2015 is shaping up as a banner year for the Connecticut Convention Center. For the second time in the span of a few weeks, the convention center has announced a new event will be coming to town. The New England Region Volleyball Association (NERVA) will bring its first-ever Northeast Junior Championships to Hartford over Memorial Day weekend in 2015.
The tournament, featuring junior teams from throughout the Northeast, is expected to bring over 2,000 players, 400 coaches, 75 officials and volunteer tournament staff, and 3,500 family members and fans downtown, from Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25, 2015.
Better yet, NERVA has committed to holding the event at the venue for the next three years, through at least 2017, with over 3,000 overnight rooms and 1,100 rooms anticipated for the new annual event.
Tournament organizers are planning to fill the facility with 200 teams playing on 25 courts set up inside the Convention Center’s exhibit halls. They have experience in turning the space into an enormous multi-court facility, having held its annual Mizuno New England Winterfest at the facility in January over the long Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, for each of the past five years.
Also on the docket at the Connecticut Convention Center in 2015 is the Museum Store Association national conference, to be held in Hartford for the first time next April. It is the organization’s first conference in the Northeast in a decade. They met in 2003 in Philadelphia, and will meet next month in Houston.
Other multi-year contracts continue. ConnectiCon, which has been hosted at the Connecticut Convention Center since 2005, will return this year and next. Mary Kay will return to the facility in 2015 and 2016. And the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA), which has gathered at the Convention Center annually since 2007, will do so again this year and in 2015. The STITCHES-East regional knitting enthusiasts will be back every year through 2017.
“We have always valued our partnership with the Connecticut Convention Center and the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau,” states David Peixoto, NERVA Commissioner. “Our partnership has grown to develop Winterfest as the Premier Volleyball tournament in the Northeast. We look forward to making the Northeast Junior Championship just as successful.”
The new four-day event does not require teams to qualify to participate. While it will serve as a season-ending tournament for some, the event will allow for additional preparation to teams continuing on to nationals. Participants are 12-18 years old, as NERVA follows USA Volleyball age guidelines.
Winterfest, which is the largest volleyball tournament held in New England, is designed to showcase female high school volleyball players to college coaches and recruiters from throughout the Northeast. The event brings in around 6,000 visitors to the area every year.
The New England Region is one of many Regions in the United States that aid in the governing of the sport of volleyball. Regional Volleyball Associations (RVAs) are member organizations of USA Volleyball (USAV). The RVAs serve as the grassroots function for the USAV and individually and collectively serve as a catalyst for USAV functions.
The Connecticut Convention Center is the state’s premier meeting venue and the largest full-service convention facility between New York and Boston. Overlooking the Connecticut River, it features 140,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and 25,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as ample sheltered parking.