Aston Township, Delaware County PA

All The Way From San Jose for President’s Day

san-jose-sharks-100March 11, 2015 – by Amanda Simpson
This past President’s Day (February 13th-15th, 2015), IceWorks hosted a youth ice hockey tournament featuring 93 teams competing in 17 different divisions. The IceWorks President’s Day Tournament is just one of  about a dozen large-scale national tournaments offered throughout the year at IceWorks.

Teams come from all over the country to play hockey in Aston, PA, in fact the San Jose Jr. Sharks 18uAA team traveled all the way from the west coast just to compete in this year’s President’s Day Tournament. This their first IceWorks tournament and for many of the players, their first hockey experience in Pennsylvania. I had the privilege of following this team throughout the tournament to hear about their exciting experiences and get taste of their west coast hockey style. For many of them it was their first time ever seeing real snow! Five players from the team have been featured below to tell about their experiences of the weekend and their unique background.

Nick Stellmack

Nick Stellmack - Wing, #41

Nick Stellmack – Wing, #41

Position: Wing, #41

Do you have a favorite player or role model you look up to?
Dany Heatley has always been a favorite of mine, but as far as a current player in the NHL I would have to say Pavel Datsyuk. But I’m definitely all about the “Heat-er.”

How has your first experience in Pennsylvania been?
The atmosphere is definitely different. So far we went to downtown Philadelphia and did all the tourist things checking out historical sites. We went to the famous cheesesteak places, Pat’s and Geno’s. I liked Pat’s the best.

Any special rituals you do before every game?
I always tie my pants last, when getting ready. That’s pretty much the only (superstitious) thing I have.

What are your expectations for this weekend?
I hope my team plays well. We should bring enough to move on. We just have to play hard as a team. It’s not about individual effort as much as team effort.

 

Phil LoPresto

Phil LoPresto - Left Wing, #10

Phil LoPresto – Left Wing, #10

Position: Left Wing, #10

How long have you been playing hockey?
Since I was three years old, so about 15 years now. I grew up and played in Maryland all my life. My brother is actually the head coach for the San Jose Jr. Sharks 18u team, so I was offered a spot to fill in for the weekend, since a few of their players couldn’t make it.

Do you have a favorite team you root for or a favorite player you look up to?
I am a Washington Caps fan, but I would have to say my favorite player is Patrick Kane.

How do you think the competition is going to be for the tournament this weekend?
I’ve played in previous IceWorks tournaments before, but not at the 18u level, so from past experience, it’s usually a pretty close competition. We’re playing Delaware sometime this weekend and their ranked number one in the nation, so it will be tough.

Any expectations for the weekend?
I expect to really see a different style of hockey, how the west meets with the east. I’ve played at nationals before, but I have never played against or with a team from the west coast. It will interesting to see how their style of hockey is.

Keaton Mahoffey

 

 

Keaton

Keaton Mahoffey – Right Wing/Center, #14

Position: Right Wing/Center, #14

Any significance behind your hockey number?
Yeah, I was a fan of Jonathon Cheechoo back in the day when he played for the Sharks.

Is this your first tournament at Ice Works? What are your thoughts so far?
Yeah, it’s a great rink. I love how many people show up to the games and also the many different teams that the rink supports, with all the colleges. It’s a great atmosphere.

What are your thoughts on competition here so far?
They play good hockey out here, they really know how to play the game. We’ve been playing hard too, but I think we just got to give it our all. Put a little more effort into it.

Any pregame rituals you have?
I definitely have those moments where I see something that happens and think oh that’s bad ‘juju’. No real traditions though, just be prepared. That’s what you always got to do.

Mitch Kramer

Mitch Kramer, Center/wing, #89

Mitch Kramer, Center/wing, #89

Position: Center/wing, #89

How long have you been playing hockey?
I would say it’s been about 8 or 9 years.

Have you noticed any difference with the hockey here compared to back home in San Jose? (i.e. rink, style, game)
The rink here is really nice, it reminds me a little bit of our rink back home. It has the four ice slots like our rink does. It’s just very well maintained. As far as the hockey style, no not necessarily. I think youth hockey is pretty much the same all across the board. The teams here aren’t necessarily as physical as they are back home. They seem a little more skilled though. I would say we play similar systems too.

As far as your upcoming game tonight, what do you plan on bringing to the table?
I just need to move my feet a little quicker, have more drive to get to the puck. I think it needs to come from everyone, we just need to pick up the pace a little.

Any memorable moments at the tournament so far?
The first game that we had for the tournament, I scored a pretty nice goal. I pulled a moved on the defender and through it in five hole on the goalie.

Donovan Perez

Donovan Perez - Defense, #77

Donovan Perez – Defense, #77

Position: Defense, #77

How long have you been playing hockey?
I started skating when I was three and then started playing competitive hockey at the age of five.

Do you play any other sports outside of hockey?
I like to play basketball and a little bit of everything else too, but not at a competitive level as I do with hockey. I also play roller hockey, but my main focus is on the ice.

Any difference in style?
I would say back home there is east west style and here with these teams it seems to be more like trying to get the puck from end to end as quick as possible.

What will be a different strategy you plan to bring to your upcoming game tonight?
I am a bit smaller than many of the players we play, so most teams don’t expect me to be as physical. I want to focus on hitting more, to keep it a physical game. I plan to hit them hard and get some goals tonight.