From February 19-21, eight peewee hockey teams (ages 11-13) from three different continents competed against each other on Long Island at the 2nd Annual Lighthouse International Tournament, presented by Modell's Sporting Goods, KyLinTV and the Long Island Marriott. The tournament, hosted by the New York Islanders, featured three teams from New York - one from Nassau County - Cantiague Park in Hicksville; one from Suffolk County - The Rinx in Hauppauge; and one from New York City - Abe Stark Arena in Brooklyn. Joining them were five teams from China - Qiqihar and Harbin; one from Japan and two from Ilves-Hockey of Finland.
The Nassau County team fell just one goal shy of the title. In the championship game, played on Feb. 21 at the Nassau Coliseum, the team from Qiqihar defeated the team from Nassau County 1-0 on a goal by Qiqihar's Liu Qing. Qiqihar finished the tournament with a 4-0 record, while the championship game loss was the only defeat for the 3-1 team from Nassau County.
In the third place game, New York City came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Ilves of Finland 3-2 in a shootout. After a scoreless overtime period, each team scored on five consecutive shootout attempts until New York City goalie Dominick Grisanzio stopped the Finnish player. The winning shootout goal was scored by New York City's John O'Brien Jr.
The team from Suffolk finished the tournament with a 0-3 record, failing to qualify for the medal round of play.
The teams played a round-robin competition at Islanders' Iceworks and Nassau Coliseum on Thursday, February 19, and concluded with the medal rounds featuring the top six teams on the Nassau Coliseum ice Feb. 21. Games were also played at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.
The tournament concluded with a Friendship Game, played at Iceworks on Feb. 23. The Friendship Games provided members of the Chinese, Finnish and Japanese teams the opportunity to play together with those from different countries. The newly formed teams consisted of players from all five international teams.
Since Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope was founded in 2004, more than 25 rinks have been built in China. Thousands of sets of ice hockey equipment have been donated. Along with the addition of facilities and equipment, clinics have been setup throughout China to help further the skills of the young Chinese players. Prior to the formation of Project Hope, there were a mere 2,000 youth hockey players in a country whose population is over one billion. Thanks to Project Hope, there are six times as many young Chinese playing hockey.