As UNC’s club ice hockey team scored goals against opponents at Hillsborough’s Triangle SportsPlex this weekend, they also scored assists for the county’s local profile.
For the first time, the UNC club hosted the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League Championship Tournament, placing fourth out of seven teams. The competition was held Friday through Sunday.
UNC head coach Bud Johnston said around 250 to 300 tickets were sold for the event. Tickets cost $25 for the weekend and $5 per game.
“The idea is to draw as many fans as possible to let them know there is a hockey team out in Chapel Hill,” he said.
Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, said her office assembled welcome packets for visiting teams and sent marketing materials to 2,000 of its stakeholders in the area.
“We’d like to see more events like this hockey tournament take place in Hillsborough because it’s such a positive boon for Orange County tourism,” she said.
UNC team captain Evan Bonertz said potential ACCHL players and high school teams showed up to support teams at the tournament.
“We tried to encourage everyone to see Chapel Hill by giving them some coupons, flyers, gift bags and T-shirts,” Bonertz said.
The team raised nearly $1,000 from a raffle at the tournament and also took additional donations.