In its 11th year the Super Bowl Bye Week Invitational is one of the most anticipated tournaments around for the elite teams in the tournament circuit. Twelve of the top teams in the country will be battling for the championship title in one of the most prestigious tournaments around. This years teams are Buffalo Fusion, Fusion Killer Bees, Sloth Fathers, Jersey Fresh, Pittsburgh Gods, GDPC Arsenal, 4 Aces, Leominster Rams, Leominster Americans, Phoenixville Graffix, Rhode Island Rage and the defending champion Great Boston Saints.
Host of the event George Tarantino and his staff provide the follow write up on their Facebook Page regarding the teams in the event:
4 Aces- For the second straight year the Aces enter the tournament. This year’s roster is quite diverse with players from Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Chicago. The team is anchored by Casper’s goaltender Andrew Grivnovics, who is one of the games’ best. The Aces narrowly missed the playoff round last year, and are hungry for a Sunday game
Buffalo Fusion is back and looking to improve on their semi-final appearance of last year. A team built on speed, they are always a nightmare to deal with on the huge rink. Goaltender Brandon Junik is really making a name for himself and could be the difference maker on a roster loaded with top end talent like Denny Schlegal and Andrew Priutt. Behind the bench is longtime star forward Scott Bokowski.
The Fusion Killer Bees are looking to make the playoffs for the first time, and after making the A pool in the North American Championships, this might be the year. The Bees showed drastic improvement in 2016 with a key win over the Niagra War Pigs and a tie against contender Penn Hills Arsenal.
The Greater Boston Saints are coming off an incredible 2016 that saw them win 3 Major A tournaments, a finals loss in the North Americans and a semi-final appearance in Can Ams. They have clearly established themselves as the best team in the country. A well rounded team that can adapt to any style, has terrific goaltending, and a star studded roster looks to begin 2017 with a win on the Olympic sized rink in Harrisburg. Scott Duggan has done an incredible job of building this juggernaut.
Jersey Fresh is dipping their feet into the pool for the first time this year. They are a young, fast, enthusiastic team led by coach Bobby Jones. 2016 saw them really start to mature as they won the North Americans B, had a finals appearance at the beach bash and ended the year with a Holiday Bash win against a very strong field. Budding stars Denis Hickey, Scott Veneziale and Jimmy Dingler are looking to lead this team to many wins in the future, and would like to start in Harrisburg.
The Leominster Americans are right on the heels of the Greater Boston Saints as the countries’ best team. No team can march out more skilled players, and the scary part is, the team is so young. Behind all that is superstar goalie Tyler Crawford, the 2016 tournament MVG. Leader Mike Defazio has done an incredible job of building the team and doing it in Leominster, where there is always a lot of player movement. This team is looking to improve upon a year that saw them go deep into many Sundays and winning the Can Ams, beating both the Saints and Penn Hills Arsenal along the way.
Bobby Housser is entering the Leominster Red Star into this years’ event. The team includes several top Leominster players including the tireless Doug Croteau, some of the Jersey Supreme, crafty Long Island Forward Jon Healy and a promising young goalie, Logan Bergeron. This team is a major contender to win the tournament with that kind of fire power, and with John Stamas behind the bench, it could happen.
Penn Hills Arsenal is a deep, young, skilled contender. Bill Sullivan has done an incredible job of cultivating his home rink and building a team from it. 2016 saw some mixed results from this group with a couple of quarterfinal hard fought losses to the Niagra War Pigs and Greater Boston Saints, and 2 overtime playoff losses in Leominster to the equally young Americans. This team is a contender to win the tournament and are looking to push the Saints, Americans and Gods for country supremacy.
Phoenixville Graffix have been in existence for quite some time now. Ed Perry has always done an incredible job of finding and developing local talent to always make this team a threat. They have produced a few World team members, including Goaltender Bryce Erb, Tyler Caba, and John Carberry. Added to the roster recently are 2 of the best masters age players, Ryan Shannon and Kieth Cianna, who are still getting it done at the major A level. This team could be a nightmare to play on Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Gods are returning to form for the 2017 tournament season. Back between the pipes is the man who stole 2015, Jon Rethage. This team is fast, disciplined, and fully understands how to use the huge rink to their advantage. Behind the bench is the games’ best coach, Corey Herschk. The Gods have also added a few high end Canadian players, Evan Huckaloo, Josh Barbas and the funky Daniel Setacci. This team is going to pack a serious punch, and might be holding the trophy at the end.
The Rhode Island Rage are a young team starting to make some noise on the tournament circuit. They were very excited to get the invite to play, and are looking forward to proving they belong here. Team leader Dave Goodnow must be commended for successfully building a true A team, which is incredibly hard to do. The Rage play a wonderful brand of 2 way hockey that should equate well to the big rink in Harrisburg.
The Sloth Fathers are yet another young, fast, skilled team from the New Jersey area. They have been playing very well in recent tournaments, and are looking to turn the corner in Harrisburg. Leading the charge is winger Joe Trapani, a proven offensive force at this level. Also on this roster are a few top guys from Caspers, and a slew of hungry players looking to make a name for themselves and the team. Very scary for all of their opponents!
Also at this years event you will find Mike Miksitz of Mixed Sports to help with all your hockey gear needs. You can also find him on the web.
There will be raffles at the event as well. Stop by the tables as you approach the rink to check out prizes and help support Men’s Team USA.
The Men’s team USA will be hosting a Pick-A-Prize auction at this year’s Superbowl Bye-week Invitational. Here’s how it works:
-purchase tickets(1$ a piece) at the Auction table at the tournament
-stick your ticket(s) in a bowl in front of the item you would like to win
-if your ticket number is drawn, you win that item. drawing will be 20 minutes before the finals. you do not have to be present to win
All proceeds from the auction go to the costs of our trip to the Czech Republic in June.
Here’s what’s up for grabs
1. Bauer Totalone NXG pro stock right handed belonging to Brian Hart of the Tampa Bay lightning
2. Set of Large Mylec MK5 shin guards. Might be the best ball hockey product on the market today
3. Sherwood 5030 cc 85 flex one piece Coffey Curve left handed
4. An extra large string collar hoodie featuring the ASHI “slim” logo on the front
These items were graciously donated by the following:
Matt Garry, owner of the All Sports Arena in Tampa, Florida
Sunshine Shootout, June 23rd-25th
contact Matt Garry