Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Youth Sports

River Ridge High Royal Knights ice hockey team No. 3 in Florida


Four years ago, the River Ridge High School Hockey Team was in its infancy.

Now, it's the third best team in the state.

The team competed in the state hockey championship last weekend when they played at both the St. Pete Times Forum and the Ellenton Igloo. The team fell short of a state title, but coach Brian Griffin is proud of how far the club has come in its four-year existence after finishing 17-1 and first in its division this season.

"We have a bunch of kids that started out as freshman and have had to play a varsity sport for four years," Griffin said. "What makes this team special is the depth of the squad. We have three or four lines of kids that contribute."

With 10 kids returning for next season, Griffin isn't worried about the team's ability to sustain success.

"The first year we played we were looking for anybody who had the money to play," Griffin said. "Now we only need three or four more kids for next season after we lose our seniors and we should be able to sustain what we've done."

With no funding from the school, Griffin has done well to conquer the challenge of putting a team together year after year.

"We get no funding from the school because we are considered a club sport, so it's difficult at times," Griffin said. "There is a big commitment from the parents because of the cost of the equipment and the time that it takes to travel to places."

Players from other schools in Pasco that don't have a team are eligible to play for River Ridge since hockey is not part of the school's funded athletic programs. Tony Feldman lives in Hudson, but has traveled a lot with his son to play for River Ridge.

"High school hockey helps the kids with contact confidence that they don't get as much in their younger years in the sport," Feldman said. "This team is well coached. It gives my son a good experience and camaraderie with kids outside of his own school."

That camaraderie is something players on the team view as the key to their success.

"When we first started out, we relied on just one player to score goals and do a lot of the work," forward Jake Swedberg said. "This year, we're a lot better rounded. We have three different lines that play really well together. One line can grind down low and the next is more finesse and puts the puck in the back of the net for us."

Viewing their season as a major success overall, Griffin is proud of his team's efforts and achievements over a grueling season that started back in September.

"Our season was a big success," Griffin said. "What killed us in the playoffs was injuries. We lost our leading scorer and best defenseman at the end of the season and two more kids in the first round of the playoffs. We consider ourselves to be a very good team, considering we lost 2-1 in a game to go to the state championship without those players."

Submit feedback, story ideas to

Fast facts

River Ridge High School hockey

When: The season runs from September through the end of March and includes a regular season and playoffs.

Where: River Ridge's home rink is Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar.

Etc.: River Ridge lost in the semifinal to Gaither/Sickles, which went on to win the state championship. The team will be looking for new players at the end of May, after the graduating seniors are no longer eligible.

For more info and tryout dates, call coach Brian
Griffin at (727) 843-0716.

River Ridge High Royal Knights ice hockey team No. 3 in Florida 03/26/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour


    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

  2. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  3. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  4. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  5. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.