FRISCO, Texas -- Even in the hockey community, Texas is a bit of an afterthought on ice.
Sure, the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars have been in Texas for more than two decades, but the Lone Star State is still better known for football and baseball.
Some of those stereotypes were flipped on their heads this weekend when the USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U National Championships were held in Frisco and Plano, a pair of Dallas suburbs.
“We wanted to make sure people knew that we love and grow the game here,” Dallas Penguins coach Jeffrey Mewett said. “We had lots of volunteers and parents who went above and beyond to make sure we were welcoming and giving the best treatment to everyone.”
Consider it a success.
Multiple coaches, players, and parents commented throughout the weekend about how happy they were with the event. Many were impressed with the arenas and facilities, while others quickly commented about how friendly the organizers were.
“They’ve got a great situation here, with all the rinks and how nice they are, I didn’t know this was all here,” said Paul Doherty, coach of the Portland Jr. Winterhawks. “I wish we had this much ice by us in Portland. They did a great job.”
“It’s a great tournament and a wonderful job they’ve done here,” Martin Lacroix, coach of the Nevada Storm, said. “We’ve been treated extremely well and this is how you should run a tournament. Hopefully it’ll come back here in the future, because this is the way it should be done.”
Mewett said he’s hoping it will lead to other opportunities in Texas.
“Hopefully this leads to other national championships here,” Mewett said. “I think if we continue to get them in Texas we’ll continue to grow the game. It really is a win-win situation for us.”
For those teams from colder states, the trip to Dallas was a trip to escape the chilly weather and enjoy nice spring temperatures.
It was also a chance to watch some more hockey.
Many teams bought group tickets to the Stars games on Thursday and Saturday, while the local ECHL team — the Allen Americans — also provided tickets at a discounted group rate for teams and participants.
“This was a great overall experience for our team,” Oakland Jr. Grizzlies Gold coach Jason Selleke said. “We got to get out of the cold Michigan weather, win some games and watch some hockey. This really was the perfect way to end the season for us.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
|Youth Tier I (14U)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (15-year-olds only)||Scottsdale, Arizona||Arizona Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier I (16U, 18U)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh Penguins Elite||April 6-10, 2017|
|Girls Tier I||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Women's A, B, C||Rochester/Macomb, Michigan||HoneyBaked Hockey Club||April 6-9, 2017|
|High School||Cleveland, Ohio||Cleveland Suburban Hockey||March 30-April 3, 2017|
|Girls Tier II||Troy, Michigan||Troy Youth Hockey Association||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (14U)||Coral Springs, Florida||Florida Panthers Ice Den||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (16U)||Frisco, Texas||Texas Amateur Hockey||April 6-10, 2017|
|Youth Tier II (18U)||Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Hockey Club||April 6-10, 2017|
|Sled||San Jose, California||Sharks Ice||April 6-9, 2017|
|Adult Rec Men's||Wesley Chapel, Florida||Florida Hospital Center Ice||April 20-23, 2017|
|Adult Rec Women's||Ellenton, Florida||Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex||April 27-30, 2017|