So much to talk about this weekend
I get to sleep in my own bed this weekend!!!! Yes, that's right...we are in Buffalo, NY for our regional qualifier. The rink here is actually in Cheektowaga, NY (a suburb of Buffalo) and they always take GREAT care of us here. The rink is always clean, the staff is amazing, the floor is incredible, and overall its just a good place for hockey, in the middle of the town park!
We have a couple Mississauga Rattler teams who made the drive down the Q.E.W. to participate in the tournament. The 96s are in the midget division and the 2000s in the peewee division. They both plan to come to nationals and its always good to see the teams out here in the B-LO.
The weekend started with the "Mike Bell curse" on every part of Mike's itinerary. Delayed flights, cancelled flights; it just wouldn't end for him. He finally got in, and of course, gets right to work catching up and registering teams. We like to call him the inline registration guru.
So...Thursday night was the beginning to an awesome weekend. Our principal Joe Bertaccini was pretty upset with the Blake Bortles pick for his Jags, and a pick later, I was ecstatic that my beloved Buffalo Bills traded up to grab Sammy Watkins. We move to Friday, and set up went off without any hitches and we started the tourny on time and pumped to be back in Buffalo.
Friday night, the Rangers stayed alive with a 5-1 win in Pittsburgh and the Wild tied the series with the Blackhawks up at 2. Here at the "REC" we saw a great opening game between the Buffalo Raptors and WNYRH in the peewee/bantam division as the Raptors would sneak by the upstart and young WNYRH team 5-4. Then it would be the "new kids on the block"- the RV Reebok Wings taking on Tour Excitement Jr Green. The new kids aren't really the new kids. The players are new to the tournament scene but the organization is not. The Wings are a storied organization and it is good to see them back. Eric Haak walked in the doors and he looked right at home. His team reminds me of the old Wings guys...the way they play, the way they compete and the way they "woo" it up. They already have the "Haak" walk. They're a group of talented players who are going to surprise some people. They took on a Junior Excitement team that is new to the tournament scene as well. The team is made up of most of the Buffalo Storm Junior A team that plays out here in the Great Lakes league. They hustle like crazy and are a fun group to watch. The Wings took an early 4-0 lead, Excitement would come back to tie it at 4, but couldn't gain a lead and would fall to the WIngs 6-4.
The action would continue as there are nine adult teams playing here. Dave Spina is all over the rink, as usual, and Buffalo is known for their strong adult contingent. Teams here are all preparing for nationals and are pumped to play. The hockey today has been great. We have had a shootout and the rivalries promise to take center stage as the battle for playoff seedings heat up. Only six of the nine adult teams will make the playoffs, so we expect tonight to be action packed!!! We just had Brandon Junik of the Excitement organization post back-to-back shutouts as he is playing midgets and adult.
Besides the hockey here in Buffalo...the hockey in Philadelphia at nationals is going to be amazing. If you have family members, friends, or fans that cannot come watch you play, or if you are coming to play and would like to sit in your hotel and watch a game...FEAR NOT!! TORHS2HOT4ICE will be streaming live this year. That's right....EVERY...SINGLE...GAME! Click here for the promo video. For a guy like me who truly believes media can truly enhance an event like ours, I am soooo pumped for this experience.
Well...I'm going to get back to watching some more hockey and getting these guys to check in with Mike. I'll try and check in with you guys later!!