41st Exchange will be held in Canada on March 31- April 2 2017
The Kent – Embro Hockey Friendship Exchange is in its 41st year
For the 41st consecutive year, the Tri-County/Kent Cyclone youth hockey organization and the Embro Edge hockey organization from Embro, Ontario, will participate in their annual exchange program.
This year Embro Edge will host their American friends.
The event features youth hockey players from Mite level (8 years old and younger) to Bantam level (up to 15 years old) in a "friendship" tournament that features a bit of hockey and a lot of fun times together.
The exchange program's start was a result of a snowstorm following a hockey tournament that stranded Kent youth hockey teams in the village of Embro over 40 years ago. Local citizens opened their homes and their hearts to the snow-bound families, thus creating friendships that have grown from one generation to the next.
Over the course of the exchange weekend, visiting players billet (are provided lodging) in the homes of host players their same age level. From these billeting experiences, life-long friendships among the players and their families have developed along with a new appreciation for a different culture.
While Kent can be considered suburban in lifestyle, Embro is a farming community, thus providing the players an opportunity to learn about daily routines very different from their own.
Throughout the weekend each age division of teams play a series of three hockey games, with the final game featuring a "trading" of some players from one team to the other. The mix of American and Canadian players on teams has always been a highlight for the players.
The final event of the weekend is an impressive closing ceremony in which participating teams parade onto the ice led by a bagpipe player and skaters holding the flags of the two countries. Representative families of Embro and Kent sing the national anthems and a gift exchange closes out the weekend.