We are officially a few games into the 2012 Season. 134 teams are participating this weekend, which makes it the largest WINTERNATIONALS we’ve had since going to a one-weekend event a number of years back. Some of the game times are grueling and we truly appreciate everyone’s understanding that to have an event such as this crammed into a weekend, there are some sacrifices that need to be made… at least in the form of less than optimal game times.

I’ve made the drive from San Diego to San Jose a number of times now. While there’s not much to look at, I always feel like a little kid excited to get here. I know when I arrive I’m not going to have any facility headaches. Terry Peckham and his staff at the Sports Plex are simply amazing. Every last detail is thoroughly thought out and executed to make my life easy when I get here. Little things that nobody thinks about, like building a frame for the schedule boards or adding piping to banners so they don’t blow up in the wind.

I think of myself as a detail oriented person and it’s awesome to do business with people with the same mindset. Yesterday I even put on my skates and enjoyed playing around in the morning. It’s probably not exactly what you think the owner of a company would be doing less than 24 hours before the start of a big tournament.

We have tweaked the format slightly for this event from what we’ve done at WINTERNATIONALS in the past. It is similar to the format of the FINALS, only we still split divisions for playoffs. In the past in most divisions there would be 3 prelim games, then everyone would make the playoffs. While it’s nice for everyone to still technically be ALIVE going into their fourth game, the problem is that the format welcomes rematches. A team that may have got blown out by another team may have to face them again. To come to a tournament this large and play the same team 2 out of 4 games and not have a realistic chance to beat them, well, it’s not optimal. This year everyone will play 4 different teams, then at least 50% advance.

I honestly stay up at night thinking about what format is best for the masses. None are prefect and I’m sure some critics can play devils advocate after the fact, but we do put a lot of thought into our formats and want to give our teams and players the best experience.

One thing that always makes a NARCh Event special is the teams it attracts. Headlining some of the teams from outside California in action today are the West Coast Warriors from Canada, CC Braganca-CHS from Brasil, and the KIHA Warriors from Hawaii. We appreciate the commitment they’ve made to come compete.

Today we have a lot of squirts, peewee, and bantams in action. Later tonight Men’s Silver and starts as well as an exciting 8 team Pro Division. As usual, 10 Grand will be up for grabs for Pro. 86 games will be played today, and it’s the light day.

We plan to take tons of pictures and do a video recap from highlights of the action each day. Stay tuned to our website and our Facebook page for constant updates throughout the weekend.