My son is a senior this year and with that comes many "lasts". His last off season training camp, his last home opener, his last year as a West Ranch Wildcat varsity hockey player, my last season as team manager. Jack is going to savor every moment of this season, he and his fellow seniors already capturing memories of their mutual lasts. I'm glad he is on board with that and now I get a "sure mom" vs. rolling of the eyes when I ask to take a picture to capture a hockey memory. It's definitely a bittersweet time, sad to think about this being his last year playing high school hockey with friends he's been playing with for years, many since he was 10 years old, but at the same time exciting to see him experiencing this season as a senior and looking towards his future. And even though I'm trying not to make this about me, it is hard at times to think of leaving my baby, West Ranch Hockey, at the end of the year. I am so proud to have co-founded this program and nurture it over the past three years. Although I know I'll never fully leave West Ranch Hockey, I'll always support our boys in some capacity. But once Jack graduates, it will be different, but that's okay. All parents need to let their children grow and fly, whether they are our actual children or 16 beloved hockey players.
Cheers to a fun 2017-18 season and all the "lasts" to be cherished.
Josh, Jack and Justin at their last Home Opener 09.30.17
All of the passion and hard work the players, coaches, parents, and school supporters have put into West Ranch hockey over the past year paid off in dividends last Saturday night at the team’s home opener. Ice Station Valencia was packed with students, family, and friends to cheer our Wildcats onto an 11-0 victory over the Santa Clarita Hockey Club. The pre-game tailgate party was fun for all who attended as we rocked out to the band 75BREEZE, got our picture taken with the LA Kings Ice Crew and Bailey, and enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner. When I entered the rink close to game time, I was blown away by the number of people in attendance. In the seven years I’ve been coming to the rink, I’ve never seen a crowd that big to watch a hockey game at Ice Station Valencia. From the National Anthem, to the puck drop, to the first goal and beyond, the night exceeded my expectations. I talked with our players after the game to find out their reaction and when they told me they had goosebumps as they took it all in, the evening was complete. Our vision of high school hockey for our student athletes was coming to life. The cheerleaders, the Pack, the Paw Print, ASB, and many more students cheering for their classmates on the ice in a packed arena – this is what it’s all about. High school hockey at West Ranch is off to an amazing start!
We’re about a month into the new school year and high school hockey season and the phrase “it takes a village” is quite meaningful here at The Ranch. Parents and coaches, school administrators and teachers, our players and the Kings organization, everyone is pulling together to help make the inaugural season of West Ranch Hockey and the LA Kings High School Hockey League a fun and memorable experience for our Wildcats. From helping out with rides to and from school and the rink, to picking up a pair of dress shoes to make a game day outfit complete, our hockey family is always willing to help out whenever and with whatever is needed. Whether it’s making sure our players stay hydrated during practice, or capturing that amazing action shot for the proud parent, no matter how big or small the gesture, everyone’s help is needed and appreciated. From fundraising to meal planning, from game day preparations to providing a quiet place to do homework, each and every act of kindness plays an important role in supporting our student athletes to be as successful as they can be in school, hockey, and life. And how amazing to be part of this village, the best hockey family ever!
I’m not just a hockey mom, but a hockey fan, too. And with my beloved LA Kings not making the playoffs this year, these three words – Go Kings Go! – are still incredibly relevant in the month of May and have taken on a whole new meaning for me. It’s been a great experience these past couple of months working with the Kings to help make the dream of high school hockey for my son and his teammates become a reality. I have really appreciated the dedication, support and genuineness of Chris, James and Jim from the LA Kings in their pursuit of building a top notch high school hockey program for our players. I can’t give away all the surprises just yet, but trust me when I say some exciting things are in the works for what the Kings have planned for the upcoming LAKHSHL season. Between the support of the LA Kings, West Ranch High School, and our dedicated coaches, our Wildcats are going to have an amazing and memorable high school hockey experience as they become the best students, teammates, hockey players, and citizens they can be. Thank you, Kings, for making me an even bigger fan of yours than I was before.
Go Kings Go!
Bringing high school hockey to West Ranch has been a labor of love for the past year and a half. It was November of 2013 when Jason McNamara and I had our first conversation about how cool it would be for our sons to be able to play the sport they love for their high school. And now almost a year and a half later, the dream is becoming a reality. Our sons (both named Jack) are so excited to be playing hockey as West Ranch Wildcats starting next school year, now a mere four months away. Even though my Jack couldn't participate in our WRHC on-ice evals last month because he broke his finger just one week before (I know what you're thinking because we thought the same thing - really?! I've been working on this for over a year and this is the week that you get a broken finger?!?), it was so exciting and rewarding to see the players on the ice and the parents in the stands supporting our future West Ranch Wildcats. Jack was a trooper through it all, helping me check in the players and hand out WRHC t-shirts, he even participated in the off-ice combine even though his doc didn't want him doing any running for fear of falling and breaking something else. (He just got his cast off yesterday and cannot wait to get back on the ice this weekend!)
Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the last year and a half, Jason and I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to ensure our players have the best high school hockey experience possible. Go Wildcats!