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Youth Tier II 16U Notebook: Lone Star Skate

By Sean Shapiro, 04/10/17, 8:45AM MDT

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Success of Youth Tier II 16U National Championships showcases Texas as a bona fide hockey community

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.”

Team Building

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.”

Odds and Ends

  • Throughout the tournament, coaches praised the officials. Many of the officials returned that praise when talking about the players and teams who represented their communities proudly.
  • The tournament was also a chance for Texas-based college hockey club teams to share more about their programs. Coaches from several American Collegiate Hockey Association teams attended the tournament and shared information about opportunities for players to continue playing college hockey at the club level in Texas.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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2017 USA Hockey National Championship Sites

Division Location Host Dates
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