North Texas To Host U-14 Hockey National Championships

24 youth hockey teams representing 16 states will play for the national championship in Plano

Dallas hockey fans may be left wanting this spring. The Stars haven’t missed the playoffs since 2002, but, as they limp their way down the stretch, currently the losers of six straight games, the seemingly far-off idea of the team heading home in early April is becoming more and more real.

It will be ugly, and we will all have to deal with hockey withdrawals for a while.

But, luckily for all the hockey-loving Texans, the Stars’ probable, and ignominious exit from the 2008-09 campaign isn’t the end of the story.

About 15 minutes north of the American Airlines Center, 24 youth hockey teams will descend upon the Frisco / Plano area for the 2009 14-U National Championships.

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Games will be played at the Plano StarCenter, while the related events and ceremonies will be held in Frisco.

Among the teams, which represent 16 states, 3 are local, representing the Dallas Stars Selects and Dallas Stars programs.

The event, hosted by the Alliance Youth Hockey Association, opens on April 1, at the Plano location of the Dr. Pepper StarCenter, with a full day of games beginning at 8 a.m., and an opening ceremony that evening at the Frisco Conference Center, which will include music, videos and speakers from the Dallas Stars organization (including Stanley Cup hero and most hated man in Buffalo, Brett Hull). Celena Rae will sing the national anthem, and each team will be recognized.

But most exciting (outside of, possibly, the games themselves) will be the Easton Skills Challenge, which is modeled after the NHL competition that precedes (and is arguably more entertaining than) the NHL All-Star Game each year, allowing the young athletes to showcase their talents.

The five-day, 50-game event will culminate on Sunday, April 5, with the crowning of the Tier I and II 14-U national champions.
Tournament passes are available at the Plano Dr. Pepper StarsCenter.

So when (and, I guess, if) the Stars are knocked from playoff contention in the coming weeks, fight that overwhelming sadness by taking a trip up north and watching some good hockey.

The youth, after all, are our future.

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