(Image courtesy Irish American Ice Hockey Association)
Fans will be filling the Murphy Rink on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the 6th Annual Irish American Ice Hockey Classic.
The tournament,a prelude to Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston, features more than 500 young American, Irish, and Canadian players who will go head to head not only for bragging rights but to raise money for the Irish American Ice Hockey Association’s various programs, including “Pucks for Peace," which works to bridge the divide between Irish Catholic and Protestant youth through hockey.
“This is something we love and are very passionate about,” said John Cusack, executive director of the Irish American Ice Hockey Association. “The first hockey rink in Ireland opened in 2006 and it has struggled, but we hope that through support we can keep doing what we do and work to open doors for kids in Ireland.”
Youth players from Ireland will be participating in the tournament and building relationships with American players. The tournament will also feature local ice hockey heroes from the Boston Bruins as well as local celebrity teams including the Dropkick Murphy’s Hockey, Boston University’s Hockey Alumni, and Ireland’s own Belfast Blazers.
Last year the tournament raised over $5,000 for South Boston Youth Hockey and this year organizers hope to top that to help them keep running their programs.
Although hockey will be the focus during the tournament it wouldn’t be an Irish American Classic without a little Irish flare, with Irish music and plenty of Irish cheer during the tournament.
“For guys with Irish roots it’s great that we can help bring kids over here and teach them about hockey, it’s really rewarding,” said Cusack.
There will be 32 games played overall and admission is free.
For a complete list of teams competing this year, click here.
The tournament kicks off at 2 p.m. Thursday and will run until 9 p.m.
Friday the tournament will run from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. and on Saturday games will be played from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
For additional information contact the Irish American Hockey Association offices at 888-IRISH-17 or email them skate@IrishHockey.com