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Ducks Launch High School League

JSerra Catholic High School will serve as the inaugural team in the first-ever Orange County high school league

Wednesday, 07.02.2008 / 2:18 AM / News
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Ducks Launch High School League
By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com


The JSerra Ice Lions pose for a team picture alongside Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke and Ducks captain Chris Pronger during Tuesday's event.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Amid the free agent frenzy that dominated hockey on Tuesday, the Anaheim Ducks took some time away from the fray to make history in another realm of its operations.
 
Gathered at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, the Ducks announced the start of the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League. The JSerra Ice Lions will serve as the inaugural team in the first-ever Orange County high school league and will begin regular season games in the coming months.  

Along with coaches, players and parents, Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Burke and Ducks captain Chris Pronger were also among those in attendance to help lend their support during the groundbreaking event in Orange County high school sports.

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“I think people are going to look back on this day and say ‘I was there. That was an important first step and I was there.’” Burke said. “To me, there are these important events that have happened with hockey in Southern California – Wayne Gretzky getting traded here, the Ducks winning the Stanley Cup and I think this is right up in terms of 20, 30 years from now, people will say JSerra started it all with the Ducks.”

The league is being designed as an extension of the Ducks’ organizational goals of growing talent close to home. During the initial year, JSerra will consist of a Midget 16-Under independent high school team. The club will compete against other Southern California Amateur Hockey Association (SCAHA) teams and will play in hockey tournaments across the country, the first of which will be in Chicago from September 12-14. Home games for the Ice Lions will take place at Anaheim Ice.

During Tuesday's kickoff event, the new JSerra program was outlined before Burke and Pronger shared their thoughts and memories of high school hockey with the audience.

“It’s nice to see the turnout and the way this program has slowly evolved and been setup," said Pronger, who told the crowd that he played two years of high school hockey. "It’s been a monumental day for the Ducks and for JSerra.”

Two members of the JSerra Ice Lions debut the uniforms the team will wear during their inaugural season of play.
Looking ahead to the future, the Ducks are seeking to make JSerra the start of a much bigger project. Following the Ice Lions inaugural campaign, the objective of the second year of the program is to have four high school teams involved to establish the first division of high school hockey in Orange County. The goal for the third year is to expand the program to 10 teams that will compete solely against each other with the championship game(s) held at Honda Center.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Ice Lions head coach Rick Hutchinson said. “Whenever you start something from nothing and you see it come to fruition like we did today, especially after listening to Chris Pronger and Brian Burke talk about their experiences and their dedication to making it grow, it makes you realize that what we’re doing is real and there is an interest for it. I want to see California hockey grow. I’m committed 100 percent.”

Added 16-year-old goaltender Collin Smith: “It’s interesting to be part of it. We’re making history. We’ve had a few practices. So far, it looks like we’re going to be pretty good.”

Along with expansion of the league, the Ducks are motivated to set up new rinks in the area in the coming years so that more kids can become involved in hockey. Currently, Orange County has 15 rinks (both ice and roller) available for use. It is the desire of the Ducks to add between six and eight new sheets of ice in the next five years.

With Tuesday’s big announcement, each of these future goals for the Ducks is now one step close to becoming a reality.   

“The Samuelis are determined to leave giant footprints on the hockey landscape and this is important step in that,” Burke said. “I think this is a pretty exciting day for hockey in Southern California.”

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
12 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 63 20 41 13 61
C. Perry 51 27 18 15 45
R. Kesler 66 17 24 1 41
S. Vatanen 57 12 22 6 34
M. Beleskey 56 21 9 13 30
J. Silfverberg 65 10 20 11 30
H. Lindholm 63 6 23 20 29
P. Maroon 58 7 21 -4 28
C. Fowler 65 6 22 3 28
R. Rakell 55 6 19 5 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 30 8 5 .917 2.34
J. Gibson 9 5 0 .924 2.41


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