Good Morning from HotShots!

by Daryn Goodwin

Sunday Morning Update.

We’re in PA this weekend for our first of many qualifiiers on the East Coast.   Quite of few out of town teams came in for this qualifier such as the Detroit Bordercats, Tour Roadrunners from New York, RinkRat Arsenal from Virginia, and 2000 Dragons from North Carolina.  These are all strong teams that had a very successful Saturday against mostly local teams.

Like some other markets, this one has some very large programs with multiple teams in each age group.  The Fusion, Cobras, Infero, and Bulldawgz programs make up the bulk of the teams in this tournament.  A lot of credit should be given to the leaders of these programs, as they truly drive the sport in this market.  Up to this point these programs have only really sent their best flagship teams to the NARCh FINALS.  That is changing this year with the NARCh FINALS being in Toronto.  From talking to people at the tournament many of these gold and silver level teams will be experiencing the FINALS for the first time.

I get the sense that a few of the lower level teams are slightly skeptic and worried about how they’ll be competitive at FINALS when they’re getting beat up a bit at a regional in their own back yard.  If I were a parent that has never been to the NARCh FINALS, I can’t say I wouldn’t think the same thing.   Having said that, NARCh hasn’t been the best tournament in the sport for over 20 years without a great system in place for providing a competitive platform for teams to play, even if you’re not at the top of the tournament food chain.

Most of the teams that traveled in for this weekend are true platinum teams and what the local lower level teams need to understand is that at the NARCh FINALS they’ll be placed against other comparable teams from everywhere!  West Coast, Colombia, France, Cayman Islands, everywhere! 

One of the main purposes of the qualifier is to properly seed teams to assure that they’re in most competitive division for the FINALS.  It’s also the reason we have very strict rules and the rules apply to everyone, which assures integrity and parity.  Some of those teams that took their lumps a bit yesterday and may have left a little bummed out will come back this morning and play in competitive silver division playoff games.   Some will even leave the tournament with a beautiful medal and championship under their belt!

One thing I’m very impressed with is the professionalism of the coaches.  I’m not even talking about X’s and O’s, but just the way they carry themselves on the bench and speak to their players.  Being between the benches for a good chunk of the tournament, I’ve heard some very encouraging remarks even when players have made mistakes.  

Generally speaking, most coaches are great!   However, there’s still some in roller hockey, and all youth sports, that insist on being hard on their players and feel that yelling at the refs is somehow beneficial.   Roller Hockey Alliance has recently rolled out a coaching certification and it’s mandatory that all coaches take the test to be on the bench at any RHA Event this summer, which includes NARCh, State Wars, and TORHS.   The questions are pretty basic and it doesn’t take too long to take.  My hopes are that as coaches are coaching a few of those questions and answers will enter their minds and help them make better decisions that will benefit their team and encourage kids, even in the heat of battle.  At the end of the day, these games and this sport are more about having fun and the larger lessons in life that come along with it all.

Playoffs are starting now and I’m excited to see how some of these divisions unfold.  Thanks for reading and playing and good luck the rest of the day!