GOJHL Participating in 39th MacPherson Challenge Tournament

After a two-year hiatus, the MacPherson Challenge is returning in 2023. The 39th such tournament will feature some of the best under-18 talent from Ontario, Alberta, and the northeastern United States and will take place from January 27 to the 29. In Aurora.

David Manning is the head coach of host St. Andrew’s College, a prep school located in Aurora. He says there’s a good mix of U18 teams participating. “We have Victory Honda (from Plymouth, Michigan) the academy program at Edge School in Alberta, and some of the best junior players in the GOJHL, so its kind of an eclectic event.”

The tournament is a haven for scouts at all levels of hockey right from major junior up to professional hockey. “Over the course of the weekend we’ll probably have scouts from all 32 National Hockey League teams come through the building. St. Andrew’s has a few players on the NHL draft radar. I know Culver does and obviously the GOJHL team will have some guys who are generating interest. It’s a great meeting point for all of these players and the scouts at all kinds of different levels whether it be college or major junior.” In 2019, scouts from each NHL team, 20 OHL teams and 12 NCAA schools made appearances.

Brent Garbutt is the Commissioner of the GOJHL and recognizes how exciting of an opportunity this is for the league. “This is an outstanding exposure opportunity for GOJHL players. David Manning, St. Andrew’s College, and the participating teams have really made this a key event on the scouting calendar. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

St. Andrew’s has played against each of the team’s participating in addition to a few GOJHL teams and he says fans will notice a difference in styles. “There seems to be a big distinction between the Canadian and American styles. The Americans play a really up-tempo, in your face brand and you tend to see the Canadian teams with a little more thought. It’s something you have to adjust to because (the Americans) like to play with pace and it’s a lot of fun.” Manning adds the GOJHL has been gracious to the St. Andrew’s program giving them opportunities to play against the league’s teams, be challenged, and make us better. “This was a big part of the partnership with the league was making sure these young players had more opportunities to be seen. We are hopeful that part of it comes through in spades.”

All teams will attend a lunch banquet on Friday with former professional hockey player John Chabot in attendance as guest speaker. Chabot played for Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Detroit during his NHL career before skating a number of years in Europe. “He is doing tremendous work in the Indigenous hockey community, so we are really excited to have him joining us. We try to make this as special event as possible for the players,” adds Manning.

Admission is free for the three-day event and Manning says the school treats the tournament as not just a hockey showcase, but also a public event. “This is a big school event for us, and we aim to have a real community feel to it.”

See the images below for more tournament information including the schedule.