Arizona Rubber Magazine - September 2016

Page 1





Northern Arizona University is brimming with optimism, and with the IceJacks having two competitive teams ready to start the ACHA season, there is no reason to believe the program won’t see success this season, both on and off the ice



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

FROM THE EDITOR With a new season comes renewed confidence, sky-high optimism


hen September rolls around at the start of each season, in hockey terms, it’s the equivalent to Jan. 1 and resolutions being made with the goal of improving one’s life. Once the Labor Day tournaments conclude, most youth hockey teams have already set goals to still be playing meaningful games in late March and early April. Alas, it’s a long season. Talk to any coach at any level in September and their confidence is through the roof and their team is one that should “be there at the end” in March and April. This season is no different and that’s why the games are played. Matt Mackinder That said, I offer three things to all those coaches and players this season – 1) Play the right way, 2) Be safe and respect the game, and 3) Game on! A terrible tragedy befell an Arizona community over the summer as Joseph Smith, who played on the Horizon High School state championship team in 201516, lost his life in a car accident on June 17 while returning home with three friends from a trip to California. According to his online obituary, Smith was “an exceptional young man, who had a depth of caring, kindness, and understanding toward others well beyond his 18 years.” “His ability to relate with compassion touched many lives,” the tribute continued. “He had a great sense of humor, was very patriotic, loved life and lived it to the fullest. Joe was an entrepreneur from an early age, had many jobs – most recently working at Hobe Meats. He always was seeking avenues for his boundless energy. “Joe touched many lives and will be forever in our hearts.” Smith is survived by his parents, Steve and Tana, sister Jamie, grandmothers Sherry Lindeman of Phoenix and Adrienne Smith of Ralston, Neb., uncles Jeff and Doug of Omaha, Andy Smith, and wife Jama and family also of Omaha, aunt Lisa Soto, and her husband Dave and family of Grand Island, Neb. Funeral services were held in Phoenix on June 27 in the Horizon High School auditorium. Godspeed, Joseph. The Arizona Coyotes made some staff moves in late August, but none garnered more attention than the one involving Dawn Braid, who will serve as the organization’s full-time skating coach. Braid is also the first full-time female coach in NHL history after joining the franchise on a part-time basis in 2015. She has previously worked as a skating consultant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. Braid also spent seven years with the Athletes Training Center as its director of skating development where she instructed a variety of skaters, including New York Islanders captain John Tavares. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to see happen,” Braid said. “The fact that they respect what I do enough to name me as a full-time coach, or to name me as the first female coach in the NHL, I take a ton of pride in that. I’ve worked very hard for this opportunity. It’s been going on for years and I just look forward to going even further with it.” At a pair of summertime tournaments, two Arizona natives brought some valuable experience and hardware to the desert. Ryan Savage, a Scottsdale native, led the U.S. to the U17 Five Nations title on Aug. 13 as the Americans went undefeated at the event in Frisco, Tex. Savage posted five goals and an assist. Another Scottsdale product, Makenna Newkirk, who played for the U.S. Women’s Under-22 Select Team in a three-game series against Canada from Aug.17-20 at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta, was part of the Team USA squad that lost two one-goal games and won the third game by a single goal. Newkirk, who will be back at Boston College this fall, tallied two assists in Calgary.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Arizona Rubber Magazine is published by: Good Sport Media, Inc., P.O. Box 918 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254, 10 times a year, once monthly September through May and once in the summer. Postmaster: send address changes to: P.O. Box 918 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Ph. (612) 220-4402

E-mail: Subscription Rates: $49.95 USD * Single Copy: $3.95 USD Mail subscriptions to: P.O. Box 918 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Subscriptions are non-refundable REPORT AN ERROR IMMEDIATELY Arizona Rubber Magazine will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion Visit our Web site at: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: @AZRubberHockey

Arizona Rubber Magazine is a production of:

publisher: Brian McDonough editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Wilson


The city of Tucson welcomed members of the Tucson Roadrunners staff on Aug. 30 to go over the $3.7M worth of renovations taking place at the Tucson Convention Center. The Arizona Coyotes’ new American Hockey League affiliate will take the ice for the 2016-17 season and will scrimmage the Coyotes on Oct. 9 in Tucson. More on the Roadrunners on Page 19. Photo/Tucson Roadrunners

ON THE COVER Northern Arizona University’s ACHA program, based out of Flagstaff’s Jay Lively Arena, has sky-high optimism on the eve of kicking off the 2016-17 season. Pictured back row, from left to right, are Lucas Lomax, Miles Lengyel, Steven Thompson and Chris Barrett. Pictured front row, from left to right, are Max Mahood, Jaxon Gosnall and Jacob Pascale.Photo/Andrew Holt Frazier

Arizona sadly loses hockey pioneer Chipperfield By Taylor Sedona Clark


ark Chipperfield had just celebrated his 59th birthday when he passed away on July 15 in Peoria after a heart attack. He had preexisting medical conditions, but his son, Korey Chipperfield, said his passing still came as a complete shock. Growing hockey in the state of Arizona has been a long and sometimes tiring journey. A great deal of work has been done to get Arizona hockey to the level it is now, especially behind the scenes at each rink in the state. Chances are, if you’ve been involved in hockey in Arizona the past few decades, you knew Chipperfield, and how much he has done for hockey in the state. Chipperfield wore a myriad of hats in life. He was a father, a friend, a helping hand, and above all, he was dedicated to hockey in Arizona. “He just flat out loved hockey – loved the rink, loved the people,” said Korey. “He could be in a bad mood, but when he stepped into the rink, being around the atmosphere of hockey parents, their kids, the smell of the air – he lived for that, and anything going wrong for him, he simply forgot about.” Many people regard Chipperfield as a fixture of the Arizona hockey community and for good reasons. “I would consider him a pioneer in not only youth hockey, but also in adult hockey in Arizona as far as helping grow the sport,” said Desert Youth Hockey Association director of hockey operations Sean Whyte. Some might know him from his time at the Ice Den Scottsdale or his time as a referee, but Chipperfield

also spent a large amount of his time performing ice maintenance and running his own officiating company. “He was around forever,” said Mission Arizona program director Jeremy Goltz. “He was an in-house guy at the Ice Den forever, he was always a referee,

Mark Chipperfield

he was an ice tech, he worked out of that facility for a couple of years. He’s just one of those guys that everybody kind of knew.” Chipperfield’s work in hockey really began when he officiated in leagues around the Valley, but then as

he got older, Korey transitioned from playing hockey in the Valley to a high level of officiating in the United States Hockey League. Later, Mark and Korey started their own company, Players 2 Officials, which worked as an officiating organization that hired out referees to multiple rinks around the Valley. The goal of the business was to transition successful hockey players into outstanding on-ice officials. “He really wanted to take solid hockey players and mold them into solid officials,” said Korey. “In his mind, it was easier to take someone who already excelled at the game and implement the necessary tools to become a good official.” Players 2 Officials was a large passion in his life, but when it unfortunately came to an end after a few years, Chipperfield never lost his passion for hockey. “’Chip’ was responsible for all the things from the ground up that make the building and the business work,” said Ice Den president Mike O’Hearn. “He’s always been involved in hockey in some fashion.” In order for hockey in Arizona to grow, Chipperfield did everything he could to ensure that hockey could be played at every level. He was dedicated to hockey and doing what it took to play the game. He was truly a staple of Arizona hockey, who never failed to greet you with a smile on his face and never hesitated from working to help and encourage the growth of hockey in Arizona. His memory and his dedication hockey in Arizona will have a last impact. Chipperfield is survived by his significant other, who he was with since her senior year of high school, Amber Bonnett, Korey, 27, and his daughter, Mackenzie, 21.


Competitive, yet affordable, AZYHL hits on all cylinders

By Matt Mackinder


ccording to its policies and procedures, one of the Arizona Youth Hockey League’s (AZYHL) top purposes are “to operate a highly competitive hockey league in the geographic area of Arizona and to encourage a continuing drive for the highest standards of excellence and sportsmanship in hockey play among member teams.” Sanctioned by USA Hockey, the AZYHL was formed in 2014 for Valley teams of all levels and has since been joined by additional teams from El Paso and Las Vegas. Arizona Amateur Hockey Association (AAHA) president Tim Reckell stated that once the state took over operations of the AZYHL in 2014, hockey’s popularity and the league have experienced noticeable growth. He also noted that for the 2016-17 hockey season, 53 teams comprise the AZYHL with teams from ages eight to 18, with the majority of the squads competing at the 10U and 12U age levels. “The best thing about this league is that all the games, each and every one of them, are played at the rinks here in the Valley,” said Reckell. “Most of the teams are local and there is some very good competition in this league. By having this league here in the Valley, more players can play and not worry about needing to pay for all the added travel expenses that hockey can bring, even at the youth level.”

Though the AZYHL does include some rec-level teams, it is highly competitive and houses arguably the best players in the state from ages 8-12. The amount of games per season vary by division. Each team will play a minimum of 10 games and could ultimately play as many as 18 games. The league runs from September to March, concluding with a state championship tournament in each division. Last spring, 10 champions were crowned in late February – CAHA Jr. Coyotes Scottsdale (Squirt Elite), DYHA Jr. Sun Devils (Squirt Major), Flagstaff Northstars (Squirt Minor), CAHA Jr. Coyotes Elite (Pee Wee Elite), Mission Arizona (Pee Wee Minor), CAHA Jr. Coyotes Chandler (Pee Wee Major), Flagstaff Northstars (Bantam Major), Mission Arizona (Bantam Minor), DYHA Jr. Sun Devils (16U Midget Minor) and HS Premier (18U Midget Major). Reckell was also quick to give credit where credit is due when it comes to support for the AZYHL. “We really can’t thank the Shane Doan Foundation and the Arizona Coyotes enough for all they do for the AZYHL,” said Reckell. “For the 2016-17 season, they will provide the trophy for each of the AZYHL state champions, which will include all of

the names of the past and future winners in that division of the AZYHL.” Reckell also noted how the AZYHL continues to help the game grow in the desert. “In the past three years, we have had consistent growth of participants in the league,” said Reckell. “And with the growth of kids starting to play the game with the Little Howlers program, this league will just continue to gain players and teams.” The AZYHL has the support from many dedicated volunteers. Thanks to the dedicated effort of co-chairs David Lieb and Camille Becker and their work with the community, the sky is the limit when it comes to the program’s future and youth involvement. “We do certainly hope to keep growing and I have to give a lot of credit to (former AAHA president) Brendan Shaw, who was really the driving force in putting the league together,” Reckell said. “Here in Arizona, we’re not a traditional hockey market like Detroit where you have 20 or 30 rinks within an hour of each other, but we do have five nice ice facilities. “The best part of the AZYHL is that we have more than 700 youth players this season, all enjoying the game of hockey here in Arizona.”


Jacks of All Trades

Northern Arizona University’s ACHA teams have quality niche in Flagstaff hockey community Phoenix Roadrunners before 4,000 fans. Then in 1981-82, the school fielded its first NCAA Division I hockey team. As an NCAA independent, NAU faced the likes of Michigan State University and Ohio State University and produced NHL players, most notably Greg Adams, who played from 1982-84. The British Columbia native played 17 years in the NHL, including a Stanley Cup Finals appearance with Vancouver in 1994 and two seasons with the then-Phoenix Coyotes from 1998-2000. Adams still comes back for alumni games. “There’s always been a history here,” Fairchild said. However in 1986, state budget cuts, Title IX considerations and facility problems with Walkup Skydome led to the end of NAU NCAA hockey, but in 1991 when the ACHA era dawned, NAU hockey returned, led by former NAU club/NCAA assistant coach Doug Allan. The IceJacks next big renaissance came in 2004 when Fairchild moved from Pittsburgh to coach NAU, which was in ACHA Division III at the time and having financial problems. “My first year I was there, we had 16 kids show up and whoever showed up was on the team,” Fairchild said with a laugh. “Now normally we have 80, 90 something kids that show up. We’ve expanded from one team with 16 kids on it to two teams of 28 players on the roster.” Fairchild said the key to growing the program was hard work and success, which bred more success. In those 11 seasons, NAU has become a fixture at the ACHA national tournament, making it seven times.

By James Kelley


ots of college programs like to brag about how hard-working and how ingrained in the community they are. Few can match North Arizona University’s hockey program and its love affair with Flagstaff, however. In addition to their better-known roles leading 20-something college student-athletes, the head coaches of both of NAU’s American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) teams, Travis Johanson (Division II) and Kris Walsh (Division III), have sixyear old stars on local Mites teams. “They get up early in the morning and coach, too, and then they’re there for the last game when NAU plays Arizona State or whoever,” said NAU director of hockey operations A.J. Fairchild. “Those guys are really dedicated and those are the type of things that keep that continuity going.” The IceJacks are so popular that while NAU features NCAA Division I football and men’s basketball teams, IceJacks have been voted most popular team on campus by the student body five times. Johanson said he wasn’t sure, but that he doesn’t think most ACHA teams get the kind attention the IceJacks receive. Johanson was born and raised in Flagstaff, played on the first Flagstaff High School team, which went 36-1, and took over head coaching duties of NAU’s top hockey team from his father, Keith, in 2012 when he retired. Walsh is a former IceJacks player who in 2009 started the Division III team. Fairchild said anything that involves hockey in Flagstaff, NAU wants to have a major role. “We’re a big part of the community, we have coaches embedded throughout the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association,” Fairchild said. “We always have a couple forwards and goaltenders that work directly with the youth coaches and directly with the kids, from Mites all the way up to the high school team. We like to keep that connect.” Johanson said NAU students and Flagstaff locals support the team well. “We appreciate it,” Johanson said. “We’ve got a good following. The hockey community North stars in Flagstaff follows the team pretty well.” While the history has been colorful, the future Fairchild noted that even though their rival is bright for NAU hockey. ASU has a much larger student body and a lot The IceJacks expect to make a return to Diviof very good players, they don’t have the same sion II national tournament after being shocked by following that the IceJacks do. UNLV last year. NAU hockey doesn’t have to compete with “I think we’ll have great forward depth, posthe Arizona Coyotes or ASU’s NCAA team, but sibly deeper than we’ve been before,” Johanson a big part of their support to Fairchild comes said. “We should be fast, we should be really exfrom getting NAU students addicted early. citing.” “We really have a culture here and when Prospective NAU players take the ice at a recent prospect camp at Flagstaff’s Jay Lively After playing a few games last season against freshmen come to the games, they see how Arena with hopes of donning the IceJacks’ jersey for the 2016-17 season. Photo/Barbara ASU at the Prescott Valley Event Center, the Sherman Photo exciting it is and our small little building and former home of the Arizona Sun Dogs pro team, we pack 800 people in there, yelling and screaming and next thing you know, they’re NAU will play eight there this year. hooked, ‘When’s the next game?’” Fairchild said. “It’s a top-notch facility,” Johanson said. “It doesn’t get much better than that. It In addition to in-state students, NAU lures students from hockey-rich states like should be interesting, it should be fun. We’re excited to get back down there and see if Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, North and South Dakotas, Utah and Califor- we draw another big crowd. It’s always fun playing in front of that many people.” nia, some of which end up suiting up for the IceJacks. Even though Prescott Valley found a replacement tenant for the Sun Dogs — minor NAU students love the IceJacks even though they have easier access to the varsity league basketball’s Northern Arizona Suns — they wanted NAU back. Lumberjack teams. The IceJacks will face a couple in-state rivals and Cal Lutheran, a promising sec“It’s really funny, because we’re not a part of the athletic department, yet we’ve al- ond-year program from Oxnard, Calif., in the 5,100-seat arena. ways been one of the more successful programs, and students have to pay,” Fairchild “We had the huge success last year and the rink came to us and said, ‘Hey man, said. “They could show their student ID and get into the football or basketball games, what do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘Well, we got ASU, we got Grand Canyon Univerbut they have to pay to come to our games and we jam them in there for all of our home sity’ and they said, ‘Man, just book those games. We want to play them up here at our games, so that’s great.” place,’” Fairchild said. Glory days are back for NAU hockey. Colorful history They’re even considering moving both teams up a division after the ACHA invited Much of NAU’s current hockey success can be traced back to its ups- and downs- them to make the jump. filled history. “We’re getting higher quality players in and we bring a reputation for NAU hockey NAU hockey debuted in 1971 when chemistry professor Gerald Caple started up around the community and the hockey community,” Johanson said. “So it’s growing the club team. The IceJacks grew to be so successful that after beating the University every year. We’re looking to make a step up to Division I, so I think it grows every of Arizona and Arizona State’s hockey teams, they played the Pacific Hockey League’s year.” 6

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Matthews makes it official, signs deal with Maple Leafs By Matt Mackinder


n an announcement that probably shocked no one, Auston Matthews signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in late July after being the first-overall pick by Toronto at the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24. The Scottsdale native, who turns 19 on Sept. 17, inked a three-year, entry-level contract and is already being touted as a Calder Trophy candidate as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Still, Matthews knows nothing will be handed to him. “My main goal is to go to (Leafs) camp and earn a spot on the team, to earn that right,” Matthews said to the Maple Leafs website. “I’m not looking too far ahead.” Matthews, who played youth hockey in the desert for the Arizona Bobcats and Jr. Coyotes, collected 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 36 games with the ZSC Lions pro team in Switzerland last season, while registering nine points (six goals, three assists) in 10 games with the United States at the IIHF World Championship and 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in seven games at the IIHF World Junior Championship. He was also named to Team North America’s roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, a tournament that starts later this month in Toronto. “Like any other player, especially a first-year player, we all know what Auston is capable of because he’s done it,” said Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello. “We certainly have no pressure on Auston to do this, that, or the other. We want him to come into camp as comfortable as he possibly can. He knows we believe in him. It’s obvious. He was picked No. 1 overall. We just want him to be himself, not to try and do something out

of the ordinary. Just do what he’s been doing for the “Pat and I have been doing contracts for a number number of years that he’s been playing and allow the of years together. We’ve had a lot of different players end result to take care of itself.” that we’ve worked with. This was never an issue at any Lamoriello added that having Matthews sign his en- point. Auston was No. 1 overall. The agreement that try-level contract was never in doubt. he has with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s earned this. “First of all, I think that the comfort that I have with He deserves what he’s getting. It was never a question Auston Matthews — through spending some time with from us on this. I think everyone was questioning a lot him at the World Chamof different things for a pionships and also havlot of different reasons, ing the opportunity to but the comfortability meet his family and then with both the contract watching how he has and Auston is excephandled himself throughtional.” out the process prior to “It feels good,” Matthe draft and then postthews added. “To me, draft – from my end of it, it was never an issue and our organization’s, or a concern, but now is exceptional,” Lamorithat I’ve signed and evello said. “As far as the erything’s been agreed process as far as this upon, it’s definitely a contract, this was never pretty special feeling.” in question — from our As far as the monend of it, and I don’t think etary value of the confrom Auston’s end of it. It tract, Lamoriello reiterwas just when.” ated that Matthews is The terms of the getting the maximum agreement were also that the NHL’s collecnever a point of contentive bargaining agreetion between the Leafs ment allows. and Matthews’ represen- Scottsdale product Auston Matthews, selected No. 1 overall in June’s “As far as Auston NHL Draft in Buffalo, N.Y., put pen to paper in July and signed his first tation. getting the maximum NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Photo/CAA Sports “The agreement took that the CBA allows – place, I would say, within 10 minutes of the first con- as I said earlier, he’s earned that,” said Lamoriello. “He versation that Pat Brisson and I had when we talk- deserves the max that could be given. Contracts that ed about Auston’s contract,” explained Lamoriello. someone deserves, they should get.”

Arizona State applies, not accepted into prestigious NCHC By Matt Mackinder


fter playing the 2015-16 season as an independent and then doing the same for the upcoming 2016-17 campaign, Arizona State University’s NCAA Division I program is hoping to join an established conference for the 2018-19 season. And not just any conference – the Sun Devils applied to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). In late August, however, the NCHC announced it would not be considering expansion. “After careful consideration and a thorough vetting process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Board of Directors announced the conference will not move forward with membership expansion at this time,” said NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton. “We will continue to be attentive to the college hockey landscape and any future changes that may come. However, our focus right now is guided by what we can do to strengthen our current membership into the future.” The NCHC has eight teams – the defending national champions from the University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Denver, Colorado College, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Miami University (Ohio) and Western Michigan University. According to information released in late August, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson wrote a letter in June to Fenton and explained the positives and potential of the second-year ASU program. “Arizona State’s commitment to the success of the program, both financially and competitively, is unequivo-

cal, as we continue to bolster our hockey staff, renovate our current facilities, begin the planning phases for the construction of a new facility, and operate a first-class program from top to bottom,” Anderson’s letter said. A n d e r s o n also discussed the $32 million donation the school received to fund the NCAA-level program.

“To ensure the longevity of the $32 million gift, ASU has placed the donation into a quasi endowment to both fund the program and accrue interest,” wrote Anderson. “From a budget standpoint, Sun Devil Athletics has created an expense matrices that forecasts several financial scenarios to best estimate needs of the program year by year. This allows us to look at all options and angles to make sure

the $32 million investment is used to its full potential.” Anderson also outlined plans to pay the the $500,000 NCHC entry fee in installments of $100,000, should the school have been accepted into the NCHC. Anderson’s letter stated that Arizona State plans to have a new facility in place by the start of the 2018-19 season, which is when the Sun Devils hoped to enter the NCHC. The letter didn’t state any specifics about arena plans, though. Arizona State’s current facility, Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, holds less than 1,000 spectators for hockey. “Our administration currently plans to have an arena by the start of the 2018-19 season, thus turning the program into a revenue-generating sport,” Anderson wrote. “We also secured a financial commitment of close to $250,000 to improve Oceanside Ice Arena to form a suitable practice facility in the interim until our permanent arena is built. Improvements were made to the locker room, player lounge, medical room, coaches room, arena seating and ice rink upgrades to improve the facility for our student-athletes on a temporary basis. “The national recognition of our brand and the attention of adding a men’s sport like hockey will only serve to elevate the profile of the NCHC. We are looking to become the best, and that starts with playing the best competition, night in and night out. We believe we can become an elite program competing against the high level of competition within the conference.” The Sun Devils open the 2016-17 season Oct. 7-8 on the road at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.



AHU getting set to host annual Ice Breaker Invitational and open to all divisions 10U on up. “Last year was our first tournament and we hostach year at the start of the new season, one constant ed one division – a four-team 16U division,” explained in the Arizona youth hockey realm in recent memory Shupe. “This year, we got some early marketing out and has been the annual Ice Breaker Invitational, hosted by will expand the event to five divisions with 6-8 teams each. We have teams coming from as far as Iowa and the Arizona Hockey Union. In the past, the event has been held in mid-Septem- Texas and we are also excited for the additional economber, but starting with the 2016-17 season, the tourna- ic benefit to the Valley that this tournament will bring in terms of hotels, restaument is slated for early rants and the local busiOctober. This season’s nesses. will run Oct. 7-10 at AZ “We kicked off marIce Gilbert and the Ice keting the event earDen Chandler. ly to get the word out “We are excited to and I am very pleased offer our third tournawith the response. This ment to all age groups,” year, we have increased said AHU president attendance by 75 perand tournament operations director Stacy cent.” Shupe. “We reschedThe five divisions uled the tournament The Jr. Coyotes 16U AA team, coached by Steve Sullivan, brought home the tournament will host from mid-September its division’s championship banner at the 2015 Ice Breaker Invitational. includes 18U AA, 16U since there aren’t an overabundance of events around AA, Bantam A, Pee Wee A and Squirt A. the country scheduled in October. Ice Breaker tournament director Shawn Babin will “We also wanted to take advantage of a holiday serve as the Ice Breaker tournament director and said he weekend and schools’ fall breaks to make attendance is chomping at the bit for October to arrive. more attractive.” The Union will also host two more tournaments during Previously, the Ice Breaker was primarily an MROC the 2016-17 season – the Thanksgiving Shootout from event that was exclusively a Tier I showcase. Now, it’s a Nov. 25-27, 2016, and the Phoenix Presidents’ Day Inviseason kickoff tournament over Columbus Day weekend tational from Feb. 17-20, 2017. By Matt Mackinder


ICE BREAKER VITALS Oct. 7-10, 2016

Earliest start time will be 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 All games will be completed by 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10 ICE DEN CHANDLER 7225 W. Harrison Street Chandler, AZ 85226 (480) 598-9400 Games – MIDGET 16U AA, SQUIRT A AZ ICE GILBERT 2305 E. Knox Rd. Gilbert, AZ 85296 (480) 926-5714 Games – MIDGET 18U AA, BANTAM A, PEE WEE A Full schedule, statistics, news and photos will be available at

Knights ready to make noise as ’16-17 WSHL season approaches By Matt Mackinder


hoenix Knights first-year coach-GM Mike Bowman knows he’ll have a young team take the ice for the 2016-17 Western States Hockey League (WSHL) sea-

son. And that’s just fine with him. “The team this year will be mostly new players – some first-year junior players and other vets new to the WSHL,” said Bowman. “It will be a primarily younger team – team that is ripe for development and full of players trying to get to the next level.” Entering September, the lone returnee from the 2015-16 season was forward Teighan Keller, who will be joined in Phoenix this year by his younger brother, Damion, who will patrol the back end for the Knights. “For one reason or another, most of the players from last year’s squad chose not to return and that’s something that we aim to change for the better,” Bowman said. “It’s important that what they are being told by the coaching staff is what is offered and delivered. That’s key to establishing that trust and relationship where players want to return for a second year of development, on and off the ice.” Bowman added that while the game continues to grow in Phoenix, “hockey is here in the desert, and here to stay.” “Kids can join the junior program at 17 and 18, get their feet wet, then try to move on to the NAHL and beyond,” explained Bowman. “You don’t have to put up great numbers as a young player - it’s an adjustment year. Get used to the level, then go out the next summer to camps and showcases and put into play what you learned all season. That’s the plan for development and advancement. “Our focus here is on player development. If that’s good enough for playoffs or to win the league, then so be it. We will not sacrifice development and teaching the game to those who are dedicated to take shortcuts to simply win. That’s not what this level of hockey is supposed to be about.” 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks add ‘awesome’ local recruits to ACHA rosters

By James Kelley


s Northern Arizona University gets ready to open the 2016-17 campaign, the IceJacks do so with the addition of some familiar faces. The program has added three recruits from Flagstaff – defenseman Miles Lengyel and forwards Rayce Miller and Austin Gooch. “It’s awesome to get them back, kids that played in Flagstaff, coming back, playing for NAU,” said NAU Division II head coach Travis Johanson. Lengyel played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and then for the Jr. Coyotes 18U AAA team last year. Miller played for the Jr. Coyotes and then the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL for the last three seasons. Gooch played for Mission Arizona and the Boston Bandits of the Eastern Hockey League. “We expect all three of those players to come out and help us out tremendously,” said A.J. Fairchild, NAU director of hockey operations. “It’s almost like having your own kids come back home.” Fairchild said he probably watched around 50 Junior A games last year and didn’t see any better than the Midget AAA Jr. Coyotes and Midget AAA Los Angeles Jr. Kings match up. “That was just fantastic hockey and Miles was out there killing every penalty on every power play,” Fairchild said. “Just to have a kid like that come here — and played his youth hockey in Flagstaff — is fantastic.” In the 2000s, Flagstaff native Tyler Holmes wore the captain’s ‘C’ on his sweater for NAU and current NAU graduate assistant Zac Fader is a local product who had a 4.0 GPA as an undergrad. “It’s not rare, but it just makes you so proud that these guys came back home and play in front of the home fans,” Fairchild said. “It’s a special thing for the fans and for the players too.”

RED, WHITE & BLUE CLASSIC (18U AA) Veterans Day Weekend November 11-13, 2016


USA Hockey #TBD


KING OF THE MOUNTAIN (SQUIRT B) Martin Luther King Weekend January 14-16, 2017 USA Hockey #TBD

For more information, visit or e-mail FYHA president Kevin Tye at


Friendly reminders to all coaches for the upcoming year H

appy September, fellow amateur coaches! As the season approaches, I suspect you have thought about how you plan to organize your season. There are master plans, goals to accomplish each month, Goar starting with the first two weeks and then monthly after that. This progression gets lots of attention, so I want to address something else – tools for your season. All of this of course is dependent on the age of your players. Squirts and Mites may be in a category all to themselves because of their age and immaturity. Here are some things I suggest you consider going into the season: • Journals – both for yourself and for your players. Journaling helps to track your history, set new goals and review often. No matter your master plan, you will need to make constant adjustments. Find

quiet time after practices and games to make journal entries to track your history and that of the team. Set new time-bound goals. If nothing else, journaling forces you to take stock of your efforts as a coach. This is a great thing to teach your players as well. It is a constant evaluation of current progress, a tracking of personal history which can be learned from and with this evaluation, a constant reset of new goals. • Water bottles. They often come in six packs with carrying case. They should be washed frequently. • Pucks and a good puck bag. • Tape – white, black and clear, if you provide such things. You should also show kids how to tape their socks, above the calf and of course, below the knee. • Coaches boards with dry erase markers. Larger boards for the rink. Smaller boards for the bench during games. Even pocket-sized boards. Maybe two or three colored dry erase markers. • Sweet Stick. I have one on my keychain. There are several products out there such as the Sweet Stick. These products are great for those of us in high school and the many youth levels. These products are often ceramic and serve to easily re-edge a damaged or simply dull skate blade. If you are coaching with a professional equipment manager, they can get a skate sharpened between shifts. For the rest of us, such a tool can re-edge a blade in

seconds, getting your player not only through the game, but through a tournament weekend before getting back home for a full sharpening. • Preparation is the greatest thing we can teach our young players. On game day, wood stickhandling balls work great for off-ice and pregame warmup. I also recommend a portable slide board. They now come easy to carry with little shoe covers. Three to five minutes on the slide board will activate and prepare all those skating muscles for warmups and game time. Be sure to stress a deep knee bend. I also like to add some full=out short distance sprints to the end of any warmup routine. • Always carry a few extra mouth guards. They are inexpensive and none of us want our kids out there faking they have one when they simply forgot theirs at home. We all wish kids would always be responsible for all of this, but facts are we all make mistakes, and forgetting something such as a mouth guard is commonplace. I hate to see a kid’s day ruined because they forgot what is an important but small item. • Another small item is a helmet repair kit. They are inexpensive. Some have small screwdrivers, along with the various nuts, screws and j-hooks for the mask. These things do come loose and again, losing a screw or nut is not a reason to miss the game. • An extra-large sport bag to carry all this “stuff.”

Kurt Goar is Arizona Hockey Union’s coach-in-chief.



Jr. Sun Devils’ 16U group will ‘overcome, learn and grow’ By Matt Mackinder


very year, optimism is sky-high on the eve of a new hockey season. For the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA), the Jr. Sun Devils are no different. Sean Whyte, who will coach the program’s 16U team this season, said he sees that team as “a tight-knit brotherhood, and they play for the logo on the front of the jersey.” Whyte saw this component of the team this past summer during tryouts. “I was blessed with very difficult decisions to make this past tryout season,” said Whyte. “We had a great turnout of players vying for a position, with all returning players except for one showing up. My team last year was so incredibly unified and I only needed to add a few other players to round out an already great squad.” So were there any surprises from tryouts? Did any players make the team that Whyte didn’t expect to be at tryouts or make the team? “We were extremely fortunate to have Tristan Hadley join our team,” noted Whyte. “This was a huge surprise to us as he is an incredible goaltender, a quiet leader, and a very intelligent and respectful young man. “Tristan will be a huge part of our success this season.” And while some coaches may see the 16U age group as a challenge, Whyte said that will not be the case with his Jr. Sun Devils group in 2016-17. “To be honest, I am very lucky in that my typical challenge of getting all of the players to buy in is a non-factor,”

explained Whyte. “Every player on this team wants what’s best for the team, and they are all showing a great deal of maturity right now. At this age however, there are the usual outside influences that can sway some players, such as driving, dating and school.” As times evolve and society changes, coaching youth hockey also changes. Whyte is in total agreement with this assessment.

Key players on the DYHA 16U club this season will include, pictured from left to right, Will Owens, Zach Wayne, Andrew Suan, Kole Goldberg, Anthony Smith, Chase McLaughlin, Michael Miscio and Chris Hedgecoke. Photo/Terry McHugh

“Times have definitely changed from when I was playing youth hockey,” said Whyte. “Coaches have learned to develop players with a more positive approach, and not out of fear. Players must be held accountable. However, consistency in a coach’s methods and philosophies is definitely paramount.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Based on what he knows about each player, Whyte is very excited to see what the 16U team can put together this coming season. “My knowledge of our team and each individual player leaves me very optimistic of what they can accomplish,” said Whyte. “There are some very difficult challenges set up for them this year, and it will be rewarding watching them overcome, learn and grow.” Whyte also noted how his expectations for the season are realistic. “To me, a perfect season is around a .700 winning percentage,” said Whyte. “Every team needs to have the losses to learn from, but still have the majority of the season filled with successes.” Touching on the brotherhood reference, Whyte said when he put the 16U team together, it seemed like all the pieces of the puzzle were a perfect fit as the season draws to its opening. “Pretty much every player I have returning is a key player in their own way and that is why I wanted them back,” said Whyte. “I have goal scorers, playmakers and grinders that all do their jobs very well. The new players on our team have adjusted quite well so far and have caught up to speed with how we operate. To name any players that are better than the others does everyone on our team an injustice. “Because hockey is a sport that prizes character above all else, hockey development means not just molding boys and girls into hockey players, but into scholars, good citizens and leaders as well.”

Respect and talent keep following Coyotes’ captain Doan By Mark Brown


t seems Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan has a difficult time saying “goodbye.” Becoming a free agent just before the 2012-13 lockout, Doan was undecided whether to test the free agent market or remain in Arizona, where he had established firm roots and was recognized as an icon in the community. At the same time, Doan was whisked around Manhattan by the New York Rangers in a helicopter and nearly presented with the key to the city of Philadelphia by the Flyers. Instead, he chose to remain with the only franchise he had played and signed a fouryear, $21.2 million deal to stay in the desert. After leading the Coyotes in goals a year ago with 28 and reaching free agent status, Doan again could not stay away. For the 2016-17 season, Doan, who will turn 40 just before the Oct. 15 opening night date with the Flyers at home, inked a one-year deal. With a deferred signing bonus and incentives, Doan could earn around $5 million for this coming season. That’s all well and good, but his value to the franchise is all in his leadership skills. Captain of the Coyotes since the 2003-04 season, Doan emerged as one of the most recognized and respected captains in the NHL. Yet, his playing days are closing down. While Doan returns to the ice with that distinguished ‘C’ blazed just below his left shoulder, his ability to command attention and reverence will again be well established. Whether delivering inspiration to his teammates or leading by example on the ice, Doan is recognized as the complete team leader. While the coming season could likely be his last in the NHL, the Coyotes are

preparing for the day he retires. 2004 season. During the recent offseason, Arizona signed defen“Kris was a quiet guy, and displayed great characseman Connor Murphy to a six-year, $23.1 million ter,” Doan said. “Keith was loud and all over the place. deal. At the time of the transaction, Arizona general He has a dominating type of personality. Teppo was manager John Chayka indicated the length of the the classiest guy I’ve known. They are all different, yet contract was important. they were all similar. Like I said, you need to know who “We recognize the you are.” potential leadership While Murphy has in Murphy, and that’s been mentioned as a why we did the deal,” possible successor to he said. “We plan to Doan as captain, the have Connor for a long young defenseman has time, and know he can Doan’s support. be a strong force in the “Right now, there dressing room.” are about four or five The essence of beguys who could easily ing a captain, Doan be captain,” Doan pointpointed, is a sense of ed out. “’Murph’ would the individual. be a great choice, His “You have to be game preparation is comfortable who you unbelievable, and he are,” Doan said just would definitely set a before the start of traingreat example for the ing camp. “At the same guys in the dressing time, you have to have room.” the ability to make ev- Approaching age 40, Arizona captain Shane Doan is still a respected Aside from Doan eryone feel comfort- leader not only in the desert, but in all of the NHL. Photo/Getty Images wearing the ‘C,’ Oliver able. Still, you’re your own person.” Ekman-Larsson was an alternate captain last seaBefore becoming captain, Doan played for four son. Two players who will not return, Kyle Chipchura captains with the Winnipeg/Phoenix/Arizona fran- and Antoine Vermette, were also alternate captains chise. Citing the difference in each personality, Doan during various parts of last season. was also quick to point out personal attributes. Doan When the Coyotes hit the ice for their opener played under Kris King (1995-96), Keith Tkachuk against the Flyers in mid-October, don’t be surprised (1997-2001) and Teppo Numminen (2001-03). if Murphy promptly displays that ‘A’ on his game jerDoan was named captain at the start of the 2003- sey.

THE WHYTE STUFF Examining the puzzle pieces of a successful hockey player O ver the years of playing, and then coaching, I have been asked the same question over and over again - What does it take to play in the NHL? I have always laughed and blurted out the answer – Luck! In all honesty, Whyte for my particular situation, that’s not too far off. However, my other key attributes were work ethic, determination, and a competitive nature that often offends those around me. When a player (or the parents) feels that they have what it takes to play at the next level, they must take into consideration the many factors that must be in place for success. The following are the key components that will determine if a player is truly on the road for success: SKILL: Any aspiring athlete must excel in all skill areas that encompass a true hockey player. This includes skating, stickhandling, checking, shooting, lateral movement and explosiveness. If you are weak

in any of these departments, your chances diminish exponentially. DETERMINATION: This is one’s mental toughness and inability to give up. When frustration hits its hardest, the player stays focused and battles through. I played with countless highly-skilled players in the minors that never got a shot in the big leagues, mostly due to their lack of determination. PERSEVERANCE: Despite any difficulties, failures, or who the opponent may be, the player continues to strive for success. Losses and setbacks are merely learning lessons for the next challenge. PASSION/DRIVE: Hockey must flow through the player’s veins and be the absolute love of their life. They must have a clear and focused direction or path. RESPECT: A player of success is one that respects all facets of the game. This includes one’s teammates, opponents, coaches, officials, the arena, and most importantly, the game itself. DEDICATION: The time and effort that every NHL player has put into the game is incomprehensible to most people. But this is what is done and there should be zero complaining about it. An amateur works until they get it right; a professional works until they don’t get it wrong. SMARTS: It doesn’t matter how skilled a hockey player is if they cannot think the game. Hockey is extremely fast paced and continuously involves players having to read and react.

INTUITION: Some of the greatest players in history were often said to have the same innate ability to see the play unfold seconds before it actually happened. One’s ability to go to where the play is going to be rather than where it is, is an invaluable quality. PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES: The bigger and stronger a player is, the better chance they have for success. Being flexible, explosive and solid core strength are all very important in order to play hockey at the highest levels. You can’t teach size, but if that lacks, heart must compensate. LUCK: This one factor is paramount. Throughout a player’s career, even at the youth levels, luck plays a key role in whether they will be successful or not. This can stem from having the right coaches, teammates, or parents. It can be whether the scout sees you at your best, notices the good plays and looked away when you made mistakes. It is being injury-free, or fully recovering from them. It could be another player getting injured when you are playing your best so you get the call to move up. It could be that Game 7 game-winning goal that you blindly shot towards the net and deflected off an opponent’s skate blade, trickled through the goalie’s legs, hit off the post and crossed the line. Luck, fate, or owning one’s destiny – no matter how you look at it, all of these components must be maximized if you expect to achieve the goal of playing ice hockey at the highest level there is.

Sean Whyte is the director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief at DYHA.



Class is finally in session at the Tahoe Hockey Academy By Greg Ball


he date of Sept. 12 will mark an important day in Tahoe Hockey Academy’s history. After years of conceptualizing and months of planning, the academy will officially open to its first class of student-athletes. Academic lesson plans have been prepared, games have been scheduled, and the hundreds of other details have been put in place to set the foundation for the first hockey prep school in the state of California. While it has been a long and winding road to reach this point, the staff at the school couldn’t be more excited to get its inaugural team on the ice and in the classroom. “We’ve had a tremendous response from players interested in Tahoe Hockey Academy, and we’ve been fortunate enough to sign some really high-end talent in just our first year,” said J.J. James, the academy’s vice president and head coach. “To see players who’ve competed at some of the top AAA programs in the Western United States call THA home this year is a testament to our focus on player development.” As with building any successful program, getting the Tahoe Hockey Academy from concept to opening its doors has been all about attention to detail. The academy’s leadership feels that careful planning and its overarching focus on long-term stability should have lasting results for the program. Mike Lewis, the academy’s athletic director, said that from the beginning, the staff’s goal has been to de-

velop an on-ice curriculum that emphasizes player development, which will in turn enhance team success. “We may be a first-year program, but by no means is this our first year in creating a program,” Lewis said. “We want to focus on developing better players, first and foremost. We believe that if we make that our emphasis, and we provide the necessary tools to reinforce and promote the concepts that we teach our players on a daily basis, our approach will have huge benefits for these young men down the line.”

The Tahoe Hockey Academy, after many months of planning getting each and every detail finalized, will officially welcome its first class through the doors on Sept. 12. Photo/Joe Naber

And Tahoe Hockey Academy won’t be shy about putting its best foot forward from the start. Armed with a schedule that will feature 60-plus games during the 2016-17 season, the team will play a highly-competitive league schedule and will supplement that by participat-

ing in a number of top-level tournaments across the country. The academy’s team will play in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL). The league’s full 2016-17 schedule hasn’t been released yet, but THA will play in Division I with JSerra, Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran and Bellarmine Prep starting in midSeptember. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but I doubt we’d be this far without the support of so many people and leagues,” said Leo Fenn, the academy’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re very thankful for the assistance of and the opportunity presented to us by Art Trottier and Matt Blanchart of the ADHSHL, as well as Tom Hancock and William Stone from CAHA and NorCal.” From Day 1, the coaches will be tasked with bringing players from multiple states and styles to come together to compete as one. With trips to the Bauer World Invite and Silver Sticks, as well as events planned in Manitoba, Colorado, Calgary, Minnesota and Southern California on the horizon, work will need to begin in earnest on opening day. “Competing in the Western Prep Hockey League and the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, as well as the top tournaments in the U.S, will let us challenge ourselves and see where we stand,” Lewis said. “We’re proud to call Tahoe home for our academy,” Fenn added. “The people and the city are great, and we’re excited to represent the community.”



Coyotes Ice, NHL’s Coyotes form multi-year partnership one of the Top 10 skating facilities in the United States by USA Today. Among its many attributes is the fact he Arizona Coyotes continue to contribute and be a that it houses the single largest adult and youth hockey major cog in the fruitful growth of hockey in Arizona programs in the state. In addition, the facility has one of and recently announced that the team has entered into the largest Learn to Skate programs in the country. In a new partnership agreement with Coyotes Ice, LLC, 2014, the Ice Den expanded its footprint with the acthe owner and operator of Ice quisition of Ice Den Chandler. Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Following a more-than $5-milChandler. lion renovation, which brought As part of the multi-year that facility up to NHL stanagreement, Ice Den Scottsdale dards, Coyotes Ice now operwill serve as the official pracates a total of five sheets of ice in the Valley. tice facility for the Coyotes. Over the past 20 years, the Additionally, the new agreeIce Den has proudly representment includes marketing and ed the Coyotes by wearing the event-related initiatives that will team’s logo and colors. The Jr. positively impact and grow the Coyotes Elite players represent grassroots core of fans that the the local NHL team internationCoyotes have worked to establish and cultivate over the past Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett will lead ally in the most positive fashion. team practices during the 2016-17 season at the Ice The program has sent more 20 years in the Valley. than 40 players on to the Unit“We are extremely pleased Den Scottsdale. to continue our great partnership with the Ice Den,” ed States Hockey League (USHL), the nation’s only Tier said Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. I junior program, the Canadian Hockey League (West“For the past 20 years, the Coyotes and the Ice Den ern Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, Quebec have done an exceptional job of growing the game of Major Junior Hockey League – all Major Junior leagues), hockey in Arizona. This strong partnership will provide multiple Canadian Tier II junior hockey leagues and the us with an opportunity to work together to promote and North American Hockey League (NAHL), the lone USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II league in the U.S. cultivate our great sport.” Erik Middendorf, a former star with the Jr. CoyIce Den Scottsdale has consistently been ranked as

By Matt Mackinder


otes Elite AAA program, will soon play for the United States National Team Development Program (the same program that Scottsdale native Auston Matthews played for and was later drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in June) in Plymouth, Mich. That level of excellence would not have been reached without a partnership focused on excellence. Former Coyotes players such as Ray Whitney, Tyson Nash, Daymond Langkow, Derek Morris and Steve Sullivan, as well as numerous retired NHL players and top-level minor league veterans, have all invested their time and experience to help the Jr. Coyotes program succeed. “We have been the proud ambassador of the Coyotes brand since 1998 and it is an honor we don’t take for granted,” said Coyotes Ice president Michael O’Hearn. “Having gained the organization’s trust and respect over that time, we see this next step in the process as a natural evolution. With so many young, talented players, the Coyotes have an extremely bright future. We see our responsibility to further the growth of future hockey stars and fans through our Learn to Skate, pre-hockey and youth hockey development programs, which positively impact the youth of Arizona.” In addition to being “home” to the Coyotes for game day practices, Ice Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler will also host six Coyotes viewing parties throughout the 2016-17 NHL season on select game days. Game dates and locations will be announced in the future.

Offering men’s and women’s league play, skills clinics, open hockey and stick time sessions. Whether you are a beginner new to the sport, an experienced player or somewhere in between, the CAHL is your home for adult hockey in Arizona. 9375 E Bell Road Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Adult Skills Clinics

7225 W Harrison Street Chandler, AZ 85226

Featuring Professional Instruction by Norm Beaudin, NHL, WHL


Outdoor youth tournament set for Bakersfield this winter By Greg Ball


t’s no secret that outdoor hockey has taken off in popularity over the last few years. The NHL’s Winter Classic and Stadium Series have been overwhelming successes, bringing the game back to its pond hockey roots and delivering added visibility for the sport. This winter, youth hockey players from across the Western United States and beyond will get to experience the thrill of bringing the game outdoors, as International Hockey Events will bring an outdoor tournament to Bakersfield. Produced by Golden State Hockey Rush and hosted by the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Bakersfield Condors as part of their Three-Way Chevrolet Condorstown Winterfest, the USA Hockey-sanctioned event will run from Dec 21-Jan. 7 and will be punctuated by an outdoor game between the Edmonton Oilers affiliate Condors and L.A. Kings affiliate Ontario Reign on its final night. “We’ve had an overwhelming response already from kids, parents and coaches,” said Barry Sherer, president of International Hockey Events. “The uniqueness of getting to play hockey outdoors is definitely going to be the biggest drawing card. “It’s a great location just north of L.A., and it’s driving distance from San Diego and Northern California. It gives all the California players an opportunity to experience this. Bakersfield also has direct flights from Phoenix and Colorado, and it’s close to Nevada and Utah, too. We’re hoping to get representation from all those statParents and coaches can find more information about the tournament at and can register there through

Nov. 15 or until the event sells out. While the AHL game will be the centerpiece of the 18-day hockey festival, event organizers knew there was a great opportunity to get youth hockey players involved and make the most of the resources it will take to build a temporary outdoor rink in Memorial Stadium, the 20,000-seat home of Bakersfield College football. Sherer is expecting 120-130 teams to participate. Teams will be guaranteed four games, with at least two of those outdoors and all division championship games outdoors (weather permitting). In addition to the Memorial Stadium rink, games will be played at the home of the Bakersfield Jr. Condors, the SJCH Ice Center. The tournament will feature divisions for nearly every age and skill level, with many offering two separate sessions, which Sherer said was designed to accommodate different school vacation schedules. ACHA Divisions II and III will take the ice first from Dec. 21-23. There will also be a 16U AA tournament on those dates, and a second tournament for that division Jan. 2-6. An 8U track tournament will be offered from Dec. 26-28 as well. From Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 2-6, the event will fea-

ture tournaments for 10U A, BB and B; 12U A, BB and B; and 14U A and B. From Dec. 29-Jan. 1, the event will offer tournaments for 12U AA, 14U AA; high school varsity D-I/18U AA, D-II and D-III/18U A; and high school junior varsity/16U A. While International Hockey Events has put on youth and adult tournaments dating back to 1994, this marks the first time the company will organize an outdoor tournament. Sherer said he’s looking forward to the experience, especially since many of the participants will be playing outdoors for the first time in their lives. Condors president Matt Riley said the Winterfest will include all types of activities to keep players busy and families entertained between games - public and family skates, obstacle courses, a kids play area, a zip line, snowman building area and more. “We used to joke that it would be cool to have an outdoor rink here in Bakersfield,” Riley said. “It was half in jest, but we kept it in the back of our minds, and then when we saw the Kings and Ducks play down at Dodger Stadium, we started to think it was a real possibility here. We’re excited for the AHL game and for the opportunity to host a large-scale youth tournament.”

International Hockey Events

2016-17 TOURNAMENT SERIES 5th Annual Orange County, CA Thanksgiving Hockey Festival November 24 - 27, 2016 (no games after 2 PM on Thanksgiving Day) U10 A through U18 - A & AA, High School JV

Condorstown Winterfest Outdoor Tournament Series at Bakersfield Memorial Stadium December 21, 2016 - January 7, 2017 U8 thru U18- Track 1 & 2, AA, A, BB & B divisions Adult and ACAHA divisions

Best of West Invitational, Orange County, CA January 13 - 16, 2017 Compete against the top U12 AA, U14 AA & U16 AA competition from the Pacific and Mountain Districts

2017 Orange County, CA Presidents’ Day Hockey Classic February 17 - 20, 2017 U10 thru U18 - AA, A, BB , B, High School Varsity & JV divisions

For more information and to register, visit 14

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


IHAAZ continuing to be ‘truly a family organization’ By Brian Lester


nother Inline Hockey Association of Arizona (IHAAZ) season is on the horizon and history is expected to be made with the Knighthawks in the 12U division. “I think what really will be great is this season the Knighthawks will most likely feature an all-girls team,” Knighthawks head coach Brent Proud said. “We have enough interest from girls and families to most likely make this happen.” Proud said the possibility of a girls team speaks to the growth of IHAAZ in recent memory. “It’s really an awesome testament to how far the IHAZZ has come over the last few years,” Proud said. “The sport is really taking off again, much like it did in the late 90s. Some of these girls are from other places around the state, but the girls all know each other and have built friendships with each other because of IHAAZ.” Proud can’t wait to see the girls team up and running. It will be one of five teams the Knighthawks program will feature this festival season. The others are 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U teams. Tryouts are slated for Sept. 11 for the 10U and 14U teams, while the 8U, 12U boys and 12U girls are set for Sept. 18. The AZ Royals are also gearing up for another season and plan to feature one 12U team, two 14U teams and three 18U teams. The 14U teams took first and second, respectively, in the state finals last year and many of those players are headed to the 18U division.

The 18U team played for a championship at the state league,” Dahl said. “People come and try it and fall in finals last May and the majority of the players are back love with the level of competition and fun, and it’s not for another run. like many other sports where the teams are rivals on and “The Royals as a program is off the rink. In this league, we’re rivals during the game and then we excited for the earlier start and the cheer for many of the same kids more spread out season,” Roywe just played in their next game.” als coach Nick Boyarsky said. Because of the popularity of “We’re looking forward to the opthe league, tournament director portunity to see what this year’s Dean Koressel said there are season will be like.” changes on the horizon. The Jr. Wildcats are also lookHe noted teams that wish to ing forward to the season ahead after holding tryouts in late August. participate in the IHAAZ festival The Wildcats plan to feature series this year will be required to submit an application for particiteams in the 8U, 10U, 12U and pation due to the number of new 14U divisions. Wildcats president teams wanting to play. Erik Dahl can’t wait for the action Koressel also said that for the to get underway. first time since 2008, the league “We’re just excited to get back has scheduled its first festival beinto the IHAAZ season and spend fore the new year arrives. The first those weekends away playing festival is slated for December at hockey,” Dahl said. “We enjoy the the Peoria Sportsplex. competition and the camaraderie The Jr. Wildcats players celebrate as 8UA diviProud can’t wait for the festival that develops both within our club sion state champions at the 2016 IHAAZ state and with the players and families championships this past May and are joined by season to start. from other clubs. This is truly a fam- coaches Jeremy Hiltabidel (red-billed cap) and “What is fantastic about the David Sticker (white/blue cap). ily organization.” IHAAZ is everyone is great friends And the family focus is what makes the league such and they all look forward to these festivals so they can a hit. see the people they don’t necessarily see on a weekly “It’s a big part of the success and growth of the basis,” Proud said.



Bobcats, Shtrom fine-tuning preparations for new season By Greg Ball


very youth hockey coach takes a different approach to preparing his team for the season, and Leeor Shtrom employs what might be described as a methodical, cerebral plan. The former professional goalie is now in his third year coaching with the Arizona Bobcats, and as the 2016-17 season gets underway, he thinks he’s taken the necessary steps to prepare his 13U Tier I team for a successful transition from the relaxation of summer to the rigors of a highly-competitive hockey season. “Kids at this age are still at a point where they can really improve their skills, so that’s a big focus of ours at this time of year,” Shtrom said. “That’s something that we’ve really focused on as a program - skating and skills. We work on those in every practice, in addition to structure and systems.” Shtrom, a Montreal native, was a netminder for four seasons at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., before a nine-year pro career in the ECHL, Quebec Semi-Pro Hockey League (QSPHL) and North American Hockey League (LNAH). With more than 20 years of coaching experience, he moved from Montreal to Phoenix two years ago to work alongside Bobcats hockey director Ron Filion - who had coached him in the ECHL - while also running the AZ ICE hockey program. His 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter both play in the Bobcats system, and he believes wholeheartedly

The practice plan for Shtrom’s team includes four onin the program. While he is always available to help with any of the Bobcats teams, he lets goalie coach Pat Conach- ice sessions per week, plus two dryland sessions. Many of er handle most of the work with the keepers and assists the players will also participate in the Bobcats Academy as needed. His main focus is his 13U team, and he feels program in the mornings 2-3 times per week. He understands that players at the 13U level may not like the progress they made as a team last year, combined with the work they put in starting in mid-August, will pay off have reached the age where they specialize in one sport, so their summers might have been spent on baseball diaduring the season. The Bobcats’ 13U team started practice for the sea- monds on basketball courts. That means that as the season starts, he needs to gauge their son on Aug. 15, and its first fitness levels, how sharp they scheduled tournament is the are with their skating and which Compuware Honeybaked AAA skills need some refining after a Invitational in mid-September in few months away from the ice. Detroit. “We try to get their skills “Last year, we were sort of a first-year program at this going again - get a good feel for the puck, get their feet back level with this group,” Shtrom under them,” Shtrom said. “The said. “We were all getting to toughest thing to do is get them know each other - we started into game shape, and the only the season with a lineup that way to do that is to play games, we thought we would go with, and we moved guys around Leeor Shtrom, now in his third year coaching with the Ar- but you can replicate game situizona Bobcats program, will be behind the bench of the ations in practice.” throughout the season as we 13U Tier I team in 2016-17. Photo/Jennifer Gilson And of course, with players got to know their games better. Coming into the second year with this group, we have a the age he is coaching, he has gradually introduced them pretty good idea of personnel and what each player brings to checking as an important part of the game. “We work on making sure that they have the core to the ice. “We know what each kid needs to work on and what strength that they need to play a more physical game, and a we need to work on as a group. That helps us plan our big part of our preparation is the physical contact,” Shtrom said. practices accordingly.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Mission AZ inducts eight into program’s Hall of Fame By Greg Ball


ach August for the past seven years, Mission Arizona has taken time to honor its past while simultaneously looking toward the future. The program opened its Mission Hall of Fame back in 2010 and in its first six years, inducted 47 male and female players and coaches. On Aug. 13, that number grew to 55, as eight new players received Mission’s highest honor and were inducted into the program’s Hall. Nick Acevedo, Jack Allen, Chris Carouchi, David Kaplan, Jeremy Kurek, Rob Swartz and Chase Smith were inducted as the Class of 2016, and Charlie Price was honored posthumously. The Hall includes Mission alumni who played for the program for three or more years and went on to play either junior or college hockey. “These young men represent the best of what Mission is,” said Jeremy Goltz, the director of hockey operations for Mission AZ. “This has been a tradition to honor players who have represented our jersey and gone on to achieve great things. “It is important that our current players understand their history and our program’s sense of tradition. It opens our season every year and links the past to the present. I am so proud of these guys and want to make sure that they are not only honored for their achievements, but that we give our current players great examples to use as role models.” Acevedo played for Mission AZ from 2013-15 and has gone on to play for the South Muskoka Shield of the Great-

er Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL) in Gravenhurst, Ont. Allen wore a Mission AZ sweater from 2011-15 and has since played for the Vermont Lumberjacks in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MJHL). Carouchi played for the Arizona Hawks of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) after three seasons with

Mission Arizona alums (from left to right) Jack Allen, Rob Swartz, Chris Carouchi, David Kaplan, Nick Acevedo and Chase Smith were all inducted into the Mission Hall of Fame in mid-August.

Mission AZ from 2013-15. Kaplan parlayed his time with Mission AZ from 2012-15 into a roster spot with the University of Denver playing ACHA hockey. Kurek, a 2013-15 member of the Mission program, has played for the Hampton Roads Whalers of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) and the Colorado Rampage in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League (RMJHL). Swartz had two stints with Mission

AZ, from 2010-11 and 2014-15, and now plays Division I ACHA hockey for the University of Pittsburgh. Smith played with Mission AZ from 2012-2015 and has gone on to skate with the Connecticut Jr. Rangers in the USPHL and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers in the EHL. Price was a member of the Mission AZ family from 200711 and passed away in March while studying toward a PhD in chemistry at the University of Utah. The players being inducted into the Hall of Fame wrote about their experiences with Mission in a program handed out to all attendees at the ceremony, and raved about their experiences wearing the red and white. “Coming to Mission, my first season of 16s, I would’ve never thought I’d be given the amount of great opportunities that I had,” Allen wrote. “Between going around the country playing top AA teams and visiting places such as Shattuck Saint Mary’s, it really makes you grow not only as a hockey player, but as a person. The pace was pushed every practice by the coaches and the boys, which got me to where I am today. Some of the greatest moments I cherish were because of Mission and the great program Coach Goltz runs.” The Hall of Fame induction was preceded by an alumni game in which approximately 40 former players suited up in Mission AZ sweaters and reconnected on the ice with their old teammates and players who came before or after them. “We wanted to give all those guys a chance to come back home and be honored as well,” Goltz said. “They have made us what we are today.”

Mission AZ Hockey Club


NEW MEXICO REPORT New Mexico native Werhane Warriors program gaining steam moving on to NCAA D-III hockey with ever-growing 8U division By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



t took Nate Werhane all of five minutes to fall in love with the game of hockey. As a young child, he and his family went to the Chavez Rec Center in Santa Fe to go swimming, but he noticed there were people at the ice rink playing hockey. “We went over to look and after a couple minutes, I was dead set on wanting to play hockey,” said Werhane. An El Dorado native, Werhane played for multiple youth hockey programs in New Mexico, including the Santa Fe Trail Runners, Santa Fe Sting, Team New Mexico and New Mexico Alliance. Werhane and his family moved to Arvada, Colo., in Aug. 2009 and he played for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders program before moving on to junior hockey in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) and North American Hockey League (NAHL). His 2015-16 season with the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes earned him an NCAA opportunity at the Division III level with Buffalo State University (SUNYAC). “The opportunity presented itself late this offseason,” Werhane said. “I received a call from Steve Murphy, the head coach at Buffalo State, and we chatted about what my plans were for the upcoming season. It seemed as if it all came together like a puzzle – everything seemed to fall into place at the right time. “Buffalo State is a great academic college that will provide me the education I need to get a job and be successful in whatever career path I choose to pursue.” Werhane appeared in 46 games for Odessa last year, totaling three goals and seven points, along with 70 penalty minutes. “I consider myself a stay-at-home, physical defenseman,” said Werhane. “I don’t expect to be on the power play or be out there in the big moments where we need a goal, but I thrive through blocking shots and taking the body, which should bring energy and get the boys going.” 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

fter another strong spring hockey season for the New Mexico Warriors program, positive vibes are flowing through the organization. As they continue to work hard to grow hockey in the state, coaches Brian Barnes and Vladimir Hartinger said this year was their biggest success yet. Nearly 90 kids ranging in age from 5-16 took part in five weeks of high-level training with the program’s professional coaches. This year, the Warriors partnered with another local organization, The Athlete’s Playground, a group dedicated to providing young athletes with the proper tools to strength train correctly, to avoid injury and to increase speed and strength specific to their sport. Dryland sessions were designed for the players and were conducted in conjunction with the on-ice training to round out a great overall learning situation for all of the registered players. The spring session also saw its highest-ever number of registrants in the 8U age group. Due to the high level of interest the Warriors had from younger players, the program has decided to implement a Mite Academy training program for the 2016-17 season. Former New Mexico Scorpions pro player Clint Wensley has been recruited to run sessions for this younger age group, which will take place in 5-6 week sessions throughout the season and will complement players’ regular team practices. “We are so excited to get these kids early and teach them the right way and proper fundamentals,” said Barnes. “Too often by the time kids come to us, they have some bad habits that need correcting or they are pretty good players who don’t have a solid foundation. Now that these younger kids have the opportunity to be taught early on, it will make teams better and coaches’ jobs easier as the kids move up through the program.” “There is nothing better than the game of hockey,” added Wensley. “I love the kids and I love the game. I can’t wait to get started.”

Roadrunners bringing in quality players, staff to Tucson By Matt Mackinder


he Tucson Roadrunners are looking to make a splash in their inaugural American Hockey League (AHL) season in 2016-17 and if recent signings and staff hirings are any indication, the Roadrunners are on their way to success. Longtime hockey executive Doug Soetaert has been tabbed the club’s first general manager and brings an impressive track record. Soetaert spent last season serving as the Arizona Coyotes’ Western professional scout after working in Europe as the head scout for Red Bull Hockey for two seasons. “Doug has extensive experience as a general manager and is extremely knowledgeable,” said Coyotes GM John Chayka. “He is well-respected throughout the league and we are confident that he is an ideal fit for our team.” “This is a great opportunity for me to work with John Chayka and Dave Tippett in managing our new AHL team in Tucson,” added Soetaert. “Our focus in Tucson will be on development and winning and we are confident that our fans will enjoy watching our exciting and talented team. I also look forward to working alongside head coach Mark Lamb and assistant coach Mark Hardy, who bring vast coaching experience to the organization.” From 2002-12, Soetaert served as the vice president and general manager of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Under his direction, Everett won three U.S. Division titles, a Western Conference championship and a Scotty Munro Trophy for the WHL’s best record. Soetaert was also the president of the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL) and assistant GM of the Calgary Flames. In addition, Soetaert was the executive VP for the Kansas City Blades (IHL) from 1990-2001, winning the Turner Cup in 1992. Player-wise, Tucson has signed forwards Mark Olver and Eric Selleck and defensemen Brandon Burlon, Michael Boivin and Michael Young. Others will be assigned to Tucson from the Coyotes. The Roadrunners open the AHL schedule Oct. 14 at San Diego and then have their home opener on Friday, Oct. 28, against San Diego at the Tucson Convention Center. Two games will be played at Gila River Arena on Feb. 3-4 against Charlotte.

Arizona inline teams represent nationally to wrap summer By Phillip Brents


he final two major inline hockey championship tournaments to close out the 2015-16 season took place in the eastern half of the United States. The NARCh East Coast Finals took place July 13-24 in Estero, Fla., and the State Wars 12 United States Roller Hockey Championship tournament took place July 27-Aug. 7, in Fort Wayne, Ind. Arizona had representation at both events. The Konixx Outcasts captured second place in Junior Platinum (21U) and fourth place in Division 1 (25U) at the NARCh East Coast Finals. The Outcasts finished second in Junior Platinum following a 5-1 loss to the top-seeded Mission Black Ice from New York and then to the Black Ice 3-2 in the Division 1 semifinals. It was a breakthrough moment for the Outcasts’ Marvin Simmons, who received his first chance at playing with the upper Junior Division team at this event. “Marvin has always been patient in waiting for his call up to our upper team,” program director Nick Boyarsky explained. “He got it at NARCh East and really showed everyone he deserves that spot going forward.” The Outcasts earned the second seed based on a 3-1 showing in round-robin and defeated third-seeded Alkali RPD from Missouri, 2-1 in the semifinals. “I felt like this was a strong showing for a team that was pretty much formed at the last minute for this event,” Boyarsky said. “We had a great run that unfortunately ended with us coming up against the hardest team to beat in roller hockey. “We also took third in the very competitive D1

division. Same story here – we had a great run until we had to come up against the Black Ice team, which knocked us out in a one-goal game.” Also at the NARCh East Coast Finals, Arizona residents Chad Colwell and Alex MacDonald played on the Mission Bauer Rattercats team that captured the silver medal in Midget Platinum.

Team Arizona finished fourth in the 2001-A Division at this year’s State Wars championships. Top row, pictured from left to right, is Nick Boyarsky (coach), Austin Pacewic (Yuma), Carsen Welch (Gilbert), Jake Dempsey (Yuma), Benji DiCori (Yuma), Ethan Hinnant (Cave Creek), Lucas Tuman (Gilbert). Bottom row, pictured from left to right, is Luke Fain (Prescott), goaltender Nathan TePas (Marana), Luc Spinasanta (Peoria), Cody Case (Phoenix). Photo/State Wars Hockey

State Wars

This tournament strives to provide a competitive geographically-structured national roller hockey championship that offers selected participants a feeling of pride and honor to represent their home state or prov-

ince. Teams are selected by birth year to put a signature spin on an event. Arizona teams competed in the 2001-A birth-year and Senior AA divisions at State Wars 12. The 2001 team included Austin Pacewic (Yuma), Carsen Welch (Gilbert), Jake Dempsey (Yuma), Benji DiCori (Yuma), Ethan Hinnant (Cave Creek), Lucas Tuman (Gilbert), Luke Fain (Prescott), goaltender Nathan TePas (Marana), Luc Spinasanta (Peoria) and Cody Case (Phoenix). The 2001 team took fourth place after placing third last year. “Although we didn’t come home with a medal, I was very proud of the effort this team put forth the entire event,” said Boyarsky. “With the loss of last year’s leading scorer (Dempsey) to an injury earlier in July, a lot was left on the shoulders of other forwards to fill that scoring hole. Roller hockey rookies Lucas Tuman and Ethan Hinnant worked hard to make up for the loss of Dempsey.” Case led the team in pool-play scoring with four goals, while Spinasanta topped the team with five points (four goals, one assist) in three playoff games. TePas and Tuman both earned all-star recognition on Team Pride for the 2001 birth year. Wes Fry led Arizona’s HMF Ghostriders (Senior AA) with a pair of goals and one assist in four games. The Konixx Pure team that competed in the Pama Pro Invitational at State Wars was chock full of Arizona players: Ryan Cotton, Spinasanta, MacDonald, Matt Grogan (goaltender) and Tommy Tuohy. “We lost all four games, but were very competitive for what we showed up with,” Boyarsky said. “We played 90 percent of every game very competitively, just got beat in the 10 percent we didn’t.”



Protective equipment – so what’s the right fit for me? I

t’s time to talk about protective equipment – shin guards, shoulder pads, elbow pads and pants. When deciding what to purchase, once you have either outgrown one of these pieces, are looking to replace one or more items, Exelby or if you’re just starting out with your first set of gear, there are three factors to look into: fit, protection and price. My best advice is to make sure you are FITTED properly in store by an experienced hockey player and try on the gear. As an example, Bauer has three different fit families of their protective equipment – Vapor (tapered fit), Nexus (classic fit) and Supreme (anatomical fit). What do these terms mean? They mean that from one of these three fits, you should be able to get a piece of equipment that fits your body type and style of play.

Fit is the most important thing when choosing your protective gear. If your gear does not fit right, then you can get injured. You never want to purchase a piece of equipment that is too big just so your child has growing room. A good store associate will fit you correctly and get you as much room for growth as they can while still ensuring safety. An example of fitting is with shin pads, whether you wear them over the tongue of the skate or tuck them in. This usually means a size difference depending on which you prefer. The second factor to look for is PROTECTION. Tell the sales associate, or better yet, he or she should ask you, what level of protection you are looking for. Be aware the more protective the items, usually the heavier and more expensive the piece of equipment is. These high-end models are sometimes overkill for a growing youth player or adult league player. The extra level of protection is not always needed at these levels. Added bulk can make it harder for you to maneuver. For older travel and high school players, you want to make sure they are properly protected. For those ages, we strongly suggest getting a good pair of shoulder pads. And for a newer adult player, we strongly suggest an upgrade in pants to the mid-level line. The first time you fall down you will see why. The last factor is the PRICE. What price are you willing to pay? Obviously, the more protec-

tion, the higher the price. But the best bang for your buck usually comes in the mid-level gear. You are getting the best of both worlds in getting good protection at a good price. Quite often there is less price difference between the entry-level to mid-level and you end up getting much better quality and protection. Bauer and CCM have great entry level protective gear. It gets you in the sport with good fitting gear at really good prices. This is what we suggest for youth and younger players. For adults I use the philosophy that it’s better to get what you want right the first time than having to buy an item multiple times. Assume that with these pieces of protective gear as an adult you are going to get 5-10 years out of it. Buyer beware on online deals. The old motto applies – if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If a retailer has an older product, it is probably because it did not sell well and the fit and price were not what it needed to be. Plus, you can’t try anything on before you buy, and best of luck with returns or warranty issues. Many times, online sale items are marked “no returns on sale items.” Support your local hockey shops at BTM or Coyotes Ice Sports and get fitted properly by knowledgeable hockey players. See you on the ice!

Randy Exelby is the owner of Behind The Mask Hockey Shops. 20

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The Coyotes Hockey Development Team visited Flagstaff schools in mid-August to take part in the school district’s “Everybody Reads” program. Pictured, from left to right, is Shaun McGuire, Matt Shott, Kinsey Elementary School librarian Vivion Drye, Zach Izumi and Kevin Dunn. Photo/Karin Eberhard

The CAHL Chandler Spring/Summer Women’s Division wrapped up with a Ladies Night celebration that saw the White team defeat the Green team 5-4 in overtime on Aug. 10 at the Ice Den Chandler.

The Konixx Outcasts finished second in the Junior Platinum Division at this past summer’s NARCh East Coast Finals, which were held in Estero, Fla., from July 13-24. Photo/NARCh

The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ 2003 Bantam team celebrates a tournament championship Labor Day weekend at the Fun In The Sun Youth Hockey Tournament in San Diego.

The Mission Arizona Hall of Fame class of 2016 is honored last month in a ceremony at AZ Ice Peoria. All players have advanced to junior or college hockey since graduating from the Mission program. More on this event on Page 17.

Talented forward Lawson Crouse, who skated last season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs, was originally a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2015 NHL Draft. He was acquired by the Arizona Coyotes, along with NHL veteran Dave Bolland, on Aug. 25. Photo/Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Horizon High School graduate Joseph Smith, a member of the school’s state championship team in 2015-16, was tragically killed in a car accident in June. Players from Ridge High School will wear remembrance stickers for Smith during the upcoming 2016-17 season.

Mark Kastelic, a Phoenix native and Jr. Coyotes grad who plays for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, will skate in the annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 22 in Philadelphia. Photo/Candice Ward

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Squirt Purple team claimed the division championship at the Endless Summer Hockey Classic, which was showcased over Labor Day weekend in Valencia, Calif.

Submit your favorite hockey photos to!



Position: Defenseman, Arizona Coyotes Acquired: Signed with Arizona as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Age: 26 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Kevin Connauton: Probably my first NHL game. There are lot of great memories in minor hockey. It was special to skate on NHL ice in the regular season game for the first time. Definitely skating in that game is my favorite so far. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? KC: Same thing. Another one was getting drafted (in the third round by Vancouver in 2009). That was another big moment. Just to see your name get selected and knowing that you’re that much closer to your dream, that’s a pretty good feeling. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? KC: Probably my family. My brother (Sean) was my mentor, and he played junior hockey and college hockey. I’m three years younger and always looked up to him and what he was doing. He definitely motivated me, and so did the rest of my family. They are always there to support me. On the ice, just seeing the older guys, the veterans and guys who have been around the league for a long time. It motivates you and pushes you to kind of fill their shoes one day. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? KC: Stay confident. Don’t ever get down on yourself. Don’t get down because you were cut from minor hockey teams. That means nothing. Not getting drafted in a major junior draft or the NHL draft can’t discourage you. There’s been ton of guys who fought their way into the league. It’s a matter of showing up at the rink to get better. Never get down on yourself and never believe you can’t get here. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? KC: I was really into golf growing up and played a bit when I was younger. When I started to play hockey, that got more serious and ate up a lot more of the summer time with the offseason training. I was a big fan of golf when I was younger, for sure. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? KC: No, not really. I’m not very superstitious. I have a routine, but I don’t keep it too strict. I like to kind of mix it up and not allow superstitions to creep in. AZR: What does your game-day routine like? KC: Get up, come to the rink, have a good breakfast, stretch out, get my sticks ready. Go out, have a good morning skate, try and be real focused on the game that night. After that, stretch out again, get a good meal in me and relax at home a bit. Hang out, like to have a nap and then get up, put the suit on and head to the rink. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? KC: No, but I’m actually I’m trying to hit as many restaurants as possible. I’m still pretty new to the area. Just learning the good places to eat, and get some advice from the guys who have been here for a while. But, there are many good places, for sure. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? KC: A couple extra dress shirts. Nothing in particular. I think the most important thing is you have to have to have a suit and tie for the game and after that, it’s pretty easy. Photo/Getty Images


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

Attracting the very best youth hockey programs under the bright lights of Los Angeles!




May 26 -29, 2017

Midget Open . 2003 Elite & AAA 2004 Elite & AAA . 2005 Elite & AAA 2006 Elite & AAA . 2007 Elite & AAA February 17-20, 2017 2008 Elite & AAA November 24 - 27, 2016 Mite Track I (Half Ice) 2009 September 2 - 5, 2016 . II & I k 2010 Mite Track II (Half Ice) . Pee Wee AA, A, BB, B . Squirt A, BB, B Mite Trac B . A, AA, tam Ban . ol Scho High AA/A 16U Midget 18U AA/A - Midget


For more information, contact tournament director Brian McDonough at (612) 220-4402 or

Registration for our three remaining tournaments is now open!

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.