Players, parents happy to play in “hockey heaven”

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Talented hockey players and proud parents are at HARBORcenter this weekend for a tournament. The puck dropped on another weekend at “hockey heaven,” and teams from across the country are set.

St. Francis Director of Admissions Matt Neyman said, “It’s great exposure for the city and for hockey. Any youth playing hockey is the place to be.”

Neyman described the difference between a hockey showcase and a tournament.“It’s fantastic. It’s right under one roof, you don’t have to outsource here, outsource there, it’s a destination.”

“With a showcase that kind of exposes the players to people that can come in and check out all the players same amount of games. You don’t get eliminated like you would in a tournament,” Neyman said.

The shine isn’t gone from “hockey heaven” just yet, parents here for a second time say they’re  excited to be back.

Father Jim Ritter said, “When we first came in last time they were finishing it up and when we came in here this time it was a little more than a finished product, it looks really good.”

Cleveland resident McKenna Ritter said, “It’s exciting, I was born here so it’s exciting to come back. We stopped at our old house so it’s nice.”

A lot of teams came in from Chicago area. Ten teams here for the weekend are from the Midwest Prep hockey league.

DJ Lavarre the MPHL’s Commissioner said it didn’t take too much convincing to get his league to join in on the showcase

Lavarre said, “This is an opportunity. We haven’t seen each other since November so the competition is one of the best. We got guys that are on the NHL scouting, we have kids drafted in the NHL so competition is peak and so if you’re around to watch some good high school hockey, this is where to be.”

There are 10 games Friday, 16 more this weekend and on Monday,  the start of 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s Under-18 World Championship. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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