Calling all local hockey players - Rob Cacioppo needs your help.
Cacioppo, who runs the Fords Cup - a bi-annual roller hockey tournament held in Fords Park - is looking for a few good skaters to compete in the summer iteration, being held this Saturday, July 30.
"We're pretty competitive, but it's for fun, too," said Cacioppo. "No one's out there trying to hurt anyone; at the end of the day, it's still a charity event. It's open to anyone."
The Fords Cup, which is held every year in the winter and summer (typically December and July, though the previous winter Fords Cup was pushed into March due to the extreme weather this past winter), has been run by Cacioppo since early 2003.
"It started in my sophomore year of high school, a group of my friends and I played pick up games a few times a week," said Cacioppo of the early days. "I decided, 'why not have something more meaningful?' It started out with 15 people or so, and through word-of-mouth it grew and expanded. A few years ago we made it a four team tournament to accommodate all of the people involved."
Not long after the event grew to a three-game, four-team tournament, the charitable aspect came into play. "We decided to make it a charity event, people would chip in money to participate, and all the money raised would go to the charity chosen by the winning team's captain," said Cacioppo.
The teams typically raise around $300 for charity each time the tournament is held, donating to the Michelle Offsie Walk for Hope and the Lustgarten Foundation, among others. "I'm expecting it to be more this time," added Cacioppo, noting that the donation to play is now $10 instead of the $5 previously collected. While the event is free for any spectators who wish to check it out, a donation is encouraged.
If ten more players can't be found for Saturday, the Fords Cup will revert back to its single-game roots. "I'd like it to be a tournament, I think people have more fun that way," said Cacioppo, who serves as a referee during the games. "Plus, it makes it more difficult to win it, so it's more meaningful at the end."
Cacioppo encourages anyone interested in participating on Saturday to contact him through the Fords Cup website or by e-mailing him directly. If there are enough players for a four-team format, the games will occur at noon, 2 pm, and 5:30 pm Saturday; if there's only two teams, the championship game will be help around 5 pm.