There weren’t enough hotel rooms in Val d’Orto hold them all. A record 3 to 4,000 people attended the 13th annual Val d’Or hockey and broomball tournament this December. They had 600 hotel rooms to choose from in Val d’Or, but it wasn’t enough. Several teams had to stay in Amos.

“It was one of the largest tournaments I’ve ever seen,” said Walter Hester Jr., president of the tournament. In all, 900 players were there representing 57 teams. And, despite some minor scheduling misunderstandings, Hester said the tournament was a big hit with the crowd.

Four of the five final playoffs went into overtime, and the winners in all five were decided by only one point.

“The crowd was on the edge of their seats. People said it was one of the best tournaments they’ve ever seen,” said Hester, who’s been involved with the tournament for 10 years. “We worked hard on it. The directors did a good job setting it up.”

If all goes well, Hester added, tournament-goers can expect some new events next year in Val d’Or – including square dancing, basketball and volleyball.

John Boudrias, coordinator of the tournament, said the tournament is important because it helps bring Crees together. “When it started, there wasn’t too much communication between the communities. It’s a great opportunity for the communities to communicate.”

Boudrias, who’s been working on the tournament since it started in 1980, also thought this year’s tournament was a success. “It’s well set up now. Before, there was a different committee each year. Now, the recreation directors in each community have a mandate to do it,” he said. “It will continue for a long time.”