BARRE — Thanksgiving in the Granite City is always a time to enjoy tasty food, good company and high-quality ice hockey.
Nearly 100 players laced up their skates Saturday at the BOR for the Eric Hutchins Memorial Hockey Tournament. The 8th annual event kicked off with the Spaulding Alumni Game and was followed by non-stop action during the 3-on-3 tournament. This marked the first year organizers also included a Senior division for players over the age of 40.
Since 2012, the Hutchins tourney has provided an annual opportunity to get old friends and former Crimson Tide teammates back together after Thanksgiving. It’s also been a way for Spaulding graduates to make new friends, give back to the community and support the Barre Youth Sports Association.
Proceeds from the 3-on-3 tournament in addition to fundraising efforts have allowed the scholarship to pay out over $37,000 over the years. That total helped pay for 81 registration fees, assisting BYSA hockey families who have needed financial support to get their children suited up and on the ice.
This year’s Open division featured 11 teams and 66 participants. The double-elimination format guaranteed multiple games for each squad, and for the second straight year Garrett’s Properties claimed top honors. There were several new, younger teams that sped up the pace of play, but Garrett’s Properties relied on a mix of skill and experience to prevail. Competing for the winning team were Kurt Healey, Marc Sancibrian, Maggie Lague, Justin Laperle, Brandon Rouleau and Lance Garrett.
Twenty five players split up to form four teams in the Senior division. Each squad played the other three teams during round-robin action, and in the end Bada Bing outlasted Team Lamplighter II for the first-place prize. Randy Lague, Kurt Healey, Brent Kidder, Mark Hutchins, Bob Wilcox, Dave Anderson and Mike Ball joined forces on the winning squad.
“Over the last three to four years we have had 11 teams total, so the new division brought out a lot of folks who typically attend to watch and hang out at the rink,” organizer Chad Hutchins said. “It was great to see them out on the ice joining in on the fun.”
This year’s raffle ticket sales raised over $1,600, easily surpassing the raffle numbers from previous tournaments. Officials estimated that the overall fundraising effort was roughly $2,000 more than figures from past years, thanks in part to the addition of the Senior division.
“My guess would be that this year’s fundraising and tournament proceeds will net us $11,000 to $12,000, compared to $9,000 to $10,000 in each of the last couple of years,” Chad Hutchins said. “We will continue to sell raffle tickets at Gusto’s for $5 apiece until Dec 21. The winner will receive four tickets to see the Montreal Canadians play the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 18 in Montreal.”