We love our hockey here and the world knows it. That's why Buffalo was chosen to host the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Tournament, opening Saturday in HSBC Arena. In conjunction with that tournament, the family friendly HockeyTowneUSA Fan Fest is gearing up to take over the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center from Sunday through Wednesday. Take the entire family to enjoy interactive games and vendors, a kids' zone, the 2010 I.C.E. World Bubble Hockey Championships and autographs. Entertainment includes children's entertainer Glenn Colton at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Strictly Hip at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Disco Duck at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. There's even a Hockey Mom Zone that promises "massages and Tupperware."
The USA Paralympic Sled Hockey Gold Medal Team is scheduled to appear at 1 p.m. Monday and hometown Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Mesler will also be on hand Sunday and to sign autographs from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday. A limited number of general admission tickets are now being made available for Sunday's opening event, held from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is $5; children 12 and under are free with each paid adult admission. For info: http://HockeyTowneUSA.com.
-- Toni Ruberto