Hockey Tournament Has Rich History

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The Northwood Invitational Tournament is one of the most popular prep school hockey tournaments throughout North America. It’s a great opportunity for players from around the world to showcase their talent to scouts representing colleges, junior teams, and even National Hockey League teams.

Northwood tournament originally began in 1937 and the tournament started on an outdoor rink right outside the school, where 8 teams competed to see who was the best. The Northwood tournament in its current form started in 1978 after a nearly ten-year hiatus, as a four-team event. Since then it has gotten larger and expanded to include a number of divisions.

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For the 2017 tournament, there were three divisions: Prep, U16, and Girls. Each of these teams competed for the ultimate goal of winning the championship on Monday. The Junior team and other premier independent prep schools, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Culver Military Academy and Nichols School, competed in a three-game round robin Showcase that was separate from the tournament. Until this year, the Junior team competed for the championship.

The Northwood Invitational has been going on for 38 years. It’s been held every year at the famous Olympic Center in Lake Placid, home to the one of the most famous sporting events of the 20th century, the “Miracle on Ice,” when United States beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic Games. Some games in an early version of the tournament, in the 1930s, were even held on the Northwood campus on a temporary “hockey box” built near where the indoor tennis courts are now.

For all of the twentieth century, the tournament included only boys teams. In 2000, it added a girls division, which immediately began hosting some of the best girls hockey teams in North America. Evidence of the strength of the girls teams is the 2010 United States Women’s National Team, on which seven members had played in the Northwood Tournament.

Many former and current NHL players have played at the Northwood Invitational, including Alex Chiasson (Calgary Flames and played for Northwood school), Bill Guerin (Pittsburgh Penguins and played for Wilbraham and Monson Academy), Craig Conroy (Calgary Flames and played for Northwood school), Mike Richter (New York Rangers and played for Northwood school), Chris Therrien (Pittsburgh Penguins and played for Northwood school), and also Tony Granato (San Jose Sharks and played for Northwood school).

One of the most memorable moments of the Northwood Invitational Tournament was when former Head Coach, Tom Fleming, benched his five best players because they were late for breakfast. They did not play in the semi final against a powerful Apple Core team and they were the underdogs to begin with. Surprisingly, Northwood ended up winning the game and later went on to win the tournament.

In recent years, the Northwood Invitational Tournament weekend has also been a Winter Homecoming for Northwood alumni and parents, many of whom participate in a pond hockey tournament organized by the Advancement Office. It has also been a busy weekend for the Admissions Office, which gives tours to dozens of prospective students and their families during the weekend. The Northwood Invitational is a great opportunity to showcase the school, as well as the many talented hockey players that participate in the event.

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