In front, from left, are Travis Cristiano, Renate Kashapov, Broedy Landstrom, Evan Keeney and Ray Xie. In back are Matt Derbawka, Josh Kalter, Connor Soutter, Sean Naylor and Jamie Shatz. Not shown is Ross Miller. (click for larger version)
March 11, 2014JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek High School roller hockey team won the 1A state championship by defeating Mill Creek High 5-3.
This win completed a great finish to the season for the players and marks the third time in the past four seasons that the school has brought home a state championship in roller hockey.
The team, which draws players from Johns Creek and Alpharetta and practices mostly at Alpharetta's Union Hill Park and at the Cooler and Slapshots in Cumming, showed a lot of grit and finished the regular season at 7-7.
But in the playoffs, they caught fire, going on a three-game tear to roll to the championship.
Coach Clyde Patterson called it a "gutsy" team that didn't quit.
Roller hockey is the stepchild of Georgia sports. Although it answers to the Georgia Roller Hockey Association, it has no standing in the Georgia High School Association that sanctions all high school sports.
"Roller hockey will never be GHSA sanctioned because the schools will never build rinks on their campus," Patterson said.
Nevertheless, it has ardent supporters and players. What it does mean is teams will find players and players will find teams.
"So we had to stretch to find players for team, but it paid off," Patterson said.