PUBLISHED: 1:42 PM on Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Youth hockey teams compete at state level

Courtesy photo
  Tod Basenden takes the ice at the state championship in Anchorage.
The stakes were up for three Juneau-Douglas little league hockey teams that competed in the state hockey championships in Anchorage for the first time.

The Juneau-Douglas Ice Association, a member of USA Hockey, sent teams from three age divisions: the squirts ages 9-10, peewee ages 11-12 and bantams ages 13-14.

"We're trying to build the program so as the years go by we will continue to grow," said JDIA board member Steve Basenden.

The squirts and the peewees finished second in Alaska at the Tier IV state championships held the weekend of March 18. A week before the bantams won a game at the Tier IV state championship tournament in Fairbanks.

Basenden, whose son Tod plays in the association, said having two teams come in second place is great for the first year at the tournament, especially only having a rink in Juneau for three years.

"It was bittersweet. For myself I realized what we had accomplished, but at that point the kids were hurt in facing defeat," Basenden said. "They won five of six games though and it's a good lesson for them. It's easy to win, and they should be real stoked at what they had done."

Basenden said the association does fund-raising for the teams and will continue to do so to allow teams to travel for competitions in the future.

"It's an expensive sport. Registration is about $300 a year plus gear and travel, but it's a fun sport too," Basenden said.

He said he encourages parents to teach their children to skate to prepare them for hockey.

"Skating is difficult at first, but most kids can pick it up quickly," Basenden said.

"If they don't know how to skate when they start hockey, they get frustrated and want to give it up. Once they've got the skating, all the rest come naturally."