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Flying Higher Than Ever

Posted: January 29, 2008 2:07 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2008 2:01 a.m.
Sick and tired of sporting venues which continue to disallow the throwing of objects onto the field of play?

First, take a long, hard look at yourself.
Then, drive on over to Ice Station Valencia.
Chuck-a-puck is one of several attractions being used by the ice rink to bring fans to see the Valencia Flyers, a fast-paced, fan-friendly Saturday night sports possibility.
Ryan Marvin, the team's first-year head coach, is on the campaign trail, telling everyone he meets about the Junior A-level team.
"I'm out there trying to tell as many people as I can," the 26-year-old former NCAA Division III player said. "We'll go outside restaurants, movie theaters, wherever people hang out at night and tell them it's fast-paced, exciting - we have guys that can score a lot of goals and we have guys who aren't afraid to drop the gloves if they need to, either. People are not disappointed when they come."
It may be truer this year than any other.
After six seasons as a Junior B team, the Flyers have made the jump to the third-tier of the A-level. With only three other California teams playing at that level - conference rivals from Sacramento, Long Beach and San Diego - the Flyers have attracted a solid group of talented players.
Larry Broyere, Ice Station hockey director and Flyers General Manager, said the Flyers will play at the level for a two-year probationary period. They are now in their first.
"USA Hockey will decide if we deserve it," he said. "We're confident that they will."
Several of the players are College of the Canyons students, as the team has players from ages 15-to-20. Some have moved from New York, Minnesota and Idaho among other places to be a part of a third-tier Junior A squad.
Kevin Lap, the Flyers' team captain and graduate of Saugus High and Brian Voogt, the squad's leading scorer and Canyon graduate, are the top locals.
For most, the squad is an NCAA stepping stone.
"A lot of people don't realize, even though there's not a lot of college teams on the west coast, there's a lot of great hockey talent in Southern California," Marvin said. "This team gives these guys a chance to keep playing a high hockey and to showcase their talents to NCAA teams."
Currently the Flyers are 21-18-2. They are in third place in a five-team conference, setting up a likely playoff spot. They're currently battling it out with San Diego for a top-two position.
"The games are exciting on their own. It's great hockey," Broyere said, "We did a lot of preparing for the move to the next level, gathering talent so that we could live up to that level of play and give the fans a lot of excitement."
Chuck-a-puck is one of the side attractions.
During intermission between the second and third periods, fans attempt to throw pucks from their seats into a trash can in the center of the ice. Pucks are purchased for $1 each or seven for $5 and half of the money goes to the lucky fan who is able to fire one into the trash can successfully.
"It's like a 50-50 but more fun," Marvin said. "There's something cool about getting to throw stuff."
There are additional promotions to spice up the experience, including giveaways from Pita Pit. Every time the Flyers score a power-play goal at Ice Station, fans in attendance receive coupons for food from the restaurant.
Marvin has added another stamp of his own.
"I set up an air compressor with a horn that goes off whenever we score a goal," he says. "This thing is loud. I'm talking, the whole building rattles. People that are free skating, will walk over to try to figure out what's going on."
The Flyers have 11 games remaining.
They play Saturday night against Long Beach on the road then return home the following Saturday.
There's still plenty of pucks to be chucked and goals to be scored by the Valencia team.


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