Friday, June 18th, 2021
   Irish American Ice Hockey Classic: Boston:
Irish American Hockey Sponsors Belfast Youth Tournament
- Submitted by
Irish American Hockey Association help ensure a successful youth hockey tournament in Belfast Ice Dome, Ireland. On Saturday, fourteen youth hockey teams from across Ireland, descended on Belfast Ice Dome to take part in the very first Belfast Ice Dome Community cup. The players travelled from Dublin, Athlone, Dundalk, Dundonald and Sandy Row, Belfast. The teams taking part were from Dublin Ducks, Dublin Junior Flyers, Athlone Junior Hawks, Dundalk Warriors, Junior Belfast Giants and Belfast Ice Dome All Stars. Over 120 youth hockey players took part in the tournament which was the brain child of Tony Kinsella (rink operator) and Aeidamar Sally. With the lack of ice in South of Ireland, Aeidamar didn’t expect to have the huge number of teams entered on the day. When asked what she thought of the day, Aeidamar said it couldn't have gone any better and the feedback from all teams was remarkable. When we thought of putting on this tournament, we were hoping for possibly 8 teams. Tony and myself were shocked but delighted that there was such interest. In fact we had to make 3 divisions and extend the ice time by four hours. My own son plays with the Junior Belfast Giants under 14s team but for me the future has always been and always will be under 10s and 12s.” Aeidamar continued "The Belfast Ice Dome, although smaller than normal rinks, is perfect for youth hockey. Let's hope this will be the first of many cross border tournaments. We need more of these rinks around the island of Ireland. The puck dropped on the first game at 10am and the last goal was scored at 6.30pm. It was an amazing day with Junior Belfast Giants teams winning the under 10s and the under 12s divisions and Dublin Junior Flyers beating the Dublin Ducks to take home the LTP over 12s cup. Some of these kids have only started to play ice hockey in the past year and some, because there is no ice rink in South of Ireland, have taken to play inline hockey to continue their training until another rink opens its doors. One player with some ‘international experience’ was Marcus Heggestaad-Kinsella now age 8 and who travelled to Boston with other youth hockey players from Dundalk, Co. Louth to play and train with IAHA in 2010. Marcus is now travelling twice a week from Dundalk to train in the Belfast Ice Dome. He loves ice hockey and his favourite team is Boston Bruins, whom he got to see in the TD Garden in 2010, as a guest of Bob Sweeney, John Cusack and the Irish American Hockey Association team. All 120 players took home lovely medals which were very kindly sponsored by John Cusack and Irish American Hockey Association in Boston, Mass. Other companies who very kindly donated were Miracle Hockey, Nashville. Jim Sacco from Miracle Hockey sent over to Ireland lots of sock and stick tape with hockey gifts to be distributed. Sean Dooley, former coach in Dundalk, now living in Nelson BC, Canada very kindly sent mini hockey sticks and pucks. All the hockey bits and pieces went down a treat with the kids. Windsor Meats, Sandy Row, Belfast very kindly sponsored the burgers for every child and everyone received a lunch bag with water (Tipperary water), Mars Bars (Value Center, Dundalk), and lots of fresh fruit (Fyffes, Dundalk). A free raffle was held for players only, and prizes were donated by Best of British Ice Hockey camps (UK), Jim and Kathleen Rice, Bellurgan, Ireland, Flyers Ice Hockey Club, Country Fresh Fruit and Veg shop, Dundalk, Ireland. Thanks must go out to the volunteers from Dundalk, Ireland who made the tournament such a success: Jim Pepper, David Sally and Rosemarie Coleman who acted as score and time keepers on the day, Vytautas Lukosevicius and Roman Grobarcik who were the referees for the tournament. Also to Catherine Pepper, Aine and Aoibhin Sally who worked tirelessly to ensure the tournament ran without a hitch. Thanks also to Tony Kinsella (Belfast Ice Dome operator) and his staff for their hard work on the day. The success of this tournament was gauged by the fact that everyone leaving the Ice Dome asked the same question.... When is the next one !!

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