We still believe in Texas!!
So...I’m on the plane and it struck me that I needed to put some more thoughts into Texas! Its kind of bugging me that going there once and not seeing many youth has become a regularity. Why keep going you ask? The answer is simple! My job...OUR job as an inline hockey company is to be part of the solution; not the problem. So if there are signs of life do you pull the plug or do you attempt to resuscitate?
I have been going to Denton, TX for years now and I have seen the kids grow up into wonderful adults. The adult divisions are amazing down there with great talent and an incredible passion for the game. The youth is on life support. In my blogs, I would never attempt to paint a dim picture unless I KNEW that it was worth saving. The people in Texas want to do it, but they are facing the age old problem- ICE HOCKEY COACHES!
Listen, I’m not digging at them right now, but let’s get real- think of the top ice players in ANY area. I guarantee you that most, if not all, play inline! I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it wasn’t a problem in other regions- but it is! The great thing about Denton is the fact that they realize what the issue is and they are ready to help. Brian High talked to us all weekend about the problem, as his entire team is full of high level ice players balancing ice and roller over the weekend. Johnny Henson realizes the problem and was trying to find ways to help.
There’s only one thing I can really say...DON’T LET IT DIE. I tried to tell many of the adult players at the tournament that it is now their job to revive the area back to the way things were. They have their hands on the pulse down there and kids look up to them in the inline game. The stands were packed with people when the GOLD games were going down. They can go to these rinks and find some of these kids and start their own teams. I know its more involved than that but starting the process is simple.
I’ve gone on a rant long enough...I just want to see this sport make a comeback in areas that it once flourished.
Anyway...as for the tournament, Lone Star was rocking all weekend. Once we got to Saturday, the good hockey was non stop. The squirt division saw Swagtastics defeat Wylie Coyotes in a well played championship game. Wylie Coyotes and Wabbit Hunters from the squirt division actually played one of the highest scoring games in the country this year as Wylie Coyotes won the first game of the tournament 12-10, and then defeated Wabbit Hunters in the semi as well. The division saw many first- time inline players making the summer transition to ice and they had a blast. The parents raved about it and showed it in-game as they were cheering like crazy for the games entirety!
When we got to the midget division the Ankle Benders, full of 99s, have been playing TORHS for the longest. They are an amazingly talented group of kids and were the class of that division. They had an “interesting” game with Brick Squad, to say the lest, but ended up playing Twisted Wristers in the championship game. Twisted Wristers actually impressed me. They played hard, had good goaltending and improved tremendously every single game they played.
As we moved to the Bronze/Silver division, I would have to say the award for best jerseys goes to Monsters Ink. Their pictured in the title picture for this blog with players Ryan Gibbons, who is part of one of the most amazing families in the sport, and Jill Marsh, owner of Lone Star Indoor Sports. The 5 team/3 team split worked out perfectly as Space Jam came into the playoffs as the eighth seed in Bronze (last Adult seed overall) and won the bronze division beating out Monsters Ink and Animaniacs. The silver division surprising. In the 4/5 game, Brick Squad was down 4-2 with 1:01 left in the game and went on to score three goals in that time to win the game. Rolling Ghost, headed by Mitchell Denson and a talented group of players made it past the number two seed and would go on to win the tournament, defeating Brick Squad, who got past the number one seed as well, in the championship. The #3 and #5 seeds were in the final game, and that just shows how entertaining that division was.
It’s always good to go down to Texas! It’s an area I know all too well and I plan to attend tournaments for years to come. I know it’s going to make a comeback! Jill, Brian, Henson, Duggan, Catalano- this is your role call!!! Let’s get ‘er done!!!!