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By Chris Bayee, 12/17/18, 1:15PM PST


They’re building it, and USA Hockey is coming. Again.

The sport’s governing body announced that the soon-to-be-opened Great Park ICE and Fivepoint Arena in Irvine and the Anaheim Jr. Ducks will play host to the 2020 USA Hockey Youth Nationals Boys 18U Tier II division.

The tournament, scheduled for April 2-6, 2020, will mark the first time the Jr. Ducks, a USA Hockey Model Association, will play host to Nationals.

It also will be the second time in two years the new facility, slated to open in January, will play host to a Nationals.

The Lady Ducks, also a USA Hockey Model Association and one that is celebrating its 20th season, will play host to the Tier I girls and women’s tournaments from April 4-8 at the new facility.

That will be the third time USA Hockey has held girls Nationals in Orange County. The former Disney ICE (now The Rinks – Anaheim ICE) played host to the girls and women’s tournaments in 1998. The Lady Ducks, which were founded in 1999, played host to the 2011 Tier II girls tournament at Anaheim.

“We’re grateful to USA Hockey for again selecting one of our associations to host Nationals,” said Art Trottier, president of the Irvine Ice Foundation, which is the parent organization of the Jr. Ducks and Lady Ducks, and vice president of The Rinks. “Our new facility is state of the art and a perfect venue to host tournaments the caliber of Nationals.”

The Lady Ducks qualified five teams plus a women’s team for Nationals this past April, while the Jr. Ducks sent four teams, with the 16U AAA winning a bronze medal at the Tier I tournament.

Great Park ICE and Fivepoint Arena will become the sixth ice facility and ninth overall facility operated by The Rinks in Southern California. Other ice facilities are located in Anaheim, Lakewood, Poway, Westminster and Yorba Linda. The Rinks also operates inline facilities in Corona, Huntington Beach and Irvine.

- Chris Bayee