Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ice Hockey in the Bay Area

It's actually kind of surprising how popular ice hockey is in the Bay Area.  I recently joined the league down in San Jose and someone told me it's the largest adult hockey league in the US!  I think it has like 20 different divisions.  I grew up playing in a house league in Michigan for about seven years, but ended up giving it up in high school since the games were mostly about fighting.

When I first moved to the Bay Area, I lived up in the city and played over at Yerba Buena in SFAHL.  My team, Storm, eventually won the C-division [1] and several of us moved into the B-div onto different teams (I joined Point Blank).  After a few seasons, I ended up taking some time off then re-joined with a friend on his B team, Short Fuse, in San Mateo (PHA) after I moved down to the peninsula.  Unfortunately, the San Mateo Bridgepoint rink is closing in 2013 and they shutdown our division.  This led a few of us to form a new team, Mavericks (think Top Gun, with the Winnipeg Jets jerseys), to play in CCC [2] down in San Jose.  I've posted some old pics from various teams at the bottom.

Overall, most of the leagues are pretty well run.  I would have to say San Jose is run the best and is probably the best bang for your buck.  In terms of divisions, A-level is really good, mostly high level college players or above.  B-level varies from league to league, but it is usually comprised of good high-school level and above [3].  C-level is mostly high-school level/below. You get "older" high-level players as well as college women's players in these leagues as well.  D and below are some high school but mostly recreational level, or folks that learned to play as adults.  In general, there are a lot of rink-rats who play up and down leagues so you often see players that are too good for their leagues and they just sandbag.  I would say our new CCC league in San Jose is closest to B+ in San Mateo and somewhere between B/C in SF.

If you live out here and are interested in playing, ping me!  I had just happened to be walking by a coworker's desk and he had a puck on it - we got to talking and I ended up joining his SF team after a 15 year layoff!

[1] (wow, the link still exists!)
[3] San Mateo PHA was an outlier - their B+ was between B/C level while their B was more like C/D in other leagues.

2013 SF Tourney B Runner-Up - Short Fuse

2012 Cow Palace Tourney 30+ Bronze Champs - Short Fuse
2004 SFAHL C Champions - Storm

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