If you like hockey or have young children who play hockey this is a great opportunity to enjoy watching some really competitive games as well as have your children see what may be in their hockey future. Hockey is certainly not for everyone, but for those young boys and girls who love to play the game and want to pursue their dreams for a college scholarship or a professional career this is a great amateur event to bring the kids — and it’s in your own backyard.
This should be an extremely well-run and fun event since the Sports Center has been the site of numerous amateur hockey tournaments over the years. The most notable ones were the Michigan State Championships in 2012 and the girls USA National Championships several years earlier. Additionally, the NHL has the Stanley Cup available on April 3 (9am – 6pm) for photos to purchase with all funds benefiting the TYHA Hardship Fund for needy players.
Participating in the USA Hockey tournament will be 40 teams from as far away as Alaska. (Their coach says they travel ‘Unplugged’ so they can concentrate on hockey and not get distracted by all the noise that’s hiding somewhere in the digital cloud.)
Three Michigan teams will be participating – the St. Clair Shores Saints, the Troy Sting and the Michigan Ice Hawks. The Saints are Tier ll Michigan State Champs. One of the members of the Southern Connecticut Stars has hockey blood in his family. His grandfather played for Team USA at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley winning the USA’s first ever hockey gold medal. You can bet grandpa will be at the Troy Sports Center cheering on his grandson.
Most notable, the Ashburn Xtreme team from Virginia will play with bare heads in a tribute to a special friend recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Xtreme players and supporters have also raised more than $55,000 including a ‘Shave to Be Brave’ fundraiser with monies going to the Children’s National Medical Center for childhood cancer research.
The majority of the players have dedicated themselves to being counted among the top young hockey talent in the U.S. Many of these outstanding players have been skating since they were five years old and there is a sure bet many of them will continue to play in high school and some will very likely play at the college level. Dozens of NHL and college scouts will be in town for the five-day event, which says a lot about the outstanding quality of skating talent they expect to watch.
As a father whose son played locally for the Compuware Ambassadors for many years the talent of play at a USA National Championship tournament is among some of the best and most competitive in North America. My son’s team, the Compuware Ambassadors, was only 15-years-old when it won the USA Hockey’s National Bantam Tier l (AAA) Championship. Eight members of his team went on to receive scholarships to play college hockey. The schools included Michigan, Notre Dame, Bowling Green, the Air Force Academy and Hockey East Champs and #3 nationally ranked UMass Lowell. Believe me you will be impressed with the hockey skills on display at the Troy ice rinks.
Selection of the Troy Sports Center as the host arena for the USA Hockey Nationals has also brought a groundswell of community support with several hundred volunteers contributing their time and elbow grease. Seven area restaurants are generously donating free meals for the volunteers and have beefed up their staffs for the expected fans coming to the area. Sponsor restaurants include Joe Kools, Hooters, Mongolian BBQ, Shield’s Pizza, Brio, Tim Horton’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Lastly, the Detroit Sports Commission deserves a “’tip of the hat”’ for partnering with the Troy Youth Hockey Association to organize, plan and help offset some of the costs for bringing this high-level youth sports events to the Metro Detroit region. The mission of the DSC is to enhance the local economy and the image of metro Detroit in attracting and hosting top quality amateur and professional sporting events.
So, here’s a fun opportunity for all of you Hockeytown fans to come out and support a great local event and enjoy watching some of the top youth hockey in the country.
“Hats off” to the TYHA, TSC and the DSC for helping pull it all together for the D.