St. Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church in East Meadow will be holding its eleventh Winter Classic this year from Feb. 15 through the 25. Hosted by the church’s CYO basketball program, the Winter Classic is a boys’ basketball tournament that draws 40 CYO teams and roughly 400 players from parishes across Long Island.
“We take a lot of pride in the event,” said Dave Hudzik, who is on the Board of Directors for the CYO basketball program. “We make the kids feel like they’re playing in Madison Square Garden.”
Fourth through eighth-grade basketball players from neighboring parishes are invited to compete. The tournament will feature arena-like lighting affects, raffle prizes such as tickets to see the New York Mets and an American Girl doll and a dance party with Javier Espinoza, a parent of one of the players, as the DJ.
“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” Hudzik said. The tournament started with a handful of teams in 2007, but he said, it has grown so much, that it has become a staple of the St. Raphael’s and East Meadow communities. “It’s not only open to parishioners of St. Raphael’s, it’s really open to any child that wants to play basketball,” he said.
St. Raphael’s is still looking for singers to perform the National Anthem. Those interested could e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.