By Jeremy Ellis
On a Thursday afternoon here in San Jose, the Tour Roadrunners and the Give Blood Play Hockey boys battled it out in a Junior Gold round robin game. Seeds were at stake and the action was both tense and thrilling. Give Blood would pick up the 2 points with a 4-2 victory, but the game had an underlying theme. With 841 total games at this year’s NARCh Finals, this Junior Gold contest represented the official halfway point of the Finals. A time to look back at all the great hockey we have seen, while looking ahead to all the moments to come.
Luck for all of us, we take a painstaking approach to capturing all of the excitement on video and then packaging them into aesthetically pleasing montages complete with fist pounding music and eye catching effects. We all sit and wait on a daily basis to see what the video ‘chefs’ cook up next in the kitchen. Itan Chavira, Mike Vickerman, along with the photo snapping talents of Daryn and Blake Peckham add to the overall experience of this event for the participants and families. It amazes me to see how much the technology and social media have transformed what we have come to expect from Finals. From the young ones in Cub and Mites all the way through NARCh Pro, everyone wants to see their “sick snipe” immortalized in video for years to come.
The action on this day would commence at 9am. In the Pee Wee Gold division, playoffs were on the menu today, with the teams battling for the right to skate at 4:40pm. It would take 5 closely contested playoff games and some luck, but in the end the Norcal Swaglete and West Coast Warriors from British Columbia stood tall. They would lock horns in the only gold medal final of the day at the Sportsplex.
The Swag jumped out to the fast start and before they could blink, the Warriors faced a daunting 4-0 deficit. The warriors pressed hard and controlled the flow from then on, but the lead proved too much. Both teams scored late goals with the conclusion long but decided. When the horn sounded, it was the Swag with the celebration as they cherished a 5-2 victory and the Gold medal that came along with it. The floor was packed for the award ceremony as the Rampage Delta stepped on after earning the victory in the Bronze medal game. After the Warriors received their SIlver Medals and the Swag their gold, it was time to name our individual award winners. The Rampage Delta would sweep in this department with Christian Acosta winning high scorer and Sage Sweeney taking home the top goalie. An injury to one of the Rampages top players was too much to overcome and they fell short in the semis as the number one seed.
We kick into another gear tomorrow with the Mens Silver and Gold divisions commencing. As a goodwill gesture to those participants, we have slated a noon start time for Fridays action. It can be tough to get the guys psyched up for an 8am game! Midget Gold continues playoffs while Junior Gold brackets get under way. The championship games for both are played on Friday, the Midget at 4:10 pm and the Junior final scheduled for 8:45. The day draws to a close with the Mens Silver/Gold skills competition. Expect some blazing times and wicked wristers in that one!
Crossing that halfway point has got me excited along with all of the staff. We plan on stepping up our game to meet the challenge and to continue providing the experience that we all come to expect at Finals. If you see me around the rink, make sure you stop and say hi, I will be the one with the big smile on my face….it is always a blast to be a part of this event, even when there is only half left. We will catch you at the rink on Friday. To the teams heading home and the others on their way, travel safe and take care and thanks again for playing Worlds Greatest Roller Hockey!