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AAU Winter Nationals face off 2018-19 season in Corona By Phillip Brents

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total of 40 teams competed at the 2018 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Winter Nationals held Dec. 1516 at The Rinks-Corona Inline. The event, which served as a qualifier for July’s AAU Junior Olympic Games tournament in Hawaii, featured awards in 12 championship sub-divisions. “The event had some great divisions and really close games, from our 6U all the way up to our 18U division,” tournament director Ben Barrett said. “It was great to see so many 6U and 8U teams at the event. “The sport continues to grow and not just in numbers. The skill of some of these young kids is amazing to watch and see where they will go with hockey. “It was a great event to finish off 2018 and we are excited to get 2019 kicked off.” The host Bulldogs program, which features nine teams from 6U to 18U for the 2018-19 season, had a great showing at December’s tournament. Five teams advanced to division finals, with three teams winning gold medals and two teams finishing with silver medals. “The teams really played great at this year’s event,” Barrett said. “Our program continues to grow each season and we are extremely excited to see these teams grow even more into the 2019 season.” Top dogs Bulldogs teams captured gold medals in 6U Tier 1, 10U-AA and 18U-A and silver medals in 8U-A and 8U-AA. Division champions also included OC Marvel (6U Tier 2, 8U-A and 8U-AA), HB Militia White (10U-A), Honey Badgers (12U-A), California Kings (12U-AA), Temecula Warriors (14U), Velocity (16U-AA) and Sour Skittles

(18U-AA). Runner-up teams also included the HB Militia (6U Tier 1), Labeda Jets (6U Tier 2, 10U-AA), Temecula Warriors (10U-A, 12U-AA), AKS 06 (12U-A), Mission Renegades (14U), High Rollers (16U-AA) and Raiders HC (18U-A, 18U-AA).

Grayson Bell and Cyrus Kettmeier (10U-A), David Ricci of the Bulldogs Blue (10U-AA), Anna Hurtado of the Honey Badgers (12U-A), Temecula’s Grant Erling and Samantha Reyes (12U-AA) and Bradley Henke of the HB Militia (16U-AA).

Winter Wars West Top individuals State Wars Hockey’s annual Winter Wars West Keilani Sievers of the HB Militia (8U-AA) led all tournament is scheduled for Feb 22-24 at The Rinksdivision high scorers in the tournament with 16 goals and Huntington Beach Inline. The event features 6U through 18 points. Rex Elizalde of 35-and-older age divisions. the Slurpees (12U-AA) ranked State Wars will hold runner-up with nine goals and its 15th anniversary United 15 points. States roller hockey Other division high scorers championships July 23-Aug included Ben Welham of 5 at the SportsONE Parkview the Bulldogs White (8U-A), Icehouse in Fort Wayne, Ind. Kaleb Sanders of the HB The facility, which doubles Militia White (10U-A), Connor as the practice facility for the Laube of the Bulldogs Blue ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, (10U-AA), Steven Anderson houses three NHL-sized rinks of the Honey Badgers (12Uunder the same roof, is fully A), Temecula’s Dillon Bilek air conditioned, has an onSouthern California’s Saddleback College celebrated its return (14U), Matt Cornish of the to active playing status by winning the Junior College Division site pro shop and features Raiders HC OG (16U-AA) national champion title at April’s National Collegiate Roller Hock- a full-service sports bar and and Blake Tallas of Sour ey Association national championship tournament in Fargo, N.D. restaurant. Skittles (18U-AA). “As State Wars continues to grow – we had 346 Temecula’s Trevor Fife (14U) recorded a .921 save teams in 2018 – we are reaching more and more teams percentage to lead all division top goaltender award- from around the world,” State Wars national director Tim winners. Andy Barsamian of Sour Skittles (18U-AA) McManus said. “We already have teams competing at State ranked runner-up with a .913 save percentage. Wars from other countries such as Canada, Colombia, Other division top goaltender award-winners included Brazil, Korea, United Kingdom, France, Argentina and Hunter Valentine of the OC Marvel Red (8U-A), Tara Sweden. We are excited that we will have even more new Milhorn of the HB Militia (8U-AA), the OC duo of countries competing in Fort Wayne this summer.”

Holiday homecoming links past to present for Godinez By Phillip Brents

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he Hilltop High School roller hockey team had a surprise guest for its Dec. 14 CIF-Metro Conference game against the San Ysidro Cougars: Lancer alum and former head coach George Godinez. Godinez was on winter break from Saddleback College, where he serves as club president of the school’s inline hockey team that competes in the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL). Both the Gauchos and Lancers have something in common – they are creating ripples of excitement in the scholastic inline hockey community. Saddleback College won a national championship in the Junior College Division at last year’s National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships in Fargo, N.D. The Lancers rolled into the 2018-19 winter break with an undefeated 6-0 record in CIF-Metro Conference play. Godinez suited up for Hilltop High School in Chula Vista four years from 2009-13 while earning all-league honors. He later coached his alma mater before moving to Orange County following the 2016-17 season and subsequently enrolling at Saddleback College. “It was great seeing the team grow from their freshmen year to now and seeing how roller hockey continues to grow in the community,” Godinez noted on his return to his hometown. Godinez, who started playing inline hockey at age five, grew up playing travel roller hockey. Many of the friends he made along the journey are now playing for Saddleback. “The chemistry started right away – we all played against each other growing up,” Godinez said. “The

majority of us play in the NARCh Pro Division, about three quarters of the team. We’re constantly getting great competition and that helps prepare for the college teams.” Saddleback sported a 6-1-0-1 record entering the semester break. The Gauchos have designs on defending their national championship at April’s NCRHA finals in Rochester, N.Y. The Gauchos have already proven they can compete

Current Hilltop High School players (pictured from left) Justin Sanchez, Isaiah Macias, Kristin Lambertson and Trevor Fune pose with former head coach George Godinez (center), now the club president of the Saddleback College inline hockey team. Photo/Phillip Brents

with the top teams in the nation after dropping a 9-6 non-conference matchup to Lindenwood University at a WCRHL inter-regional tournament in November in Huntington Beach. Lindenwood finished runner-up in last year’s Division I national championship game. “We gave them a good game – it was a crazy game,” Godinez recounted. “For the second semester, we want to stay focused on our goal. We’d like to be able to re-

peat and defend our title. I think we have a good chance.” Crossover event The WCRHL and SD Inline Hockey are teaming up to create some exposure between San Diego youth and high school players and college teams when the WCRHL hosts a regular-season event Jan. 26 at the Escondido Sports Center. “There have been a good number of players from the greater San Diego area in the WCRHL for many years,” WCRHL director Brennan Edwards explained. “UC San Diego had a team for many years, as well as San Diego State, University of San Diego and Grossmont College.” The crossover event will showcase youth, high school and college teams. SD Inline Hockey youth games will take place starting at 9 a.m. WCRHL Division III conference play between Cal Poly Pomona, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UCLA will begin at 11a.m. The inaugural SD Inline Hockey High School All Star Game will be featured at 1 p.m. The high school all-star game will include two teams each comprised of eight players and a goaltender. With eight teams in the league, each team will have the opportunity to have at least one player represented, according to SD Inline Hockey director Daryn Goodwin. The cost is $25 to participate, and each player will be able to keep their all-star jersey. “Many players and families aren’t familiar with the opportunities to play college roller hockey, so this is a great opportunity to also come check out some college action and find out more about the college opportunities that exist,” Goodwin said. CARubberHockey.com

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Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

California Rubber Magazine - January 2019  

Check out the latest edition of California Rubber Magazine, featuring the LAKHSHL's Santa Barbara Royals on the cover!

California Rubber Magazine - January 2019  

Check out the latest edition of California Rubber Magazine, featuring the LAKHSHL's Santa Barbara Royals on the cover!