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Central Cathedral Jets are Acting Like They’ve Been at Nationals Before

By Tom Robinson, 03/21/24, 3:45PM MDT


The Jets are the first team from San Diego to play in the Chipotle-USA Hockey High School National Championships.

Despite never playing at the Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championshipsbefore, the Central Cathedral Jets are well aware of the significance of being the first team from San Diego to make it this far.

Brad Belland, the head coach of the Jets, has told the Jets to not forget that they are playing for not just San Diego, but their entire state and everyone who has helped them along their respective hockey journeys. 

“What I tell the kids is, you’re representing something bigger than yourself now,” Belland said. “Now, you’re representing California, the city of San Diego. You’re representing the Anaheim Ducks High School League, the San Diego Ice Arena, the Jets and your parents."

“With us moving on and playing in nationals, there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility to make sure you conduct yourself in the appropriate manner and you conduct yourself with pride.”

Making it to nationals is an example of the ongoing growth of youth hockey in San Diego. After losing in the state final last year, the Jets made it back to the final and defeated Stockton St. Mary’s, 7-3, this season to clinch their ticket to West Chester, Pennsylvania, for the 2024 Chipotle-USA Hockey High School Division I National Championships.

Fans can watch all the action from the 2024 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships live on

Belland has no doubts the Jets will meet the expectations he discussed while prepping his team for the tournament.

“These kids are exceptional young men,” Belland said. “I’m very excited for them that they’re getting this opportunity.

“Like everyone else. We want to win, and we feel we can.”

The Jets did just that when the tournament opened on Wednesday, beating the Centennial Coyotes, 2-1. 

“Obviously, it’s a great honor that we’re really excited for,” team captain Matthew Matsuda said. “Being from San Diego, there’s limited ice and limited resources for ice hockey. But we’ve worked with what we have and put in a lot of hard work and we’re here and ready to make history.”

The team of players from 10 high schools around San Diego went 23-19 while splitting its schedule among three entities — the Anaheim Ducks High School League; the North American Prospects Hockey League, in which it made trips to New Hampshire, Minnesota and Michigan; and the California Amateur Hockey Association, where it won the state high school title.

Belland has seen the growth of hockey in San Diego firsthand after playing professional hockey for the San Diego Gulls of the West Coast Hockey League in the late 1990s. Currently, the Gulls are the American Hockey League affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks.

Now his focus is on helping his players win a Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championship this weekend in Pennsylvania. 

With school responsibilities and players also competing on club teams, the Jets did not always have a full lineup this season, so Belland is looking forward to competing with a complete roster of players throughout nationals.

“We play with controlled aggression and passion for the game,” he said.“The kids I have on my team are very committed. We work very hard, and we have a system in place, and I let them play free within that system.

“I don’t like to hold them back on using their imagination, but they know their core responsibilities on the ice. As long as they stick to those core responsibilities, then we have a pretty strong team because our work ethic is exceptional.”

The team’s system has led to a well-rounded attack. 

During the 19 games in the ADHSL, Logan Wise led the way with 10 goals and 15 points. Matsuda tallied 14 points and four other players — Josiah Lee, James Schneider, Devin Edoria and Cole Craft had between 10 and 13. 

Edoria scored the first goal at nationals for the Jets, while Max Wu scored the game-winner with 59 seconds to go in regulation. Matsuda picked up an assist on both goals.  

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.