Canfield’s hockey program is hosting its second alumni fundraising tournament on Saturday at Boardman’s Deep Freeze Arena.
Eight teams, four of which are all Canfield alumni, hit the ice to raise money for the Cardinal hockey program.
One of the other teams is last season’s Canfield squad, led by now-graduated Matt Scolieri. The other three teams are adult league teams in the region.
“Last year was the test run,” current Cardinals coach Steve Covelli said. “There were players and coaches from 20 years ago who came to us. It was nice, especially for me. I met the first coach here (at Canfield). He came to the game and was proud of what (the program) is now and he was one of the guys who started it We have guys from Canada, Georgia, New Jersey, New York coming to play hockey.
This serves as the main fundraiser for the Canfield program. It’s not a cheap sport, so events like this are crucial for the Cardinals.
A few local businesses have helped fundraise over the years, most recently helping the team get new jerseys.
Things like jerseys and equipment also have an edge on the ice. For Covelli, there is a “look good, feel good” aspect.
That being said, Canfield’s home rink, the Deep Freeze Ice Arena, was recently purchased by the Youngstown Phantoms ownership group. Improvements are currently underway and Cardinals will be able to reap the benefits this fall.
“The young man who is in charge communicates well with us,” Covelli said. “I heard we’re going to have a better ice surface, they’re going to spruce it up a bit. It needs some TLC and this band will do it. They’re going to clean the locker rooms. They will improve the dashboard.
That’s another thing added to Covelli’s point. He believes the best facilities can give players an extra mental boost and the mental boost will lead to better results on the ice.
“It’s funny how this stuff turns into players,” Covelli said. “They feel like a bit of a braggart coming in now and that just translates to ice. It’s contagious.
“It’s all new shirts, new pants, new socks, new gloves. For 19 years, it was just a screen-printed sweater. Now these are regular Adidas NHL jerseys. These young people say to themselves: “Now we are a team” and the rink does the same thing.
Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and the first puck drop is scheduled for 8 a.m. Spectators are admitted free of charge. Food and beverages will be available as well as a live band, a cornhole tournament, several basket draws, as well as a 50/50 draw. The championship match at the end of the tournament is scheduled to start at 4:45 a.m.