Monday Blog by Jeremy Ellis

by Daryn Goodwin

By Jeremy Ellis

Back once again from the Rinks in HB for another edition of all things NARCh.  Here on the last day and we are chugging with non stop championship games all day long.  Yesterday was an exciting one and a barrage of medals were handed out including the ones handed to the winners of NARCh pro.

On a day that will be remembered by many for the tremendous gaffe that occurred in the Saints Vikings playoff game, we will remember a pro division that was turned upside down come playoffs.  Many thought the gold medal was inevitable for the Labeda Pama Golden Knights.  However, a game RV Flex team, the same one that dropped their first two games of round robin, had something to say about it.  Roller hockey mad scientist Tyler Svoboda crafted yet another recipe for success.  Knowing that the Golden Knights averaged over 6 goals a game, he knew that a high scoring affair did not bode well for his chances.  His charges slowed it down and played puck possession where it could.  Seizing upon the few scoring chances they had, the Flex held on to earn a trip to the final with a 3-2 victory.  They would face the Konixx Pure he eased past the Pure Maple 4-0.

Once again, speed was not on the side of the Flex as the Pure had speed to burn.  Flex got on the board first though, but also knew scoring only once was unlikely to do the trick.  This time, it was Konixx goaltender Kevin Dwyer who shouldered the load allowing only that one goal.  With the game tied at 1, the Pure's Mike Rivera streaked towards the net and buried a well placed shoulder up over the teddy's shoulder.  That 2nd goal was enough with Dwyer backstopping the Pure to a 2-1 victory and the $5000 prize.  Congrats to coach Nick Boyarsky, who has brought most of this team up from youngens and culminated in a Pro cup.

We recorder a podcast earlier today that covered a wide range of topics, including the remainder of yesterdays championships.  There were some great stories this weekend that I would like to touch on, including longtime roller hockey presence Michael Hunt, who rallied players to form teams under his Hockey Barn umbrella.  Mike started up a hockey training facility in blustery Winnipeg that has been a lifelong dream.  While the Pro Barners were ran roughshod a bit, teams in other divisions competed and had a good time.  Good luck to Mike on everything and we hope he continues to rally bringing teams to NARCh events.

Fellow Canadien Meka Trepanier continues to be an enthusiastic NARCh supporter with his Hockey House Army programs.  Meka always has a great disposition and is to notch when it comes to paperwork!!  Side note to teams; yes paperwork is a pain in the butt....but it is necessary.  It is great when you get it on time, complete, and with LEGIBLE hand writing.  Always a drag having to guess a name during awards because it looks like it was written by a toddler.  Ok enough ranting.  

We have discussed to success that Jose's Revolution program has had at this event, but one other outfit, the High Rollers has tasted great success this weekend.  In fact, most, if not all of their teams will be taking home a medal this weekend.  I know Joey Madrid works hard with this program as well as ice teams, so kudos to him and the other coaches for putting in the hours to make these teams successful. 

Finally, as we start to enter the home stretch in the waning moments of the 2018 Winternationals, I want to remind everyone that this is the 25th anniversary of NARCh.  It seems like yesterday we were celebrating 20 years in Toronto.  I know Daryn has some special things planned for this summer to celebrate.  As I watched the over 40 division games I was reminded of a few names that have been around for most of those 25 years.  A couple that stand out are Rich Garvey and Kevin and Scott Labeda.  The Labeda name is an iconic one in our sport and Rich has done things both coaching and playing to help grow our great game here and internationally.  Looking forward to another 25 years and knowing that our sport is in great hands.  I have been very impressed with the skill level this weekend and the talent pool continues to grow.  Teams continue to fight for just a little bit more to reach the pinnacle of success.

It has been another fun, yet exhausting long weekend.  I am definitely not looking forward to flying home to a snowy Chicago.  Thanks again to everyone for playing, the spirit that they brought to the rink and all of the smiles that greeted me everyday.  It truly makes all the hard work fun.  I will hopefully see everyo