Spring programs on the horizon

With youth hockey seasons beginning to wind down, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings are already looking ahead to springtime - and beyond - with enthusiasm.

The organization, which calls El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Center (TSC) home, recently announced details for both its Bauer Selects West Elite and Tier II and A/B spring programs, both of which offer plenty of benefits for the participating players and Jr. Kings organization alike.

“Spring hockey, in a nutshell, is an opportunity for the kids to stay on the ice once a week, play in a couple of tournaments - anywhere from 8-15 games over the course of April and May - and it’s a great opportunity for us to keep groups intact for the upcoming (2014-15) season,” said Jr. Kings executive director Kelly Sorensen, who will head up the Tier II and A/B offering.

The Bauer Selects West program, which is under the guidance of Jr. Kings AAA director Andrew Cohen, will feature all-birth-year teams at the 2000, 01, 02, 03, 05 and 06 levels.

“Bauer Selects West is an adjunct program for players who want to have a couple additional months of a higher-competitive hockey experience,” said Cohen. “We encourage players to take some time off after the winter season concludes - and many do - but this program, which starts in April, is a way for players to have some fun and stay in top form in time for tryouts come early June. 

“When that’s done, the players can hang up the gear for a while and play baseball, golf, surf - do other activities kids like to do.”

Sorensen credits Bauer Hockey and Monkey Sports for supporting the initiative.

“They’ve been nothing but great to work with, and we appreciate them getting behind this elite program,” he said.

Jeff Turcotte and Shawn Pitcher will lead the 2000 and 01 group; Brandon Convery and Jamie Storr will head up the 02 team; James GasseauGlen Murray and Patrick Stefan will guide the 03 contingent; Nick Vachon and Patrik Stefan the 05 team; and Andrew Stone and Dmitri Voulelikis the 06 group.

All six teams will compete in the Jr. Kings-hosted Carmen Starr Memorial Day Tournament, with the 2000s also playing in an elite AAA tournament in Phoenix; the 01s in Phoenix and another AAA showcase in Anaheim; the 02s and 03s in Phoenix; the 05s in Phoenix and at Minnesota’s Stars & Stripes showcase; and the 06s in Phoenix.

With rosters limited to a maximum of 17 players, teams will be formed by invitation only with costs ranging from $700 (three tournaments) or $600 (two).

Among the program's highlights are seven hours of on-ice training; professional coaching; tournament entry fees; and loaner uniforms, compliments of Bauer.

For more information on the Bauer West Select Elite program, contact Cohen at jrkingsaaa@gmail.com.

With registration now open, the Tier II and A/B spring program welcomes all players in their respective age groups.

“This is open invitation to anybody who’s interested,” said Sorensen. 

Spring team tryouts will be held on March 29-30 - a majority of them at TSC - and feature 13 teams: Mite 07 (coached by Daniel Kim); Mite 06 (Jeff Bain); three Squirt 04s, one led by Kim, another by German Chumachek, and the other by Jeff Bruckner with tryouts at The Rinks-Lakewood Ice; Squirt 05 coached by Robbert McDonald; Pee Wee 03, coached by Gasseau; two Pee Wee 02-03s, one led by Chumachek and the other by Bruckner with tryouts in Lakewood; two Bantam 2000-01s, one led by McDonald and the other by Stone; and Midget 98-99 (Igor Nikulin).

Chet Carlbom will head up a girls-only Pee Wee 02-03 team.

With a cost of $600 and rosters limited to a maximum of 17 players, the program includes practice ice, professional coaching and loaner uniforms provided at no cost.

Click here to register.

“Although it’s not an exact science, the main motive for both of these spring programs from the club’s perspective to help the organization align its players with their respective coaches as we transition into the ‘14-15 regular season,” said Sorensen.