Kicking off the season in HB!
By Jeremy Ellis
The calendar has turned and we are officially in 2018 both on paper and in the rink. My annual junket to warmer weather is underway here in Southern California as I escape the deep freeze of Chicago. Always a shock to the system going from 10 degrees to 70 but I will take it every time.
It was an 8am start here at The Rinks and this place is already buzzing. I met a couple of hockey moms in the local Starbucks who commented that they were headed to the rink once they noticed the Bear on my shirt. Fans and players have continued to file in this morning as we start play with Bantam and Squirt action. Both of these divisions are huge, each with 18 teams. The younger divisions are filled to the brim, which always bodes well for the future growth of the sport. Each of these divisions will seed into 3 divisions after round robin: platinum, gold and silver. This tournament will set the tone for the season for these clubs so points are at a premium in every game. Tiebreakers will always come into play in large divisions so expect some lower scoring, tightly contested match ups at the top.
The Pee Wee division gets going today around lunchtime and then the Pro division hits the floor at 4:50pm. Closing out the evening will be action in Mens silver and platinum. A grand total of 330 games will take place across 6 sheets this weekend.
Winternationals is always like a mini reunion. It has been a few months since Finals in Toronto so that was the last time I have seen fellow staff as well as players, coaches and sponsors. This weekend marks the beginning of the season with regionals set to ramp up then culminating in the East and West Coast Finals. I am especially looking forward to this summer and heading down to Alpharetta for the first time. This year has also marked the return of some familiar faces here at NARCh. Erica Clemmons is back running things in the score box and stat book. Erica was a NARCh lynchpin for many years until she stepped away to do the family thing! She has a beautiful family and now returns to us for the weekend to crunch numbers for high scorers and top goalies. I also did a double take once I saw the name Casey Escarcega on the staff list. Casey is well known in our community having grown up in the game and playing throughout the years at the highest level. Adulthood finally called a few years ago and Casey embarked on a career in Pro Sports, which made taking time off for hockey next to impossible. Having made his way to the offices of the New York Mets, Casey was able to leave the Big Apple briefly over this Holiday weekend. I am sure he would love to be playing, but he is a welcome addition back to the TD table and it is great to see all that he has accomplished career wise. The only downside is how old he makes everyone feel since we have known him since he was just a little guy wheeling around the rink.
Be sure to stay abreast of the action via our live scoring. We plan on doing a podcast later this evening to welcome the season and recap the day. Welcome to another season everyone, buckle up and enjoy the ride!