Bonney Lake High School freshman Andrew Alonzo and White River High freshman Danny McCarragher found themselves in California recently. And no, it wasn’t an early spring break trip.
The two play for the Seattle Junior Hockey Association’s 14U A1 Jr. Admirals, who had earlier defeated the Wenatchee Wolverines to clinch the Washington State Tier I title. By winning the first two games in a best-of-three tournament, they secured a spot in the USA Hockey Pacific District Tier I tourney, staged March 8-11 in San Jose.
In California, the team took on the Alaska All-Stars, Anaheim Jr. Ducks and San Jose Jr. Sharks in the round-robin portion of the district tournament. The goal for all was to win the district tournament and secure a berth in April’s national tournament in North Carolina. Things didn’t exactly go the way the Jr. Admirals had hoped, as the team dropped all three of it’s games.
For the local duo, being part of a state title was a repeat performance. Last year they won the state Tier II title on the Sno-King Jr. Thunderbirds U14 club and competed at nationals in Florida.
Alonzo has been skating and playing hockey since he was 3 and McCarragher began at 7. They have played for youth hockey associations in Tacoma, Kent, Sno-King and Seattle Junior. Both also played on a Canadian spring team, the Vancouver Selects. They were selected as two of the best nine forwards in Washington last year for a USA Hockey development camp in Colorado Springs.
Like other select youth sports, hockey requires a tremendous time commitment. For the local teens, there is three hours of practice in Lynnwood or Kirkland each week, two hours of off-ice training and road trips to British Columbia almost every weekend for league games.
Clearly, both players are committed to their sport.
“It’s been the backbone of my life,” Alonzo said. “There’s nothing I love more.”
Their dedication, and that of their teammates, resulted in a rather spectacular season. Their team took fourth place in Flight 1 of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association league in British Columbia, the highest level in B.C. youth hockey. Additionally, the team won three winter tournaments in British Columbia, going undefeated in each. The regular season closed with a record of 39 victories, 12 losses and four ties.