Update from Georgia

by Daryn Goodwin

It was a bit before my time but I pride myself as being a slight music buff I like this bluesy song from the sixties called “On the Road Again.”  With all of my travels this season, I’ve racked up more frequent flyer miles than any other NARCh Season.  Also fitting, the song was sung by a band called Canned Heat.  Here inside SGAA Arena in Snellville, Georgia it feels exactly like that, canned heat.  Most people here are used to it and it’s cooler on the benches than our booth, but I’m sweating bullets even typing this.

It’s a great tournament this weekend with 33 teams, which is our typical tournament size here.  Even though the Cayman Island Teams have to jump on a plane, they almost feel like a local team since this has been one of their annual trips for the last 3 or 4 years. 

Little Christopher Goodwin of the Junior Gladiators is one my favorite groms running around.  The kid is an absolute hustler, on and off the rink.  10 years old and he’s got a posy that follows him around the rink.   He’s probably interrupted me 3 times from computer work, but he’s so funny that I have no problem putting aside what I’m doing so he can fill me in on his “rink life.”

I haven’t been able to capture as many photos or videos as usual so far.   Emails about the FINALS on the West Coast, and details pertaining to our last 3 qualifiers in Detroit, Mississauga, and Escondido have filled my inbox today, as well as distract my brain.  Combine that with the fact that the internet is terrible, it’s made for a slightly frustrating day.  I look forward to focusing more on the action here this evening.   We did manage to get up a descent photo gallery with action shots from around the rink which can be viewed at http://www.narch.com/photos/georgia-regional-qualifier

Most divisions are still too early to sort out, but the 8 and under atom division is finished with their round robin games.  Cayman Islands White and Atlanta Bulldogs Red will square off for the gold championship tomorrow.  In their matchup today it was 13-9 in favor of Cayman, so looking forward to that scoring barrage again tomorrow.   Tour ATL is rolling in 14u, the only team that can, and will likely go undefeated.  The Cayman Island Squirt team has really improved as they’ve stayed together and aged up and now in 12u.   I have a feeling some teams here are disappointed in their play because they lost games to this Cayman Team today when they’ve beaten them in past years.   CI went to Californa and beat some legitimate teams just a few weeks ago.  I guess part of the lesson today is, just because you beat a team last year or two years ago, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again automatically.  Young players advance at different paces and this team has worked very hard to get where they are today.

NARCh FINALS talk.  It seems that many teams here are split on their summer plans.  The Sting are going to make it out to San Jose next month for the West Coast FINALS.  At least on Lizard King Team is heading across to Canada.  All of the Cayman Teams are also heading to Canada.  Talking to Dennis Passchier who runs the Cayman Teams, he’s also building a girls and 6u team for Canada, which we’re very excited about.  Some teams from here won’t be going to Canada, but many of their better players will find teams to play, and are smart not wanting to miss a NARCh FINALS.

Word is sort of leaking around here that there’s a chance we might take the FINALS to the Cooler in Alpharetta next year.  When this tournament has concluded, we’re actually heading out to Alpharetta to see all of the renovations to the facility, as it’s been a really long time since I’ve been to the Cooler.   I’ll leave it an “Outside Chance” but I’m saying there’s a chance J

 There’s quite a few logistical issues to overcome to have NARCh there again, like covering ice, which is never fun or easy.   If it does happen I feel strongly that it’s gong to be a huge boom for roller hockey in this area next year and most of the locals feel the same and are equally excited.