This past weekend, 170 skaters (and more family members than one could count) traveled 5 1/2 hours across our United States’ border into Montreal, Canada to participate in the Sal Grasso Memorial Friendship Tournament at the Westmount Arena. This time, even, with some second generation skaters.
The Cape Ann/Westmount Friendship Tournament was started back in 1987 by Sal Grasso of Gloucester and Mike Deegan and Peter Wallace of Westmount when Sal paid for a bus out of his own pocket and took a crew of Gloucester kids 6 hours north to play some hockey. The trek was a huge success as most players billeted with host families and formed bonds that continue to this day. When Sal passed in 2006 the Tournament was aptly re-named the Sal Grasso Memorial Tournament.
In total, the teams played in a Skills Competition, a coaches’ game, and 28 youth hockey games. Skaters, ranging in age from 7 to 16, and spanning the hockey ladder from Mite, to Squirt, to PeeWee, to Bantam….and Girls’ U10, U12, and U14….competed over the course of three long days. Fantastic hockey was played, so many memories were made, and some pretty sweet sportsmanship was displayed. What more could one ask for? How about some laughs?
When the skates weren’t being laced plenty of good times and shenanigans took place. Being 2016, hashtags and selfies documented CAYH’s adventures across the city of Montreal while families took in a little bit of culture, site sightseeing, swimming, eating…and many, many laughs. Good times for sure!
As you can see by looking at the trophy below, Westmount dominated the tournament for the first 14 years, Cape Ann had four consecutive years of wins, and then Westmount took over again until last year. With good times and friendship remaining a priority, Cape Ann was still thrilled to bring the trophy home again this year…winning just around 75% of the games.
Congratulations to the Board Members, organizers, volunteers, players, and families from both teams. A huge thank you to our friends up north! They were kind and gracious hosts for three straight days at their home rink….and made us all feel very welcome.