Local players help Jr. Kings win state Pee Wee AAA hockey title
By Randy Angel
With the goal of proving that winning of the 2018/19 California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) championship was no fluke, the Jr. Kings Pee Wee 12U AAA squad rebounded from an early loss to capture their second straight championship Sunday at Great Park Ice in Irvine.
The Jr. Kings, who were underdogs going into last year’s playoffs, were out to prove why this year’s squad is ranked No. 3 in the nation behind the New Jersey Colonials and Middlesex Islanders.
Led by head coach and Redondo Beach native Brett Beebe, the Jr. Kings opened play on Friday with a 9-1 triumph over San Jose before suffering a 4-1 loss to the Jr. Ducks (No. 5 in the nation).
“The key to winning after we lost to the Ducks was to reset and regroup,” forward Tyler Chiovetti said. “We won the California championship when we were underdogs last year so we knew we could beat the other teams. Repeating as champions meant a lot to myself and my teammates. We set a lot of goals for ourselves which helped make us competitive all season.”
Saturday’s action included a pair of shutouts with a 10-0 victory over the Sharks and a 5-0 win against the Ducks setting up Sunday’s championship game.
The Jr. Kings claimed the championship with a 5-1 victory over the Jr. Ducks. In the five games, the team had outscored opponents 33-3.
“The Jr Ducks are a very good team,” forward Oliver Morris said.
Chiovetti and Morris, who are neighbors and have played together since they were 5 years old, are planning to try out for the Bantam AAA Minor team next season.
The duo celebrated the championship with other members of the team including: forwards Nolan Caffey, Duke Ehrhard (Manhattan Beach), Colin Frank, Pat Fortune (Torrance), Braeden Hoffman, Aidan Park and Ethan Weber (Manhattan Beach); defensemen Quentin Bourne (Redondo Beach), Kenny McIlwain, Drake Murray (Manhattan Beach), Tory Pitner, CJ Stice and Hunter Toms; and goaltenders Justin Bayers and Jackson Silverberg.
Also winning California Championships were the LA Jr Kings 16U, 13U and 11U teams.
Prior to the State Championships, the 12U team celebrated a huge victory at the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament when the team became only the second California-based team to win the prestigious event that was celebrating its 60th anniversary.
After losing its first game to Middlesex Islanders 5-2 the Kings then defeated Philadelphia Flyers 5-1, Ontario’s Whitby Wildcats 4-2, Russia’s SKA-Strelena St. Petersburg 7-6 and Team Minnesota 3-2 to reach the championship game where they beat the Czech Knights 4-1.
Oliver Morris put the Kings ahead 1-0 in the second period before Aidan Park soon added a goal for a 2-0 lead. Colin Frank added two goals in the final period to secure the victory.
“Playing in Quebec was an awesome experience,” Morris said. “Winning the championship and holding that trophy was very rewarding for us. We stayed with billet families of Quebec which was fun.”
Morris remembers his parents taking him to the rink as a youngster.
“My mom had been skating for years so she would go out with me,” Morris said. “I remember having a fear of falling before I realized I wore so much padding that it didn’t bother me anymore. Now my favorite player is Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks. I wear the same number as he does, number 39.”
Chiovetti’s experience with hockey also began early as his dad is from Toronto and shares the love of the sport. Tyler has played in numerous big tournaments but one sticks out among the others. “Being able to play with my teammates Aidan Park, Colin Frank & Duke Ehrhard last year in Minnesota at The Show,” Chiovetti said. “There were so many great players from all over North America and we felt special to have been able to go.”