Chowder Cup
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About Us

Why is it called the Chowder Cup? 

The origins of the Chowder Cup is a very typical Boston vs. New York rivalry. For those of you that might not be familiar with this rivalry, Boston and New York think they are better than the other... in EVERYTHING!

This story's start is no different...

It was 1991, hockey coordinators from Boston(George Powell) and New York(Jerry Biron) met for a lunch meeting. The meeting soon turned into a war of words as both coordinators believed that they had the better players, and would easily beat whoever they played. At this moment the waitress brought over two bowls of clam chowder for the men's lunch. Biron got New York style clam chowder, Powell got New England style clam chowder. Both of the men continued the war of words but this time on each others chowder, and saying how disgusting the other was. Powell then came up with the idea that in the next tournament the losing side would have to have the others clam chowder. Thus the first Chowder Cup tournament was born!

The first Chowder Cup tournament had eight teams, four from Boston and four from New York. In the end a Boston team won both of the divisions in the tournament, meaning Biron had to enjoy a nice cup of New England clam chowder.

George Powell, became the founder of the tournament and slowly started to grow the tournament. Turning it into one of the premier hockey tournaments in the country.

A changing of the guard...

In 2003 Powell sold the tournament to Dennis Riley. Riley, at the time, was the founder of New England Sports Den. He started the company because he wanted to see if he could run a better pick up hockey league than the ones he experienced in the past. Through the business and meeting people, he heard from one of the players that there was a hockey tournament that was for sale. With Riley always wanting to get more into the sporting industry, he got in contact with Powell, and the rest was history.

Riley has owned and operated the tournament every year since 2003. The venue where the tournament is played is the New England Sports Center. Opened in 1994 the center had four full sized rinks, however it was expanded multiple times to now boast eight full size rinks and two studio rinks. The center also has two restaurants and a full arcade to keep the spectators of the games entertained and fed. It has become a tradition that near the turn of the calendar in April, the Chowder Cup comes to arena and hosts its tournament.

It is fair to say that Riley has learned a lot from the experience of running a tournament of this magnitude. One of the main lessons he learned along the way was that he couldn’t run this tournament all by himself. For example, he recalls when he first let one of the main referees take control of organizing the referees for the games, it was one less thing he had to worry about. 

Since 2003, Chowder Cup has increased its online presence, by providing an online website that allows teams to register. Riley also came up with a new system to figure out scheduling to try to meet the needs of the teams as much as possible. 

With any tournament there are high points and low points. But Riley feels that the good outweigh the bad. Some of his best memories of the tournament was when there was an NHL lockout and some NHLers played in the tournament (spoiler they didn’t win their division! Shows you that anyone can win the cup!). Another was when some of the Merrimack hockey players played in the tournament, as the Battleford North Stars. Being an alumni of Merrimack, and a fan of college hockey, he thought it was cool to see them play. Also he said, “There is arguably nothing like Opening night at the Chowder Cup. It is the birth of a new tournament year and all the prep work is over and it is time to execute. Another joy is championship Sunday, being able to give a winning team a trophy and seeing pure joy from the players. It is a feeling you can’t really explain.”

With that being said, what does he want for the future of the Chowder Cup? “To be stronger than ever!” At every Chowder Cup tournament, we want to bring the best hockey experience possible to you. We want the tournament to be a fun weekend and a memorable experience that teams would want to come back year after year. 

We are looking forward to share all this with you during the 2020 season!

We thank all who have participated in the Chowder Cup over the years. Without you, none of this would be possible.

Make sure you are part of the 30th year anniversary this year!

Also, check out our logos throughout the years.