New competitive hockey team plays at home

The Homer Glacier Kings, Homer Hockey Association’s new competitive age 16-and-under (16U) team, plays three games against the South Anchorage Mighty Moose at Kevin Bell Arena on Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2. All games are open and free to the public, said team manager Susan Larson.

Saturday starts with a game at 9 a.m. and then an exhibition game at 5 p.m. The third game takes place Sunday at 9 a.m.

HHA had an 18U team in the 2009-2010 season, but have not had enough players to put together a similar team since. Homer hockey players travel to Kenai or Anchorage to play on competitive teams. The number of players interested in playing competitive led to the formation of the team.

“We’re at a point where we’re fortunate enough here in homer where we have enough talented kids,” Larson said. “Last year we had nine kids travel to Kenai to play on a competition team up there. We felt we could field a similar team with all that talent and that money would go back into the rink and into the community with people eating at the restaurants.”

Players on the team range from age 13 to 16. There is one eighth grader on the team, in addition to a collection of freshmen, sophomores and juniors, Larson said. The 16U designation allowed the team to cast a wide net for players without leaving many out. It also felt fairer than an 18U team, a much wider age gap that would mean freshmen would face-off against 18-year-olds.

“Our rink is finally in a positive financial state where we don’t fear losing it but the more we can grow our user groups and keeping it local, the better for the rink and Homer,” Larson said.

Many players on the team will go on to play for the Homer High School team when the season starts on Oct. 12, so the Glacier Kings season will end just before then. Glacier Kings head coach Travis Larson and assistant coaches Josh Pitta and Justin Adams will also be involved with the high school team this year, Larson said. Adams will be the Mariners’ head coach with Travis as assistant coach and Pitta helping out.

Since the season started at the beginning of September, the team has played 10 games in total. Their season record is currently 1-8-1, and the team hopes to improve and see how far they can make it. The top two teams in the state will be invited to compete nationally.

“We’re close to being right there. We’re closing the gap during the games,” Larson said. “We have some people out due to injuries. We’re a small team so we’re really affected when someone is out.”

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

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