The road to the Frozen Four starts today for sixteen NCAA teams. SBN College Hockey does a terrific job of covering the tournament every year, so go there if you'd like to see the bracket or read about the participants.
We got curious, though, as the last decade or two has seen a boom in youth hockey participation and programs in Southern California. Can we see the effects in this year's tournament? Turns out we can; 19 players in this year's tourney grew up in California, with the majority coming from SoCal. Check out the map below, and click on any pin to see which player is from that city.
View NCAA Tournament - Players from CA by Team in a full screen map
NCAA Tournament - Participants from California
|Providence||Ryan Tait||F||Santa Clarita, California|
|Providence||Garrett Gamez||F||Chino Hills, California|
|Quinnipiac||Alex Miner-Barron||D||Glendora, California|
|Quinnipiac||Soren Jonzzon||F||Mountain View, California|
|Quinnipiac||Sean Lawrence||G||Granite Bay, California|
|Boston College||Scott Savage||D||San Clemente, California|
|Boston College||Thatcher Demko||G||San Diego, California|
|Harvard||Merrick Madsen||G||Acton, California|
|Harvard||Tyler Moy||F||San Diego, California|
|UMass Lowell||Robert Francis||F||San Diego, California|
|Northeastern||Ryan Ruck||G||Coto de Caza, California|
|Notre Dame||Andrew Oglevie||F||Fullerton, California|
|St Cloud State||Patrick Newell||F||Thousand Oaks, California|
|St Cloud State||Robby Jackson||F||Alameda, California|
|Ferris State||Matt Robertson||F||Rohnert Park, California|
|Ferris State||Sean O'Rourke||D||Alta Loma, California|
|Denver||Gabe Levin||F||Marina del Rey, California|
|Denver||Trevor Moore||F||Thousand Oaks, California|
|Boston||Nikolas Olsson||F||Escondido, California|
You might recognize a handful of names on that list. Thatcher Demko was a Junior King who eventually became a second-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks and is probably the best goalie in college hockey. Robby Jackson was also a junior King who nabbed an invite to the San Jose Sharks' development camp; see his interview with Fear the Fin here. Goalie Ryan Ruck, a freshman, is starting for Northeastern and is a huge part of the team's miraculous turnaround, having gone 20-1-2 in his last 23 games. And maybe one or more of the others come from your neck of the woods (Hi, Garrett Gamez!).
As for the big club: only one Kings prospect will be taking part, and it's Paul LaDue of North Dakota. LaDue, who came in at #22 in our Top 25 Under 25, is part of a stacked team and a stacked defensive corps, and they'll be starting against Ruck's Huskies. (Preview here!)
The Frozen Four will take place in Tampa, FL on April 7 and 9.