Hello, I would like to thank you for your consideration. Choosing the right tournament can be a daunting task when you consider all of the choices that are available today. When our events starting back in 1971, most of these tournaments did not exist. As a former collegiate player, coach, and father, I am very disappointed with many of these new found tournaments as they have become businesses whose profitability takes priority over the players. For example, last year we attended a tournament as a Minor Peewee AAA team, only to find that a Major Squirt team was in our division, and the schedule we received 3 days before the tournament had to be rescheduled the night before our first game because two of the six teams never made a firm commitment. Given our limited budget, this was one of only three tournaments we planned, and I can’t tell you how disappointed we were.
Why should you trust that we are not like these other tournaments? Aside from being the tournament director, the late Gene Harrington who passed away as the result of a car accident in 1993 was my father. I remember all of the time he dedicated to the teams he coached, and the tournaments he ran. The competition was secondary to the pleasure he took in providing the boys he coach, and the teams he hosted at his tournaments, an opportunity to have fun playing hockey. Fun was his #1 objective. As a 13 year old, I remember complaining to him that I couldn’t wait until I was 16 so I could drive a car. His response, “you will be old soon enough, and with all the responsibilities that come along with adulthood, you should enjoy your youth while it last!!” My dad knew that the key to enjoyment was savoring the moment, and giving to others without the expectation of getting something in return.
I use his philosophies every time I accept a team, build a division, or interact with the parents, players, and coaches who attend our tournaments.
Since my father’s passing, The Gene Harrington Hockey Tournaments have become some of the largest tournaments in North America. We run four tournaments, receive 400-500 applications, accept 240-250 teams, and schedule 400 to 435 games every year. I’m inspired by what we have accomplished over the years, an attribute all of our success to my father, and the loyal organizations that appreciate our hard efforts.
Throughout the years we have developed sophisticated processes and methods for screening applicants, building tournament divisions, scheduling, communicating, and handling logistical aspects such as your hotel accommodations, tourist opportunities, and event management during tournament play. This list below represents our top priorities, and the factors that you should consider when making a tournament choice:
Balanced Divisions – We spend hundreds of hours screening each application, and unlike other organizations that run 20-30 tournaments per year, we run 4 tournaments. With more than enough applicants, we carefully place each team, where the objective of these larger tournament venues is to fill their tournaments with as many teams as possible.
Well Organized – With 40 years of experience, we have learned over the years that keeping things organized makes it easier for us, and for our attendees. 15-20 days before a tournament, each team receives a personalized tournament guide. The guide includes how-to information such as registering your team when arriving at the rink, hotel assignments, written direction and, graphical maps to all rinks and hotels. Also included is the tournament schedule, rules, format, tourist information, restaurants and other misc. information. We take the burden of distributing this information to your parents by making the guide available on our website. Lastly, since the tournament guide is so comprehensive, managers seldom call the tournament staff with questions upon its receipt.
Scheduling – A tournament schedule is provided 2-3 weeks prior to the tournament event. You will not receive a schedule until your entrance fee is paid in full. Regarding scheduling request, we will only entertain those request that are made well in advance of the event. Please do not apply if your team is not available to play Friday morning.
Officiating – Our referees are the best in Western NY. Besides contracting with the most reputable organization in the area, we rate each referee’s performance throughout the year, and exclude any official who doesn’t meet our high standards.
Tournament Staff – We provide ample staff at each rink. Staff members will be wearing a staff uniform so it will be easy for you to find help when you need it. 100 % of our staff played at the collegiate or professional level. Consequently, they have a high degree of expertise when dealing with issues that may arise, and since most of our staff members have been volunteering their time since 1993 they have a lot of experience.
Trophies/Certificates – Each player receives a nicely printed Participation Certificate that is personalized with their name so that no player goes home empty handed. Each team that advances to the championship game receives both individual and team trophies. Understanding kids expectations when making it to the Championship game; we spare no expense when it comes to our trophies.
Adult Party – The tournament hosts a parent party every Friday from 9PM-1AM. To keep the partly lively we provide complimentary beer and entertainment. Please be prepared to sing to your hearts content, as the DJ will take Karaoke request throughout the night.
Player Party – The tournament provides 100 sheet pizzas that are given to the manager when they arrive in the form of a voucher. Vouchers can be used to purchase pizza, wings, etc. Parties are scheduled individually by the team manager.
Programs/Souvenirs – We provide tournament programs, tournament souvenirs such as pins, pucks, etc.. We also offer tee-shirts which can be customized while you wait,- with player names, team names, and other types of patches. Game action photography is made available for purchase throughout the event.
Family Entertainment – The mighty Niagara Falls is walking distance from your hotel room. The Falls area offers everything you can imagine when it comes to family entertainment. There are hundreds of restaurants ranging from family run Italian eateries such as Comos, to chain restaurants like Planet Hollywood, and Hard Rock Cafe. If shopping is on your agenda, Niagara has one of the largest factory outlet malls in North American. You will find stores like Polo, Guess, Burberry, Pfaltzgraff, Nautica, Liz Clayborne, not to mention one of my favorites, Bose. North of the border you will find a unique view of the Falls, wax museums, an indoor water park, an IMax theater, and so much more. Lastly, there are 3 Casinos; Niagara Seneca which is walking distance from the US based hotels, Casino Niagara which is right over the border, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and comparable to any Vegas Casino and, the Fallsview which is also in Niagara Falls, Ontario, a shuttle ride away for the Skyline Inn, and 5 minutes over the border.