Jr. Comets Elite Team Climbs the RankingsDec 11, 2015
While offering a first class experience to the players and families in the Utica Jr. Comets Elite organization is a top priority, it is equally important to see the progression in skill development from practice carry over to games. Through the professional resources provided by the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets, power skating sessions with Gary Heenan of Utica College, and challenging off-ice workouts, the 2004 Jr. Comets Elite team has developed exponentially under the watchful eyes of their experienced coaches.
When the 2004 Jr. Comets Elite team was established this past summer, the ultimate goal was to develop the area’s premier players at the quickest rate possible. While competing on a national level was merely a thought a few months ago, it has become more of a reality as each weekend passes by. For most players and families within the organization, the typical youth hockey schedule was comprised of local teams that did not require much travel. While trying to keep an even balance of practice time for development and a competitive game schedule, however, it became apparent that the 2004 Elite team would be playing teams from outside the usual radius. This was all in an effort to play some of New York state’s best competition and ultimately find out where the Utica Comets Jr. Elite organization stacks up on a national scale.
Each Wednesday, the 2004 Elite coaching staff regularly checks the website www.myhockeyrankings.com, a credited website that ranks youth hockey teams on a statewide and national spectrum. As of December 2nd, 2015, a viewer could find the 2004 Jr. Comets Elite team at the top of New York state for Tier 2 teams. With a ranking of 4th in New York and 51st in the nation, the Utica Jr. Comets Elite program is beginning to get their name on the same level as some of the most prominent youth hockey organizations. The 2004 Elite team currently holds a 12-1 record, outscoring their opponents 72-19. Despite being considered a Tier 2 team this season, the 2004 Elite team has played – and defeated – Tier 1 teams and will continue to play top tier teams in an effort to become Tier 1 in the future. Some of the top Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams remain on the 2004 Elite teams schedule throughout the remainder of the season.
As the 2004 Elite team continues to climb the rankings, their efforts have given the team the chance to travel to different areas of the state to compete against some of the other premier New York youth programs. The team recently wrapped up a 2-0 weekend in Rochester, and they look forward to a couple of highlighted events in the future. The team will travel to Lake Placid and compete in the Can/Am Challenge Cup, and are also in the process of scheduling a road trip to Long Island to play a couple of top ten New York state teams. Perhaps one of the most exciting events in the future will be an organizational trip to Toronto over the same weekend the AHL Utica Comets play the Toronto Marlies. The 2004 Elite team, along with the 2006 Elite team, will pack the bus up just like the pros and head to Toronto to play two games, including one at the Ricoh Center, the home of the Toronto Marlies. The two Elite teams will have the chance to play international competition, watch a Comets game in a different rink and have the chance to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, all while enjoying the great city of Toronto.
While we know we have just scratched the surface, this is nonetheless an exciting time for youth hockey in Utica.