The Calm Before the Storm....Not Exactly!
One of the best moments as a tournament operator is the moment the schedule has been completed, and posted onto the website. It is at this time when all of the hard work it takes to build a tournament is represented into a game schedule for a tournament weekend. There is so much that goes into planning an event, and there is even more to do when it happens to be one of our special events. So when Sunday night came and the schedule was posted, it was a relief. It was the calm before the storm. All I had to worry about was packing my suitcase, and not missing my Thursday morning flight to Pittsburgh, right?
Well, not exactly. Mother nature decided to say hello. As you all know, Winter Storm Pax rolled through the South up through the East Coast, crippling markets like Atlanta, North Carolina, Washington DC, and New York on Wednesday afternoon, and into Thursday. With this, we fielded an unbelievable amount of emails and calls from folks wondering if the tournament was going to be cancelled. The answer was simply of course not. Many players were bailing on their teams, and even several teams cancelled on us. We were left with no choice but to salvage these holes, build back these teams, and replace the teams that cancelled on us in a matter of 2 days. If not, almost every division in the tournament would have been dramatically effected. That is quite a daunting task.
This is the time that I was once again shown why TORHS 2Hot4Ice has the best staff in the sport hands down. National Tournament Directors John Gelement and George Brown immediately hit the phones, trying to find players who could help fill the teams that were now short, and find entire teams that might be able to fill the vacancies left by the teams that had dropped. There was constant communication amongst us as a staff, and in the end, with the help of people like Billy Ventura, Dave Beam, and Dave Thomas, we were able to come up with solutions for almost every curveball that was thrown our way. While we still had a couple teams cancel due to their concerns about the weather, we were able to modify the schedule with minimal changes, largely due to the scheduling skills of the aforementioned John Gelement! These guys know how much I appreciate their hard work, but if you have a chance this weekend, it wouldn’t hurt to let them know how much you do too! Without them, we are a totally different organization!
I am also thankful for Jason Muro from the Mission Black Ice and Vio from the Tour Roadrunners. These guys were in constant contact with me, ensuring me everything would be okay, and they would be able to travel safely up to Pittsburgh. Pretty important when you consider they are responsible for a combined 21 teams in this tournament! Similarly can be said for Chris Street and Charlie Le from the Alkali Assault, who never wavered, and made sure their teams would make it up safely from North Carolina. It is great to work with people in this sport who share the same passion as I do. All these guys are just as excited as I am to get to Pittsburgh for this event, and that is an awesome feeling!
So, I am about to land in Pittsburgh….finally! 2 cancelled flights, a drive down to Orlando, and a 2-hour delay before I finally boarded a plane, but that is old news, and I am ready to rock it with all of you! I should be there just in time for the first puck to drop! 66 teams and a whole lot of good hockey is coming your way. I’ll see you all at the rink!