Ducks Launch High School League

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

Tuesday, 07.1.2008 / 11:18 PM PT / 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 y - ANA 79 50 22 7 232 217 107
2 x - NSH 78 47 22 9 224 193 103
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 77 45 27 5 224 208 95
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 77 39 26 12 217 204 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 SJS 77 38 30 9 217 216 85
11 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
12 COL 77 35 30 12 207 218 82
13 EDM 77 23 41 13 186 260 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 76 24 44 14 68
C. Perry 64 33 20 16 53
R. Kesler 78 20 27 -2 47
J. Silfverberg 78 12 26 14 38
S. Vatanen 64 12 25 6 37
P. Maroon 70 9 25 -4 34
C. Fowler 77 7 27 5 34
H. Lindholm 75 7 27 27 34
M. Beleskey 63 22 10 15 32
R. Rakell 68 8 22 8 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 34 11 5 .914 2.37
J. Gibson 13 7 0 .916 2.58


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