NARCh in Full Swing! Here's an update on the action.

by Daryn Goodwin

By Ryan Daubenmire

NARCh Finals is definitely in full swing now. If the plethora of games don’t contain enough action, the skills competitions have featured an abundance of speed, fancy moves, and big saves. You’d be hard-pressed to walk through the building without hearing cheers erupt from one of the rinks. One of the coolest moments of the tournament took place in the 10u Platinum skills competition. The international teams swept, with Chinese Taipei players taking home the Sniper and Top Goalie title and a UK Desert Rat capturing the Fastest Skater award. Seeing the emotion in sniper Yi-Le Chen and goaltender Yu-Cheng Hsiao was exceptionally memorable, and anyone who witnessed it surely walked away with a smile on their face. Ultimately—those experiences are what hockey is about.


Back to the games themselves: the 14 & under playoffs began this morning and have already featured some exciting games. 10 & under is approaching playoffs as well, and the vets aren’t to be left out either, as 30 plus and 40 plus is underway. The Men’s silver standings are set, with the top twenty-four teams splitting into the Silver, Bronze, and Copper divisions, respectively. The first round is taking place as I write this, and already we’ve had an OT thriller. 


Men’s Silver is the tournament’s biggest division, but it has begun to thin, and will continue to do so as playoffs progress further. This might be the most difficult division to win, simply because of the number of teams. An astonishing six teams went undefeated in round robin; the Terrapins White led the pack with only three goals against through four games. They aren’t going to have any easy time of it, however, as it took an OT goal to win their first-round matchup against the Labeda Chupacabras.

This was the first of two overtimes tonight, and more are likely to come tomorrow. A quick shoutout to the Hoapa Lunkers, as well, a group of firefighters playing in honor of their fallen comrade, whose name they wear on their back.  This is a great example of hockey, and NARCh, serving as a platform for good.


The first round of the 14 & under platinum playoffs may have featured the most exhilarating game so far, with a big overtime win for the Black Aces over Chinese Taipei. Tied 3-3 in OT, Chinese Taipei looked to have all the momentum but were unable to put the game away. The Black Aces took the opportunity by the horns and scored off a quick rush the other way, banking it off the goalie for the win. Chinese Taipei Blue pulled out a win in their first playoff game, however. Coincidentally, they shared a similar fate to their other team, losing the next round of playoffs in OT.

Regardless of the outcomes, the Chinese Taipei teams, as a whole, have had an impressive showing thus far—one that undoubtedly will continue in other divisions. It’s exciting to have them here; they are inarguably an organization on the rise and exemplify the importance of the sports’ continued growth. As 14u platinum playoffs continue, it will be interesting to see if anyone can upset the top seeded Tour OC Blades Black, who cruised through both their round robin and quarterfinal matchup.


In 14 & under gold, the number one seed—TPH Knighthawks— made a statement with definitive wins over the eighth seed and fourth seeds. In the other semifinal, the Bulldogs Yellow beat the LBU Jets Navy. Both the Bulldogs and Knighthawks dominated in round robin and have yet to lose a game. They face each other in the final with not just their undefeated streaks, but a NARCh cup, on the line. Something will have to give in that one. 


In 14 & Silver, number one seed Farm Tough took down the Bend Bullets and the Oregon Reign defeated Tour OC Blades Red, setting up that final. In 14 & under Club, round one of the playoffs have just concluded. The Labeda Warriors Red beat the EQTY Forbes Raiders HC in a close game. Northern California-based Warrior Revolution were felled by their in-state rivals the San Diego Thunder; Tour YVU bested Pure Maple, and the Labeda Warriors Black defeated fellow So-Cal natives Bulldogs Black.


Last but not least: while the Pro division doesn’t start for another five days, one can certainly get their fill of incredible hockey watching 30 plus. While the division’s title may be more likely to evoke images of middle-aged men buying used sports cars or wandering the aisles of a Home Depot than it is to conjure thoughts of athletic, highly-skilled, athletes, don’t be fooled—this division features some of the best roller players in the world. Itan and Juaquin Chavira, Junior Cadiz, Taylor Kane, Skylar Hoar, Brett Olinger, PJ Kavaya, and Gerry Osterkamp are just some of the big-name players battling it out.


Early on, PAMA—with much of their pro roster playing—looks to be the favorite, but Buzz battled them closely in the opening round robin game and is—both on paper and in-person—a tough opponent. SKA, with a veteran roster and a lot of experience, is 2-1-1 as well, and the Lot Dogs nearly took down PAMA, only to lose after a late goal by the Golden Knights. It wouldn’t surprise me to see any of these teams in the final.

In 40 & over, both the Oakland Goodlife and the PAMA Labeda Golden Knights have controlled play in all of their games. The Lot Dogs will take on the Goodlife in the 40 plus Gold playoffs and the winner will face PAMA in the final. In the 40 plus Silver playoffs, the Pineapple Express await the winner of NCI Phoenix and Aokis Shave Ice; these two teams rematch in playoffs after a round robin tie.


If you’ve yet to arrive and want to keep track—or if you’re already playing and want to look at some highlights—make sure to not only check out the visual content on the NARCh page, but also to take a look at the tremendous work of Lionel at MyFMT!