Pat Quinn Classic welcomes first European team to the hockey tournament

December 18, 2023

Burnaby, B.C. – A team from Esbjerg, Denmark will compete in the 2023 edition of the Pat Quinn Classic as the first team from Europe to participate in the tournament.

The Esbjerg Ice Hockey Club U16 will be part of the U17 Integrated Flight 2 division.

“We are thrilled to welcome the team from Denmark to the Pat Quinn Classic and to Burnaby,” says Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley. “This interest shows how the tournament continues to expand as an important event on the annual hockey calendar.  We look forward to seeing the Danes and all the participating teams demonstrate their skills on the ice in this annual celebration of hockey.”

“It was a coincidence, as we talked with a Danish guy, who used to live in Vancouver and he told us about the tournament,” said Jesper Brieuc Bærentsen, who is leading the Danish delegation. “The people we have been in contact with have been so nice and friendly, and the Pat Quinn Classic looks to be a great tournament.”

The Esberjerg Ice Hockey Club team has competed in other European countries, but this is first trip to Canada. “It is very exciting to face Canadian and American teams as the hockey style is a little different from what we have in Europe,” adds Bærentsen. “We hope it will be some good games and that our kids well make new friends.”

Tournament organizers are planning a feature game with the Danish team on Thursday December 28 at 8:30 p.m. at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. Attendance at this game and all games is free and the public is encouraged to come to the game to welcome the first European team to the Pat Quinn Classic.

The Denmark team is one of 59 teams competing in this year’s Pat Quinn Classic. The annual tournament continues to draw strong interest from the Lower Mainland (26 teams), across British Columbia (13 teams) and the United States.

“With 19 teams from Alaska, Washington, California, Colorado and Nebraska, the B.C. teams will enjoy a great competition with their American rivals,” says Cliff Ronning, honourary chair of the Pat Quinn Classic.  “This is in addition to the ongoing rivalries we see each year between local teams that always make this event a top showcase for hockey.”

This year’s tournament features eight divisions:

  • Dec. 27 – 30: U15 Female Elite and U13 Female Elite
  • Dec. 28 – 31: U17 Integrated Flight 1, U17 Integrated Flight 2, U15 Integrated Flight 1, U15 Integrated Flight 2, U13 Integrated Elite, and U13 Integrated Flight 1

The Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby is the feature venue for the 2023 Pat Quinn Classic. Games will also be played at Planet Ice Delta, Planet Ice Coquitlam, Scotia Barn Burnaby and the Burnaby Winter Club.

In November, 16 teams participated in the inaugural standalone Pat Quinn Classic U15 Elite Invitational with Delta Hockey Academy Prep Green emerging as the tournament winner.

Players in the Pat Quinn Classic compete for more than a trophy. Those in the U17 and U15 divisions are also eligible to apply for the Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association Scholarships. Five $1,000 scholarships are available. Last month, two scholarships were awarded to players in U15 Elite Invitational. 

Backgrounder – The Pat Quinn Classic

The Burnaby Minor Hockey Association began hosting the annual December Bantam hockey tournament in 1962. It is now the longest-running event of its kind in the world. The tournament became the Pat Quinn Classic in 2015, named after the legendary player, coach, general manager and team owner. Pat Quinn is internationally-recognized as one of the hockey’s greatest coaches and ambassadors. Proceeds go to the Pat Quinn Scholarship Fund. Managed by Hockey Canada, the fund supports players in post-secondary education after their hockey careers. Quinn is one of the most recognizable faces in Canadian sport and has made an enormous contribution to sport in British Columbia and Canada.

The objective of the Pat Quinn Classic is to create a top international-calibre tournament in Western Canada to showcase local teams alongside some of the strongest programs in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. Organizers worked with the Quinn family to create a unique tournament that strikes the right balance between exciting hockey, skill and leadership development and community engagement. Pat motivated players at all levels to work hard on the ice and live with passion and integrity off the ice. The vision of this tournament exemplifies his love of hockey and his unwavering commitment to give back to the community.