NARCh West Coast Finals face off 25th anniversary season
The top inline hockey teams throughout North America and much of the rest of the roller hockey playing world will gather this summer to celebrate a milestone: the 25th anniversary of the NARCh Finals.
The long-running tournament continues to be regarded as the largest amateur roller hockey tournament in the world and it does not appear to have lost an edge after two and a half decades.
More than 200 teams will be competing in the NARCh West Coast Finals June 21 to July 1 at THE RINKS-Irvine Inline. Another hefty entry list is expected for the NARCh East Coast Finals, which are scheduled July 12-22 at The Cooler in Alpharetta, Ga.
All age groups will be represented at this year’s championship finals, ranging from the 6U division through men’s and women’s adult divisions, as well as the top tier NARCh Pro Division.
“One of the biggest highlights for me is the 12-team 8U division (at the upcoming West Coast Finals),” NARCh president Daryn Goodwin said. “That’s a good indication for the future of our sport.”
The NARCh West Coast Finals will feature 21 defined age group divisions, with some of those divisions further divided into sub-divisions for championship playoffs.
Youth divisions include Cub (6U), Atom (8U), Mite (10U), Squirt (12U), Pee Wee (14U), Bantam (16U), Midget (18U) and Girls. The Mite, Squirt, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midgets divisions will all feature Platinum, Gold, Silver and Club sub-divisions.
The Junior Division (21U) will feature Platinum and Gold sub-divisions as will the Women’s Division. The Men’s Division will feature Platinum, Gold and Silver sub-divisions.
The minimum age to compete in the men’s divisions is 18 and 14 in the women’s and girls divisions.
There will also be dedicated 30-and-older and 40-and-older men’s divisions, plus the standalone Division I tier (24U).
The NARCh East Coast Finals will follow the same delineations with the addition of the standalone NARCh Pro Division.
One of the highlights for the NARCh Finals is the annual skills competition.
“Any player or goalie can compete as long as they are part of a team in the division,” Goodwin explained. “It’s a blast to be part of the competition and the focus should not be on winning but having fun, bonding with players from other teams, and maybe be lucky enough to show off a great move or save.”
Three winners are chosen in each division – fastest skater, sniper and top goaltender. Skills winners will be announced in 16 sub-divisions at the West Coast Finals – from 6U through adult.
Regional tournaments faced off in March and are scheduled to wrap up June 15-17 in Florida. Four separate regionals took place in California, with the Escondido tournament June 1-3 putting a wrap on events out west leading up to the NARCh West Coast Finals.
The Irvine regional tournament April 26-29 was the largest regional tournament, with 116 teams competing in 270 games spread over four days. A satellite rink in Huntington Beach was required to accommodate all the games.
Regional tournaments also took place in San Jose (March 10-11) and Huntington Beach (March 23-25).
The Irvine regional featured an international field with five teams participating from the Cayman Islands. Overall there were 10 out-of-state teams and 23 teams that made the trek down from Northern California.
Championships were determined in 25 sub-divisions.
Platinum Division champions included the Revolution 05 (Squirt), Verbero aNARChy (Pee Wee), Revolution 01 (Bantam), Revolution Black 99 (Midget), Revolution Black (Junior) and Rink Rat Groove (Men’s).
Gold Division champions included OC Marvel (Cub), Labeda Jets Navy (Atom), Pama Cyclones 08 (Mite), Notion (Squirt), Mission Mayhem (Pee Wee), Bulldogs Yellow (Bantam), Sin City Barons (Midget), Mile High Danglers (Junior) and Buzz (Men’s).
Silver Division champions included HB Militia (Cub), Mission Renegades (Atom), Mission Mayhem (Mite), Konixx Outcasts (Squirt), Cayman Islands (Pee Wee), Angry Ducks (Bantam), Revolution 00 (Midget) and MR2 Lynx (Men’s).
Four teams participated in each of the Girls and Women’s divisions. West Covina defeated the Bulldogs to win the Girls Division while the Labeda Jets defeated the Mavin Mavericks to win the Women’s Division.
Fourteen teams participated in the two men’s divisions – nine in the Platinum/Gold tier and five in the Silver tier.
Platinum Division runner-up teams included the High Rollers (Squirt), Angry Ducks 05 (Pee Wee), L.A. Winterhawks (Bantam), Rink Rat Groove (Migdet), Grasshopper Gamewear (Junior) and Verbero Cypress (Men’s).
Gold Division runner-up teams included the Bulldogs (Cub), Bulldogs Blue (Atom), Konixx Outcasts (Mite), Temecula Warriors (Squirt and Pee Wee), Mission Mayhem (Bantam and Midget), NorCal Extreme (Junior) and Mavin (Men’s).
Silver Division runner-up teams included the Mini Jets (Cub), Labeda Jets Gold (Atom), California Kings (Mite), Bulldogs Blue (Squirt), AKS Red (Pee Wee), Konixx Outcasts 02 (Bantam), NorCal Jokers (Midget) and the Westside Boyz (Men’s).
One of the more unusual twists at the Irvine regional took place in the Junior Gold Division as NorCal Extreme coach Bob Blakewell coached his sons Sam, Nick and Joe in the championship game.
An on-court family reunion was also held in the 12U Gold final as brothers Jake, Cody and Kevin Bertsch suited up for the Temecula Warriors with dad Mike on the bench.
Jaxon Cover of the Cayman Islands (Mite Division) led all division high scorers at the Irvine regional with 18 points.
Honorable mention honors went to Rocket Welsh of the Labeda Jets Navy (Atom Division) and Dylan Contreras of the High Rollers OC (Pee Wee Division), both with 13 points, and Clay Bozanich of Skittles 02 (Bantam Division) with 12 points.
Paul Hermle of Verbero Cypress (Men’s Platinum/Gold Division) collected 11 points while Codyn Thomas of the Revolution 05 (Squirt Division) accumulated 10 points to also reach double digits in pool-round scoring.
Marisa Trevino of the Revolution 01 (Bantam Division) turned in the top save percentage of .941 among all division top goaltender award winners.
Honorable mention honors went to Jolee Savoy of the High Rollers (Squirt Division ) with a .923 save percentage, Sean Smer of the West Covina High Rollers (Pee Wee Division) with a .909 save percentage and Kiera Tallas of HB Groovy (Girls Division) with a .898 save percentage.
Trevino teamed with Revolution Black 99 teammate Ethan Bach to post an .882 save percentage to lead the Midget Platinum Division. Savoy also emerged with a pair of division top goaltender awards after topping the Women’s Division (Labeda Jets) with an .844 save percentage.
There seems to be no shortage of talent between the pipes this year. Max Muller of the Mission Mayhem posted an .882 save percentage to top the Midget Gold/Silver Division while Nicholas Leacox, a participant in the FIRS world inline hockey championship tournament with the U.S. national junior men’s team, recorded a .880 save percentage for Verbero Cypress to top the Men’s Platinum/Gold Division.
Ron Best, who backstopped Cal State University Fullerton during the 2017-18 Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League season, posted an .875 save percentage for Grosshopper Gamewear to pace Junior Platinum/Gold Division netminders.
The Escondido regional featured an intimate gathering of 28 teams, with teams receiving championship awards in 10 sub-divisions.
Division champions included the Labeda Pama Golden Knights 05 (Squirt Gold), San Diego Rockets 05 (Squirt Silver), Angry Ducks (Pee Wee Gold), Temecula Warriors (Pee Wee Silver), Konixx Outcasts 01 (Bantam Gold), Raiders HC (Bantam Silver and Midget Silver), The Mighty Pucks (Midget Gold), Fort Knights (Men’s Gold) and Concrete Warriors (Men’s Silver).
Christian Kim of the Labeda Pama Golden Knights 05 (Squirt Division) topped division high scorers with 13 points, followed by Kyle DeCoster of the Konixx Outcasts 00 (Midget Division) with 12 points and the Angry Ducks’ Chase Stefanek (Pee Wee Division) with 11 points.
Joey Capri of OG Mavin posted a .953 save percentage to top the Men’s Division while Ian Chapman of the Labeda Pama Golden Knights 05 posted a .940 save percentage to top the Squirt Division.
Jasial Patel of the Verbero aNARChy posted a .923 save percentage to top the Pee Wee Division while Aidan Comeau of the Angry Ducks posted a .913 save percentage to top the Bantam Division.
The fifth annual Puck Cancer Ironman roller hockey tournament, benefiting the Mock family, cancer fighters, survivors and their families, will take place Saturday, June 16, at the Escondido Sports Center, starting at 9 a.m.
The four-on-four event features 12-minute games, food, prizes and more. Divisions include adult (open and novice), youth (10U, 12U, 14U and 17U), girls and womens.
For more information, contact (769) 703-8155 or email email@example.com.
The Escondido Sports Center is located at 3315 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido.
— Phillip Brents
(June 15, 2018)