Jr. Gulls conclude ’19-20 season, look ahead to ’20-21
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The San Diego Jr. Gulls organization saw its 2019-20 season end prematurely, with many memories yet to be made that will now have to be the answer to the question, “What if?”
That said, the club experienced several outstanding highlights during the season, including the 10U A team skating to an undefeated SCAHA season and priming itself for a run at a state championship.
In addition, the 12U AA team participated in the annual Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament in February and the 14U AA team played a mid-season tournament in Yellowknife, the capital, only city, and largest community in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The 12U AA2 team played in a tournament in Regina, Sask., in -40-degree weather, probably the first San Diego hockey team ever to play in Regina.
On the girls side, the Jr. Gulls iced six teams this season, ranging from 8U to 19U.
“Since the girls program came into existence four seasons ago, the Jr. Gulls have experienced growth each season, and have developed into one of the top programs on the West Coast,” said Jr. Gulls girls program director Alex Morrison.
One of the surreal storylines for the girls was just a few months ago when the entire group sold hundreds of tickets to the United States-Canada women’s game in February at Honda Center. The Jr. Gulls were chosen to be represented on the ice during the national anthem and several players stood next to players from the U.S. Women’s National Team.
On the ice, Jr. Gulls girls teams brought some hardware back to Ice-Plex Escondido as the 8U team won silver at the San Diego Girls Christmas Invitational, the 12U team took first at the Lady Ducks Fall Classic and second at the Chicago Girls Winter Classic, the 14U squad claimed silver at the Lady Ducks Fall Classic and the 19U team finished first at the San Diego Girls Christmas Invitational and Boulder Breakout and second at the USA Hockey Pacific District Tournament. The 19U team also wrapped the season ranked in the top 25 nationally, according to MyHockeyRankings.com.
A trio of Jr. Gulls coaches also made news as Blake Bolden (pictured) played with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association in numerous events, was hired by the LA Kings as a professional scout and was featured by the NHL in multiple publications. Jamie Huntley was selected as a referee for the IIHF Women’s World Championship that was to take place in France in April, and Morrison was named head coach of the U.S. Jr. Women’s National Inline Hockey Team that was scheduled to compete at the World Inline Hockey Championship this summer.
Since all seasons ended last month, the Jr. Gulls have been taking every precaution to ensure hockey can come back for the 2020-21 season.
“It is important to the Jr Gulls leadership to be available to answer any questions or concerns that parents or players have,” said Jr. Gulls hockey director Craig Carlyle. “The line of communication is always open and the safely of our membership is a top priority. We fully support our home rink, Ice-Plex Escondido, for temporarily closing to make sure we are all safe during these uncertain times. To stay connected to our Jr. Gulls families, we engage with membership via our social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram and sending out info on dryland drills specific to hockey.”
Carlyle, who is also offering remote coaching, said as the summer months approach, things should start to get back to normal.
“The Jr. Gulls have a strong membership of families that have rallied together, and it was tough for a lot of playoff-bound teams to deal with their season ending early, but they all remained positive,” said Carlyle. “Hockey is a huge part of their lives and the Jr. Gulls want to provide the highest level of coaching to help our players achieve their goals.”
— Matt Mackinder
(June 15, 2020)