To the surprise of some people, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of children, youths and adults playing organized amateur hockey in the Bay Area. The game hasn't quite taken hold yet as it has in other hockey hotbeds like Minnesota and New England, but the game seems to grow a little bit bigger and better every year.
Logitech Ice in San Jose, which is owned by the City of San Jose and managed by the Sharks, now boasts four full sheets of NHL ice. It is the largest such facility south of the Canadian border and west of the Mississippi. Many weekends you can stop by Logitech or any of the other 16 Northern California Area rinks and find the building jammed with boys and girls skating and shooting and their parents cheering and biting their nails in anticipation. Hockey is a tremendous spectator sport at virtually every level.
If you paid attention to our FSN Bay Area broadcast earlier this week you couldn't miss me talking about the Silver Stick Regional Hockey Tournament held in San Jose over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Silver Stick Tournament featured 53 teams and more than 800 youth hockey players from nine different divisions (Mite, Squirt A, Squirt B, PeeWee A, PeeWee B, Bantam A, Bantam B, Midget 16U and Midget 18U) throughout California, Oregon and Arizona.
You probably also couldn't miss me bragging about my own two sons who played in the event. My 11-year-old plays on the Tri-Valley Blue Devils Pee Wee A squad out of Dublin, CA. While they didn't win their division at Silver Stick they had a tremendous experience. My 13-year-old Randall and his team of Tri-Valley Bantam B's faired a little better. They finished with three wins and a tie in the round robin and then defeated the San Jose Jr. Sharks in the title game. It's one of the only times I've ever cheered against the team in Teal. My son’s team, coached by long-time amateur hockey volunteer Paul Bates, will now move on to the International Silver Stick Tournament in Ontario, Canada in January.
I've received some emails from other teams letting me know that they also won their divisions at Silver Stick, so here are all the winners. Wish them all the best of luck as they represent Northern California hockey. And the next time the Sharks are idle and you are still in the mood for some great live action, check out your local rink. You might be surprised at how good California hockey has become.
Regional Champions from the Silver Stick Regional Tournament in San Jose.
Mite – LA Hockey Club (Los Angeles, CA)
Squirt A – San Jose Jr. Sharks
Squirt B – San Jose Jr. Sharks
Peewee A – Peoria Roadrunners (Peoria, AZ)
Peewee B – San Jose Jr. Sharks
Bantam A – San Jose Jr. Sharks
Bantam B – Tri-Valley Blue Devils (Dublin, CA)
Midget 16U – Santa Clara Blackhawks (Fremont, CA)
Midget 18U – Tri-Valley Blue Devils (Dublin, CA)
For Seagate Technology's "In the Crease," I'm Randy Hahn.