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New season brings excitement for Jr. Kings, Lions By Brian McDonough


ince their inception in 2002, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings have succeeded in their tireless efforts architecting an elite reputation in the youth hockey community worldwide. And thanks to the additional support and amenities recently provided by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Performance Center (TSPC) - the Jr. Kings’ and LA Lions’ home facility and also the official training facility of the Kings and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign more sunny days are surely on the horizon. “I feel like we’ve built a culture here in recent years where there’s a true sense of community amongst all our players, families, coaches, staff and our rink, both on and off the ice, and to me that’s special,” said Jr. Kings general manager of hockey operations Nick Vachon. “And I think that pride and respect we have for each other and support we show one another makes a big difference when it comes embracing the overall experience of putting on a Jr. Kings or Lions sweater.” This past season, the Jr. Kings skated to four Tier I state championships at the 16U, 13U, 12U and 11U levels and perhaps the club’s crowning achievement was put forth by its 12U AAA team, which won the famed Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament championship becoming only the second California-based squad to win the title in the event’s highest division in its 60year history. A number of AA, A, BB and B teams also experi-

enced plenty of success in 2018-19. “We have so many good things working in our favor,” said Vachon. “From the expanded resources available to us at TSPC to our always-incredible coaching staff to our seamless administrative support team, in my opinion the club overall has never been in a better place.” The 2019-20 campaign unofficially got underway

The Los Angeles Jr. Kings and LA Lions pride themselves on their experienced, well-connected coaching staff, which includes Jr. Kings 14U AAA head coach Jack Bowkus.

over the spring with three spirited tryout weekends that yielded an anticipated 34 Jr. Kings and Lions teams: seven at the Tier I (AAA) level; seven at Tier II (AA); and 20 at the A/BB/B levels. At Tier I, Chase Souto will lead the program’s 18U team, while Mark Hardy will serve as head coach of the 16U squad. Kyle Calder will guide the Jr. Kings’


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

15U AAA team. Jack Bowkus will lead the organization’s 14U (2005) team, and Brett Beebe will have the reins of the 13U (2006) club. Jeff Turcotte will guide the Jr. Kings’ 12U (2007) squad, and Shawn Pitcher will lead the 11U (2008) team. At Tier II, Sean Hoang will serve as head coach of the club’s Midget 18U AA team, while Ray Macias will guide the program’s Midget 16U AA1 squad and Erik Lektorp the 16U AA2 team. Maik Tatavosian will lead the Jr. Kings’ 14U AA1 team, and Sam Graham has the reins of the 14U AA2 squad. Jeff Bain will guide the 12U AA1 contingent, and Chris Benoit the 12U AA2 team. The Jr. Kings’ A, BB and B coaches include: Tony Rudy (14U A1); Chet Carlbom (14U A2 and 10U B); Brennen Fobel (12U A1); Turcotte (12U A2); Joe Consolazio (12U BB); Andrew Stone (10U A1); Beebe (10U A2); Dimitri Voulelikas (10U BB and 8U B1); Stephane Desjardins (8U A1); Tatavosian (8U A2); Derek Johnston (8U A3); and Bain (8U B2). Set to enter their fifth season, the Lions expect to ice six teams this season: 14U AA (Benoit); 12U A (Brooke Maggy); 12U AA1 (Stone); 12U AA2 (Richard Gomez); 10U A (Justin Louis); and 8U A (Bill Mendes). Graham will lead the Lions’ 6U learn-to-play program. “It truly is one of the strongest components of our club and will continue to be next season and beyond,” Vachon said of the Jr. Kings’ and Lions’ core of coaches. “We have a lot to look forward to heading into the fall.”

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