This year marked the 20th Annual Bryan McGonagle Memorial Tournament and it was held on February 28th, March 1st and 2nd at the DCR Emmon’s, O’Neill, Horrigan rink in Charlestown. This tournament is held in honor of a young Charlestown hockey player whose life came to a tragic end 20 years ago.
All three Charlestown teams fared well making it to the finals for the Mite, Squirt and Peewee championship games. The Charlestown goalies were phenomenal and all teams exhibited stellar offense and excellent defense. The other teams that participated in the 3 day tournament were South Boston, the Ice Hawks, Wakefield, Wellesley, Hyde Park, Somerville, Allston/Brighton and Dorchester. Great hockey games all weekend long.
The following background on the tournament are Excerpts taken from:
THE BOSTON GLOBE- SPORTS AND FITNESS SECTION, March 28, 1999
CHARLESTOWN — During the nine years of Bryan McGonagle’s life, he was known for his devilish grin, twinkle in his eye and heart full of fire.
Eight years after the Charlestown boy was killed in a bicycle accident, his memory lives on, not only in the hearts of those who knew him, but also at the Emmons-Horrigan-O’Neil Rink where hockey teams are competing at the sixth annual Bryan J. McGonagle Tournament through April 4.
The tournament was the idea of Dan McGoff, a board member of the Charlestown Youth Hockey Association. “My partner was his uncle and godfather and that was the tie with me to get this thing off the ground,” he said, referring to Joe Mcgonagle. “I have four kids myself and I thought it was something someone should do.”
Joe McGonagle said a hockey tournament, which helps to raise scholarship money, was an obvious choice because Bryan loved the game and so many neighbors play. “This town is known for hockey,” he said. “If you have any athletic ability, you’re going to test your skill. It has the largest numbers than any sport, more than football, more than basketball.”
Bryan grew up with the game. His father, the late Pat McGonagle, was an avid Bruins fan and Bryan began playing at a young age. “He was small, like his father, and not being a big kid, he had to have a lot of heart and speed and he possessed both of those skills,” Joe McGonagle said.
Bryan died shortly before the 1991 hockey season. He was hit by a car while riding his bike. No tournament was held that year because the community was trying to cope with the loss. “There was a lot of grieving when the season started and by the end of the season, when we were over the shock of it all, we started to run the tournament,” McGoff said.
The first one was small; only eight teams registered for two divisions. But, said McGonagle, it was a spirited event. “Pat was alive for the first tournament and Bryan’s mum was there. Charlestown won the big division and it was like a storybook ending. They brought a huge photo of Bryan out and skated around the ice with it and it was like the Stanley Cup,” he said………………………..Volunteers work the concession stands, clean the rink and seating areas and offer other support.
“Nobody gets paid. It’s a labor of love,” said McGonagle. “We show up 7 a.m. Saturday morning to clean the bathrooms or scrape gum off the seats. There’s no egos or attitudes.”
McGonagle believes the tournament shows that Charlestown and the hockey community pull together to help neighbors and hopes it draws families closer.
“We like people to remember it isn’t just about winning. It’s about sports, having fun, giving your kids a hug,” McGonagle said. “It’s about enjoying the memories today when they’re boys and girls because tomorrow they’re going to be grown up.”