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Industrial League hockey tourney raises money for Melissa’s Closet

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MASSENA - The Massena Industrial League hockey tournament will be returning to the Massena Arena this weekend.

Games begin Friday and continue on Saturday for the tournament that’s tied in with Melissa’s Closet, a local organization that provides free prom dresses to area high school students.

“We’ll play Friday evening, starting at 6 p.m. There will be four games. Then there’s a reception at Coach’s Corner starting around 9 o’clock. The band Six Foot Midgets will be playing at Coach’s Corner starting around 9 o’clock. We’ll have pizza, wings and other things for the players,” organizer Tom Post said.

Saturday afternoon action picks up following a high school hockey game between Massena and Potsdam.

“We’ll start at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and run until probably 10 o’clock that night,” he said.

Participating teams include St. Lawrence Gas, Alcoa, New York Power Authority, the Muni team (which includes the Massena Electric Department and village employees), Corrections (which includes law enforcement agencies such as U.S. Border Patrol, New York State Police, corrections officers and members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police), Massena High School teachers and OpTech.

“There’s a few new teams in there. This tournament is actually an open tournament. So if someone can’t field a team, anyone can play,” Mr. Post said.

Teams in the Industrial League play once a week, and the opening round of the tournament is based on their current standings, he said.

“It’s all tied in with the league,” Mr. Post said. “There may be some guys that don’t technically play in the league that will be playing this weekend because it’s a charity.”

Each player provides a $20 donation, and the New York Power Authority has paid for the ice time.

“NYPA is gracious enough and generous enough to pay for our ice time for the whole tournament,” he said. “I believe the referees are donating their time as well.”

Mr. Post and Recreation Director Richard A. Boprey said they were glad to have the tournament back at the Massena Arena.

“Last year they couldn’t get in here. They came to us at the 25th hour. This year they came to us early. They want to be here. This is where they want to play,” Mr. Boprey said.

“They did not have a tournament last year. The previous two years before that, it was at Louisville. It’s been three years since it’s been at the arena. The arena is where it should be,” Mr. Post said.

He said they’re looking forward to once again being able to help Melissa’s Closet, which was established in 2008 by the family of the late Melissa Walsh, a 1999 Massena High School graduate who died in an automobile accident in Syracuse. The goal is Melissa’s Closet is to make sure that prom dresses are available for Northern New York high school women so they can attend their proms in style, regardless of their financial or family circumstances.

“It’s a good time and everybody enjoys it. We’re glad to help the Walsh family,” Mr. Post said.

The proceeds of a 50-50 raffle that will be held during the high school game will also go toward Melissa’s Closet.

“(Athletic Director) Timmy Hayes has been great about that,” he said.

The Walsh family also typically has a raffle, according to Mr. Post, and have in the past had items such as a professional hockey player’s jersey.

“They typically have something in the arena,” he said.

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