Now entering its second year, The Best of Best series is a new hockey event held in the spring/summer over the course of four weeks and features some of the best 10-to-12-year-old players in Ontario.
The event was designed by organizer Joshua Ross to bring the top players from the Greater Toronto Hockey League, eastern OMHA, South-Central OMHA and Alliance Hockey together to play against each other in series of games.
Ross says that the reason he decided to create the Best of Best Series came from experiences he had from playing AAA and Junior A hockey when he was younger.
“Growing up, I used to always think, why do the leagues not get together and do a tournament or an All-Star Series?,” Ross said. “I never understood it.”
Ross, who has a child of his own playing at the AAA level, started getting into skill development and coaching for kids in his son’s age group. Ross created opportunities for his PHD – Team Ontario spring team to develop and play in some tournaments.
“I have a lot of passion for the sport of hockey and we created PHD Team Ontario,” Ross said. “That individual group, which was the 2010s, went into a few big tournaments — like Brick series tournaments — and played against some of the best teams. And we did really, really good. We beat a lot of them, we won tournaments and kind of made a name for ourselves.”
It was this success that sparked Ross’s idea to create this new, series-style tournament.
The next step to building the event was to look for open dates in the spring and summer. Ross didn’t want to compete with the big tournaments that already existed on the weekends, so he came up with the idea to hold this event in the spring/summer over four weeks.
“Why don’t we do a super series of each league? I had this vision I put on paper and it kind of brewed there for a good year as we were working out the logistics. I just kind of said, Okay, well, how do I be different?’ ” Ross said.
Ross decided to make teams to represent each of the major youth hockey leagues in Southern Ontario.
“It will kind of make it different than a normal team tournament,” he said. “We do specialize uniforms and swag. We put practices in so the coaches can regroup every week and work on things. We wanted to really make it feel like a series rather than a tournament. And here we are today.”
Ross then had to find the right people to help make his vision a reality. He reached out to find a general manager of each team and he created a package to send to each person he wanted to represent each division.
“Once we found the right people, it’s kind of just all naturally came together,” he said. “Then it was about getting the ice and using social platforms to promote it.”
Players that want a chance to play in this series can try out for a team. There are evaluation skates where anyone is able to tryout before breaking off into a main camp skate, which is invite only after the evaluation. After that there is a two-day camp where the coaches and managers will pick their final teams.
Ross hopes the Best of Best series will grow to be as big as the Brick invitational, which is the most prestigious Spring/Summer tournament for 10-year-old players. He said he hopes in the future to have multiple Best of Best champions crowned in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic and then have the winners compete in a final tournament.
“The idea is for us to continue to grow, to be the best in the Ontario market and to give kids multiple years in the event,” said Ross, who also hopes to have a Best of Best tournament for young girls in the years to come. “It’s a really cool experience where it’s best on best.”
BEST ON BEST DETAILS
Divisions: 2010 & 2011 Birth Years (separate divisions)
Dates: Month of August 2022 (4-Week Series | August 3rd to August 25th)
Games: 6 x Series Games Per Team | 2 Games Played Per Week, Per Team – Weeks 1 to 3
Championship Games: Gold Medal & Bronze Medal Games – Week 4
Skills Competition: Week 4
Practices: 1-Hour Practice Per Week, Per Team (6 Practices in Total, Per Team)
Team Camp: 4 x 1-hour on ice (Week in July)
BOB Ice Breaker Tournament: July 29th to July 31st (GTA) – 5 games min | 7 games max
The BEST OF BEST is an annual summer minor hockey series that features some of the best U11 and U12 players in Southern Ontario.
The Brick Invitational is an annual summer minor hockey tournament that features some of the best U10 hockey players in the world.
The USA Hockey National Championship for youths, girls, and high school division players begins on April 15, 2021 with the start of the high school tournament.