More than 2,400 female hockey players from across the United States and Canada were in Connecticut this weekend for an annual holiday tournament and it's a big money maker for the state.
There are 140 teams, which consist of women and girls from around the United States and Canada playing at six different sites and 11 ice rinks around Connecticut for the 28th Annual Holiday Tournament.
"It's one of the biggest youth hockey tournaments around the country and as a player I loved playing against teams from the west coast, Canada, all over the place," said organizer Sarah Byrne.
And the players are loving every second of the experience.
"Playing with all the girls the same age as me and older, it's a lot of fun," Kegan McMahon said.
Tracy Feoo came from Massachusetts for the three-day event, but she told Eyewitness News that she doesn't mind traveling.
"Every year, if you have a girl who plays hockey you know you're coming so you just get ready for it, same as you always would," Feoo said.
The Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau said out-of-staters will stay in 5,000 hotel rooms around Connecticut, which is usually the hotel's slow season. It will have a $2 million dollar economic impact for the state.
The Connecticut Polar Bears put on the event, which gets bigger every year.
"I guess now we are like the hub for New England and since the Polar Bears is such a strong organization, teams are going to come far and wide to play against such a strong team," Byrne said.
About 350 games are expected to be in the annual youth hockey tournament. The price of admission for spectators is $20 with children under 12 years old being free.
Women ice hockey has become extremely popular throughout the country. When it started in Connecticut 28 years ago, there were only four teams and today there are 140.
For more information and a schedule of the games, click the following link.
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