NCR Elite continues to raise the bar
The NCR Tour Elite program is a combination of two organizations with roots in the Bay Area dating back more than a decade. NCR, which stands for Nor Cal Riot, was established in 2003; Tour Elite was established in 2010.
The merger has proven quite successful, with NCR Elite establishing itself as one of the premier travel teams in the Northern California region.
“NCR is a program my father and I started back in the early 2000s when I played,” said NCR Elite owner and program head coach Travis Suyeishi. “As I grew older, I began coaching Nor Cal Riot and created a team with my buddies called Nor Cal Elite. We merged the names NCR and Elite.”
Suyeishi’s assistant is David Puckett, who also manages and coaches within the NCR Elite program.
The club participated in 10 tournaments last season, including both NARCh West Coast Finals in Huntington Beach and NARCh East Coast Finals in Estero, Fla.
“We continue to challenge our club to play against the higher-caliber teams as much as we can,” Suyeishi explained.
Tryouts for the 2015-16 season took place in September. NCR Elite will be carrying 14U, 16U and 18U squads, as well a men’s division team, for the upcoming campaign. The club also plans to field a 21U team for next summer’s championship tournaments.
Going My Way
NCR Elite was the only California youth travel team represented at July’s NARCh East Coast Finals.
The Nor Cal club held its own against teams from the eastern seaboard and Canada. The NCR Elite Squirt team placed fourth in the Gold division, while its other three teams also made the playoffs.
“Florida was a great experience for our new players and families, especially playing at a facility like Germain Arena,” noted Suyeishi, who’s played in both the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League and American Inline Hockey League.
“We’re NARCh supporters and have been to Florida many times. We brought all four teams – 12U to 18U – to play what proved to be a higher-tempo, more-aggressive style. All of our teams improved each game and adjusted well.”
NCR Elite has made a commitment of exposing its players to the top levels of the sport. Playing against the best in an effort to be the best includes participating in the top tournaments – whether in California or elsewhere on the North American continent.
“There’s no other program in the country that’s been as supportive to NARCh over the last five years,” NARCh president Daryn Goodwin said. “They travel to NARCh Finals every year, as well as many regional qualifiers outside of Northern California.
“More importantly, the whole program is a class act; the coaches, parents and players are really supportive of everything roller hockey stands for. They work hard, always play as a team and enjoy the sport, on and off the rink. I think that really starts with their coaches.”
The NCR Elite 18U team made the finals in six tournaments last season, winning five gold medals. Top prizes included first-place finishes at both the AAU West Coast Winter Nationals at The Rinks-Corona Inline and NARCh West Coast Finals (Gold division), in addition to a silver medal at NARCh West Coast Winternationals.
NCR Elite’s 16U team also made the finals in six tournaments last season, skating home with three gold medals, while the 12U and 14U squads captured two gold medals apiece in four tournament finals appearances.
NCR Elite’s 14U team won its division at NARCh West Coast Winternationals, while the 16U team posted a runner-up finish there.
The NCR Elite program remains connected to social media with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. It’s become a great motivator for players within the program, according to Suyeishi.
“We started the ‘Gatorade Player of the Game’ midway through last season to add an element of competition of consistency between the players,” Suyeishi said. “This award didn’t always go to the player with the most points, but to the one who had an overall consistent and standout performance.”
NCR Elite had four players selected to represent Team Northern California at August’s State Wars XI United States Roller Hockey Championships in St. Peters, Mo., to wrap up the 2014-15 inline season.
Eric Wong and Chris Fisher played on the 1999 AA birth-year team that finished fourth, while Sebastien Paquet and Colton Bertagna skated on the 2002 AA birth-year team that lost to eventual division runner-up Missouri in the opening round of the playoffs.
Suyeishi noted that all four players will return to the NCR Elite program this season.
The 2015-16 season faces off with the annual Nor Cal Cup Thanksgiving Weekend tournament in San Jose. Expect NCR Elite to challenge once again for its share of hardware.
“We want to come back this season stronger and more consistent,” Suyeishi said.
– Phillip Brents