A little early insight from the NARCh FINALS
BY RYAN DAUBENMIRE
NARCh Finals is underway, and the excitement in the building is palpable already. The weather in Southern California could not be nicer; the temperature has lingered in the high 60°s and low 70°s and a refreshing breeze has been sweeping through the building, truly making it ideal weather for some hockey. Only one kids’ division started on day one, but nonetheless there are crowds of children fervidly watching games—pressed to the glass and eagerly awaiting their turn to play. The Men’s Silver teams came out in full force with a record-setting 36 teams in the division.
The tournament kicked off with the 14 & under Platinum, Gold, and Silver/Club divisions. In Platinum, the Tour OC Blades appear to lead the pack, going undefeated through round robin. The Blades have yet to give up more than two goals in a game. Led by coach Skylar Hoar, the Blades play a staunch defensive game predicated on skill and discipline. They clearly have no trouble scoring either, however, as they put up an impressive 21 goals-for in round robin. Pure Maple aimed to cap off a strong round robin and solidify second seed but were upset by another front-runner in the division, the Konixx Outcasts, who also finished 3 -1. The Labeda Warriors had a striking showing as well and completed their games with three wins and a tie, capturing second seed in the process. Though these four teams stood out in round robin, it’s anyone’s game and it will be interesting to see how playoffs play out.
In 14 & under gold, The TPH Knighthawks and Bulldogs Yellow finished as the only undefeated teams, taking first and second seed, respectively. This division boasts four international teams— two from Canada, one from Hong Kong, and one from Taiwan— a great things, as it’s always cool to see the divisions expand and diversify.
In 14 & Under Silver, only two teams— Farm Tough and the Tour OC Blades Red—have the opportunity to go undefeated, a testament to the strength of the division. Both sit with one game remaining, and no team has gone without at least one close game, so this will be an intriguing division to watch come playoffs.
Last but not least, the Men’s Silver title appears to be up for grabs after two games. With multiple teams from Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Canada, and both coasts of the U.S., the division features a variety of hockey styles and systems come together. With this many teams, it’s difficult to predict who may come on top—and who may get hot at the right time— but the Wheel Hub Fallin’ Stars Black have burst onto the scene with an impressive start, winning 9-1 and 7-2. These games have been fast-paced and featured a lot of end-to-end action, making them very entertaining to watch.
Today, 10 & under, 30 plus, and 40 plus begin. There are sure to be many exciting matchups, so stay tuned for more!