Bubble hockey tourney under way

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League and Labatt Blue have announced that the 2012 Labatt Blue Bubble Hockey Tournament of Champions presented by the AHL is now under way in 11 participating AHL cities.

Entry is free, and no purchase is necessary. Players must be 21 or older to participate.

The tournament is taking place in three stages. During January and February, each participating team is hosting a series of qualifying nights in local sports bars, restaurants and taverns. A total of eight qualifiers from each city will advance to the team finals, which will be held in AHL arenas to determine each team champion. Finally, the 11 individual team winners will advance and earn a trip to the ultimate Tournament of Champions, scheduled at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., on March 31, 2012.

The winner of the 2012 Labatt Blue Tournament of Champions presented by the AHL will receive a Labatt Blue AHL Bubble Hockey game and a mini replica Calder Cup trophy from the AHL. For a full tournament schedule please visit theahl.com.

Participating teams in this inaugural event include the Adirondack Phantoms, Binghamton Senators, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Connecticut Whale, Hershey Bears, Manchester Monarchs, Portland Pirates, Providence Bruins, Rochester Americans, Springfield Falcons and Worcester Sharks.