California’s All-Stars

One update I would be remiss in delaying any further is about the various All-Stars and Olympians with ties to the state of California.

This week, a Californian was selected to start in the ECHL’s All-Star Game, which will be held in the beautiful new arena in Ontario. He is defenseman Zach Tarkir of Fresno. Ironically, he’s done so well this season that he’s been called up to Lake Erie of the AHL. There he is a teammate of Matt Ford of West Hills, who was the MVP of last season’s ECHL All-Star Game, and Ray Macias of Long Beach. Ray made his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

And Pasadena’s Brett Sterling was selected to his third AHL All-Star Game in four seasons. The Chicago Wolves wing is back to his high-scoring ways this season. And he also has been an All-Star MVP as well as the AHL’s Rookie of the Year in 2007.

These are no small feats!

Congratulations to Zach and Brett!

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Nine from California reach the NHL this season

Nine players with direct ties to California played in the NHL this season, and two – defensemen Brian Salcido (Anaheim) and Ray Macias (Colorado) – made their NHL debuts in 2009.

And there is an interesting connection between those two. Salcido’s father, Frank, has coached numerous youth hockey teams over the years in Southern California, and Macias’ mother, Helen, often served as his team manager with the LA Jr. Kings. The families are close, and both have plenty to celebrate this season.

Two other notable performances were by Anaheim rookie Bobby Ryan, who spent part of his early teen years in Southern California playing for the old El Segundo Regents and the Jr. Kings travel teams, and Islanders veteran Richard Park. Ryan led all NHL rookies in scoring (57) and goals (31) – both Ducks records – and is a favorite for the Calder Trophy, while Park scored a career-high 14 goals and wore an A most of the season on Long Island. Interestingly, both played major junior in the OHL.

Others in the league this season: Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios, who played Bantam and Midget hockey in San Diego; Toronto forward Ryan Hollweg, a product of the old Norwalk ice rink; Atlanta forward Brett Sterling, who played out of Pasadena; Dallas forward Landon Wilson, who played minor hockey in LA while his dad was a Kings assistant coach, and Dallas defenseman Garrett Stafford, who registered his first NHL points during his recall with the Stars. Stafford also played in LA against the Kings for the first time in early April.

For the complete rundown on the alumni’s seasons, visit calirubber.com

And thanks for making this month’s the highest yet for traffic (and we’re only half done!).

California hockey alumni report

Some highlights from this week’s California hockey alumni report that I write each week on http://www.calirubber.com include:

The influx of California players to the AHL. This includes Brett Sterling, Ray Macias and Matt Ford.

CJ Stretch has been named the WHL’s Player of the Week.

Brandon Richardson has been named the USHL’s Offensive Player of the Week.

Click here for more on what California hockey players were up to around North America last week!