The 32nd annual Scott Heseltine Memorial Hockey Tournament took to the Phillips Academy Ice Rink Thanksgiving weekend, with 22 Mite teams competing in a full slate of games over the course of three days.
The tournament, sponsored by the Andover Hockey Association in memory of top Andover skater Scott Heseltine, aims to promote community and sportsmanship among area youth.
This year’s tournament involved eight teams of co-ed U8 (ages 8 and under) players in the A division and 14 teams in the B/C division.
In the top division, the Andover Leafs played their way into the finals, but were unable to claim the championship. The Micro-Ice Penguins, who practice at Micro-Ice in North Andover, took the 2014 title, beating Wakefield to advance to the championships, where they bested Chelmsford in three to get their name etched onto the trophy.
The Andover Blues upset the Andover Bruins on its way to a loss in the two-out-of-three game B Division championship series and the Andover Kings won the C Division championship in a shoot-out.
The tournament began in 1981 as the Andover Mite Thanksgiving Invitational. It was renamed in 1982 in memory of Heseltine, who along with a friend was killed that year in a car accident one week after he was accepted into Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He was 18.
Heseltine started skating on the Smith Rink at the age of 4 and developed a passion for the sport of hockey. As he grew older, he progressed through the program and played at all levels, Mites through Midgets, as well as joining the town’s baseball and football teams.
His father, George, coached in the Andover Hockey Association for 22 years and his two brothers also participated in the program, going on to play at the high school level, with George Heseltine proceeding to skate in college.
Scott Heseltine’s family says the tournament allows his memory and love for the game to live on.
AHA President Pete Vaccaro said this year’s installment was a success, with the Thanksgiving weekend schedule allowing grandparents and other members of the players’ family to attend. The trophy that lists all the tournament winners over the years will continue to reside at the Andover Hockey Shop in Shawsheen Square until next year.
For more on the tournament or the Andover Hockey Association, visit http://andoverhockey.org/Page.asp?n=84308&org=andoverhockey.org.