Fords Cup may not have been held in it’s usually home of Fords Park this summer, but it didn’t stop local hockey players from playing a few games for a good cause.
The , put together by Iselin resident Rob Cacioppo, pits local roller hockey players against each other in the name of charity. Each player pays $10 to enter the tournament draft, all of which is donated to a charity of the winning team captain’s choice.
Baja Blast won this year’s tournament, defeating the Blue Barracudas in the final round, and the money collected will be donated to Hockey Fights Cancer, the National Hockey League’s cancer research awareness initiative. Sean Coakley of Staten Island was named the tournament’s MVP, scoring six goals in the first round and following that up with a hat trick in the championship game.
“We’ve raised $340 so far, but I’m still collecting money from non-participants,” said Cacioppo. Anyone interested in donating can do so via the PayPal button at the top of the Fords Cup website. The total has already surpassed donation of more than $300 to the Nikolai Ruck fund.
The tournament, which Cacioppo has organized for nine years, inducts a local player into it’s Hall of Fame each year. This year, Jason Crandall of Iselin was inducted.
This summer’s Fords Cup event was held over consecutive weekends at the Inman Sports Club in Edison. “The surface at Fords Park was always a pretty rough asphalt surface, so for years that has been a concern,” said Cacioppo. “It got to a point where people were willing to pay $10 on top of the $10 they were already giving for charity so that we could afford to rent a nice indoor rink, have a much better surface, and not have to worry about the weather (after the winter event in 2010 was snowed out multiple times).”
The plan, however, is to return to Fords in the future. “This summer, they have been renovating the hockey rinks at Fords Park,” noted Cacioppo. “[The rinks] will have a smoother surface than before, so we might go back to Fords Park full time for this winter. [Another possibility is] maybe from now on we will have the winter tournament at Inman to avoid weather, and have the summer tournament at Fords Park.” The rinks at Fords Park are expected to be open within a month, Cacioppo added.
“We are always looking for more players,” said Cacioppo, noting that anyone who may be interested in playing next time is welcome to contact him via e-mail.