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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
The 4th Annual Tim Hortons Backyard Classic, a backyard ice hockey tournament that raises money for Hasek’s Heroes, will be held on Sunday, February 12.

The Backyard Classic founder, Nick Penberthy, started the tournament as a way to give back to his community.  “I’ve been so fortunate my whole life getting new hockey equipment whenever I needed it and having a rink in my backyard for the past 10 years, so decided it was time to give back,” said Penberthy.

He envisioned a backyard ice hockey tournament that would give players the opportunity to complete for the coveted Backyard Classic trophy, while raising money to give inner-city kids the chance to play the game he loves.  “The real draw of the Tim Horton’s Backyard Classic is that it brings high-level hockey players back to the roots of game, all for a good cause.” Penberthy said. 

The Hasek’s Heroes organization, started by former Buffalo Sabre Dominik Hasek, allows children of low-income families in Buffalo, NY, to play hockey at no cost.   The more than $10,000 raised from previous year’s tournaments purchased new hockey equipment for the hundreds of kids the organization serves.

“Nothing compares to the look on the faces of the kids from Hasek’s Heroes when they see my backyard rink and the players that have come out to support them.”

Thanks to the generosity of several Western New Yorkers, the tournament is expanding from two backyard rinks to five, increasing the number of players able to participate to 240. Teams consist of three players and a goaltender. Registration is available online at and  is open to middle school, high school and college age players.  Spots are filling fast.  This year‘s goal is to raise $15,000 for Hasek’s Heroes.

The Backyard Classic’s executive sponsor is Tim Hortons Coffee and Bake Shop.  Gold Sponsors include the Buffalo Sabres, New Era Caps, Coca-Cola, Rand Capital, The Mac Groups, Great Skate, CertainTeed, Atlantic Bedding and City Fence.

If you would like more information about the Tim Hortons Backyard Classic or to schedule an interview with Nick Penberthy, please call (716) 725-4730 or email Nick at
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