Thirty years.Maybe it’s not the famed Quebec Winter Carnival Pee Wee Tournament. Certainly it’s not Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series.But those are for old kids. Those are for 12-year-olds. This is for 10-year-olds. And there quite likely is not another event in all of kid sport that can compare.It’s the Brick Invitational hockey tournament for novice players at North America’s largest shopping mall. And it has reached the point where it has unquestionably achieved its own special status.When the 30th edition of the tournament hits the ice Monday morning at West Edmonton Mall, the list of former NHL players to compete in it will have reached some significant milestones.“This year we passed the 200 mark of NHL alumni. We have 205 who have played in the tournament as 10-year-olds and went on to play in the NHL,” testified tournament executive director Andy Wigston.Think about that.That number only includes basically the first 20 years. The kids since then are currently playing peewee, bantam, midget, junior or are in college and the AHL.The number to emerge to cover the first 30 years when time passes will almost certainly be well over 300.To this point the 205 NHL Brick kids have reached a total of 60,613 NHL games played.That’s 296 games per NHL player.“There were 34 selected in this year’s draft who played in this tournament eight years ago,” said Wigston.Tournament chairman Craig Styles and Wigston have been involved since Brick founder Bill Comrie invented it.“The Quebec tournament is for peewees. There are a number of bantam tournaments around the country. And there’s the Mac’s Midget Tournament in Calgary. That was the reason Bill started it. He came to us 30 years ago and said, ‘There’s no novice tournament. It starts at peewee. Why don’t we just try one and do it at West Edmonton Mall?’ ” said Wigston, now retired from The Brick.“We ran it over a three-day weekend with eight teams. We didn’t know where it was going to go. It was just a tournament. Now it’s 30 years later. We went to 10 teams, then 12. We even had two European teams in 1991, from Finland and Czechoslovakia. They weren’t very competitive but they came. Now it’s a 14-team tournament over a week and all the elite 10-year-old players in North America want to be in it.”Thirty years.Matthew Barzal. Matt Benning. Jordan Binnington, Jay Bouwmeester. Troy Brouwer. Mike Brown. Gilbert Brule. Brandon Dubinsky. Dustin Byfuglien. Mike Comrie. Logan Couture. Max Domi. Jonathan Drouin. Jordan Eberle. Brendan Gallagher. Ryan Garbutt.The 30th edition of the Brick Invitational will feature its first tournament NHL alumni player on hand to watch his son play in the tournament.Micki Dupont played in The Brick when he was 10 in the inaugural year in 1990. Still playing pro in Germany with Eisbaren Berlin, the Polar Bear who played 23 games in the NHL with St. Louis, Calgary and Pittsburgh will get the kick of watching his boy, Landon play here this year.“That’s pretty neat, eh?” said Micki. “I still have the tournament program at home. I dug that up the other day and it was pretty cool. I showed my kids Nolan and Landon.“It’s funny what you remember. I remember going to the waterpark with my teammates. Just going to the Mall was a big thing with all the attractions. And to play hockey on the ice in the middle of the mall in the summer was something else again, too.“Back then there was the Edmonton Brick team, a Red Deer team and a Calgary team. I remember playing against Los Angeles. There was a team from Montreal and a team from Toronto. That was pretty cool when you’re 10 years old. I’m sure it still is.”This year in addition to the Team Brick entry, there are two powerhouse teams from Toronto including the defending champion Bulldogs, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Chicago, Boston, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Minnesota, and Western Selects team from California and Western USA.It’s extra cool when you’re Micki Dupont’s son because you’ve spent your winters in places like Switzerland and Germany and you’ve never played winter hockey in Canada.“It’s all very hard to believe,” said Landon Dupont.Styles remembers that first year.“Mark Messier came to a lot of our Edmonton Brick Team practices. Bill Comrie, Sam Belcourt and myself coached the team and Andy was the manager.“Mark convinced the NHL to let us have the Stanley Cup the Oilers won that spring as a treat for the players. I took it home and had my own parade with the neighbors, parents, friends and family.“One of the more remarkable things that happened in our first year is that Los Angeles won the tournament. That was really something and perhaps foreshadowed what was to happen in the NHL.”Thirty years.Johnny Gaudreau. Dougie Hamilton. Travis Hamonic. Dany Heatley. Darren Helm. Bo Horvat. Seth Jones. Torey Krug. Martin Jones. Mitch Marner. Auston Matthews. Drew Miller. Andrew Ladd. Matthew Lombardi. Jamie Lundmark. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Max Pacioretty. Kyle Palmieri.“In the beginning, the Ghermezian family dream was to build a shopping mall where people could skate in the middle of it. So when the built it, they built a skating rink, not a hockey rink. Bill wanted to have a tournament there,” Wigston said of the massive complex where a Brick Warehouse happens to be located.“The first four or five years we had to build our own temporary players boxes. We used the Zamboni room as our penalty box. They didn’t even have dressing rooms. Our Brick carpenters came in and erected portable dressing rooms every year.“It was pretty bare bones to start with but eventually The Mall bought into it. They turned it into a hockey rink.”Thirty years.Dion Phaneuf. Alex Pietrangelo. Tyler Pitlick. Braydon Point. John Quenneville. Brayden Schenn. Luke Schenn. Brent Seabrook. Tyler Seguin. Steven Stamkos. Sam Steel. Mark Stone. Dylan Strome. Ryan Strome. P.K. Subban. Brady Tkachuk. Jonathan Toews. Kyle Turris. Blake Wheeler. Travis Zajac.“A lot of the West Edmonton Mall businesses became sponsors over the years. The bars and restaurants put the live games up on their TV sets. The stores supply items and coupons to go into each of the player gift bags. They support us. They really do. Some of them say it’s one of the busiest weeks of he year for them. We’re bringing over 1,000 people in here from out of town every year that have never seen this building,” he said of the event with an annual budget of more than $100,000.“The moms love it because they’re not standing in a cold rink getting cups of coffee out of a machine.They’re able to go shopping and do all these different things.“There’s only one day where each team has two games. On the Saturday night we have a beach party at the World Water Park. By Saturday night we’re down to two teams. We drain one of the pools. We have a games company come in and all the teams compete for prizes.“On Sunday morning the University of Alberta Golden Bears come in and do a skills competition for the 12 teams that are out. That’s usually real fun to watch. Fastest skater. Hardest shot. All those different things. After the final games when all the teams are on the ice and all the hardware is handed out, all these kids exchange jerseys. It just happened on its own one year and kind of became a tradition after that. It’s really something to see with 14 teams of 10-year-olds.”The only temporary construction involved now is erecting bleachers on the corners of the rink for tournament week.“The rest of it is standing room because you can get more people in when they’re standing.”Thirty years.How did this tournament for kids, who not many years before took to the ice looking like baby turtles heading into the ocean for the first time, become such a phenomenon?“Basically I think we built a reputation that was a product of Bill Comrie’s leadership that was installed in Andy and myself whereby he was always pushing us to give the participants and fans more than they ever expected.”There are a lot of teams in pro sport that ought to have that motto. Give them more than they expect.“We surrounded ourselves with an incredible tournament committee that are passionate about keeping this dream of Bill’s alive for many more years to come,” said Styles.“Our sponsors have made all of this fiscally possible and David and Don Ghermezian have been unfailing in every request ever made to them to improve the experience.“Norm Shaw, our referee in chief, has been with us since Day 1 and we’ve had the highest level of officiating possible. Dave Read started video with play-by-play in 1991. We’ve had excellent people in just about every area with multiple tasks completing and improving upon the overall process,” he said, and mentioned the long list of volunteers who have given the event it’s personality and character with an inordinate number of them having been involved for much of its history.“I can’t tell you how thrilling it has been for me over the years to have seen so many NHL players come to our tournament in a coaching or management position.” They’ve included Bill Ranford, Tony Twist, Al MacInnos, Pat Elynuik, Craig Wolanin, Lance Pitlick, Brian Bellows, Mathew Barnaby, Andy Rymsha, John Madden, Mike Sillinger, Dennis Savard, Martin Lapointe, Doug Weight, Nelson Emmerson, Gino Cavallini, Jamie Heward, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jason Blake, Martin St. Louis, Rocky Sagainuk, Mark Recchi, Patrik Stephan, Milan Hejduk, Jeff Hamilton, Shjon Podein, Shawn Horcoff, Adrian Aucoin, Kirk Maltby, Jamal Mayers, Scott Niedermayer, Todd Bertuzzi, Tie Domi and so many more.There are a lot of long lists involved with the Brick Invitational.