BUFFALO, N.Y. — The puck dropped Saturday morning for the 11th annual Backyard Classic hockey tournament at Canalside.

More than 600 players on 80 different teams will compete in the event, which began at 8 a.m.

The tournament originally started in a backyard in Williamsville — as the name suggests.

The move to Canalside a few years ago and the growth of the tournament allows for more participants and fundraising for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Tournament play will continue until 4 p.m. Saturday, then picks back up again Sunday morning.

This year, the classic specifically tried to get more women to participate in the sport. 

4 girls teams competed Saturday and they seemed especially excited to get on the ice. They also wanted to make sure the boys knew they came to win. 

"You gotta play to win. You know. We're better than you. You' gotta beat us. We're not gonna let you win easily," said player Madison Flory.

Each evening, there will be an open skate and a portion of admission will be donated to Roswell Park.

"We don't have to build our own hockey rinks anymore," tournament organizer Chris Taggart said. "We have the luxury of a refrigeration system here at Canalside. Nothing beats backyard hockey down in Buffalo's backyard."

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