More than 400 children grabbed their sticks and headed to Seaman’s Neck Park on Aug. 11 and 12 for a long-standing tradition — the Town of Hempstead’s annual street hockey tournament.
That Monday, kids ages 5-8 hit the pavement for a full slate of games. There were 16 teams totaling about 190 players. The following day was for ages 9-13, with about 250 children split up among 22 teams.
The teams came from various parks across the town, including Forest City in Wantagh and Seaman’s Neck in Seaford. Each team wore their custom T-shirts.
This was the first time Seaman’s Neck has had a team in the tournament, according to recreation supervisor Doreen Surace. The team finished the day with two wins, a loss and a tie.
Eric Petrullo, a program coordinator for the Town of Hempstead Recreation Department, said the tournament has been held for the past 21 years, and this is the second year it was held at Seaman’s Neck. He said the park is a good venue, with ample parking and space for parents to gather and watch.
Players began practicing in late June. The tournament is the culminating event of the program, Petrullo explained. “The kids have such a good time,” he said. “They look forward to it every year.”
Every child receives a medal and the winning teams receive trophies. Petrullo said the summer recreation aides coach the players, and some of them even have hockey backgrounds.
Petrullo said the overall goal of the program is to teach sportsmanship and give the children a chance to do something fun over the summer.