HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Thirty-three teams, including squads from the host state as well as nearby New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, made the trip to the Garden State last week for the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Youth 14-and-Under National Championships.
The team that had the longest trip was the Alaska Wolves, who made an approximate 4,000-mile, nine-hour flight.
“We had a good time and our kids had a good experience,” Wolves coach Nathan Shasby said. “We earned the right to come here, and our kids were well tested.”
Champions at the Top
Montana, Chesterfield and the USA Eagles were among the team leaders in individual and team scorers in the championships.
In the A division, champion Montana and finals opponent South Dakota combined to have all of the top eight scorers.
Chesterfield and its finals opponent New Canaan had the top five scorers in AA, while the USA Eagles had the top two scorers in AAA.
All three of the championship teams were the top team scorers in their respective divisions with Montana having 33 goals, Chesterfield having 33, and the USA Eagles scoring 27.
Thank the Devils
More than 600 youth players and family members attended the New Jersey Devils game Friday night at the Prudential Center in Newark. The National Hockey League team also sponsored a fan fest in which more than 1,000 fans participated. Due to the inclement weather in the area, the fanfest was held indoors. The Devils, who are fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, beat the Washington Capitals 2-1.
Checking in With the Chief
Hackensack’s Ice House hosted the USA Hockey national tournament in 2008 and 2011 as a Tier I component. Glenn Carlough, the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier II Youth National Championships tournament chairman, noticed a few differences in this year’s Tier II event.
Carlough noted how this year’s tournament was designed differently to have two-16 team brackets and one eight-team bracket. The Tier II event also features the three divisions: A, AA and AAA.
“This year’s brackets were determined by the number of USA Hockey registered players at the 14-year age level in a particular state,” he said. “We’re actually crowning three national champions.
“From a structural standpoint, that is the most unusual aspect. It was a busy weekend with five games a day in the early rounds.
“Overall, we received mostly positive feedback.”
Carlough estimated that approximately 1,500 fans attended the three-day tournament, but he hadn’t received Sunday totals. The total was an average mark for the tournament over the past few years, he said.
In each of the championship games, both teams had supportive and relatively large contingents to support their teams.
Carlough said he expects the Ice House to likely bid for the championships in 2015.
“The flights are relatively easy to handle and there is the shadow of New York City,” he said. “We had plenty of positive feedback.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.