Four Rockford boys recently competed in the USA Hockey 2010 Tier II 14-U National Tournament with their team, the Grand Rapids Griffins. The team worked hard through the season to achieve the right to represent Michigan and compete against 46 other teams from around the country in Wayne, N.J. April 7-11. The team has had one goal in mind from the start of the regular season: making it to nationals!
At the end of the Griffins’ regular season, the team competed in the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) district tournament and came out as champions in District 6. With that win they qualified to move on to the state tournament, and the Griffins represented District 6 well by becoming Michigan’s state champions. As state champions, they represented Michigan as the only team from West Michigan to ever make it to the national level.
The boys played three games in round robin play and posted a 2-1 record, making them the number two seed to move on to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal game was played against New York, and the Griffins came out on top with a 5-2 win. The victory moved them to the semifinal round against Illinois, the only team to post a win against the Griffins in the round robin play. The Griffins remained calm, relied on a defensive game plan, and came out ahead 1-0.
The championship game was played against Los Angeles. Again, the Griffins were victorious with a 3-1 win to go down in the USA Hockey record books as the 2010 national champions. The team’s original goal of making it to nationals was only surpassed by being crowned national champions!
The team is represented by Cam Bathum, Nate Hill, Todd Millar and Trevor Mills, and is coached by Scott Mills and Alan Hoard, both of Rockford. Coach Mills also competed in the USA Hockey nationals as a youth, and motivated the boys to the national level. He realized it was a once-in-a-lifetime event that the boys would remember for life.