Editor’s Column: Silver Stick qualifier a winner
Fifty-four teams from Northern and Southern California, Arizona and British Columbia converged on Sharks Ice-San Jose over Thanksgiving Weekend to compete in this year’s International Silver Stick Western Regional Qualifier.
Champions were crowned in eight divisions: Midget 18U A (British Columbia’s New Westminster Royals); 16U A (Vacaville Jets); Bantam A (Redwood City Black Stars); Bantam B (Santa Clara Blackhawks); Pee Wee A (Redwood City); Pee Wee B (South Lake Tahoe Grizzlies); Squirt A (San Jose Jr. Sharks); and Squirt B (Jr. Sharks).
“This event always brings a great tournament atmosphere and terrific buzz throughout the holiday weekend,” said Sharks Ice hockey manager Tyler Shaffar, who served as tournament director. “We’re honored and excited to continue to be a part of Silver Stick.”
The division winners earned a berth to their respective International Silver Stick Finals, which will be contested in January at various locations in Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
Three former Los Angeles Jr. Kings – forwards Keoni Texeira and Evan Weinger and goaltender Evan Sarthou – along with former Jr. Shark Zak Galambos, were recognized by NHL Central Scouting on its “Players to Watch” list for 2016 draft-eligibles, which was released last month.
Texeira and Weinger, both of whom are skating for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this year – Texeira is in his third season; Weinger his second – were given a C-rating, indicating a fourth-, fifth- or six-round draft candidate (see more on the pair on Page 13).
Sarthou, who’s in his third season stopping pucks for the WHL’s Tri-City (Wash.) Americans, was tabbed a B-rated prospect (a potential second- or third-round draft candidate).
Galambos, a forward who’s playing for the North American Hockey League’s Johnstown Tomahawks, is also a C-rated prospect.
NHL Central Scouting will release its midseason rankings in January, followed by its final rankings in April.
The 2016 NHL Entry Draft will be conducted on June 24-25 in Buffalo.
Two players with California youth hockey ties – forwards Joey Cassetti and Brannon McManus – were named to the U.S. National Under-17 Team that competed in this month’s Under-17 Four Nations Tournament, which ran from Dec. 16-20 in Slovakia.
Cassetti, a former Jr. Shark from Pleasanton, is skating this season with the U.S. National Program’s Under-17 Team. He has committed to play his NCAA Division I hockey at Boston College.
McManus, a former LA Select from Newport Beach, is playing this season for the United States Hockey League’s Omaha Lancers. He will attend and play his NCAA Division I hockey the University of Minnesota following his junior career.
Team USA competed against teams from Russia, Slovakia and Switzerland in the round-robin tournament.
Speaking of international recognition, Corona’s Cayla Barnes was named to the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team that will compete in the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship, which will run from Jan. 8-15, 2016 in St. Catharines, Ontario.
An accomplished ice and inline player, Barnes is in her junior year at New Hampshire’s New Hampton School and also playing in the New England Women’s Hockey League on the East Coast Wizards’ 16U AAA team.
Barnes, a defenseman who has committed to play her NCAA Division I hockey at Boston College, was a member of last year’s U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team that celebrated a gold-medal performance in Buffalo.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Christine Castro, a beloved member of the Jr. Kings family who lost her battle with cancer last month.
She is survived by her husband, Rich, and three sons: Ryan, a former Jr. Kings player; Nick, a member of the program’s 16U AAA Major team; and Jesse, who plays on the Jr. Kings’ Pee Wee A1 squad.
In association with the Jr. Kings and Uncle Kory Foundation, the family has set up a Web site to donate to cancer research in Castro’s memory at https://www.crowdrise.com/JRKINGSHOCKEY.