The Clark Cup is not your typical beer league hockey tournament.
With a few former Western Hockey League and college players lacing up their skates, the once casual event has turned into a competitive — yet fun — tournament.
“It’s a good time with good competition,” said Dustin Boddy, tournament director and owner of Hockey Source in Kennewick. “It’s pretty high level to what it used to be. We even have a couple of teams from Seattle coming in.”
The eighth annual event kicks off today with four games at Toyota Arena, and continues Saturday with eight games. The semifinals and championship game are Sunday. Admission free.
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There are eight teams entered and each team is guaranteed three games. Each game has three 18-minute running periods, with a minute between periods.
“I didn’t think it would get to this point so soon,” Boddy said. “It’s good to see.”
The tournament is named after Brian Clark, a local hockey player who died in a car accident in 2006.
“Shortly after his passing, I met with his parents, brother and best friend, Justin Togiai,” Boddy said. “The idea was to create a hockey tournament in his memory so all his hockey buddies could get together once a year and play in his memory.”
A team to watch this weekend is C.A. Sales, led by West Richland native and former Spokane Chief Seth Compton, former Spokane Chiefs Chris Bruton and Derek Ryan, Kennewick natives former Army players Joey (goalie) and Chris Spracklen (forward), and forward Jeff Hajner (Air Force).
Also on the team are a trio of defensemen — Sean Compton, who played for the Spokane Braves and on the Eastern Washington University team, Pasco native and C.A. Sales team captain Don Wilfong and Kevin Ogle, who both played with Sean Compton at EWU.
“The talent is definitely there,” said Seth Compton, who is an investment advisor in the Tri-Cities. “We just have to make sure the desire to win is there too. We have a few who might stay out too late on Friday night.”
C.A. Sales will have to play their first game without the Spracklens, and will have to borrow a goalie — Jason Greenwall from the HSHC team.
“Having a good goalie in tournaments like these is the key to success, for sure” Seth Compton said.
Togiai, a former Tri-City American, will play for the Bulldogs.
“Most of the guys are younger, 18 and 19, but they are fun,” said Togiai, who works security for Energy Northwest. “They have more legs than this old man.”
One requirement Togiai, 30, had in joining the Bulldogs, was that two of his closest friends — Chris O’Donnell and Zach Nelson — could join him. All three grew up with Clark.
“If we are playing in a tournament for Brian, we might as well be playing together,” Togiai said. “We went to elementary and middle school together, then they went to Kamiakin and I went to Southridge. It’s just nice to have everyone get together in memory of Brian and have a good time.”
The Bulldogs will play C.A. Sales in their first game at 7:30 p.m. today. Togiai is hoping to take advantage of their short bench.
“I hope they are missing 10 guys,” Togiai said. “They will be a fast team. It’s a nonchecking tournament, so they will be buzzing around.”
Each team pays an $850 entry fee and there is a raffle and a donation table. All proceeds — after paying for ice time — go to the Safe Harbor Support Center, a charity which was near and dear to Clark.
“Some years it’s about a $1,000 and other years it’s a little more,” Boddy said. “Everything from the raffle and donation jar goes to Safe Harbor. Brian was actively involved with Safe Harbor and that was one of the things that was mentioned when we talked with his family.”
Safe Harbor, which has been struggling financially after taking a revenue hit of more than $150,000 because of some changes at the state level, had to close for the summer, but is hoping to reopen in August, according to director Karen Kirk-Brockman.
“What a wonderful thing,” Kirk-Brockman said of being the recipient of the hockey tournament’s donations. “What a legacy for that young man and an honor for us. Every little bit helps at this point and we greatly appreciate their help. We are thrilled there are people out there willing to help and be supportive.”
Clark Cup Schedule
Banana Hammocks vs. Misfits, 6:15 p.m.; C.A. Sales vs. Bulldogs, 7:30 p.m.; Smitty’s vs. T4L Ironmen, 8:45 p.m.; HSHC vs. Iron Horse Brewery, 10 p.m.
Misfits vs. Smitty’s, 9 a.m.; HSHC vs. C.A. Sales, 10:30 a.m.; Iron Horse Brewery vs. Bulldogs, noon; T4L Ironmen vs. Banana Hammocks, 1:30 p.m.; Bulldogs vs. HSHC, 4 p.m.; T4L Ironmen vs. Misfits, 5:30 p.m.; Iron Horse Brewery vs. C.A. Sales, 7 p.m.; Banana Hammocks vs. Smitty’s, 8:30 p.m.
Semifinal No. 1, 10 a.m.; Semifinal No. 2, 11:15 p.m.; Championship game, 3 p.m.