Weekly Feature

2017-03-01 / Local News

Backyard Classic hockey tournament set for this weekend

The annual Tim Hortons Backyard Classic charity hockey tournament returns for its ninth event next week at a new venue: Canalside Buffalo.

(See editorial on page four)

The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, at Canalside, 44 Perry St., Buffalo.

Williamsville North High School graduate Nick Penberthy founded the tournament in 2009 as a way to raise money for area organizations.

Funds raised at this year’s event will benefit Western New York Physically Challenged Youth Sports, known as the Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey Organization. Past tournament beneficiaries have included Hasek’s Heroes and Unyts.

Chris Taggart, the tournament’s chairperson, said the event, which has the slogan of “Play it Forward,” will include about 600 players and 70 teams. Competition will stretch across nine rinks, each about 40 feet wide and nearly 80 feet long.

While adverse ice conditions led to postponements in playing previous tournaments, Taggart said Canalside’s facility is beneficial because it has its own refrigeration unit.

Competition in the tournament will range from youths to adults. Divisions begin with the micron level, which is 6 years old, extending through 8U, 10U and 12U. Each youth team includes four players plus a goalie for game play with a total of nine members on the roster.

The three-on-three-player tournament also encompasses several divisions, including 14U, 16U, 18U and adults. Participants will play using full-size nets and goalie equipment.

The tournament will feature appearances by the Buffalo Sabres’ mascot, Sabretooth, as well as members of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association. Doug Allen, who regularly sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to Sabres home games, will perform the national anthem at noon March 4 and 1 p.m. March 5.

Also slated during the two-day event is an exhibition game with the Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey team and a sled hockey team from Hamilton, Ontario. The game will be played from noon to 1 p.m. March 4.

For more information about the event, visit www.timhortonsbackyard classic.com or “like” Tim Hortons Backyard Classic on Facebook.

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