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Tommy Purdeller (l.) and the Peterborough Petes storm into the final. © therecord.com

In the best youth league in the world: a Pusterer on the rise

He only recently turned 19 years old and yet he is already one of the best ice hockey exports that South Tyrol has to offer: Tommy Purdeller from Bruneck. He is currently writing a very special fairy tale in North America.

After moving to Canada last summer and a bumpy start to the season with bureaucratic hurdles and injuries, Tommy Purdeller probably never dreamed of such a successful run: last night he sensationally reached the final of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Peterborough Petes, which is commonly known as the best junior league in the world.

The youth team from Peterborough, a town of 85.000 on the Otonabee River in southeastern Canada, prevailed in the conference final against the highly promoted North Bay Battalion. This had won all four direct duels in the regular round. This time, however, Purdeller and Co. had the upper hand. In the all-important seventh playoff game, Peterborough won 3-2 and secured the Bobby Orr Trophy, which goes to the Eastern Conference champion, for the first time in 17 years.

The only downside for the young South Tyrolean: After a knee check, the game was over in the first third. He had to come off the ice feeling injured.

The Peterborough Petes pose with the Bobby Orr Trophy. © OHL

In the final of the prestigious OHL Cup, the Petes will face the London Knights in a best-of-seven series starting next Thursday. They took second place in the regular season of the Western Conference, but have only suffered a total of three defeats in the playoffs to date.

Purdeller already in 70 missions

No matter how the title showdown ends: Tommy Purdeller's debut year overseas is already a great success. The striker from Bruneck, who was initially trained at HC Pustertal and then at the Red Bull Academy in Salzburg for several years, has played 70 games so far and collected 21 scorer points. With a goal and an assist in the fourth game against North Bay Battalion, he also contributed to the eventual conference title and the associated finals.


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