Excited young hockey players born in 1993 through to 2003 are arriving in Boston for this weekend’s OneHockey Elite Tournament, founded by Flypuck creator Sebastien Fortier. A tremendous opportunity for young, elite-level hockey players to have fun and showcase their skills, the OneHockey Tournament, which runs from May 26th until May 28th, will create memories that will last a lifetime for the participants and their families.
After eight seasons as a professional hockey player in various leagues, the idea of starting the OneHockey Tournament can be traced back to Sebastien’s youth. Created in 1999, the tournament provides young hockey players an opportunity to improve their skills by working with great coaches, while competing against some of the world’s most talented players in the presence of numerous scouts from all levels. The OneHockey Tournament, which is held in Vancouver and Philadelphia, as well as in Boston, also drew from Sebastien’s own experience as a coach.
“The tournament model and idea has been the same since day one,” he explained in our XHockeyProducts interview in the days leading up to the Boston event. “Most hockey tournaments are organized in the same way – guys rent ice, they call the refs and the tournament begins. A lot of times, you go to these hockey tournaments and you do not feel like you are at a hockey tournament.”
“Back in the day, I can remember my dad had a tournament in Quebec, the Sherbrooke International Bantam Tournament and it was so much fun; you got to the rink and you didn’t want to leave because it was so much fun! There was music and entertainment; there were mascots and great games. When I finished playing hockey and started coaching, taking kids to hockey tournaments, everywhere we went it was always the same – boring and no fun. I was a little frustrated with that and decided to ask my dad if he wanted to help me run my own hockey tournament and that is how the OneHockey Tournament was born.”
When the tournament first began in 1999, it proved difficult to find players and teams since it was the inaugural event, but Sebastien contacted friends that were coaching in hockey schools throughout the United States, explained the event that he was planning and offered a chance to play for Team OneHockey. He was able to put six teams together and six other teams from Quebec signed up for the first OneHockey Tournament. As he explained in our interview, it has come a long way since the early days of the event.
“This is our 9th year and we just had 60 teams in Vancouver,” he said. “We will have 70 teams in Boston this weekend and we have about 120 teams coming to our tournament in Philadelphia in July. There are countless hours that go into organizing these tournaments, but now we are proud to say that we are the world’s largest spring and summer program!”
“OneHockey has had teams from 16 countries take part since 2007, so we are very well known in Europe too. The word of mouth travels really fast. When a player, parent or coach takes part in a OneHockey tournament, they see how different it is from the other tournaments right away – we see a lot of returning players every year.”
Once this weekend’s event in Boston finishes, Sebastien will move on to Philadelphia to prepare for the next OneHockey Tournament. Players born from 1994 through to 1999 will take to the ice from June 28th to July 1st and players born from 2000 through to 2004 will have their tournament from July 5th to 8th. They are still signing players for the Philadelphia OneHockey Tournament and interested players can visit their website (onehockey.com). In 2013, OneHockey will also add a winter tournament to their schedule of events for the first time.
“We will invite the top two or three teams from Canada and the US at each level, as well as a few European teams in each division,” Sebastien said. “If everything we are planning on happens, our winter tournament in Blaine, Minnesota from January 18th to 21st will be the highest level of hockey tournament ever organized – we are very excited about that!”
If you are in the Boston area this weekend and looking to be entertained at a fun-filled hockey tournament with some of the games future stars, make sure to visit Sebastien’s OneHockey Tournament. The schedule of events can be found at the OneHockey website. You can also find them on Twitter: @OneHockeyEvents.
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