And we're off...
Day one at TORHS 2Hot4Ice Championships is always a special time. It marks the finale to another successful season, a season that started back in November in Huntington Beach followed by our annual Winter Cup event in February, and a jam packed regional season now culminates here in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Wings Event Center for the 2016 Championships. It is always a great time of the year because so many memories are made over the next 10 days, and you can see the anticipation in the faces of everyone who walks thru the doors.
For most of you, today marks the first time you have stepped into this building. For my staff and I, we started on Tuesday preparing the building for what we anticipate to be our best event ever. So much work goes into getting a building prepared for an event of this magnitude, but even more so in a building of this size. I can honestly say I have never worked with a facility that has been as accommodating as this one. Rob Underwood and his rock star staff are really amazing to work with. They have gone the extra mile in every way to make sure our customers are happy and enjoying their time here in Kalamazoo. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Rob and his entire staff for a job well done!
Speaking of Thank You's, I would be remissed not to thank each and everyone of you who have made the trip to Kalamazoo to spend part of your summer with us. Without your commitment to the sport, we aren't able to host these types of events in these types of places, and we are truly grateful for your continued support. It goes without saying that you are the pulse of the sport, but I want you to know personally that your commitment is recognized by all of us here at TORHS 2Hot4Ice, and for that, we THANK YOU!
As for the event itself, the most amazing part in the early going has been seeing the reaction of families as they enter the Arena for the first time. You have seen the pictures all year but until you get here and see the building primed and ready for roller hockey, you don't have the appreciation for what an amazing facility this is, and how lucky we are to be able to showcase our sport in a building like this. I have heard more "Wow's" and "This is Amazing", and that is awesome. It really validates our decision to bring our Championships to a new city, and to a new building! I urge you all to take a trip to downtown Kalamazoo. It is a pretty awesome city highlighted by Western Michigan University.
As for the hockey we are only about 10 games in out of 400 for the tournament, but things are off and running in the Atom, Mite, and PRO divisions. The little guys have shaken off the awe of playing in the big Arena, and are in a fierce battle to take home some hardware. One team that has been impressive thus far is the Mite AAA Alkali Blast. They have a loaded roster and look to be an early favorite in the Mite AAA division. As I'm writing this blog, George Brown's RV Excitement is squaring off in a tight battle with Vio's Tour Roadrunners in PRO. It is 2-1 Excitement with just over 5 minutes remaining in the tilt.
TORHS TV is up and running with all 3 rinks being live streamed. If you have friends or family members that were not able to make it here, be sure to let them know they can visit torhs2hot4ice.com and catch all of the action live. Trefty will be on the mic doing play by play for various games, with George and Gelly sharing color duties and we have a special surprise in order for the playing of the National Anthem prior to the PRO Final so be sure to check in for that. Also, the 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony where Matt Koleski will be enshrined into the Hall will be streamed live on the Arena before the start of the PRO Final on Sunday.
We will be checking in throughout the week. You will be hearing from a number of our staff members so be sure to check in regularly. Thanks again, and I look forward to catching up with all of you who are making the trip into Kzoo!