Michael Daehn and Greg Hausman organized a hockey tournament last spring. “We had just spent $1500 per team to play in a tournament. We only got to play four games and there were no trophies, no shirts or hats, and the jerseys were so cheap they were falling apart,” said Daehn. “I was joking with the guys that we could throw together a better tournament.” A few weeks later, Daehn and Hausman had reserved the ice and started recruiting teams. PuckFest 2005 occurred last August with eight teams.
“I could not believe how fast we got eight teams,” remarked Daehn. ”We had eight teams in less than a week.” Daehn credits Hausman with getting the word out about the tournament. “Greg is a regular rink rat. He plays at all the rinks around St. Louis and knows lots of guys. Once he told the fellas that they would get five games, a nice jersey, t-shirt, beer mug, trophies, and play for a championship cup for $1250 a team, they all signed up.”
Due to the great response, Daehn and Hausman opened up the tournament to twelve teams this year. “We have three divisions: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Most of the teams are guys like us in their thirties and forties who still love to play hockey,“ said Hausman. “Everyone is here to have a good time and enjoy a great sport.”
Daehn and Hausman increased the team fee to $1500 this year, after losing money in last summer’s tournament. “We never intended this to be a money maker, but we don’t really want to lose money again,” remarked Hausman. “We had to raise the team fee to cover our costs, but we were also able to add some cool extras, like a skills competition and a family skate, so guys can bring their kids to the rink.” Hausman’s son Greg is also playing on a team with his Dad. “He is so excited, and it’s fun to able to spend a weekend playing with my son.”
The players seem to think Daehn and Hausman are doing a good job. “I go to tournaments all over the country, and this is the best one I have ever attended,” said Shep Hyken, a PuckFest participant. Daehn added, “Everyone told us we did a great job, and they had fun, which is what we were trying to do.”
Puckfest 2006 begins Friday night, June 23 and continues through Sunday evening at the Summit Center Ice Rink in Chesterfield, MO. Attendance is free and open to the public. A tournament schedule is available on the website.