Good times keep rolling for Quakes’ Inouye
The Silicon Valley Quakes can date their genesis back to the 1995-96 season as the Renegades Atom division team that competed at the USARS/Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Championships at the Odeum Expo Center, which is located just outside Chicago.
A few months later, the Bay Area team’s home rink shut down and the Renegades moved across town. Beginning in the 1997-98 season, the team changed its name to the Silicon Valley Quakes.
“We’ve been having fun and making lifelong friends for 20 years now, and hope to keep it going for another 20-plus,” Quakes program director Dave Inouye said.
The Inouye clan has been synonymous with high-level roller hockey in Northern California for many years. Inouye has had two sons – Daniel and Michael – win National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association championships at Lindenwood University.
Daniel played on the silver medal-winning Team USA Junior Men’s squad at the 2010 FIRS Inline World Championships in Düsseldorf, Germany, while Michael played on the 2007 medal-winning Team USA Junior Men’s club at the 2007 FIRS tournament.
The elder Inouye finally got a chance to shine as the coach of this year’s Team USA Junior Men’s squad that competed at the FIRS championships, which were held in Rosario, Argentina, in June.
The U.S. team placed fourth after a 3-2 loss to Italy in the bronze-medal game. The American squad had a definite Northern California feel to it with Inouye as head coach and three players from the region on the team’s roster: Caleb Hermle and Nick Leacox from the NorCal Extreme and Zachary Claunch from the Quakes.
Inoyue said he’s very interested in coaching the U.S. Junior Men’s squad again if asked.
“It was an amazing experience with a great group of young men,” Inouye said. “I had a blast. I’d be honored if they gave me the team again next year.”
The Americans posted a dramatic 3-2 win over Spain in the quarterfinal playoffs. Hermle scored the game-tying goal with 1:27 to play in regulation and Claunch then won it on a penalty shot at the end of regulation play.
Hermle led the U.S. squad with three goals, while Claunch tallied two markers and one assist. Leacox posted a 2.33 goals-against average.
“We only had five kids (out of the 14 on the roster) who had ever played together,” the elder Inouye said. “We had to get our chemistry going (quickly). The Nor Cal kids went in there and played very well for us.”
The memorable trip to Argentina was just the beginning of a busy summer for Inouye.
Immediately following the FIRS World Championships, Inouye coached two youth teams from the Quakes program at the Tournament of Roller Hockey Series (TORHS) National Championships, which ran from June 26-July 5 in Taylor, Mich.
The Quakes’ Midget AA and Bantam AA teams competed against some of the top teams in their age divisions from the eastern part of the country.
“We finished out of the playoffs in both divisions,” Inouye said. “We squandered the lead in almost every loss, but it was a great experience. We had a lot of fun off the rink, too.
“The style of play was very different than out west; it was great for my players to play east of the Rockies. They can all find some good things to add to their games from the experience as they get ready for the upcoming season.”
The summer ended with a trip to Southern California to compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games, which were played at The Rinks-Corona Inline.
The Quakes posted a second-place finish in the 10U A Tier I division while recording fourth-place finishes in both the 12U A Tier II and 16U A Tier I division playoffs.
Kyler Bacosa paced the Quakes’ 10U A team with eight goals and 11 points in six games. He scored both goals for the Quakes in their 3-2 championship game loss to Notion.
The two other Quakes teams lost in bronze-medal games.
“The kids all played well and got into the usual mischief outside the rink, which makes for great memories that last longer than the wins and losses ever do,” Inouye said.
Tryouts for the Quakes’ 2015-16 season were scheduled for Sept. 13. Inouye said he hopes to field teams in the Atom, Mite, Squirt, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget divisions for the upcoming campaign.
Inouye also said he hopes to have the team’s tournaments dialed in by late October.
“We should have a variety of everything: TORHS, AAU, the Pacific Inline Hockey League, NARCh, State Wars and an in-house rink tourney or two,” he said.
“We played at least two tournaments with every organization last season with the exception of State Wars (the Quakes only participated in Winter Wars). I hope we can pull it off again this year.”
– Phillip Brents