Trio of Jr. Sun Devils teams capture Thanksgiving tournament titles
Nearing the midway point of the 2018-19 season, three DYHA Jr. Sun Devils teams found success winning three separate tournaments over Thanksgiving Weekend.
The Jr. Sun Devils’ 14U Gold team captured a Pacific Region Silver Stick Regional championship and now advances to the International Silver Stick Finals from Jan. 10-13 in Pelham, Ont. – a small town between Toronto and Buffalo.
In addition, the DYHA 14U AA team won the division championship at the local Thanksgiving Shootout tournament and the DYHA 10U Maroon team captured its division banner at the OneHockey Thanksgiving tournament in Southern California.
“The players all put in the hard work and commitment that it takes to try and get better every single day,” said Kayman Wong, who coaches the 10U Maroon team. “To see the reward in the end makes you feel so happy for them and their families. It validates some of the things you work on as a team and for them individually. We brought two 10U teams and both teams did extremely well.
“The Gold team didn’t make it into the finals, but they went 3-1 and they should be very proud of themselves as well. They fought hard and never gave up. They have been working just as hard, so it was great to see both teams do well and enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
The Jr. Sun Devils defeated Mission AZ in the title game.
Marc Membrila and Rob Warzel coach the 14U Gold squad and Membrila said seeing the team’s hard work pay off in San Jose was “fantastic.”
“We are so jazzed for the kids,” said Membrila. “Current Bantam Maroon coach Chris Sehring and I had taken our Pee Wee team out to San Jose Silver Sticks a couple years ago and had a blast. He was taking his team this year and Brad McCaughey was taking two of his teams, so we figured why not? It’s a great city, so win or lose, we knew the kids and families would have a good time.
“We just didn’t know how good a time it would end up being.”
In the championship game, the Jr. Sun Devils defeated the California-based Tri Valley Blue Devils 3-2 in a shootout.
Membrila said the biggest key to winning it all was an all-around team effort.
“It was everyone digging in, coming together and playing as a team,” said Membrila. “Nearly everyone got at least a point over the weekend, and the couple that didn’t definitely helped in ways that don’t show on the scoresheet. Every player showed us what they are made of, and it has the coaches very excited for the rest of the season.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Jan. 4, 2019)