With Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals back in Los Angeles, Kings hockey fans are buzzing. So, too, is the Temecula Valley Inline Hockey Association (TVIHA), which is now gearing up for its own spring 2012 playoffs.
“We have 120 players in our league, from 8 and under to 14 and under,” said TVIHA president, Scott Fink. “The playoffs for spring season are Wednesday night, which I realize could be the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals. But, with four teams competing in each division, the players, coaches, and refs will just have to set their DVRs and watch the L.A. Kings finals when they get home.”
With the Los Angeles Kings going all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, there is excitement in the rink at Ronald Regan Sports Park.
“It’s great for hockey and for TVIHA. We’re hoping to ride the wave of enthusiasm with the Stanley Cup and hope that more kids come out to try the sport,” Fink said.
The TVIHA is a non-checking league, and prides itself on teaching good sportsmanship, as well as learning the skills of the game of hockey and developing a love of the game. Free clinics are offered with full loaner gear, where coaches teach skills and fundamentals, letting kids try to out chase the puck.
“Even when a kid is just learning to skate, it’s amazing how fast they pick it up. They become so focused on the puck that skating just is automatic. All they have to do is try it, and more often than not, the kids sign up just for the love of it,” Fink said.
Along with fundamentals, the organization also offers goalie clinics to let kids experiment what it’s like in front of the net.
“It helps to be fearless, as it takes a certain type of player who wants to stand in front of the goal,” Fink said. As with the fundamentals clinic, the goalie clinic is posted both on the TVIHA website and on the Facebook Fan Page.
The Los Angeles Kings have returned to the West coast for the next round of play against the New Jersey Devils. As for tonight’s practice, Fink expects many players to be “mysteriously absent,” in favor of staying home to watch the pros at work, and maybe learn a thing or two from their favorite players.
“I remember the last time the Kings went to the cup, when Gretzky was on the team and the fever in L.A. It’s nice to see them back there,” Fink said, admitting he’s a fan of California hockey, but is definitely on the L.A. Kings bandwagon during the Stanley Cup Finals. “I know our players are excited to see what happens next.”
Incidentally, the first place U8 team in the TVIHA is aptly named — you guessed it — “The Kings.”
For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/tvih.
TVIHA plays at the Ronald Regan Sports Park Rink, located at 42569 Margarita Road in Temecula.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.