June 14, 2024

In the best youth league in the world: High Flying Booster – North America

Tommy Berdeller (left) and Peterborough Petes stormed into the final. © therecord.com

He’s 19 and already one of the best ice hockey exports South Tyrol has to offer: Brunico’s Tommy Purdeller. He is currently writing a very special North American fairy tale.

After moving to Canada last summer and a rocky start to the season with bureaucratic hurdles and injuries, Tommy Berdeler might not have dreamed of such a successful run: Last night he sensationally reached the final of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Peterborough Petes, known as the best junior league in the world.

The youth team from Peterborough, a town of 85,000 on the Otonabe River in southeastern Canada, defeated the highly regarded North Bay Battalion in the conference final. This had won all four head-to-head duels in the regular season. This time, however, Purdeller and company prevailed. In the all-important seventh playoff game, Peterborough won 3-2, claiming the Bobby Orr Trophy for the first time in 17 years, to which the Eastern Conference champion is entitled.

The only drop of bitterness for the South Tyrolean youth: after a knee check, the match was over already in the first third. The ice had to hit him.

Peterborough Petes with the Bobby Orr Cup. © OHL

In the final of the prestigious OHL Cup, Bates will take on the London Knights in a best-of-seven series starting next Thursday. They finished second in the Western Conference, but have only lost three games in the playoffs so far.

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Purdeller is already on 70 missions

No matter how the main showdown ends: For Tommy Berdeler, the overseas premiere year has already been a huge success. The striker from Brunico, who first trained at HC Pustertal and then for several years at the Red Bull Academy in Salzburg, has played 70 matches so far and has collected 21 points. With a goal and assist in Game 4 against North Bay Battalion, he also contributed to the final conference title and associated finals.