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Niagara Falls, New York

Friday, January 28, 2011 - Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our second hockey tournament in January took us to Western New York for the Gene Harrington Memorial Hockey Tournament. Three guaranteed games, and more if you did well enough. Our first game was on Friday at noon against the '97 Dragons', a team out of Michigan, at the "Northtown Center at Amherst". Mike played in this game, with the Sens on the losing end of the decision 6-1.

After the game, we grabbed at tray of subs at a Wegman's for the team meal before heading off to the hotel. Our accomidations for this tournament was the Grand Island Holiday Inn, known for being the only hotel on Grand Island, and haunted. Yes, haunted. Rather than typing it all out, here's a link to the story of Tanya: Tanya The Friendly Ghost. I will say this though, during our stay some guests did get stuck in an elevator, and it was subsequently put out of service for the rest of the weekend. Make of it what you will.

Beyond being 'haunted', the Holiday Inn Grand Island didn't have much going for it. It was pretty beat up in many spots, and where it was probably once a gem of a hotel, it was clear at this point that the downturn in the tourist industry had taken it's toll on this hotel. Definately not a place we would ever return to.

We did a team meal on Friday evening before heading off to our second game of the tournament, played at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion in Niagara Falls (NY). Our opponent tonight would be the Waterloo (Water-losers) Wolves. Some brainiac at the tournament put both of these teams in the same hotel, so we had already seen the Wolves there before heading to the rink, complete with mohawks of bleach blonde hair on the side, and black down the middle. They looked absolutely ridiculous, and we all concluded if they were our kids we'd be horribly embarassed (at the least). The Sens were on the losing end of an 11-0 score, and it was obvious that the tournament organizers did a horrible job of matching teams up in our division.

On Saturday morning, we played in the quarter-finals against the Buffalo Alliance back at Hyde Park. Mike played in this game, and the Jr Sens dropped this one as well, 11-0. Again, as above, it was obvious the tournament organizers did a horrible job of matching teams up, or they knew exactly what they were doing in putting a couple of sacrificial lambs with other clearly stronger teams. None the less, our time in the tournament was done.

We trekked to Niagara Falls, Canada after a quick stop back at the hotel. Parking in the Casino Niagara parking ramp, we were able to walk from there through the buildings to Clifton Hill. We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, hit the arcade Mike likes on Clifton Hill, went into a couple of shops there, before stopping at the duty free and heading back into the States. No problems on either end of the border crossing, which was a welcome surprise for Jill and I since we seem to have all kinds of trouble getting back into the U.S. We went to the Walden Galleria and walked around a bit before retiring back to the hotel for the night.

We slept in a bit on Sunday morning, packed up the room and checked out of the haunted hotel. We drove back to the Falls, parking on the American side and walking around there for a bit. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls, USA, before making the long drive back to Binghamton, arriving home around 7:00.

Total Miles: 600 Miles

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