KAMLOOPS — When the 51st Kamloops International Bantam Hockey Tournament rolls around in 2019, it will be with new leadership. Following five years as chairman, Ted Kowalsky is stepping down after leading KIBIHT to the end of its first 50 years.
"I have the philosophy that you don't want to stay in it too long," says Kowalsky " because then you start implementing some of your own things and you feel like it's your tournament. And it's not. It's our tournament, it's the cities tournament, it's the kids tournament."
KIBIHT has faced challenges. With the growth of hockey academies, and more tournaments than ever before, KIBIHT has had to refocus and readjust. An Easter tournament for the first 45 years, it switched to after Christmas in 2014. And before that opened its doors to other tiers, forming two divisions.
"The trick is to get the big teams, the toughest teams --- KIBIHT always wants to do that, but also wants to look after the tier two's, who are maybe not quite as good, but will be there next year...that's the important thing. So the academies have hurt us. Academies have hurt other tournaments."
As Ted Kowalsky and other members of the committee for the last five years step aside for new and fresh ideas, he sees a bright future for KIBIHT as it moves into it's second half century.
"My vision is that KIBIHT is maintained." says Kowalsky, "that KIBIHT keeps going, that the committees do their utmost to bring in the top teams, and continue to look after the tier two's. That's my vision."
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