By Jeremy Ellis
Well it is great to be back here up north at the Hershey Centre! This has always been one of my favorite place for Finals – with the facility, the things to do away from the rink, and of course the people. Awesome time catching up with everyone. This has been a new experience with the Pro division front and center at the start of the tourney. Some of these guys are fresh off their gold medal winning performance in Europe at IIHF, so squeezing in the Finals is awesome here for us.
While a good deal of chatter at the rink is regarding the Pro division, there is plenty of other action on all three of the rinks here. The Mite Silver / Club division came ready to play! The 5 teams in this division are over the map. East Coast, West Coast, Columbia, and the Cayman Islands all have entries. How cool is that for a kid to play teams from all over the world!!!
Speaking of West Coast, the Bend Bullets, from Oregon, are racking up the frequent flyer miles this summer. They were recently at the West Coast Finals in San Jose, but they are representing here in Toronto as well. The team is anxious to see how they stack up against competition from this side of the map. The Bullets are a long standing club with a great tradition and we appreciate the support that they have given to NARCh this summer. The Bullets Mite team is off to a hot start going 2-0 in convincing fashion.
Girls and Womens divisions are flying as well. The Oroks HGA45 teams from France are here in both divisions and have brought Pee Wees as well. I have gotten to know the club over the past few years and they are all in on the sport. Yoann Jalinier is a huge advocate of our sport and an awesome supporter of what we do here at NARCh. I ran into him at the rink yesterday and he is always all smiles.
One of the best things to me about the international teams is how serious they take the sport. Here in the states and perhaps Canada, there is such a competition with ice and roller. That is sad, since they could both go hand in hand. However, for the internationals, this is ‘The Big One.’ NARCh is the pinnacle of their season and they play with a passion and emotion that is second to none. I personally love the fire and spirit that these teams bring to the floor every game.
The Mite Platinum / Gold just concluded and the division split up seamlessly. The two top teams were easily identified. The Rattlers and Honeybaked were on a collision course and they concluded round robin with a thrilling 5-4 Rattlers victory. The other two squads, the Coyotes and Bordercats, will meet in the Gold Final with the Bordercats looking to avenge a 9-7 defeat to Halton.
During the course of the day we finish up Womens, Girls, and Pee Wee Silver / Club. In a big womens tilt earlier, the Roadrunners were defeated by the Rattlers. That one sent shockwaves through the division as everyone thought the Roadrunners were the team to beat and expected them to dominate. All teams have played 3 games and each team has points. There have been 3 ties so far, a testament to just how tight this division is talent wise.
Pee Wee silver is a logjam at the moment with 6 teams atop the division with 4 points. Something has to give at some point though, as each team works its way through Round Robin. This division concludes tonight and will resume tomorrow after seeding.
Be sure to check out the Live Stream for all of the Arena Rink action, including the continuation of the Pro division. The Halton Coyotes finally broke through today with a win after two tough losses yesterday; Likewise for the Konixx boys who are now in the win column. Skills competitons aplenty as well. It is only Day 2 up here at the Hershey Centre; we have a long, fun, exciting ride ahead!!!