Hot, humid weather? The threat of Hurricane Henri? Changing circumstances that disrupted the schedule right to the last minute? None of it was enough to stop the determined enthusiasm of the 14 Roller Hockey teams that that rocked and rolled all day Saturday until Team Baillargeon raised the Krum Cup as the champions of the 2021 Jeffries Point Roller Cup.
The Tournament returned after the pandemic cancelled it in 2020, and Porzio Park at the end of Summer and Marginal Streets buzzed with a festival atmosphere all day. From the first face-off at 8 a.m., crowds lined the chain-link fence surrounding the rink and watched action that was as hot as the weather. Boston Mayoral candidate, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi, Representative Adrian Madaro, and Senate candidate Anthony D’Ambrosio roamed among the fans.
All Tournament proceeds benefit the East Boston Athletic Board, which was founded in 1950 and awards scholarships to local student-athletes who excel in academics and athletics.
Tournament Directors Mark Buttiglieri and Sal Santostefano had their hands full as the predicted hurricane forced them to squeeze the planned Saturday-Sunday tournament into one day. The change forced six teams to withdraw from the original 20-team field, and it played havoc with the schedule. Buttiglieri and Santostefano spent a hectic Friday re-organizing and apprising the teams of shifting developments. But they pulled it off.
This year’s Tournament made history when Cara Donato, Angelina Catino, Jenna Chaplain, Amanda Forziati and Haylie Grossman broke the gender barrier as the first all-girls team to compete. Based on their play, expect that trend to continue.
“What an amazing day,” Buttiglieri posted on his Facebook Page Sunday. “When the hurricane was SUPPOSEDLY rolling in we said we need to shut it down Sunday for the safety of all involved as well as the neighborhood of Jeffries Point. So we were left with 1 day to complete a 14 team tourney. We were very pessimistic that could happen. Well we made it happen and made it happen right. The one day Tourney went off without a hitch.”
Tournament play featured 3-skaters and a goalie battling through three, six-minute running time periods, and scorekeeper/timer Donna Zozzi made sure there was never a lull in the action as the games were played one-after-another to accommodate the condensed format. Pop music by DJ Soundz Unique kept pace with the play, while Slush King—and a slight breeze off the Inner Harbor–provided some relief from the heat. Andrew Feldman’s Broil King Barbecue kept everyone nourished for the long day.
Buttiglieri expected the 2021 to be the Tournament’s Swan Song, but its wild success over the weekend convinced him and Santostefano to—already—get started with plans for next year’s tournament. He praised all the team sponsors and singled out his colleagues Ryan Moran, Donna Zozzi, Jamie Chambers, Nolan Redler for their tireless work that made the 2021 Jeffries Point Roller Cup a resounding triumph