked out the Hockey Hall of Fame following his son Boaz’s stellar performance in the ball hockey tournament.

For a full schedule of events, check out KTW’s Memorial Cup edition here.

Asked how many goals he had scored that morning, Boaz said, "Like six or seven," indicating he might one day be featured in the Hockey Hall of Fame himself.

Like many involved in the tournament, Klassen praised the organizers for the setup seen downtown over the weekend.

"It's incredible. Four rinks and just the support of KidSport and Morfco, even the Kamloops Ball Hockey League. They've done an excellent job of putting things together," he said.

Keaton Thompson was another young player to hit the parking lot rinks on Saturday.

As an ice hockey player, the young Thompson had to quickly adapt to outdoor summer-like conditions. Following his game and a fresh dump of water over his head, he granted a post-game interview to KTW.

"It's pretty fun. I like it a bit more because it's not as cold, but now it's a bit hot," he said.

Keaton's mother, Karla, said the family has been enjoying the events so far, including Thursday's opening concert featuring the Glorious Sons.

"I feel really lucky they're organizing this and putting it on. I think all the kids are having a great time" she said.

Volunteer Roland Tieh was picking up rebounds at the skills training activity area on Saturday, where kids were practising their shooting and stickhandling.

"There are some kids who are very creative, going between the legs, bar down, stick handling and all that," Tieh said.

Players were organized into four groups, ages five to seven, seven to nine, nine to 11 and 11 to 13, with four games held simultaneously.

"It's awesome. I hope they do this every year," said Chad McDonald, who was watching his son play on Saturday. "He's loving it. He'll probably go into ball hockey next year just because of this. He plays ice hockey, too.”

McDonald said he had been at the lot since 8:30 a.m. and that he and his son got to meet players from the Memorial Cup.

"We plan on checking everything out this weekend, as much as we can," he said.