Hockey players head to Canada


Nikhita Dhamrait

From left to right, Anton Roepken, Cade Llewellyn, Nick Franzwa, and Tanner Curtis helped the Tri Valley Blue Devils 16AU ’03 team win the Western Regional Championship and qualify for the International Silver Stick in Ontario.

Christine Oh, Co Editor-in-Chief

The horn goes off and a swarm of ice hockey players mob each other in celebration.

There are hugs and high fives as the Tri Valley Blue Devils hockey team celebrates their latest accomplishment: Western Regional Champions.

The undefeated Blue Devils 16AU ’03 team, which features four Cal High students, beat the 16 AU ’02 team on  Nov. 25 in San Jose to qualify for the International Silver Stick hockey tournament.

“Everyone is just so elated and over the board,” sophomore Cade Llewellyn said.

Llewellyn was able to celebrate this winning moment with three classmates who are also on the team:  sophomore Nick Franzwa and freshmen Tanner Curtis and Anton Roepken. 

Winning the regional final meant a lot to the team not only because the squad moves on but because of who they beat to advance. 

“We essentially beat the older guys,” Franzwa said. 

Now, the players are preparing for internationals, which will be Jan 10-13 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. They will be playing different teams from across the world.

“You get to meet really different people [when playing hockey],” Franzwa said. 

The Blue Devils are excited to go into the tournament this year after placing third at the international tournament last year.  Llewellyn, Franzwa, and Curtis were all part of that team. 

“[Our goal] is to win everything,” Franzwa said. “I mean, it’s always our goal to strive for our highest.”

In fact, if the Blue Devils win internationals they will have the honor of getting their team name put in the NHL Hall of Fame in Toronto. 

Not only that, but the team is representing the Western region, which includes Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, California, Oregon, and British Columbia. 

Despite having a lot of weight on their shoulders, the players are excited for the event and are ready for the competition. 

“All our tournaments are always exciting for our team, because it’s a good bonding experience,” said Curtis, who is new to the team.

It’s the first time the four of them are on the same team, going to internationals together.

“One of the best things is team bonding and one of the worst things is team bonding,” Roepken said with a laugh. 

He joked that staying in the same room with Curtis would probably be the worst aspect of the experience.

And the best?

“We kind of clinched our first spot, so the competition aspect is probably going to be the best,” Llewellyn said.

The four players have a combined 34 years of playing experience. Llewellyn, who has been playing for 11 years, plays forward with Roepken and Curtis, who have been playing for 6 and 7 years respectively. Franzwa has been playing for 10 years and plays defense.

Clearly, they love this sport.

“[I like how] it’s really fast paced,” Curtis said. 

Some of them are even ready to include ice hockey in their futures as well.

“I’ll probably go to juniors, take a gap year from college, and hopefully get a scholarship,” Llewellyn said. 

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially since each player is armed with a large hockey stick and sharp skating blades.

“I get targeted every game, it doesn’t matter,” Llewellyn said. “There’s the risk of having injuries.” 

But Curtis said the dangerous aspects of the sport are what make it so exciting. That, and winning the Western Regional Championship.