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Squirts tournament swells beyond F-M metro area to include Detroit Lakes

The growth of the Fargo Flyers' International Squirt Hockey Tournament has reached overflow capacity.

This year's tournament, which begins today with the Squirt Olympics at the Urban Plains Center in southwest Fargo, will include games outside of Fargo-Moorhead for the first time in the 26-year history of the event.

"When we sat down to decide what teams not to invite, we couldn't come up with a consensus," tournament director Al Hintz said. "We couldn't come up with a consensus. We still had to turn people way. But we had to turn fewer people away."

To accommodate a record 128 teams, several games will be played at both rinks at Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes. Hintz said the

45-mile drive for early morning games has been met with little resistance.

The schedule for teams who play in Detroit Lakes will allow extra time for meals and travel back to Fargo for games later in the day, Hintz said.

All games will be played in Fargo and Moorhead on Saturday.

Tournament games will also be played at each of the 10 indoor ice rink facilities throughout Fargo and Moorhead.

A team from Oklahoma will participate in the tournament for the first time, Hintz said.

Hintz said teams from California and Arizona have coaches with ties to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The squirt Olympics will include 74 teams.

Hintz said the plan is to eventually create similar tournaments for pee-wee and bantam teams. Those tourneys would allow the squirt event to turn away teams under the premise the teams could return the following year as pee-wee or bantam players.

"We do have a good problem that other tournaments would like to have," Hintz said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562