HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 2019 AAU Junior Olympics International Tournament has brought 89 teams from around the globe to the Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas.
This week’s tournament marks the second year that the Kapolei-based facility has hosted the tournament, the first since 2016.
Kids and adults from the ages of 8-35 make up the teams from five different countries - South Korea, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, mainland USA and Hawaii.
Visiting from New Zealand is Cal Cooper who has a son participating in nthe Junior Olympics.
"This is a fantastic facility,” Cooper said. “It's the best we've seen. It’s run extremely well, really good to see. Really good set up at the rink.”
Cooper went on to talk about the unqiue opportunity Hawaii has to bring hockey to the islands, especially a rivalry between New Zealand vs. Australia. But all competitiveness aside, having the Junior Olympics in Hawaii allows the opportunity for local kids to be apart of something larger than they could have ever imagined.
"It’s a great thing for the kids,” said Team Hawaii head coach Jami Yoder. “It gets them to meet other countries … we have a nice tournament because it’s two different tournaments in one, so we have the international portion and we have the club portion.”