- The origins of the Stephen Russell Memorial Tournament date back to 2009. After Stephen’s passing, his coaches and teammates wanted to remember him in a way that would both endure the test of time, and reflect his passion for life, the game and his team.
Prior to 2009, this yearly tournament was known as the Canes Cup. Both the team and The Hurricanes agreed to change the name of the tournament to honor Stephen. The renaming of the event was announced by Coach David Kurtz at the Jersey retirement ceremony in November 2009.
- The tournament continued to be a small event held in January with primarily Triangle area teams until 2013. At that time, the NC State Hockey Club and Stephen’s parents were contacted by Commissioner Mike Walley who had a vision for the possibility of the event.
Commissioner Walley believed that the tournament could be the official kick off event for the league. The first expanded tournament was held in October 2013 with eleven teams. With each passing year, the event continues to grow, both in team involvement, and in community outreach, supporting local hockey related charities and growing the sport.