Written by: Jeremy Goode
Snider Hockey celebrated its second annual Office Chair Hockey Tournament on Thursday, October 24, 2019 in the heart of Philadelphia at Two Commerce Square at 20th and Market Streets.
The tournament hosted twenty-four teams, which looked to capture the elusive “Chair” Man’s Cup, a two-foot replica of Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Participants traded in their loafers and business shoes for sneakers, miniature plastic hockey sticks, and office chairs in a four-hour tournament battle.
“When we first came across the concept of a chair hockey tournament, we thought it could be a unique fundraising idea for Snider Hockey but had no idea it would become this successful in only our second year,” Friends of Snider Hockey member Les Haggett said. “We were thrilled to have a sold out event with twenty-four participating teams in addition to all who supported the tournament.”
The event was organized by Presenting Sponsor Premier Office Solutions and took place on four rectangular rinks, which were twenty feet long and were scattered throughout the 17th floor of Two Commerce Square. The tournament was formatted as a double elimination bracket. Each game consisted of a running 10-minute clock. Every team was permitted four players on the floor at a time, with substitutions occurring periodically.
“That was a whole different experience,” Scanlon Ice Rink site coordinator Raul Figueroa said. “”I’ve played floor hockey, roller hockey, ice hockey, but never chair hockey. It was a new type of hockey and I loved it.”
Although the Snider Hockey Alumni Team lost the first round, the team went on to win its next eight consecutive games, making them the champions. The team featured Snider Hockey alumni who still coach with the organization, including Raul Figueroa, Diquan Jackson, Kaseir Archie, Saidie Lopez, Joe Dorety, and Teriq Mapp.
“We knew that once we scored a couple of goals, we could legitimately compete, even playing on office chairs,” Figueroa said. “Chemistry was also key. I’ve played with Kaseir, Saidie, Joe, and everybody. We’ve known each other for years, so calling for the puck, communicating on the floor contributed to our success.”
The event provided players with a fantastic evening of team-building, networking and mingling. There was live music entertainment and catering by Wawa, Pagano’s, and Iron Hill Brewery. Prizes and silent auction items included, but were not limited to, Flyers tickets, a custom tailored suit, and a ride on the Zamboni during a Flyers game.
Snider Hockey offered five different packages of benefits for participating teams to choose from. The packages varied in their offerings, but all included a tournament t-shirt and food and drink. All proceeds benefited the inner-city hockey, educational, and post-secondary scholarship programming of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.
The fundraiser saw significant financial success, raising $30,000 for Snider Hockey. Additionally, all donations were matched two to one, ultimately raising $90,000.
“The Friends of Snider Hockey Leadership Committee did a great job of leading the charge on another successful event,” President/CEO of Snider Hockey, Scott Tharp said. “Not only were we able to raise a lot of money for Snider Hockey, but it was a perfect opportunity for people to come out and learn more about the great work the Foundation is doing for our youths in Philadelphia and Camden.”
Hall of Famer and Philadelphia Flyer icon Bernie Parent made an appearance, to the delight of all participants, and he took several photos with fans. Flyers Alumni fan-favorite Bob Kelly and public address announcer Lou Nolan also socialized at the chair hockey tournament.
“My hope is that this event will continue to become bigger and better each year,” Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bill Whitmore said. “I see this as an annual tradition for Snider Hockey that everyone will look forward to in October.”