With the calendar turned to March, plenty of teams within the Los Angeles Jr. Kings and LA Lions programs still hold high hopes of making postseason waves at the state, regional and national levels.
After winning a California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) Tier I state championships last month in San Jose, the organization’s Mark Hardy-coached 16U AAA team and Jack Bowkus-led 14U AAA squad earned berths to this year’s Pacific District Championships, which will be showcased this weekend (March 5-8) in Tacoma, Wash.
The winners of each division will advance to next month’s USA Hockey National Championships, which will be contested from April 2-6 in Rochester, Mich. (16U AAA division) and Chicago (14U AAA).
At the A, BB and B levels, eight Jr. Kings and Lions teams qualified for the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association (SCAHA) playoffs after fashioning top-six-or-eight regular-season finishes in their respective divisions, including the organization’s 14U A team, coached by Tony Rudy; 14U B squad, led by Chet Carlbom; 12U A2 team, coached by Jeff Turcotte; Lions’ 12U AA2 club (playing in the 12U B division), coached by Richard Gomez; 10U A1 team (pictured), led by Andrew Stone; 10U A2 club, coached by Brett Beebe; and Carlbom-coached Jr. Kings’ and Justin Louis-led Lions’ 10U B teams, both of which are playing in the 10U B Flight II division.
All eight squads will play their opening quarterfinal rounds on March 7-8, with the Jr. Kings’ 10U A teams facing off at Anaheim’s KHS Ice Arena; 12U A squad at LA Kings Icetown in Riverside; 14U A team at Ice Station Valencia; 14U B club The Rinks-Lakewood ICE; the Lions’ 12U AA2 team at The Rinks-Yorba Linda ICE; and Jr. Kings’ and Lions’ 10U B Flight II squads at Ice-Plex Escondido.
After quarters, the top two teams in each pool in each division (four teams total per division) will advance to the semifinals, which will be held on March 14 at various Southern California rinks.
The teams advancing from semis will compete in the SCAHA Championships, which will be played the next day (March 15) at El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Performance Center, followed by the season-ending CAHA A/BB/B State Championships, which will be played from March 27-29 in San Jose.
The Jr. Kings’ 18U AA team, led by head coach Sean Hoang, 16U AA1 squad, coached by Ray Macias and 12U AA1 team, led by head coach Jeff Bain, already qualified for the CAHA Tier II State Championships after advancing through their respective divisions’ Playdowns, which were showcased last weekend (Feb. 28-March 1) in Valencia (16U AA and 18U AA divisions) and Simi Valley (12U AA). States will be played from March 13-15 at Ice-Plex Escondido.
The winners of States in the 18U and 16U divisions, along with potential at-large bids, will head to the USA Hockey National Championships, which will run from April 2-6 in Irvine (18U AA division) and Troy, Mich. (16U AA).
Other season-ending accolades for L.A. this month included Tier I state championships won at the 13U AAA and 11U AAA levels.
The Lions’ 16U AA and 14U AA seasons came to an end last weekend at the Girls Pacific District Championships in Seattle.