The U18 AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons are excited to showcase their skills at the 2023-24 Circle K Classic.

The tournament runs as a 32-team event from December 27 until January 1 at the Max Bell and 7 Chiefs Sportsplex in Calgary.

 After 45 years, the Circle K Classic (formerly the Mac's U18AAA Tournament) has become a globally recognized hockey prospect tournament.

The  U18AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons were one of the teams invited this year and are ready to leave their mark on it.

"It's a big tournament for these kids. A lot of these kids want to end up playing in U18 AAA for at least a year so they're able to play in this tournament," stated Chad Scharff, Head Coach of the Bison.

While in his first year coaching with the Bison, Scharff has had some experience with the tournament over the past two years with a Calgary team.

"I think any kid at this level, if they're able to say they've won the Circle K classic, that's something they'll remember forever. It would mean the world to them."

This year also marks the one-year anniversary of the tournament rebrand.

“As we celebrate a year of the Circle K Classic, we also celebrate the unwavering commitment of young athletes who continue to redefine the future of hockey and pave the way for the next generation,” says Circle K Classic General Manager of hockey operations, Chris Leinweber.

The Circle K Classic boasts an impressive array of top-ranked teams, with 11 of Canada's top 20 U18AAA teams participating in this year's tournament. Teams from the USA and Europe will be participating as well.

Here are the teams participating:

Pool 1
Calgary Northstars (AEHL U18 AAA)
Edge School (CSSHL)
Fraser Valley Thunderbirds (BCEHL U18AAA)
Team Hungary (Europe)

Pool 2
Calgary NW Flames (AEHL U18 AAA)
Shattuck-St. Mary’s (USA)
Prince Albert Mintos (SMAAHL)
OHA Penticton (CSSHL)

Pool 3
Edmonton Oilers Orange (AEHL U18 AAA)
Burlington Eagles (Ontario)
RINK Kelowna (CSSHL)
Phoenix Jr. Coyotes (USA)

Pool 4
Calgary Buffaloes (AEHL U18 AAA)
Detroit Victory Honda (USA)
Swift Current Legionnaires (SMAAHL)
Yale Lions (CSSHL)

Pool 5
Airdrie CFR Bisons (AEHL U18 AAA)
Warman Wildcats (SMAAHL)
Bishop Kearney Selects (USA)
Shawnigan Lake School (CSSHL)

Pool 6
Okotoks Bowmark Oilers (AEHL U18 AAA)
Northern Alberta Extreme (CSSHL)
St. Louis AAA Blues (USA)
Valley West Giants (BCEHL U18AAA)

Pool 7
Calgary Royals (AEHL U18 AAA)
Pittsburgh Pens Elite (USA)
Vancouver NE Chiefs (BCEHL U18AAA)
The Hill School (USA)

Pool 8
Edmonton Oilers Blue (AEHL U18 AAA)
South Kent School (USA)
Chicago Mission (USA)

The Circle K Classic remains a hotspot for scouts, attracting over 400 scouts from various Junior Leagues across Canada, the USHL, NAHL, NCAA schools and representatives from the US National Development Program. Additionally, the tournament has historically been attended by several NHL scouts, allowing the players to showcase their skills on a big stage.

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