HARTFORD, CONN., January 12, 2017 – In 2010, the New England Region Volleyball Association (NERVA) brought its “Mizuno New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament” to the Connecticut Convention Center, holding it over the January Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend and attracting thousands of female athletes from across the Northeast. Since that first year, the demand for player spots in the event has increased so greatly that the 2017 Tournament has expanded to two weekends and is being held at two locations. More than 14,000 visitors are expected to come to Greater Hartford over the two weekends, with a total of nearly 3,600 players on 324 teams, and thousands of family members, friends, tournament officials, college players, fans and spectators.
This coming weekend, over 2,600 athletes (ages 16 to 18) will travel to Connecticut’s Capital Region. From Saturday, January 14 through Monday, January 16 at the Connecticut Convention Center, they will play on 26 courts with 12 matches per court every day each lasting no more than one hour. On Saturday and Sunday, play also will take place at six volleyball courts at The Den, an indoor volleyball training center and practice facility at 30 Baker Hollow Road (off Day Hill Rd.) in Windsor, Conn. On Monday, January 16, all of the final championship games will be at the Connecticut Convention Center.
This Saturday morning, January 17 at 7:55 a.m., the three days of play will begin with an opening serve by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin at the Connecticut Convention Center. The tournament play will begin immediately after.
Last weekend, close to 950 players competed on 11 courts at the Connecticut Convention Center during the Winterfest tournament for ages 12 to 15.
“We welcome back this tremendous tournament and commend the organizers for its growth and popularity,” says H. Scott Phelps, President of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), the State’s official meetings and sports event sales and marketing organization. “Between last weekend and the upcoming long weekend, the tournament is expected to generate more than $4.5 million in revenue for the Greater Hartford region as visitors stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, shop, and enjoy attractions. Our office provides a variety of support services for the organizers and we manage the tournament’s hotel reservation process and, over the two weekends, they will utilize close to a total of over 5,600 room nights at 36 hotels throughout the Hartford area.” Phelps reports an estimated 1,317 jobs in the hospitality industry will be supported by this event, and $355,682 in Connecticut Sales Tax will be generated.
“Our Mizuno New England Winterfest is designed to showcase female volleyball players, between ages 12 and 18, to college coaches and recruiters from throughout the Northeast U.S.,” explains Tournament Chair Alex Temkin. “The Northeast has one of the largest concentrations of Collegiate Division II and Division III schools in the country, with many Division I schools here as well.” We expect many college recruitment decision-makers to come and scout as many players as possible.”
“The New England Region Volleyball Association has committed to holding the event at the Connecticut Convention Center through at least 2020,” adds Winterfest’s Temkin. “Hartford is a great location for the Winterfest event and the city and region really make our players and fans feel welcome. Restaurants extend their hours and customize the menus, the Downtown dash shuttle bus adds hours of operation, and everyone is terrific about accommodating our group.”
“Winterfest brings an incredible energy to the Connecticut Convention Center and the city of Hartford and we are very excited to host the thousands of athletes, coaches and spectators,” says Michael Costelli, General Manager of the Connecticut Convention Center. “We have watched this tournament grow over the last seven years and this year we are honored to host Winterfest for two consecutive weekends.”
Winterfest tournament schedule at the Connecticut Convention Center and The Den in Windsor:
Friday, Jan. 13: College Showcase, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Drills & Scrimmages
Saturday, Jan. 14: 7:55 a.m. Opening Serve by Hartford Mayor Bronin at CT Convention Center
Saturday, Jan. 14: Tournament 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 15: Tournament 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Winterfest Finals at the Connecticut Convention Center:
Monday, Jan. 16: Tournament 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Spectator admission at the door at both locations: $13 per day or $30 for three days; Free under age 10.
On Friday evening, January 13 at 7 p.m., a College Showcase will be held at Winterfest in the Connecticut Convention Center where 300 athletes will participate in practice drills and scrimmage. More than 75 college coaches and recruiters will be on-site to watch and evaluate the players’ skills on an individual basis. As part of that event, at 7:15 p.m. next door at the Marriott Hartford Downtown, parents of volleyball players will attend a Recruiting Seminar where a panel of Division I, II and III college coaches will tell them what they need to know about college recruitment including calendars, NCAA terms and related topics. This free program is open to all parents of volleyball players – whether or not their child is participating in this tournament. No advance reservations are needed.
About the New England Region Volleyball Association (NERVA): The New England Region is one of many Regions in the United States that aid in the governing of the sport of volleyball. Regional Volleyball Associations (RVAs) are member organizations of USA Volleyball (USAV). The RVAs serve as the grassroots function for the USAV and individually and collectively serve as a catalyst for USAV functions. Each Region is independently operated and is led by a Regional Commission. For more about the Mizuno New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament, visit newinterfest.com.
Working in partnership with the state’s businesses, institutions, nonprofit organizations, and their surrounding communities, the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB) markets all of the state – convention and meeting venues, hotels and attractions, and sporting venues – as a premier destination for international, national, regional and statewide conferences, conventions and major sports events. In the last fiscal year alone, CTCSB business resulted in more than $61.6 million spent by convention, meeting and sports events attendees during their visits to the state, generating more than $4.7 million in Connecticut taxes. Over 22,500 Connecticut jobs in the hospitality industry were supported by these events as a result of these bookings.* The CTCSB is a public-private partnership that is funded by dues from members and by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and Connecticut Office of Tourism. The Connecticut Sports Advisory Board, a division of the CTCSB, focuses its efforts on attracting and serving international, national and regional sporting events. For more information, visit CTmeetings.org or call 860-728-6789. (*DMAI economic calculator FY 2015-2016)
The Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford is the state’s premier meeting venue and the largest full-service convention facility between New York and Boston. Overlooking the beautiful Connecticut River, it features 140,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and 25,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as ample sheltered parking. The venue is professionally managed for the State of Connecticut by Waterford Venue Services, an affiliate of Waterford Hotel Group. For more information, visit CTConventions.com or call 860-249-6000.