Space Coast Rockets return to capture state hockey title

Head coach Richard Sneed, assistant coach Andreas Johansson, team manager Matays Vas, assistant coach Joel Baum, Luke Nistorenko, Karsten Petersen, Andrew Baum, Bryce Conner, Colin Sneed, Jackson Maddox, Colin McNenimen, Ryan Porreca, Reagen Scott, Shane Tutino, Noe Vas and Dylan Wilkhu are members of the Space Coast Rockets.

The Space Coast Rockets 10UA2 Travel hockey team put an explosive mark on the season with a dominating performance at the 2020-21 SAHOF State Championship Tournament.

The Rockets defeated the Clearwater Ice Storm 3-1 in the championship game last month at Advent Health Center Ice Arena in Tampa.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of kids, and I’m sure this will be a memory they keep for the rest of their lives,” assistant coach Joel Baum said. “Watching their sticks and gloves fly into the air to celebrate when the clock hit 0:00 was an incredible moment for us coaches and parents, too. The kids worked hard all year, and it’s awesome to see that effort rewarded with a state championship.”

Getting to the final was no easy feat, and the semifinal matchup against the Jacksonville Jets did not disappoint. Regulation ended in a 2-2 tie. Overtime was a battle from the start. Both goalies held steady, neither letting a single puck enter their house. The Rockets weren’t finished yet, punching their ticket to the finals with a shootout victory, winning 3-2.

“It’s hard to believe that most of these boys were just learning to skate the last time the Space Coast even had a travel hockey team,” said Richard Sneed, the youth hockey director at the Space Coast Iceplex and head coach of the Rockets.

Rockets hockey, coming off a nearly six-year hiatus on the Space Coast, made its return to the 10UA2 Statewide Armature Hockey of Florida this season. The Rockets claimed not only the coveted state tournament title, but landed on top of the division, beating out eight other teams in Florida.

“It was very exciting to watch the end results of these kids’ development this season,” assistant coach Andreas Johansson said. “Their hard work paid off, and I am very proud of them. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.”

Those interested in learning more about the hockey programs at the Iceplex can visit spacecoasticeplex.com, call Sneed at 321-504-7500, ext. 211 or email him at Rich@spacecoasticeplex.com.