Annual CAHA Adult Hockey State Championships making way to Solar4America Ice in April
Each spring, the CAHA Adult Hockey State Championships are decided in San Jose at Solar4America Ice at San Jose.
The games are highly competitive and continue to showcase the growth of hockey, not only in Northern California overall, but at the adult level.
This year, the event is scheduled to be held April 24-26.
Vaughn Reuter is the San Jose Jr. Sharks’ adult programming manager and tournament coordinator. He’ll be in charge of this year’s adult state tournament.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know how long the event has been running as this is my first year in the position of organizing the tournament,” Reuter said. “I have played in the tournament for a number of years, and this will be my ninth year playing in the tournament. The growth of the tournament is likely attributed to the word of mouth association of teams throughout the years.
“There are players that make it a point every year to bring a team to San Jose to compete in this event.”
Last year, San Jose proudly hosted 57 teams across 14 divisions of skill. The divisions this year include Advanced, Intermediate (Full), Novice, Rookie, Over 60, Over 50 and Women intermediate/Novice.
Among the teams from the 2019 tournament to claim state titles were Dust HC (Advanced), a team out of San Jose, Pound Puppies (Women’s Intermediate), another team out of San Jose, the Norris All-Stars (Over 50) and the CyClones (Over 60).
“The competition is always top-notch,” Reuter said. “The great part of the event is that teams come from all across NorCal and California. This brings new competition, different people to play against, different forms of teams. It allows players to build teams for one event and take risks like jumping up in a division to test out their skill against new people. It creates a lot of regional rivalry and fun competition as teams play against teams from different regions in the state.
“Ultimately the tournament is designed to allow players to have fun and compete against new and different folks who all share in the same love for hockey.”
In his role with the event as tournament director, Reuter is essentially the jack of all trades.
“Basically, I organize registration, vendors, promotions, and scheduling, which obviously is most important,” said Reuter. “This is my first year coordinating this event as I came into this role just last July. After playing in this event as a participant for many years, I’m very much excited to be working on the back end and doing my best to make this event as great as possible.
“San Jose is on the cusp of expanding our ice offerings. Immediately following this event, we will be breaking ground on construction that will ultimately yield us ice rinks No. 5 and No. 6. I only imagine this state tournament event to grow in the coming years as our ability to handle a larger influx of teams will increase. I expect this year’s event to be geared towards fun competition and a good mix of fondness for the past and excitement for the future.
“Should be a great weekend.”
Reuter also admitted than when some folks make hear the term “adult hockey,” they immediately think of the notion of “beer league hockey.” He said that could not be any further from the truth.
“Certainly, people associate adult hockey with ‘beer league,’ but I think the competition during the games is the best deterrent for holding onto that notion,” Reuter said. “Really, it’s a testament to the players who have played for years and continued to enjoy the sport we all love. I point to the Over 50 and Over 60 divisions where there are players who have been in love with the game for so long that they continue to strap on the pads and lace up the skates.
“I will look to parents and children who finally get to share ice together and be part of the same team as one of the best components of adult hockey. It’s incredibly special and powerful to be able to share the ice and play the great game of hockey with your loved one. Siblings, parents, children, everyone gets to enjoy adult hockey and that is what makes it more than some rinky-dink ‘beer league.’”
When all is said and done, seeing the game take major strides at all levels is what Reuter strives to accomplish as part of the Jr. Sharks organization.
The adult tournament is further proof of that concept.
“Adult hockey growth has been huge in the San Jose and surrounding Bay Area and NorCal communities,” said Reuter. “Looking at population growth within the Bay Area alone, there are more and more transplants coming to the area, whether for work or school and setting up roots here. That has brought about an explosion of interest in the sport, whether that’s at the youth or adult level. The great part about the CAHA tournament is that it brings together all these amazing adult hockey players from all over NorCal. Players will come down from Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Napa. They’ll come from Sacramento, Truckee and Folsom. More will come from the Central Valley, Bakersfield, Tracy and Fresno.
“It’s really great when players look forward to this event and make it an annual point to participate and play against competition from all over the state, and especially NorCal.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Feb. 24, 2020)