WAYNE, N.J. - When walking into Ice Vault Arena and Ice Works the past two weekends, spectators had to look both ways before crossing the lobby. 6U and 8U players were running around, preparing for their first tournament game ever. Their energy was not part of an off-ice warm up; rather, it was all part of the chaos that erupts each September at the Atlantic Affiliate’s 6U/8U Jamborees.
A free event for any USA Hockey registered team in the affiliate footprint, the tournament is an opportunity for new players and their families to experience the hockey community. Two events are held each year, with one in the northern part of New Jersey and the other in the eastern part of Pennsylvania.
With support from NHL partners in the affiliate, the event is one of the most enjoyable hockey events of the season. NJ from the Devils and Gritty from the Flyers stop by their respective tournaments to cheer on the players. The partners also set up activities outside for families to enjoy the fall weather in between games.
A volunteer-organized event, the jamboree is high-energy from early in the morning until the early evening. With at least two games on each rink at a time, there’s a whole lot of hockey happening everywhere. And after two full weekends, more than 175 teams leave the tournaments ready to take on the season ahead.