Hockey fans look to the Bay Area for on and off-ice championships

While the nation’s eyes are focused on the Tampa Bay Lightning playing for the Stanley Cup against the Montreal Canadiens, some of the world’s biggest hockey fans are focused on another series of games taking place in the Greater Montreal area. the Bay.

The Tournament of Roller Hockey Series, TOHRS, is played in the Wesley Chapel at the Advent Health Center Ice Arena.

“All year round we have our regional events, they have to play in a regional event to qualify for the national championships.” shared George Brown, TOHRS Hockey National Tournament Director. “That’s what they come to do, they come to win national championships and win a gold medal.”

This year’s event is the largest in history with 227 teams competing at all age levels.

“Really, these are the World Roller Hockey Championships. We have kids from Colombia, Venezuela,” said Chris Treft, Video and Media Director of TOHRS. “Tampa Bay has become one of the best markets for hockey in the country.

There are teams from all over the United States, the Cayman Islands, and South America.

Although there is a cross between roller hockey and ice hockey and vice versa, there are always differences in the arena.

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“It’s a more skillful game for roller hockey,” Brown explained. “There are a lot more goals.”

Georgia Lizard Kings player Christopher Goodwin said, “I feel like it improves your hands if you play with teammates who play (ice) hockey.

Like ice hockey, roller hockey works on similar skills to control the stick, maneuver for shooting sequences, and score.

Goodwin explained, “I love that different teams come from different places … Any chance I have to play roller hockey, I will play it.”

“It’s a high point of our sport here,” said Brown.

It shows in the caliber of the players who participate.

“I play roller hockey, I started to play roller hockey, I ended up playing ice hockey throughout my career in high school and college and I came back to roller hockey,” said explained Kyla Sanders of Fort Myers.

Sanders is one of many players competing on multiple teams.

“I play in the women’s division. I also play in the men’s division and also in the over-30s,” said Sanders.

With all the action happening on the ice in the Stanley Cup Final, Lightning player Pat Maroon will also be watching this TOHRS Championship because his son Anthony plays in the league.

CONNECT: Learn more about the Roller Hockey Tournament here.

There is a series of quarter-finals, semi-finals and league games for different teams that will be played today.

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