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.