History of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings
The Early Years
During the early years of Southern California Hockey, the SCAHA Elite Jr. Kings In the 1980’s (currently the Los Angeles Jr. Kings), existed in the form of a Peewee tournament team that was assembled to represent California in the International Peewee tournament in Quebec, Canada. This team drew the best players from the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association (SCAHA).
In 1995, the Peewee Los Angeles Jr. Kings tournament team went on to win the Quebec Peewee tournament Championship (C Division).
In 1996, the Peewee Los Angeles Jr. Kings tournament team won the Quebec Peewee tournament Championship (B Division).
In 1997, the first Midget AAA Major team was formed and would be called the SCAHA Elite LA Jr. Kings. In 1998-99 the club grew to 3 AAA teams: Midget AAA Major, Midget AAA Minor, Bantam AAA. That year our Bantam AAA team would claim the club’s first National Championship Banner. In 1999-2000, a Peewee AAA team was added and would immediately make their mark by becoming the Pacific District Champions.
The El Segundo Regents
In early 1999, the El Segundo Regents began participating in SCAHA with two inaugural teams. The goal of the Regents was to provide hockey opportunities at the Tier II and A/B levels of play. While the Toyota Sports Center (formerly HealthSouth Training Center) was in the process of being built, the two initial teams scheduled their ice with various rinks in Southern California. By the time the brand new Toyota Sports Center opened, the Regents had grown to 8 teams.
The Merger and Growth of Southern California Hockey
At the beginning for the 2002-03 season, the El Segundo Regents and the SCAHA Elite Jr. Kings merged to become the LA Jr. Kings Hockey Club. By 2004, the club had grown to 18 teams playing out of 3 ice rinks. In the initial season, our Midget Minor AAA team would claim the club’s second National Championship.
In large part due to the success of the Jr. Kings and the emergence of hockey in Southern California, the management of the Jr. Kings elected to provide greater access to hockey to a wider audience by splitting the club into two full organizations. This led to the eventual development of the LA Hockey Club in Lakewood and the current Los Angeles Jr. Kings Club at the TSC. This move doubled the opportunity for SoCal hockey players and was instrumental to the current successes of homegrown California hockey talent.
The Los Angeles Jr. Kings
Since 2004, our club has focused on the development of hockey players and community leaders of all ages. From our mite ADM programs up to our nationally recognized Tier I team, and every player in between, our goal is to continually enhance the player and parent experience within the Los Angeles Jr. Kings family.
To that goal, we have placed a great emphasis on assembling the finest group of coaches available in hockey. Through the years, we have been very fortunate to have had fundamental hockey teachers such as Ray Bennett, Nelson Emerson, Mike Pilon, Frank Salcido, Joe Trotta, and Nick Vachon. Under their early guidance and vision, the club was able to grow from a single peewee all-star team, to California grassroots hockey, and ultimately to emerge as a nationally recognized hockey club.
In 2003, Coach Tomas Kapusta joined the Los Angeles Jr. Kings and as Head of Hockey Operations and Head Coach, he quickly became the architect of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings “hockey path” from mite to midget. While it is very common for many of our players to be products of other programs; players that come to our club looking to significantly advance their development towards Junior, Collegiate or Professional hockey goals, our hope has been to provide a hockey develop roadmap or path from the early ages to midget. Coach Tomas has worked tirelessly to develop our unique Los Angeles Jr. Kings path for players who begin as Lil’ Kings at ages 3-5 to continually develop through ADM model experiences to become members of our Los Angeles Jr. Kings teams at the mite level and progress though Midget.
Over the years, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings have continued to attract successful minor hockey coaches and mentors who believe in our club goals. In 2007, the club hired Coach Jack Bowkus as the Midget Major Head Coach and Tier I Coordinator, and both the Midget Major and Minor teams began participating in the Tier I Elite Hockey League (formerly the Mid-West Elite Hockey League).
In response to a hockey committee recommendation, and in order to follow the model of other successful minor hockey programs, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings announced in the spring of 2011, the creation of an Executive Director position and subsequent hiring of Mr. Kelly Sorensen in that role. The addition of Kelly has provided the club a full time hockey presence in order to continue to advance the development of our players, our club brand, to help reduce the cost of hockey, and grow the game in Southern California.
With a strong tradition, excellent personnel and the commitment from the region’s best players and families, the LA Jr. Kings will continue to have a strong future as one of the country’s pre-eminent hockey clubs.
The objectives of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings Board of Directors shall be:
- To enhance the player and parent experience within the Los Angeles Jr. Kings program
- To promote, encourage, organize, coordinate and develop minor hockey programs for all ages and skill levels of players in Southern California
- To protect and serve the mutual interests of all its members
- To carry out competitions in our facility that foster the growth and development of our membership and the game of hockey
- To recognize the integrity of local community and to encourage a strong sense of community pride and participation
- To represent the interest of its members at the State and National levels
- To work with USA Hockey, CAHA and SCAHA to promote the cooperative development of hockey programs and their effective administration
- To enhance the positive value of programs by providing leadership and initiatives to develop players, coaches, officials and local volunteers