Holy hockey pucks, Batman, both of our local high school boys’ ice hockey teams are in the state tournament starting Thurs., Feb. 9, at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center.
If you didn’t know that, you must be hiding under the bleachers, lol.
Or maybe you aren’t a fan of local high school hockey.
Ugh, say it isn’t so. At least not in the land between two rivers in mid-February in 2017.
Seriously … you did not have to follow high school hockey all season long – um, like me, yep, I will admit it – to be a super fan now. Pretty much everywhere I have been lately around these parts folks are talking about how amazingly cool it is that both teams – Chugiak and Eagle River – are in the state tournament.
We at the ECHO News think so too!
I’d never been to a high school hockey game before last Saturday night’s battle for the Cook Inlet Championship between the powerhouse Chugiak Mustangs and the Cinderella story Eagle River Wolves. It was local history in the making. First time the CIC hockey championship featured just our two schools. You don’t have to know a darn thing about hockey or um, even care about hockey, to be pretty thrilled with that.
Trust me, I know.
I’ve admittedly been a bit a twitter about this. To me, both schools duking it out at the Ben Boeke and now headed to state is just plain old kewl for this town. (Yes, I did just use a slang word in this here newspaper) I really don’t know the players except by name and who some of their parents are, but I am tickled for them for the opportunity. They’ve been playing together on comp teams since they were little kids and now all those treks to the ice rink with their moms and dads at the wheel of the family mobile is paying off in terms of showcasing their skills when possibly college scouts are watching.
Well, and yep, it is rather obvious that securing some local and state bragging rights ought to add to their high school memories and give their parents the opportunity to relive some of their own.
Cool stuff happening in this community and in our local high schools really does give me goose bumps. I am a big fan of both of our local schools. So many great things happen on both of those campuses.
Yet, I must be honest with you, my dear reader. I really don’t know much about hockey. When asked to describe my knowledge base of the sport, my answer was, “well, um, it is played with a puck. Canadians are super good at it.”
But I am learning.
It is unclear if Keara Chaperon, our hockey writing intern who just has rocked the coverage for us, will be able to attend all the games. She does have homework. She is a student first. I remain extremely grateful for the work she has already done in covering local hockey for the ECHO News. And I am seeking more Kearas that would like to try their hand at covering events for the ECHO News. Hopefully, both of our local teams make it to Saturday night’s state championship when Keara’s homework should be done (hint hint) and she will available to cover what is bound to be an epic game. Oh the dreams we community newspaper editors dream.
Until then, not if, but when you see me watching the game desperately trying to follow the puck and looking uber confused – okay, yes, that is a regular occurrence – please help me better understand what is happening on the ice.
Silly Question: Could Both Teams Win the State Tournament?
So, here’s the deal: If our two local schools face each other again in the state tournament, um, my heart wishes so much that they could skate to a well-fought tie. I am getting all emotional just thinking about how incredibly amazing it would be to see the boys in black, Columbia blue and white (Chugiak) and navy and silver (Eagle River) all lined up at the end of the game with sticks in hand and a roaring crowd celebrating both teams.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Ah, nuts and bolts. Back to reality.
My head tells me there aren’t two trophies for first place. My head breaks my heart on a regular basis.
I checked with the online hockey handbook from the Alaska School Activities Association and sure enough, they do have to keep playing until one team wins and one team loses.
Bummer. Really, super bummer.
Ah, but, what if … what if they were tied at the end of three regular periods? And, what if neither scored on each other for a couple of overtimes? What if Jack Walters or Eric Yancey from CHS and Ryan Gray from ERHS set state records for the number of saves in a championship game? What if after several overtimes and sheer exhaustion has set in one of the McDonald boys from ERHS or perhaps Zach Plucinksi from CHS scores the final winning goal after falling to the ice because here is nothing left in that teenage body? Or what if a player that hasn’t had a lot of time on the ice gets to be the game’s hero by scoring the winning goal? Hey sports fans, we’d have the making of a legend. It could happen. After all, this is the Chugiak-Eagle River area we are talking about. It is indeed the center of the Universe, thank-you Lee Jordan.
I have to say if … but I really want to say “when” our two local hockey teams battle it out for the championship, and I am able to be there (shocking revelation here: there is more to this local newspaper than hockey … yes, it is wrenching, I know) well, folks here is the deal: I will be a super fan for both teams.
Since “C” comes before “E” in the alphabet and journalists just dig alphabetical order, I will be cheering with the Mustangs in period one. Can’t wait to let out that Chu-Chu-Chugiak call with Paul Straub, the CHS junior chock full of school spirit. Second period, I will be with the Wolves and I will be howling as I follow the hand signals of Hunter George regarding how many times to chant.
Like many parents around here, my husband Bob and I have graduates from both schools. We were here for the attendance boundary change. Shucks, I covered that whole drama for The Alaska Star. I remember all of the concerns of the time. I remember folks being so uptight that a second high school would divide this community.
Wow, am I glad to not only see, but know, that just didn’t happen here.
For sure there is a healthy rivalry between the two schools. But it is healthy in that you often see CHS clad students and parents at ERHS games and vice versa cheering for all the players from our local area.
Ah, yes, during games featuring both teams, the rivalry is there. But the rest of the time, seems pretty much everyone wants to see success at both high schools. That is what is happening. It is a very real part of life here. This community is just thrilled out of our minds that both of our local schools are represented with such success not only in hockey but also in nearly every other aspect of high school life. The same weekend the boys on skates competed for the CIC championship more than 100 CHS students and more than 60 ERHS students competed in the regionals for the Anchorage School District World Languages Multilingual Declamation Contest. I’ve been told that 50 students from CHS and 30 from ERHS have qualified for the state competition the first weekend in March. Rocking awesome, I say. Congrats to each of you.
Wonder if it is okay to let out a Chu-Chu-Chugiak or a howl at that event?
Those students worked their butts off too to be a successful part of that competition.
I recognize that the Feb. 9 cover of the ECHO News features the CHS hockey team in all its CIC glory. Glad to have them there.
But I want our readers to know that the ECHO News not only intends to honor other achievements by our local students that aren’t sports related, we are going to make that happen.
We ask for your help in this: Contact us and keep us informed about what is going on. I am not God. I cannot be everywhere. I am not omnipresent. Lol.
Wouldn’t it be cool to see our local band or orchestra students in a similar picture with their instruments and with their rightfully proud director or conductor on our front page when they win a major competition? I think so. Of course, those directors and conductors most likely are not going to slide across the ice and end up with “snow” all over their suit like Rodney Wild, CHS hockey head coach did, but perhaps Dan Shepard could capture somebody dumping a whole garbage can full of sheet music over their heads. I am betting Ron Lange might not have a problem with that. Hey, it could happen.
In the meantime, the ECHO News extends our sincere wishes to both local high school hockey teams at the state tournament. Go get ‘em guys.
And don’t forget to contact me: email@example.com.