LEGACY Global Sports puts the Event Spotlight on our largest hockey tournament of the calendar year, the Motown Classic. We sat down with Sasha Ristic, Growth Director at LGS Hockey, who helped establish the tournament that has become a mainstay in the amateur hockey schedule every October. Take a deep dive into the history of this event in a great Q-and-A session with Sasha below.
LGS Media: When was the Motown Classic first established and how has the event evolved over the years?
Sasha Ristic: “The tournament started in 2005 with just the 1997 age group. That was my son’s age group back when I managed his team. We had 32 teams the first year in the event and then we added the 1996’s and 97s the following year for a total of 46 teams. We added the 98’s in 2007 but removed the 96s. Every year after that we added the next youngest age group. So basically, it started with 32 teams and now it is all the way up to 350 teams.”
LGS: How would you describe the level of competition at this event?
SR: “The competition level is some of the best in North America for AAA. Because of the location, we are able to attract Midwest teams, Ontario teams and others. Teams that want to play against these teams come to the Motown Classic to see how they stack up. Every year we get some teams that come from very far away, even some European teams.”
LGS: What type of teams thrive at the Motown Classic?
SR: “Teams that can play in high pressure situations typically will do well. The tournament format allows for three round-robin games, so there is not a lot of room for error. We try to keep some wildcard spots open for the quarterfinals because the competition is so high.”
LGS: What separates the Motown Classic from other hockey events?
SR: “This event separates the competition level so that it’s very competitive. We will have as many as three division levels at some age groups. We do this with the intention of avoiding any blowouts. They occasionally happen anyways, but we do our best to ensure that everyone plays a competitive schedule. The other really important thing we try to do is to keep the teams away from the teams they would play in their normal schedule. For example, we will try to have pools that consist of a Michigan team, an Illinois team, an Ontario team, and then a team from anywhere else. When teams travel, they are interested in playing competition that they won’t see during the year, and because of our draw, we are able to make that happen. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable where people will have to play someone from their league or close to each other geographically, but we do our best to avoid that situation.”
LGS: What off-ice activities have players, coaches and parents enjoyed while attending this event?
SR: “The revival of the Detroit downtown area has been great for the city. People are interested in going to the new Little Caesars Arena to watch the Red Wings play. When they are in town during the event, we get a lot of requests for group tickets. Also, we are so close to Ann Arbor and East Lansing that people can go see some of the best college programs in the nation. Another great option is to go see the U.S. National Development Team play. The U-17’s and U-18’s play in the USHL and you can catch tomorrow’s future stars play while you’re in town. Finally, when it comes to hockey we are also very close to 4 OHL teams: Flint, Saginaw, Sarnia, and Windsor. So if you are interested in catching an OHL game you can do that as well.
“Outside of hockey, people have loved visiting the Henry Ford Museum. There’s also a Ford Motor Company tour where people can see how cars are manufactured. For those outside the Motor City that’s a very cool thing to see. The Detroit Zoo is also a popular attraction, as well as some great shopping outlets (high-end mall, outdoor malls, outlet malls, etc). Like all major cities, Detroit has all the restaurants you can imagine and some you can’t find anywhere else. We have three casinos in downtown Detroit for those who like to gamble. There’s something to accommodate everyone during Motown Classic downtime.”
LGS: What’s new at the 2019 Motown Classic?
SR: “We are planning a larger Thursday night welcome party for those who want to participate. We will announce some top exhibition games for that evening amongst other activities. We will also be moving a division into Ann Arbor, one of the best college towns in North America. With the University of Michigan football team away that weekend we can fit into the area with no concerns. Ann Arbor has a great facility and the people that are playing in that town will really enjoy it.”
LGS: Who are some of the alumni of the Motown Classic?
SR: “The alumni list keeps growing every year. We have so many players in the AHL, OHL, & the NCAA. Some of the more prominent names are Jake Chychrun (at the first event in 2005), Alex Debrincat, Christian Fischer, Max Jones, Clayton Keller, Luke Kunin, Charlie McAvoy, Victor Mete, Jack Roslovic, Dylan Strome, Troy Terry, Brady and Matthew Tkachuk, Andre Svechnikov, Zach Werenski and Cayla Barnes (USA Women’s Olympic team).”
For more information, or to register for the Motown Classic click HERE. Register by April 5th for a discounted rate!
The first annual Presidents’ Weekend Outdoor Classic in Buffalo, New York, took the game back to its roots, hosting teams in outdoor games at the open-air Healthy Zone Rink. With each team guaranteed at least one outdoor game during the weekend tournament, the first ever event proved to be a unique experience with immense potential. LGS Hockey crowned three chilly champions who battled opponents and the winter elements to win their divisions.
The ‘05 Division championship saw the West Seneca Wings shut out the Buffalo Saints; their third shutout of the weekend en route to a 6-0-0 sweep through the division. The Wings outscored their opponents 24-to-3, proving to be a tough team to score against and the only undefeated team of the weekend.
The Rochester Monarchs defeated Cheektowaga Warriors 4-2 in the ‘06 Division championship. The fourth seed in the four-team playoff, Rochester upset the top-seeded Amherst Knights in the semis before taking down the No. 2-seed Warriors in the title game, capping off a 4-2-0 weekend record.
In the ‘08 Division championship, the Amherst Knights defeated Indy Jr. Fuel 8-3, to finish the weekend with a 5-1-0 record. The Knights scored four-or-more goals in four of their five victories, taking home the title thanks to their high-powered offense.
A fantastic inaugural event, the Outdoor Classic is a tournament experience unlike any other we offer at LGS Hockey. Taking the game — and the championships — outside and adding the winter experience to a competitive event makes for a great extended weekend in Western New York.
Ever wonder what it takes to stand out in front of scouts at tournaments like this? Well, we’ve got five tips that can help take your game to the next level and draw the attention of evaluators HERE.
The Scruffy City Shootout ventured into up-and-coming hockey markets in Knoxville, Tennesse, to host 20 teams at the 2019 event. With three divisions across ‘07, ‘08 and ‘09 birth years, we’ve got all of your champions from the past weekend of hockey.
The Charlotte Rush won the Squirt Division thanks largely to their offensive onslaught, scoring 43 goals over the weekend. Charlotte went 5-0-0 in the tournament, winning the championship 7-1 over the Knoxville Jr. Ice Bears.
In the Mite A Division, the Nashville Flyers defeated the Knoxville Jr. Ice Bears 4-0 in the championship. Playing in the split-ice multi-game format, the Flyers went 7-1-1 over the weekend to take home the title.
The Mite B Division went to the Atlanta Fire after they went 8-1-0 in the tournament. The Fire lost their first game on Friday 2-1, but then went on to rattle off eight consecutive wins including a 4-1 victory in the championship game.
For complete tournament details, scores and more, check out the full site HERE. Start your next experience with LGS Hockey HERE or contact one of our Hockey Advisors today to find the perfect tournament for you and your team!
Tier-I girls teams from across the country converged on Hockeytown for the Detroit Elite Girls Invitational. Nowhere else could you find more elite teams in as many divisions under one roof as this weekend and the four-pad venue Fraser Hockeyland.
In the 19U Division, No. 4 ranked Belle Tire claimed the title, going 5-1-0 in the tournament. The team gave up two-goals-or-less in five games including the 6-1 victory over Milwaukee Jr. Admirals in the championship.
Belle Tire also took the 16U Division, as the No. 8 ranked team handed Dallas Stars Elite their only loss of the weekend in a 4-0 shutout to win the championship. Belle Tire finished the weekend with a 4-1-1 record.
The No. 5 ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite edged out No. 3 ranked Little Caesars, 4-3 in the 14U Division championship. The win capped off a perfect 6-0-0 weekend, posting four shutouts including a 1-0 nailbiter in the semifinal.
The 12U Division was highlighted by a big upset, as the No. 10 ranked Long Island Lady Islanders upset No. 1 ranked Chicago Mission with a 1-0 victory in the championship. The win gave the Lady Islanders a 5-1-0 weekend record and the title.
With 25-of-39 participating teams ranked in the Top 25 of their respective divisions — according to MyHockeyRankings — The Detroit Elite Girls Invitational continues to grow as the premier tournament for top Tier-I teams in North America. For complete tournament details, scores and more, check out the full site HERE. Start your next experience with LGS Hockey HERE or contact one of our Hockey Advisors today to find the perfect tournament for you and your team!
The Kennedy Memorial saw 220 teams across seven age groups and 22 states come together this January at the 2019 tournament. Teams from Georgia, Florida, and Canada also participated, but nobody had to travel quite as far as the Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs. A six-and-a-half hour plane ride into Boston and a significant commitment to bring their team cross-country for the Kennedy.
When we asked head coach Sean Riley why this tournament and this trip, the answer was clear. Riley works for Bauer Hockey, so he finds himself in New Hampshire often at their headquarters. He and a few others on the team also grew up in the area before moving out to California, but it wasn’t any of that which drew him in.
“The competition is spot-on,” Riley said. “LEGACY does a great job balancing the competition and since we are playing in the elite division, we knew we would face some tough competition that we wouldn’t normally face out in California.”
Parents on the team echoed Riley’s sentiments.
“On the ice, it is the competition which drove us here,” one parent said. “As for off of the ice, most of our team is just excited to see the snow.”
As snow began to pour down over Rodman Arena an hour before the Jr. Ice Dogs’ game, a handful of players came out into the lobby and began to shout in disbelief that it was snowing. A few went outside and let the snow hit their face briefly before they were called inside to get dressed for the game.
LGS Hockey has hosted teams from around the world at more than 30 tournaments year-round, and its moments like this that make our events so unique. Its equally as important for us to create an exceptional experience for our players and participants as it is to create quality competition. Weather patterns are obviously outside of our control, but to play a role in a moment that will leave a lasting impression for these youth hockey players are the kinds of memories we hope participants enjoy at our tournaments.
The third installment of the 2018-19 Nation’s Cup series, AAA teams from ‘06 through ‘09-birth years squared off in the Battle of the Border over the weekend, with 52 teams representing their respective countries.
Canada dominated the ‘06 Division, with a near sweep on Championship Sunday. Canadian teams cleaned up on opening-games Friday morning and nearly ended the weekend in similar fashion, losing only the 7-seed vs. 7-seed matchup by a 3-2 final and winning the rest of the day’s matchups to win the points title.
In the ‘07 Division, USA would lose the 4-vs-4 and 3-vs-3 matchups but bounce back with wins in the 2-vs-2 and the tournament-deciding 1-vs-1 matchup to win the Nation’s Cup. Belle Tire’s 4-3 victory over Ajax Pickering earned four points and the win for Team USA.
The ‘08 Division would also come down to the final game of the weekend as just two points separated USA and Canada in the standings. In the 1-vs-1 matchup between the Chicago Fury and Burlington Jr. Cougars, USA would hold one to a 2-1 lead to win the finale and the title for their country.
In the largest pool of the weekend, the ‘09 Division had 55 standings points up for grabs on Championship Sunday and after six games, only one point separated USA and Canada. Wins by Grey Bruce Highlanders, Southern Tier Admirals, Waterloo Wolves and Sun County Panthers in the 4-seed, 3-seed, 2-seed and 1-seed matchups respectively would ultimately clinch the Nation’s Cup for Canada in the final games.
The Nation’s Cup series is one of the most unique events LEGACY Global Hockey has to offer. This tournament isn’t just about your team, but your country, as every win on Sunday has implications in the overall standings and the Nation’s Cup championship.
Want even more from this year’s Nation’s Cup? Check out which countries won at the Tier-II event in November and the Elite event in December. Or, contact us HERE to be a part of next season’s Nation’s Cup series!
With 24 teams at LGS Hockey’s inaugural MLK Memorial event, the tournament — and Mother Nature — provided unique challenges for all participants both on and off the ice. With winter storm Harper bearing down on the East Coast and leaving 14 inches of snow in its wake, the rink-to-hotel-and-back commute proved to be as much of a challenge as defeating opponents on the ice.
In the 2010 Elite Division, TP3 Hockey defeated Islanders Hockey 4-2 to win the championship. With a 6-0-0 record over the weekend, TP3 relied on an offensive attack in which they scored 40 goals, never totaling fewer than four in any game.
The 2010 AAA Division was decided by just one goal, as the Valley Junior Chiefs topped the Greater Boston Vipers 5-4 in the championship. It proved to be a tight division, as the champion Chiefs had four games decided by two goals or less en route to a 6-0-0 record.
The Hamilton Huskies defeated Bridge Hockey 7-0 to win the 2011 Division title. With a high-powered offense, Hamilton scored seven-or-more goals in each of their six games to claim the championship at Lynch Arena.
An action-packed weekend full of challenges and celebrations, the inaugural 2019 MLK Memorial proved to be a tremendous event in just its first year. With 24 teams across three different divisions, this year’s event promises to grow in size and reach with participants from across North America. Want even more from the MLK? CLICK HERE for complete tournament information, standings and winners.
With more than 200 teams from as far as California battling the winter elements to travel to the New England area, the 2019 Kennedy Memorial provided unique challenges for all participants. With winter storm Harper bearing down on the East Coast and leaving 14 inches of snow in its wake, the rink-to-hotel-and-back commute proved to be as much of a challenge as defeating opponents on the ice. It would take more than Mother Nature to keep us from crowning 11 new champions, in a Kennedy tournament that was one of the most hotly contested in recent memory.
The Ashburn Xtreme were named co-champions of the U-16 Division with a 4-0-1 record. They shared the title with the West Dundee Leafs.
Seacoast Spartans Black won the ‘04 Elite Division with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Jets. Seacoast outscored opponents 29-to-6 and never allowed more than two goals against in a single game, capping off a 6-0-0 record on the weekend.
In the ‘04 AAA Division, the championship game rightfully pitted the top two teams against each other when the Flyers Youth defeated South Shore Kings 5-2 to cap off a perfect 7-0-0 record. The Flyer posted four shutouts over the weekend and had to knock off the Kings twice in three days to claim the title.
The Central Mass Outlaws edged out Walpole Express 4-3 in the ‘05 AAA Division championship. An impressive performance, the Outlaws didn’t allow a goal against in pool-play before defeating Cape Cod in the semifinal and Walpole in the Championship on Monday.
The Assabet Patriots took the ‘06 Elite Division with a 2-1 win over the Middlesex Islanders. That win capped off a perfect 7-0-0 run as Assabet dominated the division, scoring six-or-more goals in four of their victories and 34 total while allowing just seven goals against.
The ‘06 AAA Division went to the New Hampshire Avalanche after they defeated Hanover Wild 5-3 on Monday. Five of the Avalanche’s seven tournament games were decided by two goals or less, including the championship game en route to a 6-1-0 record over the weekend.
Boston Bandits topped Valley Junior Warriors 3-1 in the ‘07 Elite Division finale. The Bandits finished the weekend with a perfect 7-0-0 record and a plus-18 goal differential, surviving a hotly contested eight-team playoff to conclude the tournament.
The ‘07 AAA Division championship was a rematch of an earlier Saturday contest in which Woodbridge defeated Boston Advantage 3-1 during pool-play. When the two team met again on Monday, it would be the Boston Advantage avenging their only loss of the weekend with a 4-3 victory in the title game.
In the ‘08 Elite Division, the New Jersey Rockets defeated Providence Hockey 3-2 to win the championship. New Jersey finished the weekend 5-0-2 with three of those victories decided by just one goal in what proved to be a very tight division.
A 4-0 victory for the Florida Jr. Panthers over the Yale Jr. Bulldogs decided the ‘08 AAA Division. The Panthers pitched three consecutive shutouts during the single-elimination playoffs and only allowed four goals against the entire weekend.
Providence Hockey posted back-to-back shutouts on Monday to win the ‘09 Elite Division championship. They began by knocking off the Assabet Patriots 5-0 in the semifinal and then a 3-0 win in the championship over the Middlesex Islanders, allowing just two goals against in their final five tournament games and a perfect 7-0-0 record.
The ‘09 AAA Division went to Wolfpack Hockey after they beat Maine Wild 4-1 in the championship. The Wolfpack won five of their seven games by three-or-more goals, totaling a tournament-high 35 goals during their 7-0-0 run to a championship.
An action-packed weekend full of challenges and celebrations, the 2019 Kennedy Memorial is LGS Hockey’s premier East Coast event. With more than 200 teams across seven different age groups, this year’s event continues to grow in size and reach with participants from across North America. Want even more from the Kennedy? CLICK HERE for complete tournament information, standings and winners.
In a joint effort with Warrior Wizard Hockey, LGS Hockey continues to expand its LEGACY Fights Cancer series not just in popularity and growth but also in its efforts to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). Over the past five years, more than $85,000 have been raised for the ACS with each year elevating the bar to new heights. A portion of each team’s entry fee goes directly to the ACS as well as a tournament-wide effort through Coaches vs. Cancer, where teams can compete against one another off the ice to see who can raise the most money.
One of our fastest growing series, the LEGACY Fights Cancer-Detroit event has become a focal point in the Midwest spring hockey calendar. In 2019, the series continues to expand as the Detroit event will take place over two consecutive weekends at the end of April and beginning of May. First, the boys ‘05 through ‘12 age groups and girls’ U-19 through U-12 age groups will occupy four rinks in the metro-Detroit area on April 26-28th with the boys’ U-18, U-16 and U-15 age groups the following weekend in three different arenas on May 3-5th.
This USA Hockey sanctioned event comes with a four-game guarantee and games are slated to begin on the Friday morning of both weekends, concluding no later than 4pm on respective Sundays.
For more information on the Boys ’05 through ’12 and Girls’ U-19 through U-12 weekend, CLICK HERE. For more information on the Boys U-18, U-16 and U-15 weekend, CLICK HERE. The Tournament Director of LEGACY Fights Cancer-Detroit is Rob Flannery and his contact information can be found HERE.
The 2019 World Selects Invitational in Philadelphia will host 40 elite-level selects teams from around the world, featuring the best players in the ‘04-birth year at the premier international tournament of the season. In addition to the U-15 Division, there will be a 10-team ’03 Division that will run parallel to the rest of the tournament, occupying the rinks at Virtua Flyers Skate Zones in Voorhees and Pennsauken, New Jersey, as well as the Igloo Ice Skating Rink in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
Hosted by LEGACY Global Hockey, this year’s WSI will have teams from 12 different countries at an event that serves as a launching point for many bantam-aged players embarking on junior and professional careers. In the past six years, this tournament has featured nearly 600 CHL Draft picks including 394 in the OHL, 101 in the QMJHL and 94 in the WHL as well as 324 picks in the USHL Draft. In 2018, The first overall draft picks from all four major junior and Tier-I leagues in North America had previously played in this WSI event.
With more than 200 scouts from the NHL, NCAA and junior leagues in attendance, the international stage at the WSI regularly features the next crop of up-and-coming elite players. More than 80 have been selected in the last three NHL Drafts, including six first-round picks in 2018. Additionally, the number of players that have gone on to make Division-I college commitments has eclipsed 330 in total, with that number increasing each month.
The 2019 tournament is expecting 24 North American-based teams with a player pool spanning from British Columbia to Florida as well as 12 European teams from Russia, Sweden, Norway and Czech Republic among others.
For further tournament information regarding the World Selects Invitational Tournament, please contact Mitch Larnerd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional tournament information and other LEGACY Global Hockey events can be found at www.LGSHockey.com.