Tri-Valley Blue Devils mark 40th anniversary

Under 12 PeeWees win Stanley Cup of youth hockey

The current 2009-10 season marks the 40th anniversary of the Tri-Valley Blue Devils, a youth ice hockey club based at the Iceland skating rink in Dublin.

The club was founded by the Merrick and Long families in the East Bay in 1970 and initially played at Southland Mall's ice rink in Hayward. The sons and grandsons of the founders are coaching and playing with the club today.

The Blue Devils had a tremendous 40th anniversary season, with multiple tournament titles, four teams advancing to the state championships, and one traveling across the country to the USA Hockey Tier II Nationals in New York.

In January, Tri-Valley's PeeWee B (under 12) team won the International Silver Stick Championship, an honor known as the Stanley Cup of youth hockey, and will have its team name on the Silver Stick trophy in the Hockey Hall of Fame for the next year. The same team won its division at the Norcal championships and finished second in the state championships in San Jose on April 11.

The Midget AA (under 18) team played well at the state championships in Valencia in mid-March, earning a return trip to the USA Hockey Tier II Nationals. They traveled to Rochester, N.Y., in early April to play teams from New Mexico, Illinois, Delaware and Tennessee. The team advanced to the quarter-finals and then to the semi-finals where they were defeated in overtime by a team from Oklahoma that ultimately won the national title. Last year, the Blue Devil's first-ever AA team made it to Nationals and was eliminated in the second round.

The Blue Devils' Squirt B (under 10) team was undefeated, 14-0, in the regular season and won the Norcal championship in late March by scoring 27 goals while allowing only five during the championship tournament. The team finished second in the state championships that took place in San Jose April 9-11.

The Squirt A team finished the regular season in first place and advanced to both the Norcal and state championships, where they finished second.

The Midget A (under 18) team completed the regular season in second place and played in both the Norcal and state championships.

Over President's Day weekend, the Mite (under 8) team captured the title at the Wine Country Face Off in Santa Rosa and the Bantam A (under 14) team was undefeated at the Polar Bear Invitational Tournament in Phoenix. The players beat a Bantam team from Calgary, Alberta for the championship.

The Tri-Valley Blue Devils offer both travel and in-house ice hockey teams for boys and girls ages 4 to 18. Currently, there are more than 300 kids in the program and they come to Dublin from as far away as Elk Grove, Corte Madera and Stockton to play. The 2009-2010 season was the very first for the Blue Devils High School teams that play in the Bay Area league run by the San Jose Sharks. Tri-Valley fielded three JV teams and a Varsity team.

For more information, visit the Tri-Valley Blue Devils website at

--Pleasanton Weekly staff

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