Eight youth hockey teams from Alaska are headed to USA Hockey national tournaments next week, including a boys team that captured a Tier I district championship earlier this month in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Team Alaska U15 hockey team, coached by Dennis Sorenson, won the Pacific District championship on April 11 with a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Junior Ducks of California. The title earned the Alaskans a spot in the 16-team national tournament that runs April 28 through May 3 in Dallas.
Team Alaska is the only Alaska squad to qualify for a Tier I national tournament. The other seven teams qualified for Tier II national tournaments; four of them are girls teams and three are boys teams.
The Alaska All Stars U19 girls team and the South Anchorage Oilers U16 girls team both advanced by winning Pacific District championships. A pair of North Stars girls teams -- U16 and U14 -- earned berths by placing second at district tournaments.
All four will play in Denver from April 29 to May 3.
Three Tier II boys teams advanced by virtue of winning state titles -- the Alaska All Stars 14U team, the Valley Thunder 16U team and the Alaska Oilers 18U team. The 14U tournament is in Dallas, the 16U tournament is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the 18U tournament is in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Earlier this month at the USA Hockey high school tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, the Anchorage Hockey Association’s girls team went 2-2. The team was 2-1 in pool play and lost 9-1 in the semifinals to eventual champion Premier Prep Forest of Minnesota.