Five thousand seven hundred (5,700) youth volleyball players on 521 teams from across the Northeast are coming to the Connecticut Convention Center at 100 Columbus Blvd. in Hartford, Conn. this month to compete in the “2022 Smack New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament”. More than 20,000 visitors are expected over three weekends, including the young athletes and thousands of family members, friends, tournament officials, college coaches, fans and spectators.
During the tournament’s first weekend on Saturday, January 8 and Sunday, January 9, organizers will welcome close to 1,000 athletes (82 teams of 10 to 12 players), in one age group division for girls age 16, and in six age divisions for boys ages 14-18.
At the largest of the three weekends on the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, from Saturday, January 15 through Monday, January 17, over 2,500 female athletes (233 teams), ages 16-18, will compete in Open/USA/America/Club competition.
On the final weekend, Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23, organizers will welcome slightly over 2,000 female athletes (204 teams of 10 to 12 players), ages 12-18, in 10 age group divisions for girls.
“This year, we expanded the tournament this year to three weekends,” explains Roxann Link, Junior Commissioner of the New England Region Volleyball Association, Inc. (NERVA). “It is an exciting spectator event where families come to cheer on their volleyball-playing daughters and sons. Since the Northeast has one of the largest concentrations of Collegiate Division II and Division III schools in the nation, with lots of NAIA schools here as well, we expect many college recruiting coordinators to come and scout the athletes,” adds Link. “Players will compete on 28 courts in the exhibit halls of the Connecticut Convention Center with 12 matches per court most days, each lasting approximately one hour.”
“This annual tournament kicks the year off with a great economic boost for the Greater Hartford region,” explains Robert Murdock, President of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTmeetings), the state’s official meetings and sports event sales and marketing organization. “The popular event is expected to generate approximately $6.61 Million in revenue over its three weekends as visitors stay in over 25 area hotels, dine in local restaurants, shop, and enjoy nearby attractions.” Murdock reports an estimated 2,197 jobs in the region’s hospitality industry will be supported by this event, and $445,030 in Connecticut Sales Tax will be generated.
The New England Winterfest tournament was the original Convention Center volleyball event in the Northeast,” adds Dave Peixoto, NERVA Commissioner. “Since its establishment in 2010 at the Connecticut Convention Center, it has almost tripled in size now operating on three weekends. The City of Hartford and its surrounding towns really make our Winterfest 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.”
“For the eleventh year, the Connecticut Convention Center welcomes the New England Regional Volleyball Association for its Winterfest tournament in Downtown Hartford,” says Michael Costelli, General Manager of the Connecticut Convention Center. “We look forward to the incredible energy the thousands of NERVA athletes, coaches, and spectators bring to Hartford. We are proud to have been the host venue for Winterfest for the past decade and are excited for the years to come.
Schedule of Weekend #1 Tournament:
- Saturday, Jan. 8: 7:45 a.m. Opening Serve and National Anthem
- Saturday, Jan. 8: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tournament Play
- Sunday, Jan. 9: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tournament Play & Championships
Schedule of Weekend #2 Tournament – Martin Luther King. Jr. Weekend:
- Friday, Jan. 14: College Showcase at Connecticut Convention Center, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – 200 athletes will participate in practice drills and scrimmage. More than 50 college coaches are expected on-site to watch and evaluate the players’ skills on an individual basis. As part of that event, at 7:15 p.m., parents of volleyball players will attend a Recruiting Seminar where a panel of Division II and III college coaches will tell them what they need to know about college recruitment including calendars, NCAA terms and related topics. Free program is open to all parents of volleyball players – whether their child is in the tournament or not.
No reservations are needed.
- Saturday, Jan. 15: 7:45 a.m. Opening Serve and National Anthem
- Saturday, Jan. 15 AND Sunday, Jan. 16: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tournament Play
- Monday, Jan. 17: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tournament Championships
Schedule of Weekend #3 Tournament:
Saturday, Jan. 22: 7:45 a.m. Opening Serve and National Anthem
- Saturday, Jan. 23: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tournament Play
- Sunday, Jan. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tournament Play & Championships
SPECTATOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND COSTS:
The tournament utilizes Scan & Go Assigned Admission via QR Code on electronic devices.
All Admission passes must be purchased on-line at www.SportWrench.com (select the event weekend).
Admission is for one individual ONLY; No shared passes**
Children ages 10 and under admitted for free.
Children MUST be accompanied by a ticketed adult upon exit and entry of venue(s)
Athletes gain admission with their Jerseys or Bag Tags.
Note: Face masks will be required by all occupants in the building, per the City of Hartford.
Admission information for Spectators can be found at https://jvctournaments.com/WintefestWavesandSchedules
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 information about the 2022 Smack Winterfest New England Volleyball Tournament, visit https://jvctournaments.com/NewEnglandWinterfest
Working in partnership with the state’s businesses, institutions, nonprofit organizations, and their surrounding communities, the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTmeetings) 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. For more information about the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau, visit CTmeetings.org or call 860-728-6789.
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.