Heseltine Tournament 2022 - Recap and Thank you!

On the day after Thanksgiving in 1981, the Andover mite hockey team invited some neighboring towns to get together for an informal holiday competition, with some hot chocolate after the games. A few months later, an Andover resident who grew up playing youth hockey named Scott Heseltine was tragically killed in an auto accident. The following Thanksgiving, a mite tournament was once again held, this time in his memory. Except for a few interruptions, the Andover Hockey Association has hosted a mite tourney each Thanksgiving weekend since then.

This past weekend, the AHA hosted 24 mite travel teams (and 8 house league teams) from around the Merrimack Valley, North Shore, and Greater Boston area. Hundreds of players skated their hearts out, while parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members and friends cheered. AHA raised thousands of dollars for charitable endeavors, including our community based initiatives and the Scott Heseltine Memorial Scholarship at Austin Prep, which is awarded annually to a deserving student from Lawrence. We had food trucks. We had Todd Angilly sing the national anthem. And to cap off the weekend, Scott's brother Charlie handed over the championship trophy bearing his family's name to the Andover Mite 1's. It was an epic weekend of fun, family, and community.

During this past weekend at the rink, I had great conversations with members of the AHA community past and present. As I refereed the championship games, I watched some really skilled players competing with as high of a level of intensity as is possible for an 8 year old. And while I spent about 20 hours at the rink between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon, there are lots of people who were there much longer than me. I've tried to acknowledge all the volunteers who helped us this weekend below, and apologies if I left anyone out. However, there are a few who deserve special acknowledgment. This tournament would not have taken place but for the hard work of multiple members of the following families: Balford, Cyrier, Davis, DiAgostino, Howard, Laine, Montgomery, Romano, and Stevens.

Many of those names are repeats from last year, and I hope they will be involved again next year. However, we are always looking for more help - and, more importantly, to identify the next generation of AHA leadership. If you will have a returning mite/U8 travel player, or currently have a player in the mite house league or learn to play and plan to participate in travel mites/U8s next year, please reach out to help make next year's tourney bigger and better.

Thanksgiving traditionally marks a turning point in the hockey season. At the pro level, it is often said that is when the season really begins (although I hope that's not the case for the Bruins this year). High school hockey players are going through tryouts this week. Many of our youth players are gearing up for the excitement of tournaments at destinations which resemble winter wonderlands. Meanwhile, AHA's new winter supplemental teams begin play next weekend, as will our rec hockey league. As we conclude Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I was able to spend my holiday weekend with many of you and that I get to serve this great organization as president. I hope the rest of your seasons match the fun and excitement of the Heseltine tournament.


Tim Bennett

AHA President