The Florida Jr. Blades wrapped the regular season, shutting out the Atlanta Knights 5-0 and setting multiple Empire League records.
The 38-1-0-1 Jr. Blades now hold the best record in the Empire Hockey League's 15-year history. Their .936 winning percentage also is a league mark, including a 20-0-0 home record. The second-year club holds the best record for the 2011-2012 season out of all 176 teams in Tier I, Tier II and Tier III leagues in the United States.
"This has been the best season I've ever had, and the best team I've ever been on," said 19-year-old goaltender Eric Sugrue, who registered the shutout against the Knights. "I'm so proud of my 24 brothers — every ounce of blood, sweat and tears through these last 40 games has been worth it."
The Jr. Blades' depth and scoring finesse kept the squad at the top of the league's special teams throughout the organization's sophomore season. They concluded the regular season No. 1 in short-handed goals (20) and penalty kill percentage (0.927), and No. 2 in power-play percentage (0.252) and power-play goals (55).
The Jr. Blades outscored their opponents a combined 317-66 in 40 games. The team surpassed the previous record held by the Boston Jr. Bruins, who recorded 313 goals in 2010-2011. The Jr. Blades also edged out the previous holders of the goals-against record, only allowing 66 goals, breaking the previous 69 GA record held by the New York Applecore in 2004-2005.
"It is an honor to be considered a top Empire Junior Hockey League team," associate coach Jake Laime said. "The Empire League has a rich history in player development and is considered one of the best junior leagues in the United States."
Along with team achievements, individual players have earned league honors.
The Jr. Blades' crease is home to the Nos. 1 and 4 goaltenders in the league. Second-year goalie Joe Keyser is the best in the league, with a 23-0-1-4 record, allowing only 1.49 goals per game and a .940 save percentage. Sugrue is ranked fourth in the Empire with a 15-1-0-3 record, 2.11 GAA and .915 save percentage.
"The success this incredible group of young men has achieved has everything to do with their work ethic and their relentless pursuit to achieve their personal best," Jr. Blades coach and general manager Tad O'Had said. "These accomplishments haven't occurred through luck. It has been achieved through an incredible amount of focus, determination, hard work and grit. This is a special team with an impressive mindset."
The Jr. Blades also boast the top two offensive defensemen in the league. Defenseman Ty Lasker is ranked No. 1 overall, with 12 goals, 36 assists for 48 points in 40 games. Team captain and second-year Jr. Blade James Hyatt is ranked just under Lasker, with 15 goals, 26 assists for 41 points in 38 games.
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Info: Registration is going on now for the spring 2012 season of Youth Sports at the Greater Naples YMCA. The following sports are offered: Basketball for kids ages 3 to 17, T-ball for kids ages 3 to 6, Soccer for kids ages 3 to 6, and Volleyball for girls ages 7 to 17. Program fees for youth sports range from $30-$50 for YMCA members or $60-90 for non-members. For more details or to register, go to ymcapalms.org. The registration deadline is April 2.
Contact: 239-597-3148, or visit the Greater Naples YMCA.
SPORTS CLUB CENTER OPEN GYM
Info: Grade Pre-Kindergarten through 8th. Choose from a variety of activities on trampoline, spring floor, tumble track and largest foam pits in Southwest Florida as well as other fun activities at the Sports CLUB Center on 3275 Pine Ridge Rd. Fridays, 7 to 10 p.m.
Contact: Kevin Lehman at 570-417-1121 or 239-566-CLUB
YOUTH STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING CLASS
Info: Put on by Magic Benton and 24/7 Sports. 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Cost is $30.
Contact: Brian Dodd 277-0700, email@example.com/a>
FLORIDA PROWLERS/TEAM EASTON
Info: The Prowlers are looking for 9U players interested in travel baseball.
Contact: Randy at 239-293-3081.
GOLDEN GATE HAMMERHEADS
Info: Golden Gate Hammerheads 11U travel baseball team looking for players for fall season, ages 10 to 11.
Contact: Walter Rascher, 340-5025
Info: Travel Baseball 11U. "No Daddy Baseball" Prepare for a high school baseball program.
Contact: Coach Jon Ayres 398-1769, jonayresbaseball.com, Coach Mos (pitching coach) 986-9118
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA RED HAWKS
Info: Looking for players 13 and under for a travel baseball team.
Info: Nationally-ranked and state champion SWFLHawks 13u traveling baseball team looking for experienced players to join spring team.
Contact: Lou Marsala, 784-5965
K6 MINI CLINICS
Info: March 12 to April 26. Affordable small group instruction in basketball fundamentals for aspiring young male and female players. Shooting Clinics on Mondays and Offensive Skills and Concepts Clinics on Thursdays. Grades 2 through 4, 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Grades 5 through 7, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. All clinics held at the Sports CLUB center at 3275 Pine Ridge Rd. Limited spots available.
GULF COAST REBELS/FOURTH GRADE
Info: Boys travel team looking for skilled fourth-graders.
Contact: Greg Urbancic 262-0270 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FLORIDA PHENOMS/SIXTH GRADE
Info: Boys traveling teams looking for sixth-graders
Contact: Chip Youmans 465-4789, email@example.com.
Info: Looking for seventh grade experienced travel basketball players.
Contact: Mark Chlebek 272-1451 or Sam Foggin 407-376-0502.
Info: Grades 1st through 6th. March 3 to April 27. Affordable introductory cheer programs that begins with clinics on March 3 and 10 from 9-10:30 at Gulf Coast High School. Girls will cheer at K6 Flag Football games on Saturday mornings. There will be a weekly clinic/practice plus a practice before the games each week. Cheerleaders will also learn a dance routine that will be performed at the Friday Night Lights Playoffs on April 27. For more information go to www.sportsclubnaples.org.
K6 FLAG FOOTBALL
Info: Grades 1st through 6th. March 3 to April 27. Kickoff clinics and Jamboree will be March 3 and 10, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Gulf Coast High School. Games will be played on Saturday mornings with 1-2 clinics/practices during the week. Players divided into two divisions. All coaches are trained youth coaches and teams are made up by school/geographic region. Friday night lights playoffs at Gulf Coast High School on April 27. For more information go to www.sportsclubnaples.org.
DIAMOND FLIGHT CAMP
Info: Grades 7 through 12. April 7 and 8. St. John Neumann High School. Cost is $149.Contact: http://www.juniorrank.com/2012-Diamond-Flight-Camps. php.
1-ON-1 FOOTBALL INSTRUCTION
Info: For skill position players ages 6 to 18. Individual lessons and instruction. Visit www.skillpositionpride.com.
Contact: Mike Wexler 273-2693, firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARCO ISLAND OPTIMIST FOOTBALL and CHEERLEADING
Info: Open registration. Boys and girls. Ages 7 to 14.
Contact: www.hometeamonline.com/mioptimist or call Coach Webb 394-0494.
Info: Grades Pre-Kindergarten through 6th. Ongoing sessions throughout the year. Each six-week session offers gymnastic skill training that will enhance coordination, strength, balance, flexibility and over all motor development. Sessions offered Monday through Friday at various times.
Contact: Kevin Lehman 570-417-1121 or visit www.k-6sports.comfor more information.
Info: New open gym hours, every Friday, school age from 7 to 9 p.m. ($10), family open gym, 6 to 7 p.m. ($10).
NAPLES LACROSSE CLUB
Info: Girls, ages 8 to 17. Naples High School Football Field. Sundays until April 15. Times: Girls ages 8 to 13, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Girls ages 14 to 17, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. A $25 U.S. Lacrosse membership required and can be purchased online at www.uslacrosse.org.
Contact: Frank Adiutori at email@example.com
PEE WEE ROLLER HOCKEY
Info: Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ages 4 to 8.
Contact: Veterans Park to register 566-2367.
PRO ELITE HOCKEY SKATING AND SKILLS CLINIC
Info: Thursdays, 5 to 6 p.m. Ages 7 to 12. $120 for six weeks. Travel team exposure
Contact: Coach Joe 431-7090, www.proelitehockey.comSOFTBALL
Info: Ages 10 to 14. Seeking coaches.
Contact: Joe Sutherland, 561-436-1443
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA UNITED ACADEMY
Info: Ages 3 ½ to 19; Registration open for SWFL United Soccer Academy, First Kicks Academy (3 ½ -6 yrs old) training on Monday(s) or Wednesday(s) from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.; Junior Academy I (6-9yrs old) training on Wednesday(s) ONLY from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; Junior Academy II (8-13yrs old) training Monday(s) and Wednesday(s) from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; Senior Academy (13-19yrs old) training Monday(s) and Wednesday(s) from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Train for 12 weeks at Barron Collier High School, with league games on Thursdays at North Collier Regional Park — Soccer Fields for the Junior Academy ages. Register at North Collier Regional Park — Soccer Complex on Saturday, Feb. 25 between noon and 2 p.m. or online at http://www.swflunitedsoccer.com/Player_Registration.html. 10 percent sibling discount (2nd Child). First Kicks/Junior Academy Training Dates are Monday, March 12 and/or Wednesday, March 14 to June 6. Senior Academy Training Dates in April
SOUTH FLORIDA RIPTIDE
Info: Florida Riptide is now fielding girls volleyball travel teams ages 10U- 17U for USAV and AAU tournaments. Also looking for assistant coaches and Jr. coaches, both volunteer and paid positions available. Help with camps, clinics, special events and travel teams. Travel Expenses covered. Experience in volleyball preferred but not required. www.riptidevolleyball.net
Info: Grades 3rd through 8th. March 3 to April 21. Instructional youth volleyball program built on planned progressions coach by trained coaches. Skill/Drill Clinics on March 3,10, and 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at Barron Collier High School. Players will be divided into two divisions. Beginning March 24 there will be games each Saturday with clinics on Tuesday evenings at the Sports CLUB Center at 3275 Pine Ridge Rd. Playoff tournament on April 21.
Contact: 405-9191, www.sportsclubnaplesorg.
BEAR WRESTLING CLUB
Info: Bear Wrestling Club sign ups every Tuesday and Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m. at Palmetto Ridge High School cafeteria. Open to all youth ages 5 to 18. Practices every Tuesday and Thursday. Cost is $100, includes USA membership card and club shirt.
Contact: Josh McIntosh 938-6316 or Dave Parmenter 353-0265.
NAPLES SHARKS WRESTLING CLUB
Info: Mondays and Wednesdays 6 to 8 p.m. Gulf Coast High School. 7878 Shark Way. Practice is in the Cafeteria, east side of the school. No charge for first practice to make sure the kids like it. Cost is $100 for the whole season, includes practice uniform and USA membership card.
Contact: Dominic Del Debbio 816-520-7617, firstname.lastname@example.org
NAPLES TITANS WRESTLING CLUB
Info: At Golden Gate High School. Practice is at the wrestling room. Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m. and Thursday 6 to 8 p.m. No charge for first practice to make sure the kids like it. $100 for the whole season, includes practice uniform and USA membership card.
Contact: Dominic Del Debbio (816) 520-7617 or email@example.com
WILDCAT WRESTLING CLUB
Info: Practices 6 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Estero High School. Ages first grade through high school. No experience necessary. Free for all participants.
Contact: Matt Brock 851-7630, firstname.lastname@example.org
To have a youth activity listed in the calendar, mail it to Naples Daily News, Kids Calendar, 1100 Immokalee Road, Naples, FL, 34110. You can fax info to 263-4816 or email email@example.com. Email preferred by 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.