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Families come from all over for youth hockey tournament

Andrew Hyman
Created: February 16, 2020 07:01 PM

BRIGHTON N.Y. (WHEC) — In any hockey game, the action is happening down on the ice, with the players.

But up in the stands of the Bill Gray’s Iceplex in Brighton, parents like Jennifer Andross are watching every check and pass, ready to cheer.

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"You get a lot of enjoyment out of that," Andross says.

Andross joined thousands of parents and players spread out among 30 out-of-town teams as part of this weekend’s annual Presidential Power Play Youth Ice Hockey Tournament. Andross’s son plays for the Livingston Blues, a team based out of Geneseo,

The familiar sights and sounds of a game on the rink are something Andross says both player and parent see all the time. Because she says youth hockey families are constantly on the go roughly nine months out of the year.

They are there from game to game, and practice to practice, in tournaments and league play all across the country.

"Quite honestly, those months that we have off, we're sitting there wondering what we're going to do with ourselves,"  Andross says.

But when they're on, they're on.

News10NBC spoke with several other families who made the trip to Rochester, including Mark Schultz, a native of West Carleton, a township near Ottawa, Canada. Schultz says trips can come at a cost for parents, as the ride includes stops to buy new gear, long hotel stays, and miles of car travel.

"It's one of the more expensive sports I would say,” Schultz says. “Financially it's pretty tough to do, but you find a way to do it."

Much like it takes a team to win the game on the ice, Livingston Blues Head Coach Johnathon Bennett says the effort by parents off of the ice can be just as crucial. He says parents often switch off on giving players rides and spend those long car rides together. That's not to mention the time spent watching the action.

"Everybody on the team becomes a family, it's a great thing to see and watch," Bennett says.

Even through the long nights and long trips, parents like Tom DeStefano say it’s worth it.

DeStefano, a native of Havertown, Pennsylvania, has his grandson live with him through the season. He says the constant haul is not just to help their kids chase their big-time puck dreams, but to show them a little hard work and dedication can accomplish any goal.

"You learn a lot of lessons in hockey, in any organized sport, you learn a lot of life lessons," he says.

And when the games end, the journey will continue on to the next practice, the next game, and the next lesson.

Tournament organizers say the three-day event brings in an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 in economic impact to the community. The tournament runs through Monday.


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