EppsNet Archive: Hockey

Happy 17th Birthday

My son turned 17 today at the NARCh tournament in San Jose and he went with his teammates to Applebee’s for dinner. The boys know that he doesn’t like to be the center of attention for things like having “Happy Birthday” sung for him in a restaurant so I’m sure they made every effort to prevent that from happening . . . Read more →

NARCh – Day 2

Two more round-robin games on Day 2 . . . Game 3 – Mississauga Mission Rattlers Remember when I said Mission Black Ice is the best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen? I may have spoken too soon on that. I’ll be shocked if the Rattlers and Black Ice don’t face each other in the final to find out which team is really the best in the universe. The Devil Dog goalie was great yesterday but not today. He gave up eight goals, should have stopped about five of them, but didn’t get much help from his teammates either. Final Score: Rattlers 8, Devil Dogs 0. Ouch.   Game 4 – Colorado Dynamite Both teams came into the game with a good chance of slipping in to the playoff round as the fifth and final seed with a victory. It was a very even game — too even. The game ended… Read more →

NARCh – Day 1

The Devil Dogs played two round-robin games on Day 1 . . . Game 1 – Mission Black Ice 93 Black Ice is from New York. They’re a great team. Best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen. In fact, they’re better than any 18-and-under team I’ve ever seen. What a juggernaut! The Devil Dog kids looked nervous. They looked tight. They didn’t handle the puck cleanly. Black Ice was ahead 3-0 after the first period. The Dogs tightened things up and played a scoreless second period. I wanted to say something encouraging to my boy after the game. “You played them even the second period,” I said. “No we didn’t,” he replied. “Well . . . on the scoreboard you did.” Final Score: Black Ice 3, Devil Dogs 0   Game 2 – Colorado Kodiaks The Dogs matched up better physically with the Kodiaks than with Black Ice although the Kodiaks… Read more →

A Bad Start

The tournament is off to a bad start and the boys haven’t even taken the rink yet. One boy showed up yesterday with a 103 fever. I’m hearing this morning that his parents took him to urgent care. Nobody knows right now if he’s going to be able to play. Hang on, it gets worse. I don’t know who knows it yet but another boy went home late last night. His mom, who wasn’t at the tournament, died in her sleep. She wasn’t the healthiest person but she was about the same age as I am and wasn’t expected to die. I heard about it this morning from one of the other dads, who’s a friend of their family. He heard about it last night when the boy’s dad woke him up with a phone call. My son doesn’t know about it yet. He’s still asleep. I’m trying to think… Read more →

Leaving Tomorrow for NARCh

We’re heading out tomorrow morning for NARCh in San Jose — the grand finale, end-of-the-season roller hockey tournament. The tournament’s actually been going on for a week and a half but Casey’s division — Bantam Platinum — doesn’t start till Tuesday. Bantam is the 16-and-under division, with a DOB cutoff date of December 31, so this season’s Bantam players are kids born in 1993 or 1994. The Platinum division is the AAA division. Most tournaments call the skill divisions A, AA and AAA, but NARCh calls them Silver, Gold and Platinum. So Bantam Platinum is 16-and-under AAA.   In order to play at the NARCh final, your team has to play in a regional qualifying tournament. Based on your results in the qualifier, the tournament committee either assigns you to the Silver, Gold or Platinum division, or — if it’s a close call — they assign you to two divisions… Read more →

Grand Slam

Northwood High had a roller hockey game last night against Newport Harbor. After my kid fired several pucks off the post and off the goalie’s face mask, a couple of his teammates invented a new stat — the Grand Slam: four goals, four assists, four shots off the post and four shots off the goalie’s head. He missed out on the Grand Slam by two goals and one assist. Read more →

Playing Up

Last weekend’s WIHA roller hockey tournament in Irvine brings us a lesson in hubris . . . My kid plays for Revision Devil Dogs, a 16U AA team. Unfortunately, the 16U teams showing up for WIHA tournaments this season haven’t been providing a lot of competition for the boys so they’ve played up the last couple of tournaments in the 18U AA division. In this one, they found themselves in a situation where if they won their fourth and final round-robin game against AKS by at least two goals, they’d finish in a three-way tie for second and would, based on a complex tie-break formula including goals against, get to play in the final. A Devil Dog loss, tie or even a one-goal victory would put AKS in the final. AKS is a good team. They beat the Devil Dogs easily in a tournament in February and seemed to be… Read more →

Hockey Practice Will Never Be Cancelled

Under no circumstances will hockey practice ever be cancelled. Ever. Even on days when school is cancelled, practice is still on. A game may be cancelled due to inclement weather because of travel concerns for the visiting team, but it would have to rain razor blades and bocce balls to cancel hockey practice at your local rink. It’s good karma to respect the game. — John Buccigross, ESPN.com Read more →

Salmon Kings

If you’re not seeing the video here, you can watch it on YouTube. Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 4

Semifinal This one was like a replay of the third round-robin game. Final Score: West Coast Warriors 2, Devil Dogs 0   “They couldn’t buy a goal,” one of the moms said. “Are you allowed to buy goals?” I asked. “We need to make a new rule for that,” she said. The Warriors went on to lose 5-1 to NorCal Riot Black in the 16U final. That score surprised me, since NorCal couldn’t score on the Devil Dogs and the Devil Dogs couldn’t score on West Coast. I’ve got to find out if any parents stayed to watch the final. How did NorCal get 5 goals on the West Coast boys? Whatever they did, the Devil Dogs should start doing it . . . Read more →

Hockey Parents

Originally uploaded by lippo At hockey tournaments, especially travel tournaments, there’s a lot of down time between games. I usually bring a book to the rink so I have something to do. Nobody else does this. Nobody. In hockey circles, I’m known as the guy who brings books to the rink. This weekend, we’re at a tournament in San Jose. One of the dads from our team — I think he’s a copier salesman — says to me, “I can’t understand why anyone reads fiction.” He says it, not in a rude way, but not in a complimentary way either. I say, “Oh. Well, I can’t understand why anyone lives his whole life inside his own head and never gets curious about what life looks like to other people.” So I probably won’t have to talk to him the rest of the season. Later the same day, this guy knocks… Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 3

Game 4 The Devil Dogs are running into hot goalies. They’ve been shut out two games in a row, this one a scoreless tie against undefeated NorCal Riot Black. Final Score: Devil Dogs 0, NorCal Riot Black 0   The tie is good enough to put the Dogs in tomorrow’s single-elimination round against the West Coast Warriors — who beat them yesterday — with the winner playing NorCal Riot Black in the final. Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 2

Game 3 The West Coast Warriors are a team of big kids from British Columbia. The Devil Dogs had some trouble dealing with their size and speed. And the Warriors’ goalie played a great game. Final Score: West Coast Warriors 2, Devil Dogs 0   The final round-robin games are scheduled for tomorrow. Depending on how things go, the Devil Dogs could be the top-seed for the single-elimination round or they could get knocked out of the tournament. Their game is against NorCal Riot Black, who are undefeated at 3-0. Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 1

Game 1 Everybody wants to score goals; nobody wants to play defense. Everybody wants to make a big play; nobody wants to make the little plays. The kids came out too revved up, made a lot of mistakes and were fortunate to win the game. Final Score: Devil Dogs 5, Silicon Valley Quakes 3   Game 2 The boys calmed down and played the best game I’ve ever seen them play — and I see every game. Final Score: Devil Dogs 4, NorCal Riot Red 0   Two round-robin games left, against what look like stronger teams. Read more →

A Basic Fact of Team Sports

Revision Devil Dogs, my kid’s roller hockey team, won the AAU West Coast Winternationals 16U AA championship yesterday. The Top Scorer award went to a boy from the second-place team who had 11 goals and one assist in the four round-robin games. Eleven goals and one assist?! Pass the puck, Gretzky! A basic fact of team sports is that a concern with individual stats interferes with winning. Read more →

Give Blood Play Hockey Charity Tournament

My son’s team won the tournament, my wife gave blood, and I bought 3 snickerdoodle cookies for $5 at the charity booth and ate them. All in all, a triumphant day for the whole family . . . Read more →

What Am I Thinking About?

High school roller hockey starts tonight. To prevent the use of ringers, each kid has to turn in an enlarged color copy of their school ID card. I reminded my son about that requirement last night as he was doing homework in his room. “Why don’t you go ahead and make the copy now while you’re thinking about it?” I said. “I’m not thinking about it,” he said. “You are thinking about it.” “What am I thinking about?” “Okay, do it your way,” I said, and left. “What did you come in here for?” he called after me. Hilarity is really going to ensue when he shows up for the game tonight and can’t play because he doesn’t have a copy of his ID card . . . Read more →

Where I’m Coming From

After a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, we stopped by a Subway where an Asian woman with a strange accent made our sandwiches. “Have you been to the Hockey Hall of Fame up the street there?” I asked her. No answer. “It’s great!” I said. “We came all the way from California to see it.” “I came from Buffalo,” she said. “Really? Where’d you come from before Buffalo?” I asked. “I saw Niagara Falls,” she said. Read more →

Canadians are Really Into Hockey

I already knew that, but one of the TV stations at the hotel seemed to be showing nothing but ball hockey — no skates, just guys running around with sticks trying to hit a ball into a net. I asked a Canadian: “What’s up with all the ball hockey games on television?” “It’s the playoffs!” he explained. Read more →

NARCh – Day 4

The Devil Dogs would have liked to be playing today but weren’t after last night’s 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to the Cougars. In the semifinals, the #5 seed Cougars got smoked 6-1 by the #2 seed Detroit Mission Stars 92, while the #1 seed Adrenaline, another Michigan team, beat the #6 seed ISCA Grizzlies from New Jersey 10-4. In the final, the Stars beat Adrenaline 5-2 to win the gold medal. As the highest-seeded semifinal loser, the Cougars earned the bronze medal.   Everyone who’s played a sport for a while has been on the wrong end of last-minute losses. If you can’t take the occasional tough loss, you always have the option of not playing the sport. But I have to admit that the coaching decisions at the end of last night’s game are going to haunt me for a while. Putting the wrong team on the rink in the… Read more →

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