Yesterday my eight year old played his first hockey games of the season here in Central Florida. I was interested in seeing what the relative level of play in the youth leagues would be here, versus where we came from in Nashville, TN.
I was pleased to find that there are some good skaters here in North and Central Florida, and overall the level of play is fairly comparable to that found in Middle Tennessee, Alabama, Indiana, and Georgia, where we played travel hockey last year.
My son more or less fell into a slot on a local travel team. We hadn’t really planned on playing travel hockey this season – not because of we didn’t like or want the travel, but we were wanting to concentrate on school work after such a big move. Plus, we played something like 60 games last season and really weren’t sure that we were up for that much travel this year.
My son was asked to participate after one of the coaches saw him at a house league practice and wanted to know if he would be available for three (3) games on Saturday. Since the first report card a week or so back was better than expected, and since we weren’t committing to the full season, we said yes.
At the end of the day, my son’s team finished with 1 tie, 1 loss, and 1 win, in that order. The team’s play got progressively better as the day passed, with the last game of the day being their best – not just because they won, but because they were playing good positional team hockey and were making great passes and plays.
I gotta say I forgot how much I missed watching hockey in the months since the end of last season. And even though it was something 95 degrees outside the rink, it was a touch of home to sit inside an ice rink on a Saturday afternoon to watch my kid play.
So, it looks like in addition to our house league play, we’ll be playing an additional 18-20 travel games this year. Fortunately, most of the travel will be in and around Orlando, with the visits to Rockledge (Space Coast), Tampa Bay, and an outlier or two to Miami (probably the only trip really requiring an overnight stay).
It’ll be interesting to see how the league play continues to stack up as the season unfolds.