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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

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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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07
A. Khudobin 3 3 0 .909 2.70


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