With the calendar turned to March, plenty of teams within the Los Angeles Jr. Kings program still hold high hopes of making postseason waves at the state, regional and national levels.
After winning California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) Tier I state championships the first weekend of February, the club’s Barry Dreger-coached 18U AAA, Jack Bowkus-led 16U AAA, Jaro Modry-coached 15U AAA (pictured) and Jeff Turcotte-led Bantam Major teams all punched their tickets to this year’s Pacific District Championships, which will be showcased this weekend (March 8-11) in San Jose.
The winners of each division will advance to next month’s USA Hockey National Championships, which will be contested in Philadelphia (18U AAA and 16U AAA divisions), Plymouth, Mich. (15U AAA) and Charlotte, N.C. (14U AAA).
At the A, BB and B levels, five Jr. Kings teams qualified for the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association (SCAHA) playoffs after fashioning top-eight regular-season finishes in their respective divisions, including the organization’s Pee Wee A1 team, coached by Chad Demers; Pee Wee BB squad, led by Stephane Desjardins; Squirt A2 club, led by James Gasseau; Squirt BB1 team, coached by Jeff Bain; and Squirt B club, led by Chet Carlbom.
All five squads will play their opening quarterfinal rounds on March 10-11, with the Pee Wee A1 and Squirt B teams at Ice-Plex Escondido; Pee Wee BB squad at Ice Station Valencia; Squirt A1 club at KHS Ice Arena; and Squirt BB team at Icetown Riverside.
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 the weekend of March 17-18 at Ice Station Valencia.
The teams advancing from semis will compete in the SCAHA Championships, which will take place the weekend of 24-25 at The Rinks-Anaheim Ice, followed by the season-ending CAHA State Championships, which will be played from April 6-8 (the A divisions at Icetown Riverside; B and BB at Ice Station Valencia).
The Jr. Kings’ Pee Wee AA1 team, led by head coach Maik Tatavosian, already qualified for the CAHA Tier II State Championships after advancing through 12U AA Playdowns, which were contested the last weekend of February at The Rinks-Lakewood Ice. The four-team States will be played from March 16-18 at Ice-Plex Escondido.
The LA Lions' 16U AA team, led by head coach Tori Pizzuto, will also compete at the Pacific District Championships this weekend in San Jose. With a strong showing, the girls club could make its way to the USA Hockey National Championships in its division, which will will run from April 5-9 in Marlborough, Mass.
Other season-ending accolades for L.A. this month included Tier I state championships won at the Bantam Minor (13U) and Pee Wee Major (12U) and Minor (11U) levels - the Jr. Kings swept their way to all seven Tier I titles this year, which is an unprecedented feat at the state level - as well as a SCAHA 12U AA Flight II championship celebrated by its Pee Wee AA2 squad.