On Saturday, March 19, at 9 a.m., hockey returned to NC State’s campus as the second annual NC State Ball Hockey Shootout was underway.
The tournament, put on by Campus Recreation and supported by the Carolina Hurricanes, attracted 14 teams of eight, an increase from nine at last year’s event. Even though it was an early weekend morning (especially for a college student) with registration starting at 8 a.m, each participant showed up ready to compete for the trophy and defend their pride. Teams made up of both male and female players of varying skill level grabbed their sticks and hit the rinks anticipating their first game.
The tournament took place at the outdoor basketball courts off of Cates Avenue behind Carmichael Gymnasium. The Hurricanes provided all of the necessary equipment, setting up two rinks as well as a practice/warm-up area. Along with all the necessary playing equipment, the Hurricanes Promotions team brought giveaways for every participant, including All-Star Game programs and several different posters. Each individual on the winning team received a prize pack, consisting of a t-shirt, towel, bobblehead, Storm Squad calendar and two tickets to the game on March 30 against Montreal.
The tournament featured a four-on-four structure, with three players and one goalie playing at once per team. Each team was guaranteed two games in pool play, before the top two teams in each of the four pools moved on to the final rounds. The final rounds were single elimination and saw some competitive action. The 15-minute games moved quickly, and The Benders, comprised of NC State Club Hockey players, had defended their title and won the championship for the second year in a row against a very talented team with a terrific goalie who called themselves Tiger Blood.
As the long day of hockey came to an end, the teams congratulated each other on a well played tournament and the players and spectators headed home. For the second year in a row, the tournament was a hit and helped the Hurricanes’ and NC State’s efforts to promote the game of hockey on campus. The Hurricanes look forward to being part of this tournament next year, and we’ll see if The Benders can defend their title for the third consecutive year!