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MANCHESTER, NH– The Manchester Monarchs and the Monarchs Care Foundation kicked off the summer with the 5th annual Summerfest Street Hockey Tournament outside of the Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a great event as you can see from the number of kids participating,” Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas said. “These kids are fired up and excited about playing, and I thank the Monarchs for being here. They are a truly a big part of the fiber of the community.”
The three-division street hockey tournament was the main attraction at Summerfest, as part of Elm Street was shut down to host the event. In all, 120 kids from the ages of 6-13 played in the 18-team round robin tournament, and as a bonus, received a free ticket to opening night in October as a thanks for participating, but more importantly, for donating to the Monarchs Care Foundation.
“Playing here is fun for me because it helps me with my on-ice skills, but also my off-ice skills as a goalie,” participant Ryan Commerford said. “It’s a fun opportunity to come out with your friends and to have a good time.”
The 5th annual event included food, corn hole, rock climbing, balloon animals and live music, but the day was all about the kids having a good time and playing hockey.
“It’s about the kids having fun before the hockey season starts, and gets them back with their friends and teammates, which is always a good thing for them,” Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association (MRYHA) Coach Mike Desmond said. “Last year was the first time we did this event, and we certainly came to more Monarchs games as a result.”
Summerfest is one of many fundraising events the Monarchs put on throughout the season to benefit the Monarchs Care Foundation, a major philanthropic arm of the Monarchs organization.
“The Monarchs Care Foundation was put together to give back to the community and different non-profit organizations through different events,” Monarchs Vice-President of Tickets Sales and Marketing Jason Jones said. “Summerfest is huge for us as it gets us started off on the right foot in the summer, but more importantly, it allows people to see the kinds of things we can do for the community in putting together a fun event for the kids.”
“This event not only raises money for the charitable arm of the Monarchs, but also brings youth hockey teams and ticket package holders together in Monarchs Country in the off-season,” Monarchs Marketing and Digital Media Manager Mackenzie Fraser said. “This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community, and we are thrilled so many people came out to have fun.”
The Monarchs may be 83 days away from opening their first season in the ECHL, but former Monarchs captain and new Head Coach Rich Seeley knows that the community is extremely important to the success of the franchise and to his new players.
“It’s important that we are involved in the community,” Seeley said. “To be able to have these sorts of events in the summertime and to have the kids out playing street hockey on Elm Street is fun for everybody. It is also important to convey a message to the players coming in of what kind of city and town Manchester is, how great the community is, and about the winning tradition the city has.”
The Monarchs will open the season at home on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. as they host the Brampton Beast at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Individual-game tickets for Opening Night go on sale to the public on Oct. 1 at 9 a.m.
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