It began in 2005 with 32 teams, a passion and dream of bringing something more to youth hockey in suburban Detroit. And now, throughout timeless volunteer work and dedication in the community, Sasha Ristic has built an annual event that scores of young hockey players look forward to every season.
Now in its 13th year, Ristic’s vision saw the Bauer Motown Classic host 314 teams and over 4,700 players at 17 different rinks across Michigan this past weekend, crowning 19 different champions in multiple age groups in what has become one of the best tournaments in youth hockey.
“You have to go back to 2004-2005, I was the manager for my son’s hockey team and the team was in financial distress,” Ristic, the Director of Growth for Legacy Global Sports and the Tournament’s Organizer, said in a podcast on Detroit’s “Bad Hombres.” “I went to the director of our organization and said, ‘What do you do? We have families that can’t afford, can’t pay.’ So he said you need to run a tournament.”
Ristic, who already had a full-time job in the automotive industry, did not know how to put on an event but he knew he had a love for hockey.
“I didn’t know the first thing about running a tournament,” Ristic recalled. “But I was the catalyst, calling the teams, getting the teams there, and the first year I found it so fun and fascinating I got 32 teams to show up. I’ve always had a passion for hockey.”
The tournament started adding more and more age groups over the years, blossoming into what it has become today spanning U-18 to the 2008 birth year for kids 8 and 9-years old today.
“We had a great time and made a lot of participants very happy,” Ristic said. “We would like to thank all 314 teams that participated in this event and making it the successful weekend that it was. We look forward to the teams coming back and adding more teams in 2018. Also, we would like to thank the “On The Bench Crew” for joining us Thursday to Saturday night. Excited what they will do next year!”
Here is a recap of each one of the 19 tournament finals:
2003: Gentry Galaxy 4, Victory Honda 1
Chad Lucius had a hand in all four of his team’s goals finishing with two goals and two assists as Gentry Galaxy defeated Victory Honda, 4-1, in the 2003 championship game at Taylor SportsPlex in Taylor, MI.
Bennett Schimek and Bailey McGraw also scored for the Galaxy, which scored two of its goals on the power play. Connor Miller scored a power-play goal for Victory Honda, assisted by Donovan Powell and Henry Metz.
2004: North Jersey Avalanche 3, Team Illinois 0
Conner Welsh, Antonio Arcaroli and Ben Friedman scored in of the first three periods, respectively, as the New Jersey Avalanche skated to a 3-0 triumph over Team Illinois in the 2004 championships at Farmington Hills Ice Arena in Farmington Hills, MI.
Ryan Henry and Christian Green stood tall in between the pipes for the Avalanche throughout the tournament. Ben Burns picked up a pair of assists and Patrick Reilly, Ryan Urciuoli, Lukas Klemm and Lucas Buchanan also drew assists in the Avalanche victory.
2005: Chicago Mission 3, Toronto Jr. Canadiens 1
Carter Slaggert scored 25 seconds after the Jr. Canadiens took the lead in the first period before Paul Fischer broke the tie with 10:56 remaining in the third period as the Mission stormed back to defeat the Jr. Canadiens in the 2005 championship at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI.
Caradei Tristan added another goal 4:23 later for the Mission, which utilized Max Weilandt and Jeffrey Dubio in between the pipes. N. Sima scored for the Jr. Canadiens.
2006: Toronto Marlboros 7, Team Illinois 2
Sean Doherty struck for two goals and two assists, Nathaniel Adams scored twice and Beckett Sennecke added a goal and two assists to lift the Marlboros to a 7-2 victory in the 2006 championships held at Viking Ice Arena in Hazel Park, MI.
Declan Heritage and Sam Dickinson also found the back of the net for Toronto, which opened up a 7-0 lead with 4:02 remaining in the second period. Ryker Lee and Kamil Bednarik scored for Team Illinois. Goalies Jimmy Mologousis and Chase Hennessey led the way throughout the tournament in net for the Marlboros.
2007: Toronto Jr. Canadiens 3, Toronto Marlboros 0
Jake O’Brien opened the scoring in the first period before Kieran Riley and Carter Kostuch connected in the third period as the Jr. Canadiens shut out the Marlboros in the 2007 championship at the Rochester Onyx Ice Arena in Rochester, MI.
Goaltender Alex and Nico Armellin kept their crease clear throughout the tournament for the Jr. Canadiens, which got assists on their goals from Riley and Rylan Singh.
2008: Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 6, Honeybaked 3
Drew Grasser accounted for four goals powering the Penguins to a 6-3 triumph over Honeybaked in the 2008 championship at Mount Clemens Ice Arena in Mt. Clemens, MI.
Avry Anstis and John Sroka also scored for the Penguins Elite, which built a 4-0 lead before Brooks Ragowski scored with 51 seconds left in the second period for Honeybaked. Mark Schaefer and Caleb Regner also scored for Honeybaked. Owen Stiers had two assists for the Penguins in the victory.
U-15: Rochester Coalition 5, Fox Motors 3
Daniel Judge scored twice, Nicholas Rexine collected a goal and two assists, and Griffin Tomenez added a goal and an assist to power the Coalition to a 5-3 victory over Fox Motors in the U-15 championship bout at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, MI.
Jude Cole also found the back of the net for Rochester, which utilized goalies Grant Riley and Samuel LiVicchi. Nichoals Aown, Drake Morse and Evan Burkle scored for Fox Motors.
U-16: Belle Tire 4, Michigan Hockey Advancement 2
Hill was credited with the game-winning goal, assisted by Malik with 13:29 remaining in regulation as Belle Tire emerged victorious, 4-2, in the final of the U-16 championships at Novi Ice Arena in Novi, MI.
Malik added an insurance goal with 1:16 remaining for Belle Tire, which also got goals from Kemp and Veri. Zach Borchardt and Carter Korpi scored for Michigan.
U-18: Michigan Hockey Advancement 4, Ted Reeves Thunder 2
Dylan Montie’s goal, assisted by Dominick DiPonio with 12:09 remaining in the third period, snapped a 2-2 tie and sent Michigan on to a 4-2 victory at Fraser Hockeyland in Fraser, MI.
Josh Albring added an insurance goal with 18 seconds remaining in regulation. Gabriel Potyk and Bryce Kallen also scored for Michigan. Thomas Andress and Danny Ranson hit for the Thunder.
2003: Team Maryland 3, Meijer 1
Ethan Ouyang’s unassisted goal, with 5:14 left in the opening frame, proved to be the game-winning goal for Team Maryland en route to a 3-1 triumph over Meijer in the final of the 2003 championship at Kennedy Ice Arena in Trenton, MI.
Maxwell Morehead opened the scoring and Yusuf Gendergunoev capped the scoring for Team Maryland, which utilized Jack Dunham and Austin Zavoda in between the pipes. Jake McIllmurray scored for Meijer, assisted by Owen Albert.
2004: Highland Park Falcons 5, Windsor Jr. Spitfires 1
Dry finished with two goals and Belz collected a goal and an assist while Highland Park scored three goals in the first period en route to a 5-1 triumph over the Jr. Spitfires in the 2004 championship game at Farmington Hills Ice Arena in Farmington Hills, MI.
Dolby and Schneider also scored for the Falcons, which utilized Motew and VanNerik in between the pipes. Nicholas Graniero scored for the Jr. Spitfires with 5:50 left in the first period assisted by Noah Morneau and Eric Glos.
2005: Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 2, Green Bay Gamblers 1
Jett Kozman’s goal, assisted by Parker Orlowsky and Chase Ben-Ezra with 6:37 left in the second period, snapped the tie and sent the Jr. Grizzlies on to a 2-1 triumph over the Gamblers in the 2005 championships at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI.
Ben-Ezra gave the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first period but Alex Carrillo tied it up for the Gamblers with 9:05 left in the second period. The Jr. Grizzlies leaned on Michael Fett and Peyton Lenger in goal throughout the tournament.
2006: Boston Advantage 3, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 0
Nate Porter scored twice in a span of 6:54 in the second period and Boston received a strong game from goalie Sean Dunn in net as the Advantage shut out the Jr. Admirals, 3-0, in the 2006 championship at Viking Ice Arena in Hazel Park, MI.
Kolin Sisson opened the scoring 12:15 into the first period for Boston before breaking out in the second frame.
2007: Belle Tire 5, Ashburn Extreme 4
A.J. Sherman’s goal, assisted by Adam Czarnik and Marty Graney with 45 seconds left in the second period, proved to be the difference as Belle Tire edged Asburn Extreme, 5-4, in the 2007 championship game at the Rochester Onyx Ice Arena in Rochester, MI.
Dylan Blackwood, Jack Josifovski, Waylon Rivet and Mikey Tkac scored in succession to give Belle Tire a four-goal lead but Ashburn stormed back with three straight from Zachary Greenlund, Mate Tardi and Nicolas Samburg cut it to 4-3. Sherman’s goal in the final minute of the second period put Belle Tire back up by two before the intermission. Dylan Corsi also scored for Ashburn.
2008: Chicago Blues 6, Sylvania Northstars 1
Jeffrey Rozanski had a hat trick and Paul Degembe scored twice as the Blues skated past the Northstars, 6-1, in the 2008 championship bout at Mount Clemens Ice Arena in Mt. Clemens, MI.
Nicholas Kois opened the scoring with 8:35 left in the first period for the Blues, which broke open a 3-0 game after two periods with three goals in the third. Reese Molnar broke the shutout bid with 3:11 remaining in regulation for the Northstars.
U-16: Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 3, St. Claire Shore Fighting Saints 2
Jack Leur and Ryan Saad each scored in regulation, erasing a one-goal deficit, before the Jr. Grizzlies won it in sudden-death overtime, 3-2, in the final of the U-16 championships at Novi Ice Arena in Novi, MI.
Vinnie Cipriano gave the Fighting Saints a 1-0 lead on his shorthanded goal with 8:20 remaining in the first period before Leur tied the game 3:14 later. Saad gave the Jr. Grizzlies its first lead of the game 1:26 into the second frame but Joey Carpenter tied it 4:57 into the third period to tie it at 2-2 and force overtime for the Fighting Saints. Domenico Munaco and Zach Janis tended goal for the Jr. Grizzlies.
2003: York Mills AA 2, Shaha Panthers 1
Ryan Paikin’s second goal of the game, assisted by Aidan McDaid, lifted York Mills to a dramatic 2-1 victory in overtime during the 2003 championships at Taylor SportsPlex in Taylor, MI.
Paikin broke a scoreless tie putting York Mills on the board 2:06 into the third period, assisted by Scott Mewett. Tanner Mahoney scored an unassisted, power-play goal, however, with 1:07 remaining in regulation to tie the game and force sudden-death. Goaltenders Justin Eng and Evan Rensky starred for York Mills throughout the tournament.
2004: West Dundee Leafs 5, Vernon Hills Ice Dogs 2
Lance Leigh scored twice and Jason Castaneda dished out a pair of assists for West Dundee in its 5-2 triumph over the Ice Dogs in the final of the 2004 championship game at Suburban Ice in Farmington Hills, MI.
Cayden Sweitzer, Nikolay Ouriashev and Brady Cigrand also scored for the Leafs, which leaned on goalies Ryan Hacker and Ryan Stagowski in the victory run. Colin Hartwell accounted for both goals for Vernon Hills.
2005: Traverse City Northstars 3, South Florida Academy 2
Koen Burkholder played the role of hero with his game-winning goal scored with 1:08 left in the second period and the Northstars held on for a 3-2 victory in the 2005 championship bout at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI.
It was Burkholder’s second goal of the game after giving the Northstars a 1-0 lead with 7:50 remaining in the opening frame. Cam Peters connected to give the Northstars a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission but the South Florida Academy scored twice in the second on goals from Jake Gelman and Mikey Katz to tie the score at 2-2. Goaltender Garrett Hathaway anchored the Northstars in between the pipes.
Main Image: The Chicago Mission celebrate their Bauer Motown Classic 2003 Temptations Division Tournament Championship at Taylor SportsPlex in Taylor, MI. (Photo by Zach Silver/Bauer Motown Classic)
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