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The Hockey World Comes Together

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

The Second Annual Lighthouse International Hockey Tournament, sponsored by Modell’s Sporting Goods, KyLinTV and Marriott, which began in January with more than 1,000 kids taking part in the Long Island division, will conclude this week, featuring teams from China, Japan, Finland, Long Island and New York City.

This will be the third year in a row that the Islanders will be hosting a hockey tournament featuring pee wee hockey players from China—and the second official Lighthouse International Tournament.

 “Our goal is to create a once-in-a-lifetime cross-cultural experience for all of the participants,” said Islanders President Chris Dey.

The Lighthouse International Tournament will be comprised of eight teams: two from China—Qiqihar and Harbin, two from Ilves-Hockey, Finland, one from Japan, one from Nassau County—Cantiague Park in Hicksville, one from Suffolk County—The Rinx in Hauppauge and one from New York City—Abe Starck Arena in Brooklyn

Thanks to the generosity of Islanders owner Charles B. Wang, children from China have been given the chance to develop—and enhance—their passion and love of hockey.

Since Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope was founded in 2004, 27 rinks have been built in four cities in China. Thousands of sets of ice hockey equipment have been donated. Along with the addition of facilities and equipment, clinics have been set-up throughout China to help further the skills of the young Chinese players.

Prior to the formation of Project Hope, there were a mere 2,000 youth hockey players in a country with a population of more than 1 billion people. Thanks to Project Hope, there are now six times as many young Chinese athletes playing hockey.

This will be the fourth-consecutive year a team, or teams, from China will compete in North America and the second time they will be playing on Long Island.

The Chinese teams from Harbin and Qiqihar and the Finnish teams will be joined for the first time by a Japanese team, along with participants from Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York City.

These eight pee wee teams will make up the largest international tournament the Islanders have hosted to date.

The teams will begin round-robin competition at Islanders Iceworks and the Nassau Coliseum on Thursday, February 19 and conclude with the medal round to be played on the Nassau Coliseum ice on Saturday, February 21. Games will also take place at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.

Rankings of the teams for the medal round will be based on the results from the round-robin. In the event of a tie, the first tie-breaker will be fewest goals against. The next tie-breaker is fewest penalty minutes.

On Friday, the eight teams will take part in a skills competition. The competition will take place at Islanders Iceworks, beginning at 9 am

New to this tournament will be the Friendship Games, played at Iceworks on Monday, February 23 from 9-10:15 am. The Friendship Games will provide the opportunity for members of the Chinese, Finnish and Japanese teams to play together with those from different countries. The newly formed teams will consist of players from all five international teams.

The children from all eight teams will take part in the intermission of the Islanders-New Jersey game on Saturday, February 21. In addition, the Chinese children will tour and shop in New York City on Sunday, February 22. The trip into the city has become a tradition the past three years and a favorite amongst the youngsters.

As a goodwill gesture, before each game, teams will exchange pins.

Schedule of Play

Thursday, February 19 – Iceworks
9:00 am:   Harbin vs. Nassau
10:00 am: Qiqihar vs. Ilves 2
11:00 am: Suffolk vs. Ilves 1
12:00 pm: Nassau vs. Japan
1:00 pm:   NYC vs. Suffolk
3:00 pm:   Japan vs. NYC

Thursday, February 19 – Coliseum
1:00 pm    Ilves 2 vs. Harbin
2:00 pm    Qiqihar vs. Ilves 1

Friday, February 20 - Iceworks
9:00 am:   Ilves 2 vs. Nassau
10:00 am: Ilves 1 vs. Japan

Friday, February 20 – Cantiague
12:00 pm: NYC vs. Qiqihar
1:00 pm:   Harbin vs. Suffolk

Saturday, February 21 – Coliseum
1:00 pm:   5th Place Game
2:00 pm:   3rd Place Game
3:00 pm:   Championship Game

Monday, February 23 – Iceworks
9:00 am:   Friendship Games

Check out photo galleries from the 2008 International Division of the Lighthouse Tournament

Day 1 of International Play
Day 2 of International Play
Harbin and Qiqihar Face Off

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