Today came early, real early. The 3-hour difference is tough when you can’t fall asleep at night and have to get up at what is really 2:30am. Regardless, we’re about 5 games in here Saturday Morning and having fun.
It’s always nice to meet new people excited about the sport. I’ve had some good conversations with some of the Wellington Prowlers Parents. It’s a 10u team and they just lost a nail bitter to the Naples Lions, 5-4. They’ve got their house league back headed the right direction and have had an increase in numbers and motivated parents. It also sounds like the Naples League is doing well, as some kids and coaches are bouncing back and forth so they can keep their house league commitments. Those are good signs for the sport here.
A lot of time is spent talking about the powerhouse programs in Florida like the Mafia and Scorpions, but as a guy that runs tournaments I know how important it is for a lot of different teams to b excited about tournament hockey. One of the new teams in the mix here is the Thunder in squirt. They’re definitely ice kids that play both and are going to be hard to touch in that division by what I’ve seen so far.
Last night I watched some very talented bantams in action, as the Mafia 95 and Moneymakers both won their games. The Moneymakers are basically the Mafia 96 guys that won peewee platinum at the FINALS last summer. Mafia 95′s finished 4th in bantam platinum as first year bantams. Both teams looked a little light players, but I expect more players to show throughout the weekend and I’m excited to see these teams play each other. The 95’s won the squirt platinum title in San Jose in ’08 and they’re making the trip this summer in hopes to do the same in bantam platinum. I wouldn’t bet against them, they’re strong.
It’s hard for me to come to this rink and not have flashbacks. About 10-12 years ago we had some great events here. I will say the rink is in much nicer shape now than it was then, as it’s a city owned property and there’s been a ton of improvements.
The Blackjacks were the main home program and they had teams in every division. As it usually happens, that program died as Joe Sanders kids got older and out of it. His daughter went on to have a successful ice career at Wisconsin. I believe her name was Kyla but I could be wrong. I’m not very good at names, but when I walk into this rink I can remember her smile as a happy 12 yr old having a blast. No words have ever been truer, they grow up quick!