NCAA Tournament 2016: Nineteen Players from California to Participate

Sixteen teams, nineteen California boys! (Oh, and an LA Kings prospect)

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.