Starting this season, Brian Stone’s name will be synonymous with the annual Manchester boys’ high school hockey Christmas tournament.
Stone, who died at the age of 51 in March, starred in hockey at Manchester Central and New England College. He served as an assistant boys’ hockey coach at Manchester Memorial and Trinity of Manchester and spent four seasons as Central’s head coach, leading the Little Green to the 2014 Division I championship.
In 2010, Stone helped resurrect the Queen City’s annual Christmas tournament, which began in 1981, and served on its committee for many years, Memorial coach Mark Putney said.
“He wanted to give back and and help with the Christmas tournament,” Putney said of Stone. “He enjoyed helping the kids and the way he coached was the same way.”
Ahead of this year’s installment, the committee renamed the exhibition tournament to the Brian C. Stone Memorial Christmas Hockey Tournament. Brady Sullivan Properties is this year’s tournament sponsor.
The four-day tournament will be played at JFK Coliseum and features Division I programs Memorial, Central/West, Trinity, Bedford, Bow, Concord and Hanover, and Division II program Goffstown.
Bow, Memorial, Goffstown and Central/West make up one of the tournament’s brackets while Bedford, Concord, Trinity and Hanover are in the other.
Bedford has won the tournament each of the past three seasons.
Hanover and Concord will play in the tournament’s opening contest Wednesday at 2 p.m. Before Wednesday’s 6 p.m. contest between Bedford and Trinity, there will be a puck-drop ceremony featuring members of Stone’s family announcing the tournament has been renamed in honor of the former coach.
Stone served as an assistant to Trinity coach Mike Connell last season.
Putney said Stone enjoyed the opportunity the tournament gave to his players, whether it was ice time or the chance to play a different position.
In this year’s tournament, Putney said the Crusaders will try different combinations and make sure every player sees the ice. The tournament helps Putney’s players stay fresh and enjoy the games without worrying about the team’s regular-season record, he said.
Bow has played in the tournament several times but this is its first as a Division I program.
“If you look at them the last two years in the tournament, they’ve always been very competitive in the tournament,” Putney said of the Falcons. “And we’re excited to have them move up into D-I and play them in the tournament.”
Bow will play Memorial Friday at 6 p.m.
One of the tournament’s other notable contests is a rematch of last year’s Division I championship game. Defending D-I champion Hanover will play Bedford for the first time since last season’s title game Thursday at 4 p.m.
The tournament’s championship game is slated for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“There will be some good, fun games in both brackets,” Putney said.
Tuscan Kitchen Blue Devil Classic
Salem will host its 19th annual Tuscan Kitchen Blue Devil Classic Wednesday through Friday at the Icenter.
The field includes the host Blue Devils, Londonderry, Exeter, Windham and out-of-state programs Belmont (Mass.), Dracut (Mass.) and Greely of Cumberland, Maine.
Windham, which moved up to Division I from Division II this season, will face Londonderry in the showcase-style tournament’s opening contest Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The Jaguars also play Salem Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the tournament’s final bout.
Salem, Windham and Dracut, Mass., all call the Icenter their home rink.
Peter Hall Christmas Tournament
The Peter Hall Christmas Tournament championship game has historically been a thriller.
Three of the tournament’s past five title bouts have been decided in overtime.
The sixth annual edition of the tournament, named after longtime Kennett of Conway assistant coach Peter Hall, will run Wednesday through Friday at the Ham Arena in Conway. The host Eagles, fellow Division III programs John Stark/Hopkinton and Berlin, and Division II programs Somersworth/Coe-Brown, Dover and Kingswood of Wolfeboro make up the field.
Kennett, which has won the tournament the past two seasons, is in the Mountain Division with Somersworth/Coe-Brown and Dover while the other three teams make up the Valley Division.
The tournament opens Wednesday at 3 p.m., when Kennett plays Somersworth/Coe-Brown. The championship game is slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Berlin has won the tournament three times.
“I expect another very competitive tournament,” Kennett coach Mike Lane said. “To have strong D-II programs playing with some of the top D-III programs is obviously great.”
Keene Girls’ Ice Hockey Christmas Tournament
The inaugural Keene Girls’ Ice Hockey Christmas Tournament will take place Thursday at Keene Ice.
The one-day tournament’s field consists entirely of Granite State programs: host Keene/Monadnock/Fall Mountain, Concord, St. Thomas/Winnacunnet, Exeter, Pinkerton Academy of Derry and Bedford.
Keene/Monadnock/Fall Mountain will face the Crimson Tide in the first of nine games at 9 a.m. Bedford and St. Thomas/Winnacunnet will play in the final game at 3 p.m.
Hanover Holiday Tournament
Hanover girls’ hockey coach John Dodds is looking forward to being challenged by the competition in his team’s holiday tournament.
The Hanover Holiday Tournament will take place Friday and Saturday at Campion Rink in Lebanon. The four-team field includes the host Marauders, Massena Central (N.Y.) High School, Bellows Free Academy of Saint Albans, Vt., and Essex (Vt.) High School.
Bellows Free Academy is the defending Vermont Division I state champion. Essex went 19-4 last season. Dodds said it has been five or six years since his program faced Massena Central.
The tournament will open with Massena Central facing Bellows Free Academy Friday at 1:40 p.m. Hanover will play Essex at 3:40 p.m. that day. The consolation game will be played at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday followed by the championship game at 1:30 p.m.
“We always look forward to playing the best competition we can,” Dodds said. “It really helps us to improve and test ourselves to prepare for future tough games.”