International skaters converge on Hudson for 'Friendship Tournament'
Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and St. Paul have all had their turns and this time around Hudson gets its chance to play host.
It is not the Olympics, but it does involve players from seven different countries, including the United States, pitted against each other in a friendly hockey tournament.
Over 250 hockey players from the age of 11-14 from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, Denmark, Canada, Minnesota and Hudson will make their way by car, by train and by plane to Gornick and Raider arenas next week to take part in the 12th PeeWee International Friendship Tournament. The tournament is held every two years and was started in 1989 in Hachinohe, Japan, by founder Tadakiyo Kanieri. One reason Kanieri has given for starting the tournament is "it will be a wonderful chance for the children to experience the cultural differences through daily life in your country and expand their fields of view on international friendship."
Being a "friendly" tournament, the winning team is not the one that wins the most games, but instead the winner will be decided by a combination of points scored and a low number of penalties in each game. In the spirit of friendship, all of the skaters participating in the tournament will be staying with skaters from the two Hudson teams or the two teams from Minnesota as well as community hosts until the end of the tournament. Most teams exchange small gifts out of friendship before each game.
Players, parents and coaches will be arriving on Monday, June 13, and Tuesday, June 14, with the skaters heading to stay with their host families on Tuesday. Games begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15, in both Hudson arenas. The games will be officially opened on Wednesday at the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. in Gornick Arena. The ceremonies will feature a parade of nations, welcoming remarks by the mayor of Hudson, local hockey officials and tournament founder Kanieri. Tournament banners will be skated onto the ice and raised. Both the games and the ceremony are open to the public.
About 10 games will be played a day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both rinks on June 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23 and 24. The skaters will get two days off from games on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19, and Wednesday, June 22. A tournament picnic, which is open to the public, will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, with live music by the Dweebs. Tickets for the picnic are $10 per ticket, but the concert is free to the public.
The tournament will come to an end on Friday, June 24, at 7 p.m. in Gornick Arena with the closing ceremonies, which is also open to the public. The skaters, their parents and the coaches will all be heading home June 25-26.
See the attached link to read comments from some of the young players who will be staying with a local family for the tournament.