Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes holds a dodgeball at the Mercer County Skating Rink March 20 as he prepares to announce the CountyFull size photo

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes holds a dodgeball at the Mercer County Skating Rink March 20 as he prepares to announce the County's first ever Mercer Madness Dodgeball Tournament, which will take place April 12.

Contact: Julie Willmot
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TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission President Mika Ryan jointly announced today the County's first ever dodgeball tournament will take place April 12 in Mercer County Park.

The Mercer Madness Dodgeball Tournament, sponsored by Hopewell Valley Community Bank, will be held inside the ice rink at Mercer County Park and will be sanctioned by the National Dodgeball League. With four divisions and prizes going out to the top teams, Hughes said the event promises to be a popular one.

"This unique event promises to be one of the biggest draws of the year," said Hughes. "I encourage everyone to get together with some friends and family, form a team, and have some fun."

The event is open to anyone who wishes to form a team for one of the four divisions: adult co-ed; college/university; high school; and competitive open. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winner of each division, and other prizes like gift cards to area restaurants and stores will also be awarded to teams that place.

Ryan, President of the Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission, said the commission recognized the attraction of dodgeball and worked to bring a National Dodgeball League-sanctioned event to Mercer County.

"It's very exciting to be able to bring such an electrifying game here to Mercer County, and I know the community is really looking forward to it," Ryan said.

Professional dodgeball player Rob "Hometown" Immel of the New York Epic also spoke at today's kick-off press conference and said he was excited to spread the game to the region.

"I am so pysched to come to Mercer County for the Mercer Madness Dodgeball Tournament," said Immel, who will serve as tournament director. "It is going to be a day packed with fun and excitement for everyone.  I have been playing in tournaments all over the country and it is great to finally come to New Jersey and help spread the great game of dodgeball."

Immel said he will be "scouting" the field of players in search of professional-level talent for possible formation of a New Jersey pro-level dodgeball team, and encouraged players to bring their "A" game.

"This is a game that will keep high school and college students, adults, and even the fans on their toes.  In one game of dodgeball, you will be up in the air, down on the ground, and dodging wildly while still trying to combine speed and accuracy with your throws to eliminate the other team," Immel said.

Hopewell Valley Community Bank Chairman Pat Ryan said he was glad to partner with the Mercer County Park Commission, the Mercer County Improvement Authority, and the Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission in creating the tournament.

Pat Ryan said his bank has already assembled a team and issued a good-natured challenge to "all Mercer County banks" to bring a team to the tournament.

Hughes was joined by Park Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon and County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello at today's press conference. Both Bannon and Sollami Covello said their departments would assemble teams.

The tournament will be held inside the Mercer County Skating Rink in Mercer County Park. The entry fee is $100 and teams can be a maximum of 10 players. Teams can register up to the day of the tournament, but a $25 late fee is assessed for registrations after April 5. Registration forms and more information about the tournament can be found by visiting the National Dodgeball League web site at www.thendl.com.

In addition to cash prizes for winning teams, awards and prizes will be given to the team with the best name and the team with the best uniform.

The Mercer County Skating Center is an open air, sheltered facility with a lounge area that includes seating, TVs, a snack bar and restrooms. Parking is free and there is ample seating for friends and family who attend the tournament.

During Mercer Madness, future professionals from the lab, a Paul Mitchell partner school, will provide haircuts, braiding, quick up-do's and color services for a donation of $5. Face painting will also be available for a $1 donation. Proceeds will benefit one of their favorite charities, Food 4 Africa.