ANCHORAGE -- It’s many young hockey players’ dream to be the next Sidney Crosby, but it’s not every day they get to play in front of the Pittsburgh Penguins star’s agent.
Pat Brisson, a top NHL sports agent for Creative Artists Agency, was in attendance at the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 14U National Championships this weekend in Anchorage, Alaska, to watch his son, Brendan, play for the LA Junior Kings.
But Brisson wasn’t the only big hockey name examining the talent over the weekend.
Several college hockey coaches were in attendance, including University of Alaska Anchorage coach Matt Thomas and University of Alaska Fairbanks coach Dallas Ferguson.
Coming from farther away, University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia, University of North Dakota assistant Matt Shaw, Miami University assistant Brent Brekke and Arizona State University assistant Mike Field also made the trip north.
The team benches included some former NHL big shots, too. Marty McInnis serves as an assistant for the Boston Junior Eagles, Brian Rolston is the coach for Little Caesars of Michigan and Gino Cavallini coaches Chicago Mission, to name a few.
Unlucky After Regulation
The national championships featured two shootout games, and both games included the LA Junior Kings.
The Kings, already playing three games in three days, found themselves playing extended contests Thursday and Saturday.
Thursday, they rallied with a late third-period goal by Brendan Brisson to tie the game against the New Jersey Colonials before winning in the shootout to claim the 2-1 victory.
It was déjà vu Saturday against the Buffalo Junior Sabres, except this time it was the Sabres coming out with the 2-1 win.
Trevor Kuntar collected a goal late in regulation and Chase Nicholson delivered the only goal in the shootout.
Fans By the Numbers
A mix of local hockey fans and parents making the long trek to Anchorage made the small two-rink Subway Sports Centre a bustling hockey haven over the national tournament. Nearly 1,000 fans attended the games over the weekend.
Fans crowded the bleachers, spread around the walking track that circles the rinks and enjoyed food in the facility’s centrally located diner or at the Subway near the entrance between games.
“It had a small-town feel to it,” said Adam Nightingale, coach of tournament-champion Shattuck-St. Mary’s School of Minnesota.
“The fans that turned out for it — for the kids to be able to play in that experience, it’s awesome.”
The tournament also received 180,000 impressions on Twitter and had thousands of fans watching online streams of the event.
It was the first time the tournament was held in Anchorage since 1993.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.