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Young hockey players come to OC for tourney

(Feb. 20, 2015) This weekend approximately 200 ice hockey players, ranging in age from 4-8 years old, will participate in the second annual Mite Beach Bash on the rink at the Carousel Resort Hotel and Condominiums on 118th Street.

Twenty recreational teams from the Baltimore and Washington areas, as well as Virginia and Philadelphia, are scheduled to compete.

“People are really excited about coming,” Tom LaTona, co-organizer of the Mite Beach Bash said.

A majority of the teams took part in the inaugural tournament last February.

“It was a fabulous tournament. I couldn’t have asked for more for how well it went,” LaTona said after the 2014 event.

Sixteen teams competed last year. A division consisting of four teams with players 6 and younger was added to the 2015 tournament.

“You don’t want to miss them. These kids are adorable,” LaTona said.

The remaining 16 teams will be divided into four divisions and consist of players 8 and younger.

Games will be 4 vs. 4 on the ice with a goalie. Each squad will play four games of two 20-minute halves. All participants will receive a medal.

Competition will kick off at 1 p.m. today, Friday, with the 6 and under division. Ten games will be played today. Matches will begin around 7 a.m. on Saturday and run until about 9:30 p.m. Twenty games are scheduled for Saturday, and 10 games will be played on Sunday, starting at 7 a.m.

Tournament organizers will pair teams with similar skill levels to go head-to-head in championship matches on Sunday.

Two autographed hockey sticks by Washington Capitals players, a weekend stay at the Carousel and a $25 Greene Turtle gift certificate will be raffled off. Tickets cost $1 each or get six for $5. Two arm’s-length of tickets costs $20. The drawing will take place around 10 a.m. on Sunday. Winners must be present.

Raffle and tournament proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., a leading researcher in the fight against childhood catastrophic illnesses including leukemia, sickle cell disease, pediatric AIDS and genetic immune disorders.

About $600 has been raised so far through ice hockey tournaments this year. The first – Mite Travel Beach Bash – was a 10-team event Halloween weekend at the Carousel. The second – Squirt Beach Bash – was in late December and also featured 10 teams at the Ocean City facility. Each tournament brought in $300 for St. Jude. LaTona said the goal is to garner an additional $1,000 this weekend.

The 2014 Mite Beach Bash tournament generated more than $600 for the Fisher House Foundation, which has a network of homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

Since the response was so overwhelming for this weekend’s competition and the 20 spots available filled up quickly, a second tournament is planned March 27-29.

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