An NHL season may be in doubt but more than 6,500 minor hockey league players and their families are taking over the Capital this weekend.

The puck dropped at the Bell Sensplex in Kanata Friday afternoon, officially signalling the start of the Bell Capital Cup, one of the largest minor hockey tournaments in the world.

The Kanata Rangers and Oakville Hornets are two of the few female teams taking part in this year’s tournament. The majority of the 19 divisions are male teams.

“I'm excited to play new teams that we haven't played before,” said one Hornets player.

“For them to be here in an international tournament is a gigantic thing for them,” said parent Mark Hooper.

This year 380 teams from five different countries are taking part and vying for the Allen J. MacDonald Memorial Trophy. They come from as far away as China, Finland and Germany.

The highlight for many players is trading team pins.

“I think it's pretty special that we get to see all different teams,” said Kanata Rangers player Jayden Stitt. “People come all the way from Europe, all the way from China just to play here, to play their favourite sport hockey.”

The number of teams participating is down from past years.

“The economy is really starting to have a play on what people are choosing to do with their almighty dollar I guess you could say,” said Scott Lawryk, the general manager of the tournament. “We realize it's a commitment for teams to be able to travel up here and to be able to partake in an event like this.”

Many parents said the tournament is worth it.

“It’s local and a good variety of teams, we're just happy to be here,” said parent Leigh-Ann Carter.

The Bell Capital Cup runs from Dec. 28 until Jan. 1. All championship games will be played at Scotiabank Place.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Katie Griffin