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Oregon Trail Leads to Wenatchee Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 23 Nov 2020  
By: Arch Ecker

For most younger hockey players, where they live dictates where they can play. As they grow older, more and more options become available with the availability of specialized development programs. One such program has been assembled here in Wenatchee, and players beyond the immediate geographical area have taken note.

The town of Bend, Oregon is home to around 100,000 people and sits 325 miles south of Wenatchee, about a six hour drive. Despite numerous options within a closer proximity, six players from Bend make the weekend trek to North Central Washington to skate with the U16 Warriors and the U14 Wilderness.

They aren’t the first to do so. Forward Hayden Desmond (U16 Warriors) followed an established trail. “I found out about the program from two players from Bend who played the year before me.” He further explained, ““I was interested in playing high level hockey, and we don’t have that level in Bend. The Wenatchee program is a great community of coaches and players and is an all-around good program.”

After playing in Wenatchee last season, he and his family made the decision to return. “I came back a second year because I grew a lot as a player and as a person and I want to continue that growth.”

The benefits of playing in Wenatchee are important to each player, but even more so to the family who makes a significant travel commitment. Forward / defenseman Parker Platt also lives in Bend and skates on the U16 Warriors team as well. His father, J.D. Platt recalled the process of choosing Wenatchee. “We became aware of the Wenatchee program through research on trying to find some elite programs for our son throughout the Pacific Northwest.  After discovering the program in Wenatchee, we then were able to hear about it firsthand from two other players from Bend that played for the program a few years ago. All positive feedback and research of the best possible program available close to Bend led us to trying out and now in Wenatchee for our second year.”

Some may wonder why a family from Bend, Oregon would choose to bypass closer alternatives when choosing a program. “It’s beyond worth driving the 12 hours round trip because of the high caliber of schedule, facilities, the expert coaching, and the pursuit of my sons dream of playing at an elite level someday in his life.” Platt adds, “He’s also getting to play with numerous players that are very experienced and help push him to compete, train & play at the highest level possible available in this region.” 

Platt concludes his thoughts by saying, “We feel very honored to be involved with the hockey community in Wenatchee and to meet amazing families and players that have become lifelong friends.  We are very excited for our son and look forward to many years of being involved with playing in Wenatchee. The traveling and the experience he’s gaining at this level is invaluable. We all feel very blessed to be part of this program for years to come.”

Platt and Desmond aren’t the only Bend residents who have chosen Wenatchee. On the U14 Wolverines team, forwards Wyatt Beck and Seth Sween are joined by defenseman Jack Tinney and goalie Andrew Lacrosse. Goalie Luke Neilson skates with the U16 Wilderness. All of them call Bend, Oregon home but they’re all proud to represent Wenatchee on the ice. 

Author: Arch Ecker

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