We are definitely in the heart of our travel season. Last week we were on Hawaiian time, 6 hours different then where we are now in Pennsylvania. Next week we’re back on Cali time for our largest regional event of the year in Irvine where we’ll cram about 225 games into 3 days.
I was looking forward to coming to this event for multiple reasons. Most of the teams playing in this qualifier will be making the trip up to Canada for the FINALS, so I wanted to see them play and make sure they’re seeded properly. More importantly though I haven’t been to Marple for a number of years, so it was time I made it back. Traveling to as many tournaments as possible really helps me keep a good pulse on what’s happening in the sport throughout the country.
Marple Sports Arena is a two-rink facility, but one rink is on the smaller side. All of our atom and mite games are taking place on the smaller rink this afternoon while all the older divisions are on the main rink. The busiest part of the rink is the seating near the snack bar upstairs where you can overlook both rinks. It’s been buzzing up there all day.
A lot of the larger programs in the area are in this tourney. This is the home rink for the Jr. Gladiators, but the Cougars, Black Ice, Roadrunners, and Cobras are all present. Traveling the furthest were the Montreal Ducks playing in the 6-team men’s division. From the first set of games it appears that it’s going to be a great division and I’m looking forward to watching it play out. The most exciting finish so far was probably the Demons and Black Ice, where Black Ice tied it up with just 2 seconds remaining in the game.
I’m juggling between the regular camera and video cameras trying to capture the coolest parts of the tournament. It’s funny, sometimes you’re lucky when shooting video and sometimes your not. Pictures are usually easier, you can take cool pictures of players without the puck too, but with the videos it’s more about focusing on the play. I’ll be putting stuff on our facebook page throughout the tourney and we’ll edit the video next week. Unfortunately the Internet connection at the rink hasn’t been consistent, so it’s making things a bit more challenging.
Both Lonny Lovins and Jeremy Ellis traveled in with me this tourney. They’re unique because they both have tournament directing experience, but are also very solid referees. It’s always nice to bring in quality referees that teams aren’t used to seeing every tourney. They’re both splitting time on the rink and in the booth.
We’ll dive into the specifics of the games in a later blog, so check back to see how the weekend unfolds. As always, live scores are being posted too.