The glaring omission on ROOST's list of sporting events to attend this past weekend was the 34th Northwood School Invitational Hockey Tournament that featured more than 42 of the leading public and private high school hockey teams in the nation and several college teams as well. More important, it showcased great hockey.
Yes the FIS Freestyle World Cup is an event worth seeing and celebrating and the Adirondack International Mountaineering Festival in Keene provides opportunities to enhance ice-climbing and winter mountaineering skills with the world's finest, but nevertheless the place to be if you love hockey is Northwood's Hockey Tournament. Here many future Olympians and NFL players test their skills and show the promise of their greatness to come.
Spread over three ice sheets in Lakd Placid, one and Saranac Lake, and a "pond hockey" tourney on the Oval, the Hockey Tournament was filled with non-stop excitement with many tightly contested games. The kids were there to win, make no mistake about, and cheered on by no less passionate parents, coaches, faculty and classmates.
Goalie Nicolle Grosser
"The economic impact of the tournament is over a million dollars," said Ed Good, headmaster of Northwood. "That's what Mayor Craig Randall said last year. When you factor in 20 kids per team times, 42 teams, plus coaches, plus ten to fifteen parents per team, their meals and hotel rooms, plus our booking every hour of ice time over the two and a half days, plus the families shopping on main street all adds up to a big impact."
"The tournament is heavily scouted by lots of college and university coaches, and scouts from the Junior Hockey League as well," he said. "While not everyone here will go on to compete in the Olympics or the NFL, nearly all will play college hockey and continue in the game after that. Everyone loves coming to Placid and it provides us a great opportunity to show off the school."
"Seven members of our family have gone through Northwood," said Jeff Bartell watching the game with his brother Ross and sister-in-law Debra. "I graduated in '72. I majored in hockey and minored in school."
"I majored in the penalty box and minored in hockey," said Ross. "Northwood is a great school. The atmosphere is so supportive. We are fortunate we were given the opportunity to go there and spend time in Lake Placid. All of us played hockey except our sister Sara, who was a skier. She arrived before they had a hockey program."
"Northwood is small enough to take you under their wing and help develop you into young men and women," said Jeff. "Everyone gets a lot of attention. They demand civility. They develop people into great citizens. You learn to play by the rules. They help you develop the skills you will need in life."
"I am not a student at Northwood," said Kevin Hennessy, serving as the team mascot dressed in a husky outfit. "My brother Robbie is a junior at Northwood and plays ice hockey. He asked me if I'd mind being the mascot and cheering them on. I'm happy to support him and the team."
"Robbie is my second son at Northwood," said his father Pat Hennessy. "It is a fabulous school and provides a great experience for the kids. They receive a great education and get to experience the Adirondacks. When you add in the hockey sending our sons to Northwood is a no brainer. It has a family friendly atmosphere. They really involve the parents. Kevin loves being the mascot; he loves being involved."
"The parents won the pond hockey competition this year," said Northwood faculty member and tournament director Tom Broderick. "The tournament is a real celebration of Northwood. It also brings a lot of business into Lake Placid and that helps the people who help us. The teams come from all over, from Winnipeg to Quebec City and Nova Scotia in Canada, and from Colorado to Boston and Virginia. We have midgets to varsity teams to Junior League and college - boys and girls teams. Many teams, like those from Virginia and Colorado, never get the chance to play pond hockey except here. The tournament is unique because of the great mix, and it's in Placid. They all want to see which locker room the Miracle on Ice team used."
"Northwood changed my whole life for the better," said Maeve Kehoe of Toronto, Canada. "It is really a special place and environment. It's a very nurturing and enjoyable place to be a part of. It has opened so many doors and opportunities for me; that's why I come back every year. I feel great that several friends of our family sent their kids to Northwood and they too had a great experience."
"We do not play many home games," said Northwood head coach Josh LeRoy. "The tournament provides us an opportunity to see our other teams play and many parents and alums come to watch us play. You get to see many people you do not normally see."
"The tournament enables us to expose our best hockey players to the prep school system," said Christian LaRue of Cegep de Sainte-Foy, Quebec City. "We know the academic requirements are extremely demanding, that it is not enough to skate well. The level of competition is very high. We know college and university scouts are here. We hope that this tournament will open some good doors for our students."
"Let's go White! Come on Lulu! Go White! CONTROL it!!!. Get it Lulu! GET IT! Grace, get back! Come on. Ohhhh," yells Debbie Kent. "Northwood is good team," she said to me at a break in the action. "They are getting a lot of pressure from the Canadians. It's a very fast game. Our daughter Lulu is a junior. Northwood is great academically and athletically in many sports. I feel it's really a family. It's very tight. The kids are really safe. The kids can text their teachers anytime with a question and the teachers get right back to them. 'Come on! DIG IN THERE!'"
"So Lulu, how does it feel to hear someone yelling, 'Go Lulu go, dig, dig?'" I said after the game.
"I know exactly who is talking and I really appreciate their support," said Lulu Kent. "I love the school. It's a great environment for me."
"It means a lot that we are part of the Northwood team," said goalie Nicolle Grosser. "We know we are playing for the whole school. It means a lot that the faculty and parents come out. I feel it's a family for us - a family away from home. Being a goalie is hard. When a goalie makes a mistake a big buzzer goes off. It's a big responsibility but it has its good points. We are all a team. The coach has each player experience the goalie position. They all know how hard it is and they all give me lots of support."