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Family Matters For the Makrogiannis family, the San Diego Jr. Gulls is much more than a youth hockey organization day if I want and be able to play on my own team or with coaches or clinics or just with my Jr. Gulls friends. I really like playing with my brother and sister. All the famor Phil and Val Makrogiannis, having their three children in the San Diego Jr. ilies in the club really care about each other and you can tell because all the kids Gulls youth program has been a home away from home, as well as a second are nice, and families are all nice, too. Everyone at the club cares about each other.” family. “What I like most about playing with the Jr. Gulls is the great experiences of The oldest, Niko, has been playing ice hockey for seven years, starting in the being coached by professional coaches, playing with top players, playing competLearn to Skate program and progressing to his most recent season playing as a itive games with my team, traveling to tournaments defenseman for the Pee Wee 12U AA1 team coached by Greg Pruden and Geoff and becoming a better player every year,” addLeibl. He will be entering next season as a first-year Bantam. ed Niko. “I really appreciate all the extra time Twins Theo and Ana entered the Jr. Gulls program at different ages. the Jr. Gulls coaches put into me as a Theo, a defenseman, just finished his fourth season as a Jr. Gull on the Squirt player so that I can become a bet12U A team coached by Randy Moy. His previous season, he played ter player. Playing with on the Squirt B team that won a CAHA state championship in the my brother and sister is Squirt 10U B division. awesome because I love Ana joined the hockey world two years ago and is a goaltender. A watching them learn and travel soccer player for six seasons, she went with her brothers one winbe successful. The three ter to an ice hockey tournament in Mammoth and played pond hockey in of us love the same sport boots, as a goalie, and was hooked. Ana finished her first season playing and that means a lot to me in net for both the Jr. Gulls’ boys Squirt 10U B team coached by Reed because we’ll always have Kinsey and on the Jr. Gulls’ girls 10U team coached by Blake Bolden. that one awesome thing in “Seven years ago, our first kid came to us as said, ‘I want to play ice common. It is also something hockey,’ and we had to Google where we could play ice hockey in San every family and every player Diego,” said Val Makrogiannis, who has also been a team manager the at the club has in common. last five seasons. “This led us to the San We love our families, we Diego Jr. Gulls program where we startlove hockey, and we love the Jr. Gulls ed out doing the Learn to Play program club.” and very quickly discovered that the Jr. Other fantastic and committed Gulls program was very kid- and famifamilies in the Jr. Gulls program inly-oriented. Every time we stepped into clude Kaden (14U AA) and Brecken the rink, the Jr. Gulls staff greeted us, (12U) Armstrong, Kai (14U AA) and remembered our children’s names, and Reese (16U) Gowen, Jillian (12U A) always had a fun and encouraging word and Lydia (12U/14U girls) McLaughto every player which, in those younglin, Colton (16U AA) and Ryanne er years, makes such a positive lasting (12U/14U girls) Marcy, Patrick (16U impression on young kids. It makes it a AA) and Brogan (14U AA girls) Gallaplace they want to spend their time. van, Destiny (14U AA girls) and Isa“It also creates a family-oriented, iah (12U) Provencio, Morgan (14U friendly environment where parents as AA girls) and Kaylee (12U/14U girls) well feel comfortable sending their kids Cadez, Maya (19U girls) and Emma and spending their time.” (14U AA girls) Tasevski, Tiffany (19U “We initially were attracted to the Jr. girls) and Tonya (19U girls) AnderGulls program because it offered a posson, Emma (10U girls) and Alexis itive teaching environment for our young (10U girls) Singleton, Kaelyn (10U players,” added Phil Makrogiannis. girls) and Sydney (10U girls) Walters, “Coaches stressed development and Alexander (12U AA) and Kat (10U fun. Our players participated in pracgirls) Dooris, Andrew (12U AA) and tices and games and they wanted more Sydney (10U girls) Smeltzer, Jacob because the coaches took the time to (14U), Kevin (12U) and Cody (12U) get to know each player individually and The ‘Makro Kids’ – Niko, Theo and Ana Makrogiannis – take pride in wearing the San Diego Jr. Gulls Betsch and Kyle (16U AA), Tori (14U stressed that learning and developing colors and simply love the association’s focus on development and family-oriented atmosphere, both AA girls) and Tommy (12U A) Fraser. was more important than anything else. on and off the ice in the Southern California hockey community Photo/San Diego Jr. Gulls “The Jr. Gulls program and all its “We stay with the Jr. Gulls program because as our players have progressed in staff, coaches and all the participating families is a family for us, and every family we the program to higher levels of competition, there continues to be a genuine inter- have encountered will tell you the same thing,” said Phil. “The families in the club are est in developing our players who now have specific strengths and positions. They all bonded by the love for the game, the love of our children, the loyalty for the club, really focus on making sure the players’ skills are developed so whatever the goal and the friendships we have created with the families. We have thoroughly enjoyed of the player, they are met with the optimal amount of structure, instruction, encour- all our fun moments of watching, traveling, hanging out, interacting with the Jr. Gulls agement and development to help our player get to their next level.” program and all the families.” All three Makrogiannis kids are enamored with the Jr. Gulls as well. And as a team manager, Val says that role was something that was meant for her. “One of the best things about the Jr. Gulls club is all the coaches are amazing,” “I have been a team manager for the last five years, and I do it because I love said Ana. “They are all nice, respectful and care about me improving as a player. the planning and caring for a team and the families,” said Val. “I love sports. Being They also just care about me as a person. It is awesome being in the same club as a manager allows me a special opportunity to stay connected to athletics and do my brothers because hockey is a family sport. I get to play with my brothers, they what I love most, which is supporting and watching my kids play a sport they love. I cheer me on and help teach me things. I also get to cheer them on. Everyone at the also thrive in organization and planning, which you need to be able to get everyone club knows us as the ‘Makro Kids’ and everyone is nice and encouraging to us. And where they need to be and on time. we love being encouraging to other players and other families because everyone at “What keeps me coming back for more is that I have been lucky to have Jr. Gulls the club loves hockey and loves family.” teams with great coaches and amazing families. Most recently, I managed the Jr. “The kids in the Jr. Gulls club are great and we are all friends,” noted Theo. “The coaches are great teachers and we get a lot of ice time. I can go to the club every Continued on Page 8

By Matt Mackinder

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California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

California Rubber Magazine - May 2019  

The May edition of California Rubber Magazine, featuring the San Diego Jr. Gulls on the cover, has hit the streets!

California Rubber Magazine - May 2019  

The May edition of California Rubber Magazine, featuring the San Diego Jr. Gulls on the cover, has hit the streets!