Cochrane Minor Hockey continues to bring closure to the minor hockey careers of hundreds with a tournament like no other.

Yesterday, Mar. 31, the four-day Yelnats Cup wrapped up with teams raising four of the cups and others receiving banners for winning their division.

ChaosThe Cochrane Chaos beat the Okotoks Oilers 'A' team, 2-0, to win their division and one of the four Yelnats Cups. (photo supplied)
dawgsThe Cochrane Dawgs beat the Cochrane Phantoms,7-2, in the T3 non-contact division for their Yelnats Cup. (photo supplied)
sellwood selectsThe Sellwood Selects doubled The Medicine Hat Bengals in their T2 'B' division final.

Two Cochrane team got to raise the cup for their wins. The Cochrane Chaos raised the female 'A' cup after beating the Okotoks Oilers 2-0 in the final. The Cochrane Dawgs beat the Cochrane Phantoms, 7-2, in the non-body contact (NBC) Tier 3 'A' final.

The Tier 2 NBC "B' final was won by the Sellwood Selects.

Other local teams advancing to the final were the Cochrane Rockies Tier 1 team. The Rockies T3 body contact (BC) team lost to the Grande Prairie Masonry Knights, 8-6.

Selects team captain Gavin Wade, who's been with the team three years, says they got the job done this year after making the final last year against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Winning is the icing on the cake, but he also enjoyed the skills competition and playing against players from other communities.

"It's great that everybody can come together for the last tournament of the season and say goodbye to the grads."

There were five graduating players on the team, and like all the other grads, they received a keepsake of their time in minor hockey.

While he hasn't been able to assist the team much this year, Reese Sellwood has been with the Selects since it was created, three years as a player, then as a coach.

He said the name came about as an inside joke.

"If we won games everyone called us the Sellwood Selects because we handpicked our team, but that never actually happened," says Sellwood. "Then we embraced it eventually and called ourselves that and thought it was pretty funny."

He says the team won at the Yelnats two of the three years he played and has just added their third notch.

Besides the Yelnats Cup, Rockies T1 captain Griffin Button counts winning the U18AA league championship among the highlights of his minor hockey career.

"The Yelnats Cup is pretty important as a sendoff," says Button. "It was fun to play. It sucks we lost, but at least we got to the finals and had a chance to enjoy the experience."

The Rockies came back to tie the game, 5-5, in front of a packed house. Overtime solved nothing, and it came down to a shootout, won by the Raiders.

"Probably winning the AA championship (last season), going to provincials, and making Timberwolves AA in my second year was my favorite year in hockey ever. Some of the kids on that team are in the WHL now, and I found that pretty cool to have that experience to know those guys."

He isn't finished with hockey yet. He hopes to play junior hockey next season.

Tournament chair Angela Sellwood says she's received nothing by positive feedback from participating teams.

"We've had several teams ask if they can back next year," she says.

The size of the Yelnats Cup tournament continues to grow along with the increasing number of teams and players in Cochrane Minor Hockey. This was the largest tournament yet that utilized all four local arenas, including the Cochrane Arena, to accommodate the 32 teams.

Because Cochrane now has 10 U18 teams, Sellwood anticipates they'll continue to use all four arenas in the future.