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September 19, 2006 > Players, Parents and Coaches endure the Agony and Ecstasy of Ice Hockey Tryouts

Players, Parents and Coaches endure the Agony and Ecstasy of Ice Hockey Tryouts

by BiffJones

For three days and evenings, Sept. 8-10, players aged 6-18 went through the rigors of three sessions, one each day, to show their skills and toughness to the many coaches and staff of the Santa Clara Blackhawk's Hockey Team of the Santa Clara Valley Hockey Association.  All were trying to make one of six different age group hockey teams for the upcoming 2006-2007 season.  Each of the age groups has from one to three different levels of competition, depending on the number of players trying out for a particular group.  Tryouts were held at Sharks Ice at Fremont, 44388 Old Warm Springs Blvd.

According to Club President, Norbert Tydingco, one of many volunteers who dedicate their time to the Blackhawks, players go through an agonizing three days of trying to impress the coaches of teams for which they are qualified to play.  At the end of the last session on Sunday, the players, along with many of their parents, siblings, friends and relatives, met in the restaurant at Sharks Ice to await their fate.  Each received a personal letter with the results: a regular position on one team, a position as one of the alternates or in some cases, red-shirt players, which means they practice, but do not play in a game, or a letter of regret for those who did not make the cut.  For some of the parents and players who did not make the cut, chosen as an alternate or red-shirt, or put on a team other than the one they were hoping to make, it meant spending the entire weekend jockeying between rinks all over the Bay Area to ensure getting a spot on what they considered a more desirable team.

The tryouts for the Blackhawks are observed by the head coach of each team along with three other coaches.  The head coach has the final say on the players selected, but he can use the advice from the other observing coaches on the fringe players for the final roster spots.  The head coach and his assistant coaches met with the club president and registrar to select the players and any alternates or red-shirts they will have on their team this year, before taking their selections to those awaiting the results in the restaurant.  Each team must also abide by the PDR (player development requirement) rule as set by Norcal (Northern California Junior Hockey Association), which says that all A and B teams must have at least fifty percent of their roster composed of players who played for one of the Blackhawk's teams last year.

The tentative results for this year's Santa Clara Blackhawks and coaching staff are as follows:

Mites-8 and under, one team-A, head coach-Ian MacDonald
Squirts-9 and 10, two teams-A, head coach-Brad Dudschus, assist. Gary Bortolotto and
                                               B, head coach-Kevin Powell, assist. Dennis Fobar
Peewees-11 and 12, two teams-AA, head coach-Martin Denis, assist. Reynolds Morgan
                                                    A, head coach-Vince Tripp, assist. Ray Kellam and Nick
Bantams-13 and 14, one team-AA, head coach John Beaulieu, assist. Simon Guertin
Midget 16-15 and 16, one team-A, head coach Terry Jones
Midget 18-17 and 18, two teams-A, head coach Hal Nunn, assist. Bill Fruen and Vince
                                                             Tripp, and B, head coach Michael Meredith, assist.
                                                             Ian Fazzi

AAA and AA teams are an elite classification for the more skilled players.  Santa Clara has no AAA teams but does have two AA teams.  These teams do more traveling and have the California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) as its governing body rather than Norcal.  AA teams are required to have twenty-five percent of this year's roster coming from players who played on a Blackhawks team last year.  Santa Clara Blackhawk's Peewee team won USA Tier 2 (AA) championship last season.  A number of last year's players have moved up to the Bantam Division while some are still with the Peewees.  The AA teams held their tryouts in July and are already practicing.  Practices for the A and B teams start this week.

Joe Lundy, former President of the Santa Clara Blackhawks, says watching the kids grow up from Mites to Midgets was like raising his own kids.  Being a member of the team keeps the kids off the streets and makes them better students, as they have to better utilize the time they have for studying and home work.

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