#25 Starts Now!
By Jeremy Ellis
The pucks were dropped today at 10 am pacific marking the start of the 25th NARCh finals. The first ever Finals took place in 1994, when Bill Clinton held the office of president, gas was $1.11 a gallon and the median home price was a mere $154K. Over those 25 years we have handed out thousands of trophies and medals, watched players develop into NHLers, and even seen squirts turn into the over 30 division. Few things are constant in life, but in the Roller Hockey world, the NARCh finals year after year are a sure bet.
Today has been a hectic one. Watching rinks, checking in teams, 4 skills competitions close to 20,000 steps for yours truly. In between all of the action was a chance to say hi to some of my favorite people. It is always great to see the always full of energy Peter Dale and his Farm Tough crew. The crew is deep this year with 6u through 18u teams, many seeing their first action ever at a NARCh finals. Peter has his teams primed as they have had a good showing day 1 in both the games and skills competitions.
12u Club/Silver, Gold/Platinum and 16u Club/Silver, Gold Platinum were on the menu today. A few teams have really made their presence known after 2 games. They include the Temecula Warriors in 12u silver who have outscored opponents 15-0. Not to be outdone are the boys from North of the border, the North Shore Zulu who have two shutouts as well enroute to outscoring their competition 10-0 in 16u platinum.
There have been numerous outstanding goalie efforts today resulting in multiple shutouts. The most exciting game I saw on Day 1 was a 16u silver tilt between the West Coast Warriors and the AKS 01s. The Warriors were ahead 3-2 when a pinpoint pass through traffic led to an AKS game tying goal. Only seconds later the Warriors rebounded with another tally to go up 4-3. AKS took a time out and opposing coach CJ Yoder barked out instructions on defending the potential extra attacker in the final minute. Within seconds after the next draw, AKS had worked it into the zone and found the back of the net to tie it at 4. The Warriors pressed again in the final 30 seconds looking for the winner but were denied with the final save coming at .01 seconds on the clock. This division is truly up for grabs and the point earned by each team could be huge in seeding.
My favorite part of the day though was the skills competition. The demand was high as parents lined up early to get their youngsters registered. The battles for fastest skater, sniper, and top goalie were fierce ones. The 12u platinum was one of my favorites as Nathan Thurman of the Bend Bullets won the top sniper. He was quick to do a shimmy up the floor after every goal and he won over the fans with panache. The 16u platinum skills featured a herculean effort by the two goaltenders as they each faced over 50 shots. There were also repeat winners from years past with Joey Mataviesko of the Militia White winning 16u silver fastest skater for the second time and 16u Platinum Lizard King Miles Harrington outlasting a stacked field to win the sniper competition once again after doing so in the past.
Day 2 features the start of the Womens division along with the Mens Platinum/Pro. Each division will have skills competitions in the evening. Day 2 is jam packed with over 70 games taking place. The Rinks were a perfect temp today and the forecast looks awesome through the weekend. We hope to see you out here for the 25th annual edition of Worlds Greatest Roller Hockey!