NC State University and the ACCHL (Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League) are joining forces for the Stephen Russell ACC Kick-Off Tournament, which is set for October 10-13, 2014 in Raleigh, NC. NC State’s hockey club, along with Stephen’s family, have sponsored a memorial tournament every year since the passing of the former goalie in 2009.
Stephen Russell was born in Newfoundland, Canada. He was passionate and intense about hockey since the time he first stepped foot on the ice at age twelve. He was a proud member of the NC State hockey club and as one teammate said, “he would make the same effort in saving the 200th shot at a practice as he did an overtime shot at a crucial game.” The team retired his jersey in November 2009, one of the highest honors an athlete can receive.
The three day event honoring Stephen will take place at Raleigh Center Ice and Raleigh IcePlex and will showcase the talent within the entire league, as well as raise money for national charities Defending The Blue Line and USA Warriors Ice Hockey. All ten ACCHL teams will be proudly coming together to compete in this event which will initiate the kickoff of the season. Teams include Duke University, Elon University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, the US Naval Academy, the University of Virginia, High Point University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The first of the three day event kicks off with three games, each team from the north will match a team from the south. Day two will include an NHL-style skills competition that will showcase the talent of players throughout the league. Day three will be an all-star game featuring 40 players, four from each team, and will be organized into northern and southern teams.
Mike Walley, ACCHL commissioner, spoke about Stephen and teaming up with NC State.
“The ACCHL is so proud to be involved with the Stephen Russell Memorial Tournament.” said Walley. “In learning about Stephen’s life and legacy, he represented the best of hockey both on and off the ice – character, commitment, and competitiveness – exactly what our league strives to engender in the young men who play for our member schools.”
Stephen’s mother, Kelly Buckley, also spoke to the ACCHL about the upcoming tournament and honoring her son.
“We are so pleased about the scope of this tournament,” said Buckley. “It is truly a celebratory event; we showcase the game of hockey, and we remember and celebrate a beautiful boy. We hope to have a great turnout of fans, and invite hockey players young and old to come out and watch the games.”
NC State is honored, once again, to be hosts and undertaking such an event. “We honor Stephen, and through our remembrance, we celebrate his impact and the game of hockey he loved so much. His legacy will live on in this arena and in this tournament,” said NC State Hockey.
Click here for more information on Stephen and the tournament. Tickets will be available at the door.
*Photos courtesy of NC State hockey