Hockey Tourney in Baxter Benefits Smiles For Jake

The second annual Jake Haapajoki Memorial Hockey Tournament drew a crowd this weekend.  The fundraiser event for the Smiles for Jake organization brought families and community out for a day of smiles and fun. Nearly fifty teams played 3 on 3 hockey for 20 minutes in three divisions for the chance to win the cup! The games took place on the Lorren Thomson rink, the Dondelinger rink at Forestview and the Crew Arena in the back yard of Drew & Christi Peterson in Baxter.

B93.3 was in the back yard broadcasting earlier in the day and had a chance to visit with Eric Haapajoki, Jake’s dad, at the event. 

The Crew Arena was improved in the off season after being named the best back yard rink in Minnesota in a contest held by Youth Hockey Hub dot com. This year it was the home of the championship games in each division. 

In the Youth division the two teams were wearing their team colors. The Blue team were crew of Brainerd youth and the Black team wore the uniforms of the Lightning from Pequot Lakes. That was quite a game. the score favored the home team in blue. 

The Pro-Am division included players from as far away as Menahga, as well as some local layers. This division is for the casual hockey enthusiast to amateur players. Then the Pro division for high school varsity and up. This year the pro division came down to two teams fielded by current and former Brainerd Warriors varsity players. They were the blue team and the green team and drew a big crowd for the final game of the night under the bright lights of the Crew Arena.

A full day of fresh air and fun. Families and the volunteers cheering for their teams and banding together to bring awareness and some money to help prevent suicide in the lakes area. 

Jake’s step dad Drew stated his appreciation on Facebook after the days events,
“What an amazing day! This was the kind of day that dreams are made of! When you have an amazing community mixed with old and young an enormous amount of support you end up with the biggest and best outdoor/backyard tournament in the country. A day that consists of 44 teams, 90 games, 3 separate division champions, community involvement, great food, awesome music and announcing and more smiles than you can count! There were hundreds and hundreds of friends, family and community members that came through yesterday all with a positive vibe and a smile. Our families can’t put into words how much we appreciate the support and involvement. We know that Jake was smiling ear to ear and speechless watching down from up above đź’™.”

Save the date for the 3rd annual Jake Haapajoki Memorial Cup coming 1/2/2021! See you there!!

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