Editor's note: The following is an edited version of an announcement sent by the city of Somerville. Somerville Patch made minor edits to the sixth paragraph so that references to days and dates would make sense at the time of posting.
SOMERVILLE’S VETERAN’S MEMORIAL SKATING RINK HOSTS INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY TOURNEY
Sponsored by Boston Stars Program City of Somerville, Transatlantic Hockey Invitational includes 5 elite Russian teams, New England elite teams; Youth players to meet NHL star Alexander Ovechkin Thursday.
SOMERVILLE – This week, the City of Somerville is hosting several elite youth hockey teams for the first-ever “Transatlantic Invitational” hockey tournament, including youth from premiere Russian hockey leagues and youth from across the New England region. Five Russian teams – three Bantam and two Pee-Wee – have traveled to Somerville for the tournament, including members of the Lokomotiv Yugoslavl Club Team, whose parent organization produced NHL star Alexander Ovechkin, currently playing for the Washington Capitals. Also participating in the tournament are youth from across New England who participate in the Boston Stars hockey program, also run out of the Somerville rink. Tournament participants will have the opportunity to meet Ovechkin, in town to take on the Boston Bruins, on Thursday morning.
“We are honored to host such a prestigious competition here in Somerville, and I sincerely hope this tradition continues,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “As a hockey fan, and a father of four young boys – three of which are currently involved in either Somerville Youth Hockey or Boston Stars – it’s invigorating to get a taste of just how different hockey programs are across the globe. We’re hosting some of the most talented young players in the world, both from overseas and from right here on American soil, and it’s great to see how they are interacting, learning from one another, and having fun.”
“I’ve been a staunch supporter of the Boston Stars program since it was introduced to me by founder Igor Gratchev, and I’m thankful that he’s chosen our great City as the new home of the program. It has been a great partnership, with great outcomes, and I look forward to continuing to work together to bring more wonderful programs and opportunities to the youth of Somerville,” Mayor Curtatone said.
The Transatlantic Invitational, which runs through Monday, April 2nd, is sponsored by the Boston Stars program and its founder, Igor Gratchev. The program uses highly specialized and intensive training designed to develop skating techniques and game strategies. It’s teams are comprised of elite AAA teams from the New England region.
“It is exciting to be able to bring a tournament of this magnitude to Somerville, where we have already had great success with our existing programs,” said Gratchev. “I wanted to be able to bring an international flavor to the game by inviting some top Russian youth teams, and to showcase some of the differences between Russian skating and American skating, both of which incorporate unique skills. The games this week have been very high intensity, and I’m looking forward to the Championship games this weekend.”
On Thursday, March 29, 30 to 40 participating youth, from Russian and New England teams, as well as members of the Somerville Youth Hockey Association, were scheduled to meet with Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin made his start on the Lokomotiv Club Team, eventually playing for the professional team. Early last year, the team perished in a plane crash.
“This is such a great opportunity for all of our youth, to meet one of their idols and a phenomenal hockey player. All of the kids have been talking about this all week, and I know it will be one of the highlights of their year,” Mayor Curtatone said.
The Championship games in the Tournament will be held this weekend at the in Somerville, 270 Somerville Ave. For more information, visit bostonstarshockey.com.