Nationals Upon Us

by Joe Bertaccini

Here we go…it’s been quite some time since I sat down and wrote a blog, but as I sit here at 37,000 feet on my way to Tampa, I can’t help but think what a long strange trip it’s been.  This is our 6th straight year in Tampa, which is amazing in and of itself.  I cannot thank the team at AdventHealth Center Ice enough for their continued partnership to bring one of the largest youth sporting events to Pasco County for the 6th straight year!  It truly is the perfect venue for us to showcase all that our sport has to offer, and they do a great job making us feel at home! In speaking to many of you, I know you all feel the same way!

In addition to AHCI, it is also important for us to recognize our partnership with Florida Sports Coast.   Without their continued sponsorship, we would not be able to call Wesley Chapel home for the 6th straight year.  They are simply the best in the business when it comes to Sports Commissions, and we appreciate our long-standing partnership we have had with them over the years!

But something that has not been mentioned a whole lot is 2022 marks the 10-year anniversary of the marriage between TORHS America and 2Hot4Ice, now known as TORHS Hockey, formerly TORHS 2Hot4Ice.  There are still many of you who remember the pre-merge days as we call it, but there are so many new folks in the sport that may not know the history…. we have essentially turned over a new generation of hockey players (my daughter being one of them) and teams….

In the summer of 2012, having just completed our largest National event ever as 2Hot4Ice, I was trying to spread our wings a bit and thought maybe there was a partnership that could work with TORHS America.  We were very successful in the Southeast, and up the East Coast, and TORHS was largely successful throughout the Mid-West and in the Northeast.  Could there be a fit I thought?  So I reached out to Ron Beilsten and we quickly linked up in St. Louis for a meeting (I believe he ordered in that cracker pizza St. Louis calls famous…he obviously didn’t know I was a Jersey guy!!)  Little did I know when I first reached out, this would be the beginning of a long journey in making TORHS Hockey what it is today.  We merged in 2012, changed our name in 2020, and now run tournaments coast to coast, everywhere in between, and this year’s National Championships marks a record 232 teams for us, surpassing last year’s record of 227 teams. And above all that, not only is Ron a business partner, but he has also become a great friend!

We have come a long way in those 10 years, and lot has changed.  But we still very much enjoy what we do, which is bringing the best possible tournament experience to you.  Our motto at the outset of the merge was Our Vision. Your Game.  What we meant by that is we had OUR VISION of how to provide you with the best possible tournament experience so that you could enjoy YOUR GAME in the most professional event possible.  We truly mean that, and we continue to live by this motto.

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to pull off an event of this size, and we could not do it without our amazing staff.  Our staff of tournament directors work tirelessly before, during, and after each of our events.  As I have said many times, I am so grateful for the work these guys and gals do, because we could not do this alone.  I truly believe we have the best staff in the business.  If you have a chance during the event, please take a moment to thank a tournament director, I know they will appreciate it!

I also want to give a big shout-out to our officials, the guys that NEVER get the credit they deserve!  I am so excited about the crew Tom Micks, our resident Referee in Chief, has built this year, headlined by 2022 Beijing Olympic Ice Hockey Official Stephen Reneau and 2022 IIHF World Championship Official Sean Macfarlane.  In addition to Stephen and Sean, we have an elite class of officials that will be working your games this year.  Please remember to treat the officials with the same respect you would like to be treated with!  This is a very difficult job, and these guys take pride in their craft, and are the very best in our sport.  That is why they are here!

Last but not least, I would like to thank you!  Thank you for choosing TORHS Hockey as your destination this summer.  I know some of you may choose to attend other events this summer, and that is great! But I also know some of you chose TORHS Hockey as YOUR event.  We appreciate each and every one of you.  You are what make these events the great experience they are.  Please cherish these moments, enjoy the time with your teams, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!  If we can do ANYTHING to make your experience a better one, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I am very much looking forward to seeing you all.  It’s going to be an epic one!

Please travel and arrive safe!

Let’s Gooooooooo!!