A coffee recap about the Huntington Beach Qualifier this weekend.

by Daryn Goodwin

As I sit here at Philz Coffee on a beautiful Monday Afternoon in Encinitas, CA I thought I’d share a few random thoughts from the NARCh Regional that was held this weekend in Huntington Beach.   I meant to write this on my first cup of coffee, but my last few hours have been consumed discussing details regarding the NARCh FINALS in Alpharetta in July. 

Which brings me to this.  If your team plays in the NARCh FINALS in Irvine, you can attend the NARCh FINALS in Alpharetta FOR FREE!  And visa versa.  We really want to encourage teams from California to go to the East Coast FINALS.  Trust me when I say it will be a hockey trip you never forget.  We’re very excited about the FINALS in Irvine of course,  but when all of your players are 30 years old they’ll reflect back and not be able to differentiate between the California Tournaments because they live here and frequent the local rinks so much.   In contrast, they’ll NEVER forget the FINALS at The Cooler and Alpharetta.

One of the more exciting aspect of this qualifier, which is our first of three in So Cal, was the fact that we were able to field a women’s division thanks to the extra effort from Emily Doran, Hannah Dorkin, and Jenna Weeks.  It wasn’t a BIG EVENT women’s division where the ringers were flown in by one program, which resulted in fun, competitive games for all who participated!  The Labeda Cyclones defeated the Mavin Mavericks in overtime 3-2 in the playoffs, then fell in the championship game to the Labeda Jets by the same score in a shootout.  The end result is that the lady’s are super pumped to play at the next one, so we’re going to have a women’s division in Irvine as well.   There is also an interest on adding a true girl’s division to the NARCh FINALS in Irvine and possibly even the qualifier.  We’re working on those details as we speak.

It’s always nice to see players give back.  Two young guys that seem to really be putting in time coaching are Will Sheppard and Marvin Simmons.  Will works in HB and I often see him on the floor working with beginners when I’m setting up the rink for big events.  During the tourneys he’s on the benches for multiple Militia Teams.   Marvin is from Arizona and on the bench for the Konixx Outcasts.   Having young coaches that are good players and also good with kids and have time to commit to coaching are a huge asset to our sport.  Thanks guys!

Grasshopper Gamewear had a booth in HB and hand delivered some of the sharpest jerseys on the rink this weekend.   Not only are these guys killing it with their designs, comfortable material, and quick turn around on jerseys and pants, they’re also expanding to outerwear.  Team shirts, hoodies, shorts, etc.  They want you to look sharp and represent your team on or off the rink. 

Quickly recapping and starting with the youngest, we had two 6u teams play a few games to give them additional experience and get them and their parents excited about the sport.  Even though one team was new to the experience and got crushed on the scoreboard,  the experience overall was a huge success.  It’s also refreshing to know that this set of new parents understand the process and big picture.  Do these kids not look like they had fun?

In 8s we had four teams.  Both championships were competitive, as the Militia defeated the Jr Ducks (first tourney) 5-3 for the silver division championship, and the Pama Cyclones outlasted the OC Marvel 5-4 for the Gold.  It’s a great young evenly matched rivalry with the Cyclones and Marvel and one I’m excited to watch play out many, many times in the future.  I’m also excited that there will be 8u teams coming from Wisconsin and Illinois to challenge them this summer in Irvine for the FINALS.   I'm estimating 12 teams in the 8u for the FINALS in Irvine.  Also worth noting, young Getzlaf and Kesler made their first NARCh appearances and had a blast.  It’s always fantastic to see NHL players supporting roller hockey.  Ryan Kesler played NARCh himself growing up, so he knows what’s up…..

I honestly missed most of the 10u championships, as there were championship games going on simultaneously on multiple rinks.   I know that the Cal Kings won the gold division over Militia Grey, which was a revenge game because Militia beat them on Saturday.  The Renegades 07 took care of the Pama Cyclones for the silver title. 

12u was our largest division with 15 teams.  I always contemplate divisional breakdowns for large divisions.  The ultimate goal is to give as many teams possible a competitive tournament.  In a perfect world for example, we would have 5 highly skilled teams, 5 in the middle, and 5 true silver.  Each would play in a very competitive 5 team division where every game is a dog fight.  Of course we don’t live in a perfect world.

Instead we know that the Pama Labeda Golden Knights and Angry Ducks are in a class of their own, but who else can challenge them?  The San Diego Rockets 05 cruised through some easier competition and got the 3 seed and had to face the 2 seed Ducks.  On this day anyway, it was not a much of a challenge and the Ducks cruised into the championship against the Golden Knights.  Watching such high skill level in such young players is always something I enjoy, and this game had plenty of that.  The Knights would remain Golden, and the Ducks would leave Angry.  4-2 final score.

As the others in the 12u division took their lumps from the Golden Knights, Ducks, and Rockets 05, they eventually got to the very competitive games in the playoffs after the division was split into the 3 levels.  The gold championship between Militia Gray and Notion was tied after regulation and went into OT.  Nobody scored in OT, so it went to a shootout that Militia eventually won  (I'll share the video of that goal sooner than later).   The silver championship was also very competitive, as the OC Marvel defeated the OC Havoc 5-4.

In 14u the Angry Ducks seem to be the team to beat so far early in the season, as they defeated Militia Gray 6-3 in the gold championship.  The silver championship was a defensive battle between the Militia White and Temecula Warriors.  The final score was what you’d expect in a soccer game, 1-0 Militia.  A testament to both goalies up for the challenge and teams stepping up defensively.  Crazy that these same two teams faced off Friday Night and scored 10 goals in that contest, with the Warriors winning the early battle.

I really enjoyed the end of the 16u gold final between the two Skittles Teams, the 01s and 02s.  A great championship game that took overtime to settle.  Older brothers ultimately won in overtime, 3-2.  The winning goal is on our Instagram feed at NARCh Players if you want to check it out.  I had a quick flashback to the OC Blades 88s and 89s that played many close games, ironically based out of the same facility about 15-16 years prior.  The same time these players were born.

Militia White fell to Militia Gray in the 16u silver championship.  Gray defeated the Raiders to get to the championship while White had a great game with Konixx Outcasts 02 in their semifinal.   That was one of the better games Sunday Morning that went to overtime after being tied 5-5.  Nobody scored in OT and White won the shootout to land in the final but were clearly a bit overmatched against the more skilled gray squad.

There were a lot of good games in the 18u division and many of the better players were also doubling up playing in Men’s.  In the end, Rink Rat Groove defeated Raiders Yellow for the gold title and Bulldogs Yellow defeated the SD Stingrays for silver. 

Men’s was the Mavin Division.  Mavin is a hockey company making sticks, gloves, jerseys, and apparel.   They’re ran by So Cal Guys that grew up playing the sport.   4 of the 6 teams that played Men’s this weekend had Mavin in the name.  The others being Blades of Steel and Rink Rat Groove.   We split this division into the top 3 and bottom 3 after prelims.  It was a good call, as the top 3 teams were clearly stronger than the other 3.   I was pleasantly surprised to see a ton of guys from San Diego scattered through the division that I haven’t seen in a while.  Many play out of Skate San Diego or Escondido Sports Center and made the 1.5 hour drive up to compete.

MAVIN and Rink Rat Groove would battle multiple times.  First in the prelims that the Groove won, then in the 2 vs 3 game that MAVIN won.  Rematches really didn’t work out well for teams that won the first game in this tourney.  There are a few players that truly don’t care for each other, which made it both entertaining and irritating to watch.   Let’s just say the level of play was better than the chirps.

MAVIN would play Mavin Rogue for the gold championship.  A case where all of the guys know and respect each other, but they really want to win.  Once again it took overtime to settle a championship, and MAVIN would be drinking the colder Coors Lights in the lot.  Final score 5-4.

A Mavin Team would take the silver title too, as Mavin Tribe 2 defeated Blades of Steel 6-2.  

We expect a much larger turnout for men’s in Irvine, so you you should get registered NOW!!! I’m now on my 3rd cup of coffee and I’m not having 4.   Thanks for reading and we hope to see you at a NARCh Tourney soon!

Any questions about anything NARCh, email me at daryn@narch.com.