Because it’s never too early to start planning a Stanley Cup run, a group of Los Alamitos parents have successfully lobbied to get Los Alamitos High School an ice hockey team, starting next year.
Leading the charge are the parents of a Lee Elementary fifth-grader whose love for hockey made them realize that they'd better start planning where he would play come high school.
“Hockey is his passion, and he wants to play high school hockey. I saw there are some schools in south Orange County that play hockey, but do we really want to drive all the way down to south O.C.,” said Daren de Leon. “We had to find a way to make it happen here. We’ve been working on this for a year with the district and the Ducks, and we finally got the go-ahead this week.”
The program will not be funded by the Los Alamitos Unified School District. Rather, most of the money for the first few years will come from the Anaheim Ducks with players’ parents funding some and Hockey Tron providing sponsorship. The high school team will play in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League as the 14th team in a league that started in 2008 with just three teams. This year, the league is adding Los Alamitos, Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach and Corona-Norco teams.
The Los Al Griffins team will hold a player and parent meeting at 7 p.m. May 14 at The Rinks’ Westminster Ice for students interested in trying out for the team. The program is currently in the process of hiring a coaching staff from a list of candidates provided by the Ducks, including former NHL players. If enough players try out next week, the high school will be able to field a varsity and junior varsity squad, said de Leon.
“Southern California is really becoming a hotbed for hockey,” said Art Trottier, vice president for the Ducks' community hockey program The Rinks. “Division 1 clubs and colleges are starting to recruit heavily in Southern California.”
Already, there are several Southern California players in the NHL, including Ducks’ rookie and Long Beach native Emerson Etem and star forward Bobby Ryan. There are already two players drafted by the NHL from Seal Beach ( and Rossmoor (drafted 33rd overall last year).
Many local hockey players quit when they get to high school because they don’t have a school team to play for, said Trottier.
“We find that a lot of kids are leaving hockey to play sports like lacrosse for their school,” added Trottier. “The main point [of the program] is to grow hockey in Southern California.”
Correction: An early version of this story mistated the orientation meeting as a tryout.