Erie, Pa: The 29th Annual Sarah Backstrom Memorial Girls Hockey Tournament is scheduled for this weekend, with 70 girls hockey teams from across the country expected to compete. The event will begin on Friday and run through Monday, with games played at five locations: ERIEBANK Sports Park, Flo Fabrizio Ice Center, Mercyhurst Ice Center, Erie Insurance Arena and Meadville Area Recreational Center.
The event honors the memory of Sarah Backstrom, a former Erie Lady Lion hockey player who died of leukemia in 1999. The tournament has since become one of the longest-running girls hockey tournaments in the U.S. and Canada. The 2022 tournament brought in more than $2.4 million of estimated economic impact to the Erie area.
The event is operated by local hockey tournament company Lake Effect Hockey, which received the 2022 Event Series of the Year award at the Erie Sports Commission’s Sports Tourism Awards dinner held last week.
“It’s really an honor to host a tournament with the ability to generate a positive impact on so many people in Erie,” said Jason Fowler, owner of Lake Effect Hockey. “Girls hockey continues to grow all over the country, and I’m proud to provide an opportunity for our Erie teams to play in a prestigious tournament without having to travel out of town.”
The event will feature 70 girls teams with players ranging in age from 19 down to 9 years old. Teams will compete in more than 150 games over the four days to crown a champion in nine different age groups.
“Erie is incredibly lucky to have Jason and the Lake Effect Hockey crew, whose hard work helps to showcase Erie as a winter destination to hundreds of families,” said Mark Jeanneret, Executive Director of the Erie Sports Commission. “This tournament has a long and rich history, and Lake Effect Hockey regularly attracts some of the top teams from around the country to compete.”
Games will begin at 8 a.m. daily, with ERIEBANK Sports Park serving as the tournament headquarters. A complete schedule and more information can be found here: https://www.lakeeffecthockey.com/2023-sarah-backstrom-memorial-tournament.
The Backstrom headlines a full Presidents Day weekend of sporting events in Erie. On Saturday, the Lake Erie Disc Golf Club will host their Ice Chains Open at Pleasant Ridge Park; Gannon University welcomes the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Northeast Regional Qualifier; and Erie Sports Center Volleyball will hold a girls 14U tournament Saturday and a girls 17U tournament Sunday.
For more information on these and other events in Erie, visit https://www.eriesportscommission.com/events/.