Notre Dame is getting set for a big next four days as they welcome in 15 of the best female midget AAA teams from across Western Canada for the 2017 Mandi Schwartz Memorial Tournament.

The teams will hit the ice Thursday-Sunday this week in Wilcox and Milestone to decide the 2017 champion.

“We’re super excited to play a lot of games against good teams and represent our school,” said Moose Jaw’s Lybbi Robart, who’s in her third season with the host Hounds.

The tournament is named in memory of former Notre Dame player Mandi Schwartz, who went on to play with the Yale Bulldogs before undergoing a battle with cancer.  Schwartz died on Apr. 3, 2011.

Her memory now lives on in the tournament each year.

“The tournament being named after Mandi holds special meaning for myself, the girls and a lot of our staff on campus because Mandi was a Hound and someone that a lot of our aspire to be like,” said Tegan Schroeder, head coach of the Hounds.

“It’s neat to be able to share her story through the tournament to not just our students and staff, but 16 teams and a whole bunch of university scouts.”

Schroeder added that sharing Schwartz’s legacy through the tournament is very important for the school and community that she grew up in.

“Leading up to the tournament, we make sure that we share her story with the girls and talk about the kind of person that she was, so that they can focus on that throughout the weekend,” said Schroeder.

The tournament is the largest female midget AAA tournament in Western Canada with teams from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia all taking part.

Robart said she’s happy to be able to follow in Schwartz’s footsteps as a player for the Hounds and play in her memory this weekend.

“Knowing her story gives us extra motivation, just knowing how hard of a worker she was makes us want to give a little extra in all of our games this weekend,” said Robart, who is one of four Moose Jaw players that will be suiting up for the tournament.

The Regina Rebels feature Larissa Bohlken, while Harper Davey and Crystal Wale will be suiting up for the Swift Current Wildcats at the tournament.

With the top teams from Western Canada on hand, the tournament serves as a good chance for all the teams to see where they stand against the best.

“We just need to play the best that we can, play as a team and knowing that we’re playing for Mandi, that’s some extra motivation,” said Robart.

The round robin kicks off on Thursday morning with the host Hounds in action against the Calgary Fire at 10:30 a.m. at the Duncan McNeill Arena.

The games will be hosted in Wilcox and at the Milestone Memorial Centre over the course of the three days. The final is set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Wilcox. Click here for the full schedule.

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