A full parking lot equaled a packed arena at the inaugural MV Savings Bank Showdown college hockey tournament this weekend. Youth hockey players, boys and girls teams from the high school, parents, hockey buffs and fans lined the bleachers, pressed against the railings and circled the rink to watch four college teams — Elmira, Salve Regina, Hobart and Curry — face off against each other in a total of four games played on Friday and Saturday.

The action on the ice was fierce, but in the stands the climate was more like a community picnic.

Stands were loaded with hockey players from the high school and youth programs. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Volunteers at the door estimated around 300 people came to the first game, but had no official tally as the Showdown was a free event. They accepted donations with the proceeds going to the arena.

“I think it’s wonderful to bring this level of hockey to the Island,” said Jeanne Ogden, arena board member and Vice President of Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank. The bank sponsored the event. Though she was stationed at the donation and raffle table, Ms. Ogden was able to keep an eye on the game and commented on the excellent defense both teams were displaying on Friday night.

Chase Toomey, a nine-year-old youth hockey defenseman, watched the showdown with his dad, Patrick Toomey, from the concessions table they manned. In between scooping homemade mac’n’cheese and putting hot dogs in buns, Chase watched the teams he described as one step away the Bruins.

The next generation — Mark Alan Lovewell

“It’s cool to be so close to them,” he said.

Coordinated efforts between the coach at Salve Regina, the regional high school boys’ hockey coach, the savings bank and the arena made the Island’s first college ice hockey tournament a reality. High school hockey coach Matt Mincone said bringing college hockey to the Island exposes the younger players to their possible future.

Island youth hockey players roamed the stands during breaks tossing out free T-shirts. A group of girls from the high school team huddled together on the stands, sporting their Vineyarder beanies. And a pint sized boy in a Bruins hat pressed his face against the glass, eyes intent on the game.

Organizers hope to continue the MV Showdown every other year as well as make the arena a destination for college players and professional athletes, but for this year they were pleased to just pack the stadium.

On Friday Salve Regina beat Elmira 3-1 and Hobart beat Curry 4-2. On Saturday Elmira beat Curry 4-1 and Hobart beat Salve Regina 2-1.