More than 7,500 players gathered at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Chicago in what was a showcase of featured youth games and plenty of fun. The World Hockey Invite presented by Bauer, the largest youth hockey tournament in the world, kicked off Halloween night and ran from Nov. 1-4 with great success.
Opening night festivities started in Chicago with the Chicago Blackhawk's opening night reception, a salute to the Stanley Cup Champions with all trophies won by the Hawks last season (Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, Selke, Presidents, Clarence Campbell, Jennings) on hand.
Seven Bridges Ice Arena’s main rink hosted five feature games including the Russian Red Army versus the Chicago Mission at the Bantam Major and Midget Minor age divisions. Off the ice, Hockey Hall of Fame games, skills competition and even the Hanson Brothers entertained.
From there the tournament began, with a total of 914 games being played over the course of the weekend in Chicago. In addition to the Windy City, Detroit hosted the girl's tournament, bringing a total of 524 teams participating throughout the weekend.
In total, 32 separate ice facilities provided 57 sheets of ice on which 1,137 games wereplayed during a 57-hour window. The World Hockey Invite presented by Bauer is the “Best of the Best” competition for the boys 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, and U16 age players, as well as U10, U12, U14, U16 and U19 girls. This year’s team representation included 33 USA states, six different Canadian Provinces, plus Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic and Slovakia all attending in the various age categories listed above.
The Brainchild of Kevin Mann, the weekend was first seen as a vision for both national and international boys and girls "to take part in a hockey experience that provided competition and a chance to bring hockey players together to share what they all have in common; the love of hockey.
"Our goal is to provide not only highly competitive hockey games, but a once a lifetime experience for each player, fan and coach.".
For more information on the World Hockey Invite, visit www.worldhockeyinvite.com