Havre Daily News - News you can use

Hell freezes again to help fund local hockey


January 27, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Havre Youth Hockey Association celebrated its 10th annual Hi-Line Hell Freeze Hockey Tournament last week, kicking off the event Thursday, with this year being the biggest one to date.

"This is a huge fundraiser for our program," Havre Youth Hockey Association President Dominique Preputin said.

She said that it is great to see the tournament grow and evolve throughout the years and pleased with seeing so many people participating in and coming out to watch the Hell Freeze Tournament. For the past couple of years the Hell Freeze Tournament has raised more than $10,000 each year for the Youth Hockey Association. The money is used to develop and grow programs as well as keeping registration fees low so anyone can be involved in Youth Hockey, she added.

The Hell Freeze Tournament has been held in Havre since January of 2011, started by Brett Patrick, Havre Youth Hockey Association director and Hell Freeze organizer, and a few of his friends after he came back from college.

Patrick said the tournament started with five teams, raising money for the Youth Hockey Association. 

Patrick said that the tournament has grown a lot since it was first started. This year 18 teams, with a range of beginner to intermediate players, participated in four divisions. He added that this is the most teams they have every had registered in the tournament.

Hell Freeze couldn't have been as successful as it has been without help from other members of the Youth Hockey Association and members of the community.

"It's a group effort basically," Patrick said. 

He added that all of the members of the Havre Youth Hockey Association are volunteers and it takes a lot of help to get the Hell Freeze Tournament to run smoothly. He said that he is also grateful for the large amount of community support from local businesses and from people within the community who come out every year.

A lot of excitement is in the community for this event every year, Patrick said, and throughout the 10 years the event has been going on the crowds have gotten bigger and bigger each year.

"It makes me excited and it makes me proud that we have been able to put this on year-in and year-out and continually raise funds for the youth program," he said. 

Preputin said, in addition to the money raised going toward keeping the registration cost low, it is also used to support the Havre Ice Dome. She added that during the hockey season the electrical bill alone costs about $6,000.

She said it is important for Havre to have a youth hockey league as well as an adult hockey league because it's another thing for people to get involved in. She said that it is important for youths, as well as adults, to learn about sportsmanship and teamwork.

She has been the president of the Youth Hockey Association for the past 10 years, Preputin said, adding that she first got involved because her son, Stephen Preputin, who was a referee in the Hell Freeze Tournament, asked her when he was in kindergarten if he could play hockey. 

Patrick said that Hell Freeze also includes a number of teams from outside of the Havre area, including Canada. He said that the Medicine Hat Retro Kings, a team out of Alberta, Canada, have been participating since the beginning and this year donated signed jerseys to be raffled off at the event.

Everyone in Hell Freeze, players and organizers, have a great time putting on the event and it is something everyone is happy to be a part of, Patrick said.

"It makes me pretty proud to know that Havre Youth puts on one of the best adult tournaments around, and I firmly believe that," he said.

Preputin said that in the past they have had teams of all ages participate in Hell Freeze, such as a team from Canada made up of people in their 70s.

"That's the awesome thing about hockey," she said. "You can play it when your 3 and you can play it when your 73."

She added that she has also started playing in the tournament, playing in the Tripod League, which is the beginners league, and enjoys being able to play.

"Everyone can be involved," she said. 

Preputin said that Montana State University-Northern has also recently started a hockey team, and she is excited to see Northern be more involved in the future. 

Patrick said the tournament has also helped encourage the youth hockey to expand to adults. Since Hell Freeze has started, more and more adults have been wanting to get involved, either as players or as coaches. He added that Youth Hockey Association has started having more adult teams and developed a beginners program where people can show up once a week at no charge and learn how to play hockey.

Hell Freeze is an important fundraiser for the youth hockey program because every cent raised goes right back into the program, he said. Havre Youth Hockey has one of the lowest registration rates in the entire state of Montana, Patrick said, adding that because of that it is more available for everyone to get involved in. He added that more and more families have gotten involved and are able to play without having to pay extraordinary prices.

"To me, that's the most satisfying thing," he said. "You just watch that people who are here because of hockey, they are here because of adult hockey and it's all going to an awesome cause."

He said he has also been on the Medicine Hat Retro Kings for the past couple of years. He added that he enjoys playing with the Canadians because since Hell Freeze first started he has made some good friendships with people on the team and it allows him to play against some of his friends who are on the other teams.

One of the best things for him personally, Patrick said, is that he is starting to play with some of the children he used to coach when he first came back to Havre in 2011. He added that although this is a really cool thing, it does make him feel a bit old. But it is great to see the youth he coached in the past still have a strong love for the game.

"You're seeing them come in and they're playing in this tournament and they're enjoying something we all love and enjoy, and it's cool to see that," he said.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

He added that the youth hockey program, similar to every other youth program in Havre, is only able to thrive because of the large amount of support from local businesses and community members. He said he wanted to thank the community for all of their help and support over the years.

Preputin said that she is happy with seeing the community support grow every year and see more and more businesses get involved. She added that she also wanted to thank Havre Distributors, who has been a long-time supporter of the Hell Freeze Tournament and has provided the beer for the event every year.

"We are a small community, and it's nice to see everybody come out and work together as a team itself, bringing out the kids, bringing out the businesses that support our kids," she said. "Overall our community is great at supporting pretty much everybody and anybody."


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