Richmond’s 2021 Mousquiri hockey tournament cancelled

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After carefully considering various options, the organizers behind the Mousquiri Atom National Hockey Tournament in Richmond ultimately decided to cancel the event that was supposed to happen during the first two weeks of February.
The province’s oldest atom minor hockey tournament would have celebrated it’s 58th edition in 2021, but due to the ongoing pandemic and a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, tournament president Guillaume Cayer-Richard believes his team made a prudent decision.
“The Mousquiri is going to survive even if we skip a year,” he said. “We probably have a better chance to survive by skipping a year than trying to make it happen and lose a lot of money getting prepared and cancelling at the last minute.”
Cayer-Richard said that because it’s a national tournament, teams from all over the country can register for the event. They even attract some squads from the United States of America. However, with border restrictions in place those teams won’t be able to make the trip.
Teams from outside of Quebec, many of them coming from Ontario, aren’t rushing to sign up for a hockey tournament with so much uncertainty surrounding Quebec’s return-to-sports action plan.
Cayer-Richard said that normally the tournament is completely booked around mid-September. This year, however, he received few phone calls and emails inquiring about the minor hockey event. There were only five teams registered for the tournament last week.
It was a pretty easy decision for the people behind the scenes running the event, he said. They also needed to consider the safety of more than 200 volunteers, most of whom are retired, older folks. Cayer-Richard also thought about making it a regional tournament.
“It would become a regional tournament, which we thought about, but right now, even in Richmond, there’s not that many kids that subscribed to play hockey this year,” Cayer-Richard said.
Losing one of the biggest hockey tournament’s in the province extends beyond the players and people directly involved in the event. It also carries an economic impact on Richmond and the surrounding region, according to Cayer-Richard.
Depending on the year, there are roughly 50 teams in the tournament and 100 games spanning across a 14-day schedule, he explained. The city loses all of those families and friends coming to watch, shop in local businesses and stay at hotels in the area.
“I would say the [Richmond Fair] is probably number one and number two is probably the Mousquiri because it lasts 14 days,” Cayer-Richard said about what drives the economy in Richmond.
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