The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, May 07, 2004

FLORIDA YOUTH HOCKEY BLOWIN' UP
growin' them home
It's amazing what a winning program can do for a sport. As the Lightning and Flyers get ready to get it on, Tampa Bay area kids are flocking to hockey, inspired by the success of their beloved Bolts.

I think it's amusing that this article cites, in two separate instances, the fact that the little kids know how to properly pronounce names like Martin St. Louis and Nikolai Khabibulin as "proof" of how good they are at hockey.

But what I really found of interest was the following tidbit from the Lightning's director of fan development, David Cole:
"Florida is producing some pretty good young hockey players," Cole said. "More than people think. There are about 10 kids playing Division I hockey who are from Florida.

"We're starting to be a presence nationally."
Although I've noticed before how high school hockey programs were starting to take off in the state, I was unaware that they would have yielded NCAA-caliber players so soon. Ten players on a national level is pretty much a blip, but it's still more than I would have guessed. I wonder who they are; I might research it a little this weekend.