Amateur Update: Junior nationals are in Connecticut

The past three years we have served as tournament host for the USA Hockey Tier III Junior National Championships held the first week of April here in Rochester. This year the weeks of planning and preparation for the national tournament are someone else's responsibility.

Having the championship in Rochester the past three years has been an honor for me and those volunteers who dedicated themselves to work the event. Seeing it somewhere else makes next week a lot less stressful, yet it also leaves an empty feeling. An event we were such a major part of (communicating with leagues and qualifying teams, accommodating the fans with all their needs, meeting the coaches and managers, etc.) all is being done out in Connecticut this week.

The 2014 USA Hockey Tier III National Championship is being held at an arena called the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury, Conn., April 3-7.

Why is it in Connecticut rather than Minnesota? All we received the past few years was plenty of compliments and positive feedback. From all those involved, they felt we did a great job as host and they enjoyed our city.

However, determining the host of events such as this have more factors than a good host city. USA Hockey desires to get all nine current leagues attending the National Championship. Since the tournament moved out of Marlborough, Mass., in 2010, some of the junior teams from out east have elected not to attend.


While I was in attendance at the USA Junior Annual Meeting in Colorado, word had it one of the eastern team leadership representatives shared that the only way they would attend nationals is to move it back out east. I believe to have the tournament be a true national championship they desire to have all leagues attend. Moving it back out east would accomplish this.

USA Hockey is a top-quality organization. I have found all leadership from their group honest, hardworking and reflecting top integrity with all their dealings with our city and the Sports Commission. I consider them all very good friends and will miss them this year during the national championship. However, when we see an ever-changing world of amateur sports (just consider the recent changes to the WCHA as one example) one can understand the need to do what is needed to be successful.

We hope to have the event back to Rochester someday. However, if the teams from the east won't come west and the tournament needs attendance from all leagues — the opportunity to have it back seems limited.

We hope this year's championship is successful and ultimately grows stronger into the future — wherever it may be held.

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