The Moose Jaw Generals will be spending Christmas on the bus as they make their way out to the West Coast for the 37th annual Richmond International Midget AAA Tournament.

The Generals kick-off the tournament on Boxing Day when they square off with the Hungary under-16 team.

“It’s an opportunity to get away and not have that pressure of two points, just go and play some different teams and have some fun,” said Generals head coach Ray Wareham.

It hasn’t been the first half that the Generals had hoped for record-wise as they sit in 11th place in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with a 6-17-2-3 record. While the wins haven’t been there, the effort has and Wareham said that’s what they’re hoping to build off as they get ready to hit the ice in B.C.

“We think we’ve progressed as a team, the record doesn’t indicate that, but we’re happy with the progress of the guys,” said Wareham. “We’re there every night, we’ve had 17 one-goal losses, so a bounce either way and it goes the other way. It’s just inexperience, we’re right in the thick of things and then we make a mistake at a bad time and it snowballs on us a little bit.”

The Generals will open against Hungary on Boxing Day in Richmond, followed by the Everett U18 Elite AAA on Dec. 27, the Yale U16 Lions on Dec. 28 and Mission, AZ U18 on Dec. 29 during the round robin at the tournament, which features six teams in total at the Major Midget level.

“Those American teams with Under-18, they do have some older guys so that will be a challenge for our guys, but that’s good, they’ll have to step up and raise their game to another level; Not sure what to expect of the Hungarian team, we saw the older team at the Mac’s last year and they were pretty good, so we expect these guys to be pretty decent; and Yale Academy from all indications has a real good team,” said Wareham.

“We’re going to go there and have some fun, see if we can get this monkey off our back and find some ways to win some hockey games.”

The Generals will load up the bus on Christmas Day and make their way towards the coast. They’re game against Hungary is the lone Major Midget game on the opening day of the tournament.

“The guys are looking forward to it, they’re excited about the Boxing Day match-up with the Hungarian team, it’s something that none of these kids have experienced before,” said Wareham.

“I don’t know if they’re looking forward to the bus ride so much, but that’s where you develop memories and stuff that you’ll be talking about for 20 years from now.”

The Generals and Hungary hit the ice at 9:15 p.m. Sask time on Boxing Day at Minoru Stadium.

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