A time-honored tradition for local young people in the Charlestown hockey program is to end the season with a big win in the annual McGonagle/McGoff Youth Hockey Tournament – a tradition that goes back more than 20 years and is in memory of the tragic loss of young Bryan McGonagle and former coordinator Danny McGoff.
This year’s edition of the tournament takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Emmons Horrigan O’Neil Rink in Charlestown.
Joe McGonagle, Bryan’s uncle, said this week that the family loves the tournament just as much as the kids, and they can always be found around the rink on tournament weekend. While Bryan died tragically in a bicycle accident when he was a kid in 1991, the tournament has been a high-point to remember him since it started in 1993.
“Bryan was an avid hockey player and was really big into Charlestown Youth Hockey as was his older brother, Michael, and his dad,” said McGonagle. “When Bryan died, the hockey community was there for us and the hockey community stepped up with such support, prayers and help. It was the first time anyone had ever lost such a young child for a long time. The tournament was a way for us to say ‘thank you’ as a family.”
Danny McGoff was a dedicated volunteer at the tournament, and was a past president of the Charlestown Youth Hockey Association (CYHA). He, also, was lost too soon when he passed away in 2000. As a way to remember him, his name was added to the tournament, and the McGoff family is always supportive as well.
Now, it has become a great fundraiser for the CYHA, helping to defray costs for current players.
For the McGonagles, it’s all about helping.
“What we do is try to be down there to help,” he said. “For many of the local players, it marks the end of hockey season and every local kid wants to win the tournament. We try to be down there every second of the tournament…We’ve been there since day one…It’s sad for us, but there is more happiness to alleviate the sadness. It’s fun for us.”
McGonagle said young Bryan would have eaten up the idea that he had a tournament in his name – not to mention a street hockey rink at Ryan Field.
“Bryan would have loved the fact that it’s there,” he said. “He would have eaten it up. He was an extrovert like his dad.”
This year’s tournament teams will include:
Mite: Charlestown, Hyde Park, Melrose, and Needham.
U14 Girls: Charlestown, Belmont, Mass Bay, and North Andover.
Peewee: Charlestown, Belmont, Parkway, and Wellesley.
Games will begin on Friday evening and will continue through the weekend. There will be many raffles and great prizes throughout the event.
The community is invited to come down to the rink to support Charlestown Youth Hockey and enjoy some great girls and boys hockey action.