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Bend roller hockey players hope to see teammates do well at ice hockey tourney

(Update: Adding video, comments by coach, players)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Fifteen-year-old left winger Seth Sween has big plans for his hockey career, and his next tournament.

"Definitely to go out and win,” Sween said Wednesday. “That's everyone's goal."

Sween is one of seven players from the Bend Bullets roller hockey team who are traveling to Phoenix, Arizona for the Pacific District ice hockey tournament.

Sixteen-year-old Lexy Ace, who has competed for the U.S. National Team in Italy and Spain, said she is excited for another learning experience.

"Honestly, just excited for the competition, and just to see how well the team can do,” Ace said. 

Ace and Sween said roller hockey is a slower game with fewer rules, allowing them to work on specific skills. 

They said ice hockey is a much quicker game, but the skills typically translate.  

Ace and Sween said they are able to adjust from roller to ice (or vice versa) in less than one practice.

At The Pavilion in Bend, the team practices ice hockey during the colder months and roller hockey when it turns warmer.

Bullets Head Coach Jason Domitrovic, who has coached NHL stars like Patrick Kane and Rocco Grimaldi, said he’s noticed trends in what helps a good player succeed. 

"When they have a good support base and they have a good community,” Domitrovic said. “That's kind of what the Bend area is."

Sween and Ace, who have been teammates and friends for over 10 years, have created that support base with each other.

"Oh she's my big sister,” Sween said with a smile. “She's definitely my big sister. She keeps me straight."

Ace said the feeling is mutual. 

"He's like my brother, basically,” Ace said. “I feel like most of the other ones (on the team) are basically my brothers, too."

Ace is currently the only girl with the Bullets, but according to Domitrovic, that has never slowed her down.

"Well, Lexy right off the bat -- she's a complete competitor, a gamer is what you would call it,” Domitrovic said.

"You wouldn't know it by her personality, because she is so soft-hearted," the coach said. "But when she's on the ice, especially when she plays the boys on my co-ed -- good night! They don't want to play against her.”

Ace said playing with the boys makes her push herself more and has undoubtedly improved her skills, but she is never intimidated. 

"They're just my friends, brothers, whatever,” Ace said, laughing. “We're just playing hockey."

Both players have Division 1 and professional aspirations. But for Sween, he wants Ace to succeed as much as he wants to himself.

"If I can't make it, she goes," he said. "If she can't make it, I go." 

Bend / Central Oregon / News / Top Stories
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

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