On July 1, 2008, the Anaheim Ducks launched Southern California’s first ever high school hockey league. Named the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL), the program was groundbreaking in the region, giving students the opportunity to represent their schools on the ice and further putting Southern California hockey on the map. The league began with one school, JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano. Four more teams were added within the next two years, and then six additional teams were added in 2011. One of those was Edison High School of Huntington Beach.
Edison is a public high school in the Huntington Beach Union High School District comprising approximately 3,000 students. Established in 1969, Edison has a rich history in high school athletics, most notably football, in which players have gone on to receive college scholarships for nearly every year since 1970.
Other traditional high school sports like tennis, volleyball, wrestling and basketball are staples of Edison’s athletic department. But a simple phone call in 2010 kick started the process of adding another sport to the list: ice hockey.
THE PHONE CALL
On one end of that phone call was Sheri Osterkamp, a mother inquiring about additional information regarding the still-new Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League. Her son, then-13-year-old Tanner, had been playing ice hockey in a youth recreational hockey league at Anaheim Ice, and inline hockey at THE RINKS – Huntington Beach Inline (formerly Coast to Coast Hockey), and he’d expressed interest in playing the game at the high school level. However, the closest high school within the ADHSHL at the time was Servite in Anaheim.
“Servite is a very nice school, but our family are Edison Chargers,” she told her son, who asked how far Servite was from Huntington Beach. “How about we try to make our own ice hockey team at Edison?”
Her allegiance to Edison runs deep, as the Osterkamps have a storied history at the high school. She says all of Tanner’s cousins were leaders in EHS athletics. Every cousin of his is honored in the EHS Athletic Hall of Fame, and several went on to play college football, tennis and swimming. In fact, his father was a former Charger football player himself. In addition, two Edison family graduates went on to become professional athletes, including his uncle, Mark Boyer, who played in the NFL for several years, and cousin, Tom Shields, who holds National and American swimming records. Shields graduated from Edison in 2009 and is currently a member of the USA Swimming National Team.
Carrying on the family tradition was of utmost importance for Sheri and her family.
|The Chargers won the Surf City Face Off in 2013 after defeating the Huntington Beach Oilers (also part of the ADHSHL). |
She recalls coming home from a Ducks game one night with the postgame radio show on in the background. That night’s guest happened to be Vice President – THE RINKS Art Trottier, who at the time was General Manager of Anaheim and Westminster Ice.
With the ADHSHL still in its early stages, Trottier told listeners to give him a call directly for anyone interested in joining the league. The decision was a no-brainer for Osterkamp. She called Trottier the very next morning to gain insight on what it would take to bring hockey to Edison.
“I was just getting more information on what exactly we had to do to get a team started,” she said. “After that, I went to talk to the school. Art really helped get it started.”
Trottier recalls his initial meeting with Osterkamp and EHS. “I remember going to the high school with Sheri and talking with the administration at Edison,” he said. “They thought about it for a while, and then appointed someone to sort of oversee the hockey program. The rest was history.”
Edison’s first venture into the ADHSHL began in 2011-12, when the Chargers debuted in the Junior Varsity division. Tanner Osterkamp got his wish, and donned a Chargers jersey for the team’s inaugural season in his freshman year at Edison.
HONOR AND PRIDE
Edison’s newly formed team gave its players an opportunity to represent their school on and off the ice. Players wore their jerseys and team-issued apparel with pride. A real sense of belonging was born.
Osterkamp hoped her 14-year-old son would fit in and feel a part of the school right off the bat. The hockey team, she says, gave him that opportunity. “I really wanted there to be a place where these hockey players would belong on campus, as we know that’s so important in high school,” she said. “Sure enough when September rolled around, we had a hockey club on campus and players wore their team polos to school on Fridays just like the other sports were doing to promote their games. These players had a place on campus as a team.”
|Edison's Varsity 1 squad opened the season against Damien High School on September 6 at Anaheim Ice. |
Now, four years later, the 2014-15 season marks Tanner’s senior year at EHS, and his final as a member of the Chargers. But now there’s another Osterkamp on Edison’s Varsity 1 roster, younger brother Ryan. (Varsity 1 is the ADHSHL’s top division.)
Ryan is a freshman at Edison and made his debut alongside older brother Tanner on Saturday at Anaheim ICE, where the Varsity 1 season officially got underway. Sheri savored every moment of it, and took a second to reflect on what this program has become.
“The game was a bit surreal as I sat and watched my two sons together on the blueline as the National Anthem played, and realized how far this team has come” she said. “This is a new beginning. This comes full circle for me having two sons on the ice together as teammates, with a high school team that continues to thrive and will still be growing in three years when their youngest brother, Evan, arrives to Edison as a hockey player.”
That’s right, a third Osterkamp will be suiting up for the green and gold in 2017.
The Chargers actually have multiple sets of siblings playing in their program, including senior brothers Jack and Drew Truxaw, who transferred from Servite as sophomores and have started a new family tradition in their home as Edison Chargers. Edison alumnus (and inaugural captain) Riley Lowe has a younger brother, Charlie, who joined the JV team this season. Furthermore, Spencer and Alyssa Dennis played together last season on the JV squad.
DREAM BECOMES REALITY
Osterkamp says this program wouldn’t have happened without the tremendous grassroots support from fellow Charger families, friends and, of course, the Ducks.
“For our family, this is a testament to a great community of Edison Charger families who were willing to join something so new at the time, and to those that have jumped in to participate and volunteer to help feed and nourish the program it is becoming,” Osterkamp said. “I am so thankful to the league, school administration and families that were able to make this happen for this group of hockey players and those coming in the future.”
Edison High School hockey continues to flourish as part of the ever-growing Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, which recently expanded to 41 teams in five divisions.
And to think, it all started with a son’s dream and a simple phone call.
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, visit ADHSHL.com.