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Jr. Sharks teams gain valuable experience at Nationals

 

nationals_logoThe month of April is always a time to get excited, as the month brings a slew of USA Hockey National Championships.

This year, the San Jose Jr. Sharks sent four teams to various locations across the country.

And while no Jr. Sharks teams brought home a championship banner, the continued experience of playing at a high level will be a major boost for the 2019-20 season.

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John Beaulieu took his 15U AAA team to Plymouth, Mich., and fell to the Chicago Mission, Shattuck-St. Mary’s and the Cape Cod Whalers.

“This season made it very clear to me that while the skill of the player is important to a team’s ability to win, it is the relationships in the locker room that make a season successful,” said Beaulieu. “We were successful this season because our team was more than a collection of great players – it was a group of great young men that loved and respected each other as much as they loved and respected the game of hockey.

“What I liked most about this team was that they took every challenge, both on and off the ice, head on, and with intensity and heart. They consistently worked hard and regardless of the situation, played the game with respect and passion.”

Bobby Long’s 19U AAA girls team went to Irvine’s Great Park Ice, finishing 1-2 with their win coming in an exciting shootout over Team North Dakota. They lost to the CT Polar Bears and Chicago Mission.

“This season showed that our girls can compete with most 19U AAA teams in the country,” Long said. “Are we at the top yet? No, but we feel like we are a strong contender in the next tier. What I like most about our team is the way they compete and battle. With our travel schedule, it is very hard to go away from home all the time and compete. They have shown that they can do that and also keep their grades up at the same time.

“When you can compete at the national level and do well, coming home knowing things could have been different, the girls look at it as a positive for next season.”

At the 14U AAA level, Michael Rathje’s girls team also went to Irvine, going 0-3 with losses to the Chicago Mission, Pittsburgh Pens Elite and the Hartford Jr. Lady Wolfpack.

jr_sharks_imageShane Galaviz coaches the Jr. Sharks’ 18U AA team and skating on home ice at Solar4America Ice at San Jose, the squad went 1-2, winning its last game 3-0 over the South Shore Kings as Henry Lissner made 20 saves, Henry Chavez III scored twice, and Brendan Lockwood added a goal. Rio Kanamaki had two assists.

The team fell to the Tri-City Eagles and Minnesota Moose.

“I think some positives are that teams are buying into what the direction the organization is taking,” Galaviz said. “Seeing players and families buy in and take pride in the organization we play for is what is going to make this organization successful and that’s what I think we saw this season. Our team was able to stay positive through adversity. We struggled at times throughout the season, but the boys kept working and kept a positive attitude throughout the process because we were all working to a common goal.

“As a coaching staff it showed us where we need to improve and what we are doing correctly. I think the success really is going to drive and motivate us into the off season because, as young coaches, we have had a taste of the national tournament and we want to get back there. We learned what worked for us and we also saw what needs to be fixed to win at the next level. As for the players, it was the last season for most of them but having a successful season to end their career makes them excited to move on to the next level and to continue play this game we all grew up loving.”

— Matt Mackinder

(May 2, 2019)