OJR Forward Chris Lai Coaches 12U BB Jr Reign Team to Championship

by Jordan Driscoll

The Ontario Jr Reign’s Chris Lai served as an assistant coach for Jr Reign’s 12U BB youth team this weekend at the MLK tournament hosted at LA Kings Icetown. The four-day tournament featured teams of all ages battling for wins. The 12U BB team, coached by head coach Gabe Miklovich and assistant coach Chris Lai, won the Championship in an eleven-to-two victory against the Mammoth Stars. 

Chris’s involvement in the Jr. Reign youth team goes beyond the ice. “While playing for the Ontario Jr Reign, I've been fortunate to be part of an incredible billet family. They have an 11-year-old member who plays for the 12U Reign team,” Chris says. “I've always enjoyed assisting younger players in their skill development. Upon my arrival, I became an assistant coach for the team, allowing me to contribute to the growth of their skills both on and off the ice.”

Chris finds that his recent experience playing hockey makes him a better coach. "Despite having less experience than some other coaches, I find that my relatively recent playing experience helps me connect with the hockey team effectively. Coaching has granted me insights into the behind-the-scenes aspects of the sport, involving everything from planning comprehensive practices to conducting workout sessions,” he voiced. Chris believes that his experience coaching has been enlightening, stating “This opportunity has not only enhanced the team's skill set but has also provided me with invaluable life lessons that I feel blessed to learn from."

The Jr Reign’s first-period scoring was kicked off by Jacen Mower, followed by a shorthanded goal from Bentley Porche. Micheal Herrera netted the Reign’s third goal on the powerplay, with the Mammoth Stars responding with a goal from Noah Geffre on the powerplay. Before the period came to a close, the Reign scored their fourth goal shorthanded, courtesy of Shikai Hong. 

The Jr. Reign dominated the second period, netting six goals at even strength. Dominic Enea-Gonzalez scored two goals within seconds of each other, and Andrew Ito added to the scoreboard with another goal before his teammate, Nathan Burton upped the score to 8. The second period remained civil, with two penalties, one from each team. Blaise Pondella netted the second and final goal for the Stars before Michael Herrera earned his second of the night and Nathan Burton scored a buzzer-beater at twelve seconds remaining. The final goal of the game was scored by Michael Herrera in the third, completing his hat-trick. 

The Jr. Reign 12U BB youth team won the championship, led by Gabe Miklovich. with help from the Jr. Reign’s very own Chris Lai. 

Catch Chris and the rest of the Ontario Jr Reign in action this Saturday, Jan. 20th at Ontario Center Ice Arena as they take on the San Diego Sabers. Nah’Shon Rocks the Rink. The puck drops at 8:25 PM. Don’t miss the high-flying, hard-hitting action, and secure your tickets today!

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