As the new season of youth hockey approaches it comes with many accomplishments from previous seasons.
Last season each local rink: The Cooler, the Ice Forum, the MIC and the ICE as well as several suburban inline rinks all further solidified their presence in the Atlanta area offering specific and different hockey experiences as well as issues with the for youth player.
Despite the departure of the NHL Thrashers from Atlanta and a prolonged economic downturn, college hockey team continuity issues, the Atlanta area hockey community has continued to grow each year.
When you peel back the outer skin you find that Local youth talent has continued to develop at an accelerated rate. Continuous improvement in hockey instruction as well as developmental programs designed by the TPH Thunder organization and the Atlanta Fire as well as a unique inline hockey’s presence in the area have elevated the teams competing at the regional and national level from Georgia.
Evident by the recruiting of many Southern based players to Northern based teams many are now taking notice.
Youth powerhouses such as Little Caesars, Honey-Baked and St. Louis have recruited players from the Atlanta area.
Another example of the exponential increase in the performance of youth players is Atlanta’s showing in the NARCH tournament this July.
The Easton Atlanta Bulldogs Peewee squad climbed all the way to the Gold Medal round defeating The Michigan Outcasts, and the Mission Border-cats before finally losing to Halton Alkali Coyotes 5-0.
Halton which also played well in the 2HOTICE Tournament hails from Ontario, Canada and their puck control and positional play was indicative of their familiarity with their fellow teammates.
The Alkali left the Bulldogs flatfooted all game long with numerous retreats in their own zone and effective breakout plays. Puck control and passing was their strength, while the Bulldogs, perhaps unfamiliar with each other constantly missed open man opportunities.
Still, the Bulldogs beat teams from the North and proved that they should not be taken for granted.