PITTSFIELD — It's that time of the year again.
The 45th annual Gib Kittredge Hockey Tournament kicks off on Friday night at the Boys' & Girls' Club of the Berkshires and runs through Monday afternoon, and the marquee youth hockey tournament at the Boys' & Girls' Club will once again be an action-packed event.
Starting with the first puck drop at 6 p.m. Friday, 14 teams from across New England and New York will compete in the Kittredge Tournament for annual bragging rights. There will be three divisions this year — squirts, pee wees, and bantams — and the Berkshire Bruins youth teams will have one squad in each division.
All teams are guaranteed at least three games, and teams with the highest point totals after the first three games will advance to the championship rounds.
Club executive director Chris Jacoby said that the tournament is important to the Club and the youth hockey team in two ways.
"One, it's a major fundraiser for the youth program," Jacoby said in a phone interview. "No. 2, it's just a great way to honor a wonderful guy, Gib Kittredge."
The tournament is named after the late Gilbert D. Kittredge, of Dalton, who served as the director for the Pittsfield Boy's Club. Kittredge died in October 1970 at the age of 45.
A lifelong supporter of youth hockey, Jacoby said having Kittredge's name attached to the tournament is one way the Boys' & Girls' Club honors his legacy.
"Gib Kittredge was a mainstay for the hockey program when we were first getting our hockey program up and going," Jacoby said. "It certainly fits for the tournament to be named after him."
Jacoby also noted that the tournament will help showcase what the Club has at its Melville Street location. In addition to the hockey tournament over the weekend, the Taconic boys basketball team will host a game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and there is a major swimming tournament happening on Sunday.
"It's a great opportunity to show off our Boys' & Girls' Club," Jacoby said. "Not just the rink, but the facility in general. People get a chance to go and watch some basketball, go to the Lighthouse and get something to eat."
After the start of the tournament on Friday, games will run on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the finals will start at 9 a.m. on Monday.
Admission to the event is free, and all are encouraged to come and watch the youth hockey players.
For more information about the Kittredge Tournament, contact the Boys' & Girls' Club at 413-448-8258.