San Diego Voodoo inline hockey’s Senior Elite team to participate in the American Inline Hockey League

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The San Diego Voodoo, an amateur inline hockey program, recently expanded to include a Senior Elite team that will participate in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL).

It’s the highest caliber of play hockey in the county—on ice of wheels—although there are plans to bring ice hockey back at a minor league level in the near future.

But for the present, fans of the sport can watch an exciting brand of the sport locally without driving north of Camp Pendleton.

The San Diego Voodoo, an amateur inline hockey program, recently expanded to include a Senior Elite team that will participate in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL).

It’s the highest caliber of play hockey in the county—on ice of wheels—although there are plans to bring ice hockey back at a minor league level in the near future.

But for the present, fans of the sport can watch an exciting brand of the sport locally without driving north of Camp Pendleton.

“It’s always good to have growth in any program, so we’re being progressive and the new rink is in a good location,” said forward Sean Connelly. “It’s a great place for fans to come out and see us play.”

Voodoo opened AIHL season with a series of four losses in a tournament-style format (two 15-minutes periods), but there was no shame. San Diego dropped a four-game series to the CCM Bulldogs of Corona, a squad that features four members of the U.S. National Team, along with four others that play for Team Canada.

San Diego held its own, including a narrow 4-2 setback, so prospects for a solid finish in the AIHL Pacific South Division are strong.

“We have a really good shot,” added Connelly. “There’s a ton of talent on both teams, so we can eventually beat teams like CCM. The Elites play super-step competition, but we’ve already shown that we can compete.”

The Voodoo minors did their job, splitting four tournament contests. Both squads get tested on Saturday, Jan. 25, when the Irvine Vanquish visit RSportz Arena, located at Skate San Diego.

Many members of Voodoo hail from the county, including David Baldwin, who helped West Hills High capture the CIF San Diego Section and state championships last season.

“My father and two older brothers played hockey, so I followed their footsteps,” said Baldwin. “My father coaches West Hills and the Voodoo, while my oldest brother, Chuck, now plays (professional ice) hockey in Sweden.

Baldwin notices distinct differences between the two Voodoo squads.

“The Elite is much more calm with plenty of puck possession,” he noted. “While the minors have a lot more intensity and bust their butts off more.”

The Elite team lists several franchise” players, including scoring leader Johnny Noris, son of former San Diego Mariners Joe Noris, who is co-owner of the teams and the rink.

“The franchise players are locked in, but we also have a couple of swing guys who can play either team,” added Baldwin, who plays both right wing and center.

Jonathan Gauthier shares the Voodoo Elite scoring lead with four goals, including a pair of goals against the Bulldogs.

The team’s top defensemen are Adrian Rodriguez and Morgan Capps, while goalie duties are shared between Doug Irwin and Zach Cummings.

Following the series with Irvine, Voodoo has AIHL home sates with Orange County Alliance (Feb. 1), Las Vegas Aces (Feb. 9) and Arizona Elite (Mar. 29). Open skating to the public is available following most home dates, so it makes for a fun and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon and evening at the rink.

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