It's been an eventful year for Kadon McCann.

Only a few days ago, the 15-year-old Cochrane hockey player stepped off the ice as a member of the South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA) team that won the 32-team international Circle K Classic tournament in Calgary.

Friday, he'll be lacing up as a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers in Edmonton in his first WHL game. In February, he heads to Prince Edward Island as part of U16 male Team Alberta in the Canada Winter Games.

McCann says it was thrilling to be part of a team that won the prestigious Calgary U18 tournament.

"It was such a tight group in our dressing room, so to win a championship of that calibre with that group of guys was pretty surreal," he says.

The Dunmore, AB based-team claimed the tournament title with a convincing 6-0 win over the Calgary Buffalos in the energy-charged Ken Bracko Arena of the Max Bell on Jan. 1. The crowd of over 3,000 people made it clear they favoured the home-town team.

"It was crazy!" says McCann. "When you went onto the ice for warm-ups, you were just like 'holy smokes, it's going to be a wild one.' It makes it that much more special when everybody's cheering against you, and you're the underdog."

Both teams had gone undefeated to advance to the final.

The Buffalos came into the tournament with a better season record and won against the Swift Current Legionnaires, RINK Kelowna, Chicago Mission, Team Hungary, and Shawnigan Lake.

South Alberta topped their pool with wins over Saskatoon Blazers, Calgary Northstars, St. Louis, Yale Hockey Academy, and the Burlington Eagles.

It was the second consecutive tournament win by SAHA and the academy now has a chance to tie the record for three consecutive wins set by the Shattuck-Saint Mary team (1999-2001). You can't help but believe having hockey great Sidney Crosby on that team was a factor.

Not to be taken lightly, the Buffalos have won the tournament four times and were shooting to become the first to win it five times.

McCann is fired up for his WHL debut in Alberta's capital.

"It will be pretty crazy playing in Rogers Place, skating on the same ice as Connor McDavid and other NHLers. It's going to be pretty cool, for sure."

The Edge School U18 prep team won the 'B' event of the Circle K and included Cochrane hockey player Brendan Calahasen.

Cochrane's Gage Sather, of Airdrie CFR Bisons, was one of the three scholarship recipients at the tournament. It's his first year with the club following a season with the U18AA Bow Valley Timberwolves.

For many, the Circle K Classic is better known as the Mac. It rebranded this year. Like most major tournaments, it was stalled by the pandemic and was last held in April 2022 outside of its traditional Christmas break window.

Also of note, Cochrane female elite hockey player Raedyn Spademan has been selected to play for the female U18 Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.