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Jr. Reign’s Frank starting Riverside high school program

 

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If there’s any question about the continued growth in popularity of high school hockey, doubters need look no further than the teams recently added in the Inland Empire region of Southern California.

Starting next season, another team will be brought into the fold, as Ontario Jr. Reign president Ben Frank will work with the Carnegie Schools Riverside to start an ice hockey program for the first time in the school’s 60-year history.

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“The athletic director reached out to me and the folks at Riverside Ice Town,” Frank said. “We talked about the growth of hockey in the area and creating opportunities for kids. The support and resources that they plan to put toward the high school hockey program was really exciting to me, and really fit within the values of what we’re trying to do at the youth levels. I thought it was a no-brainer to get involved.”

Frank has been hired as the school’s hockey director, a role he plans to fulfill while continuing his position as the president of the newly named Jr. Reign (formerly the Wildcats Hockey Club).

Carnegie Schools Riverside will ice its first team for the 2017-18 season, and the Wolverines will play in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, with their practices and games will be held at Riverside Ice Town and in Anaheim.

More information about the team can be found at www.CarnegieHockey.com.

When Frank was presented with the opportunity and had time to hear what the school’s plans were for the future, he felt confident he’d be working with like-minded people who truly believed in the value of athletics and doing things the right way.

“They’re growing really quickly, and they really believe in the student-athlete and that sports are a big part of the high school experience,” Frank said. “They’ve brought on new coaches for football, basketball and baseball, and have had a tremendous amount of success building the athletic program in the last year.

“They want to do the same thing with hockey.”

Carnegie Schools Riverside won’t be a “pure” team – one that formulates its roster only from students who attend the same school – to start. The team will be able to have players from the Riverside, Beaumont Moreno Valley, Nuview Union, Perris, Romoland, San Jacinto and Val Verde school districts. Like with many other schools in the Ducks and Kings high school leagues, Frank said his goal is to eventually develop the program into a pure team.

The school plans to start with both varsity and junior varsity teams. Coaches have yet been named.

The school was founded as Riverside Christian in 1958 and was recently renamed Carnegie Schools Riverside. It has sister schools in Whittier and Sherman Oaks. The Riverside campus has an enrollment of approximately 700 students in elementary school, middle school and high school, with about 10 percent of those students coming from 26 different countries around the world.

Carnegie Schools Riverside features a student to teacher ratio of 20:1, and the high school offers 18 advanced placement courses. Since its founding nearly 60 years ago, it has had countless students accepted into the country’s most prestigious universities, from Stanford and USC to M.I.T., Cornell, Rice and all the University of California campuses.

The Wolverines will one of the few schools representing the Inland Empire in the Ducks league, though the league has teams in Chino, Corona-Norco and Palm Springs. The region has a massive population of nearly five million people, but doesn’t offer as many opportunities to play hockey as cities in surrounding Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

Frank sees plenty of room for growth there.

“With the AHL’s Ontario Reign having established solid roots there, and with the growth of hockey in California, it’s an area with tremendous growth potential for hockey,” Frank said.

— Greg Ball