Arizona Rubber Magazine - December 2016

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Roadrunners captain Cunningham on road to recovery

Bobcats send slew of talent to NAPH L All-Star Game


DYHA 18U AA group realizing chemistry equals success Lobos college team looking to continue early-season run


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


FROM THE EDITOR Make it the most wonderful time of the year at the rink, at home


t’s hard to believe, but December means the lights are shining, the tree is lit, family get-togethers are planned, wrapping paper is everywhere and people seem to be smiling a little bit more than the other 11 months. Yes, the holidays are here. And while some teams at all levels of hockey may get a brief break, the game and the training that goes along with it, never stops. But take time to enjoy the goings on away from the rink and the gym. Enjoy your family, make those special memories, take selfies with ugly Christmas sweaters, plunk one another with snowballs, sit on Santa’s lap, keep smiling. If everything goes as planned, your joy will carry Matt Mackinder over into 2017 and back into your locker room and rink where the second half of many seasons will commence. From all of us with Arizona Rubber Magazine, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Tryouts are this weekend at the Ice Den Scottsdale (Friday, 7:30-8:50 p.m.; Saturday, 4:45-6 p.m.; Sunday, 12:15-1:30 p.m.) for the Team Arizona elite high school team that will represent the state at USA Hockey’s America’s Showcase from April 20-24 in Pittsburgh. The America’s Showcase allows high school junior and senior players from across the country the opportunity to compete at an elite level and a chance to be scouted by major hockey programs in the United States. This showcase event consists of 24 teams with over 600 of the top high school hockey prospects. Over 100 scouts representing NCAA Division I and III, ACHA, Prep and Junior A programs will be in attendance to evaluate players. Jeremy Goltz (Mission AZ) will again serve as head coach of Team Arizona and will be joined by general manager Kenny McGinley (AHSHA Premier, Arizona State ACHA D-II) and assistant coaches Barry Harcus and Tait Green (both with AHSHA Premier and ASU ACHA D-II) and Daniel Roy (Grand Canyon University ACHA D-II). For more information, contact Green at

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The New Mexico Warriors’ 12U team is off to Pelham, Ont., next month to play in the International Silver Stick Finals. “This is a true honor for our coaches, team and entire association and we are grateful to the International Silver Stick organization for this tremendous opportunity offered to our players,” reads a post on Best of luck in Canada, Warriors! Players aged 8-14 from the New Mexico Warriors also assisted with a Try Hockey For Free event Nov. 12 at the McDermott Athletic Center in Rio Rancho. “Our kids were like rock stars,” said Warriors coach Brian Barnes. “Nobody cared about any of the politics – no gender, race, age, religion issues – just kids helping other kids and sharing something they love with others. I’ve always said this and I still believe that hockey is the best sport in the world.” It wasn’t just another hockey clinic at the Gila River Arena on Nov. 23. Not at all. This particular event included a special gift from the Arizona Coyotes Foundation to the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association in the amount of $30,000. Those funds will be used to help grow the game of hockey and pay for much-needed equipment and to support programs that drive youth hockey forward in Arizona. In addition to the clinic’s participants, guest coach Lyndsey Fry and Coyotes players Christian Dvorak and Lawson Crouse were part of the event. And the Arizona-Arizona State ACHA battle rages on – and takes a turn in the process. The Wildcats finished off the first semester by defeating then-No. 3 Arizona State 2-1 at the Tucson Convention Center on Dec. 2. This marked the first home victory against ASU since the 2007-08 season. We’ll be keeping an eye on this rivalry for sure!

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Players from the Wildcat Youth Hockey Association of Tucson brought lunch on Nov. 23 to the Tucson Roadrunners AHL team’s practice. The youth players also delivered a get well card and best wishes for hospitalized Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham. More on Cunningham on Page 11.

ON THE COVER Nine players from three girls and women’s programs across Arizona gathered at AZ Ice Arcadia on Dec. 4. Pictured, from left to right, are Bryn Phillips (SheWolves), Maddy Beaty (AZ Lady Coyotes), Sophie Fausel (SheWolves), Taylor England (Arizona State University), Megan Mroczek (Arizona State University), Amber Galles (Arizona State University), Abby Steinman (AZ Lady Coyotes), Taylar Langkow (Wolves (Bantam SheWolves team)) and Jocelyn Ju (AZ Lady Coyotyes). Photo/Ken Chadwick

Scottsdale’s Larraza making most of his time in the AHL By Phillip Brents


hile American Hockey League (AHL) rosters are stocked with players hailing from traditional hockey-playing regions of North America, elite players from less conspicuous areas are also vying to make the jump to the NHL. San Diego Gulls forward Zac Larraza represents Arizona. The 23-year-old Scottsdale native received a call-up from the Gulls’ ECHL affiliate, the Utah Grizzlies, on Oct. 28 and has appeared in 10 games with the AHL team. Larraza has put his time with the Gulls to good use by tallying three goals and one assist as of mid-December. He tallied the game-winning goal in a 4-0 win over the visiting San Jose Barracuda on Nov. 19. “I was happy to see the clock hit zero,” he offered with a smile. “The guys who we have called up from our affiliate in Utah we’re looking for them to help out and contribute,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins explained. “That’s their big opportunity to make a name for themselves and show what they can do.” This is Larraza’s second stint with the Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. He appeared in 12 games with San Diego last season with one goal and three assists to his credit. His goal is the same as any of his AHL teammates: make the NHL. “It’s every kid’s dream who starts out playing hockey,” he said. “This past season, I was pretty happy to take the next step. I just want to keep developing and hoping to take the next step in a year or two years, three years – whatever it takes.”

Larraza is a product of the arrival of the Coyotes Arbor, Mich. There he played on Under-17 and Unin the Valley of the Sun 20 years ago. The presence der-18 National Teams. of an NHL team immediately generated interest in The hometown Coyotes drafted him in the sevthe sport and did much to expand ice hockey-play- enth round of the 2011 NHL Draft (196th overall). ing opportunities in the reLarraza then elected to purgion, especially for youth. sue a college hockey career USA Hockey player regwith the University of Denistration has more than triver, but did not sign with the pled since the Coyotes’ inCoyotes after graduation. augural 1996-97 season. His four years with the Larraza laced up his first Pioneers proved productive skates at the Ice Den Scott– 35 goals, 66 points and sdale. 117 penalty minutes. “My dad is from Detroit His first professional – he got me started pretty season was a whirlwind. early and my mom is a pretty He played in 39 games for avid sports fan, so they both the Manchester Monarchs got me into sports, espeof the ECHL, recording 20 cially hockey, growing up,” goals and 30 points. He Larraza said. also played for three AHL He admits it was not teams: the Portland Pirates easy being a hockey player (two games with one asin Arizona. sist), Milwaukee Admirals “Growing up, I was told (10 games with two goals all the time by other kids in and three points) and the the area, ‘Why are you still Gulls. playing hockey because He faced off the 2016you’re not going to go any- Zac Larraza has bounced around the AHL and ECHL 17 season by recording where?’” he recounted. “But in his two professional seasons, but still has every am- a goal and assist in two it’s starting to grow and be- bition to one day suit up in the NHL. Photo/Eric J. Fowler games with the Grizzlies. come a hot hockey market and I’m excited to see it “It’s fun to be in San Diego,” he said. “The comdevelop that way.” petition is pretty heavy. The guys are a lot bigger, He didn’t listen to any of the naysayers. a lot faster and stronger. Just developing, getting At 16, Larraza made the jump to the United stronger and faster every game will help me in the States National Team Development Program in Ann future.”


On The Rise

State of female hockey is strong and steadily improving in the Arizona desert By Greg Ball


ust a handful of years ago, female hockey players in Arizona had only one choice when it came to playing the sport - to suit up on a co-ed team and compete with and against mostly male players. But the landscape has slowly started to shift there, and more and more opportunities now exist for girls and women. From Mite programs at the in-house level through travel hockey and now women’s college hockey, all-female programs are definitely on the rise. It’s clear that the state of girls’ and women’s hockey in the Grand Canyon State is not only as good as it has ever been, but that there’s plenty of growth to look forward to in the near future. “I have loved seeing all the growth in Arizona,” said Lindsey Ellis, a Phoenix native and the head coach of the first-year women’s club team at Arizona State University. “I would love to eventually see multiple competitive teams across the state, and that will come with time and the work of our established programs here. “Every year, we have more and more females choosing to play hockey on one end of the spectrum, and on the other end, we have more and more local girls succeeding in their collegiate and professional teams across the nation and internationally as well. It is so great to see that, and it is my hope that more girls will continue to reach the highest levels possible.” The foundation for girls hockey in Arizona is the SheWolves and Wolves program. With a Pee Wee team of 18 players and a Bantam squad consisting of 15 players, they are the only female teams in the Coyotes Development Program. Now in their fifth year of existence, they added the Bantam team for the first time this season. Some of their players are brand new to hockey. Others have played on co-ed teams before coming to the SheWolves, and still others are former figure skaters making the transition to hockey. Head coach Scott Phillips and director of hockey development Scott Gruber place a heavy emphasis on skill development and team building, and they feel the culture of the program is unrivaled anywhere. “It’s amazing to see the girls have this opportunity to play hockey,” Phillips said. “Not many people realize that these girls compete exclusively against boys teams each and every week. They face adversity and challenges that would not typically be felt in an all-girls or co-ed league. This adversity not only builds their character, but it enables them to be leaders among their peers. “It is wonderful to see the smiles on these girls’ faces when they step on the ice with their teammates. When you have a culture of support and fun, along with a ‘team-first’ mindset, it is the perfect setting for a successful girls hockey program.” Gruber can envision the SheWolves program growing enough to ice two teams in a division, and added that the Ice Den in nearby Chandler is hoping to start an all-girls team in the next year or two. He’s thrilled about the progress that his program has made in just a few short years. “The product is only growing and getting stronger,” Gruber said. “Last season, the Pee Wee team had a lot of success and won its share of games. That success has translated into having a Bantam team. As a director, I would never have thought this to be possible. I still didn’t actually believe it until the end of August. The dedication of our coaches, parents and young ladies has been unrivaled.” 6

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

The AZ Lady Coyotes are now in their fourth season of operation as the only approved all-female association in the state, and offer 19U and 14U teams that regularly compete at the national level. Sarah Dennee, the owner and general manager of the Lady Coyotes, started the program when she relocated her family from Virginia to Phoenix and was looking for hockey opportunities for her daughter. Without a stable program in the Valley, Dennee’s daughter was considering going back east to play on her old all-girls team. Dennee’s goal became to create a girls’ program focused on skill development that would allow players to stay close to home and still get the hockey experience they were seeking. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Dennee said. “We’re now starting to see the benefits of the girls getting to stay together and play together. Keeping the core together can make a difference to the team as a whole, which has positive impacts on the individuals as well.” The Lady Coyotes have five players that have come through their program and are currently competing at the college level - including two at Arizona State - and they hope to expand on that roster of successful alumni. Perhaps most encouraging for the continued development of female hockey opportunities in Arizona is the creation of the women’s team at Arizona State this season. Ellis, who grew up playing on boys’ teams in Phoenix until switching to an all-girls team at 16, started working on building the program two years ago and saw her hard work come to fruition in October, when the Sun Devils played their first collegiate game against the University of Colorado. The Sun Devils have yet to record their first official victory, but know that it will come eventually and that the program’s progress will be measured not in days and weeks, but over the course of months and years. Ellis said her short-term goal is to advance to the national tournament by their fourth season, and long-term, she wants to create a championship-caliber program that brings multiple conference and national titles back to Tempe. “Basically what it boiled down to was the fact that all of us local Arizona girls had to travel so far across the country to follow our dreams, because there were no college programs in close vicinity,” she said. “I wanted to create the program so girls wouldn’t have to decide whether they wanted to leave home to play competitively or quit to stay close to home. “From the initial idea to the start of the program, it took almost two full years. I truly think that the opportunity for a women’s collegiate program in Arizona has had the potential for so many years now, but no one wanted to put in the work to make it happen and see it through. I pushed through all the work to make this happen for every generation after me to reach for their dreams. The girls in Arizona can now see a collegiate program up close and personal.” Having that goal of playing college hockey locally is as important to the growth of the girls and women’s game all the efforts being made at the grassroots level. Girls from the Mite level to high school age now have players that they can look up to, and they can aspire to play collegiate hockey in their backyard. “Now that we are building our program, I hope that the girls of Arizona playing across all our organizations push to make their dream of playing collegiate hockey a reality, whether that be at ASU or elsewhere,” Ellis said.

Coyotes’ youngsters find mixed results in cracking NHL By Mark Brown


wo years ago, the Arizona Coyotes finished the NHL season with one of the worst records in the league. Only the Buffalo Sabres completed the year with fewer points. Based on this lack of success, the Coyotes’ management team began to restructure the club, and forge new parts into a winning, cohesive unit. Older players, like David Moss, B. J. Crombeen, Martin Erat, Rob Klinkhammer, Lauri Korpikoski, David Schlemko, Keith Yandle and others were not in the plans for the rebuild. The most recent push came from John Chayka, named the Coyotes’ general manager this past May, and his emphasis on youth and speed. While former GM Don Maloney tried to pick up the pieces from the disastrous 2014-15 season, that’s when the shift commenced. With the changing core centered around Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, the program ahead was to shift from a tired, laborious unit that had difficulty generating scoring opportunities, to a vibrant, energetic unit. In this process, there was a learning curve and a rather complete change to the NHL game. Sure, the emphasis now on speed and transitioning rapidly through the neutral zone represented the core foundation. Aside from the obvious change needed, the Coyotes’ management also had to take into account a players’ natural ability. The most important question Chayka and head coach Dave Tippett asked concerned the ability to adopt to a different game. If the emphasis now is on speed, how would play-

ers like Domi, Duclair, Dylan Strome and Jakob as one making the alteration. Listed at 6-foot-2 and Chychrun adopt from their ability to control the game 200 pounds at 18, Chychrun, with physical strength at the junior level to a game with wider and diverse and the ability to generate speed and crisp, outlet responsibilities. passes, defines Tippett’s persona. Paired with ConFor some, the transition was nor Murphy, this duo gives the not a significant issue. Domi and Coyotes one of the youngest Duclair made the successful pairings on the blue line in the change last season. In their rookleague. ie NHL seasons, Domi contribFor others, the transitions to uted with 18 goals and Duclair the NHL game is not a significant reached the 20-goal mark in his issue. Domi lasted until the final first full season. cut of his first two NHL camps Domi and Duclair were able with the Coyotes and then broke to jump right into the NHL, but out in his rookie season. Strome could not. Before he “It’s all about playing your reached the mandatory 10-game game,” Domi said. “I didn’t see criteria for staying in the NHL, much of a transition to the league Strome was sent back to the Erie here, and if you utilize your skills, Otters of the Ontario Hockey you should be fine. Execution League and will help Team Canadds up to success.” ada at the upcoming IIHF World Strome said that while his deJunior Championship. motion is not what he expected, A keen observer, Tippett is he still has advice for youngsters one who seems to catch the and their parents about the game. deepest nuances of a players’ “Always have a stick in your game. hand, always play ball,” said “It’s about speed and strength Strome. “If you’re a hockey playJakob Chychrun was a first-round pick of the up at this level,” Tippett said. Arizona Coyotes last June and has not looked er, play street hockey, play roller “Out of juniors, players are com- out of place on the team’s blue line this season. hockey. Just do whatever you ing into a different game. In ju- Photo/Norm Hall can. There are so many ways to niors, they’re used to playing with guys their own age. get to the NHL, so many ways to get to the next level. Here, they’re playing against men, and that’s a big dif- There are so many guys now in the NHL who have ference.” come in as players and not get drafted. In making the adjustment, Tippett cited Chychrun “There are so many different ways.”



New AHU skills coach St. Clair boasts stacked resumé of eight in Chandler and played youth hockey with several organizations in the Metro Phoenix area during his t was excitement personified when the Phoenix Knights youth. Over the years, St. Clair’s coaches consistently of the Western States Hockey League brought aboard praised his work ethic and dedication Gilbert native Colten St. Clair as the to taking responsibility for his personal team’s new assistant coach to work growth and development. with coach-GM Mike Bowman and One of his coaches, former NHL fellow assistant coach Kurt Goar. defenseman Jim Johnson, said, “We Fast forward a few weeks later and started every practice with stride methe Arizona Hockey Union has added chanics and proper posture and what St. Clair to the club’s skills coaching I call glide platform. Until you learn to staff to work with the rest of the youth skate with glide platform, you’ll never program. be able to skate faster than you can “This addition brings a dynamic and run. That’s one of my strengths of havtalented mentor to our roster of accoming been around the National Hockey plished skills coaches,” said AHU presLeague and player development for ident Stacy Shupe. “He will provide many years working on these fundaanother level of specialized coaching, techniques, and drills for our players. mental skill progressions.” His skill and experience will bring a new St. Clair learned quickly that masand fresh approach to teaching youth tering the fundamentals was the only hockey players in Phoenix. We look Gilbert native Colten St. Clair won an way to play at the highest levels. NCAA Division I national championship forward to working with him in realizing last April with the University of North St. Clair played his junior career those benefits in both the youth and ju- Dakota and is now back home working in the United States Hockey League with the Arizona Hockey Union. Photo/ (USHL) with the Fargo Force, comnior programs.” St. Clair comes to the club with an Russell Hons Photography/UND Athletics piling 43 goals and 41 assists in 151 impressive hockey resume, despite being only 23 years games, and his 84 points are still the most in franchise old. Having been born in Gilbert, he not only knows the history. He also had five goals and five assists in 28 sport, but understands the hockey landscape in the Val- USHL Clark Cup playoff games. St. Clair then went to ley of the Sun. St. Clair began playing hockey at the age the college hockey powerhouse that is the University of

By Jason Prentice


North Dakota. During his time at UND, he was part of three Frozen Four teams, including winning a national championship in his final collegiate season of 2015-16. He also won two gold medals playing internationally as a member of Team USA. “Colten adds an enhanced element of skills and tendency training to the players,” said Shupe. “Every team at high levels has skill development coaches, and we are excited that he will now be lending his experience and skills to our youth players.” St. Clair himself is equally as excited. “I am enjoying helping the kids learn more about hockey and focusing on making sure they are having fun as they learn,” St. Clair said. “In order to wake up extra early to practice before school and put in the hours after school, it has to be fun or they won’t want to work hard.” St. Clair added that his goal at the end of each practice and lesson is to have the players wanting to come back. “Colten’s confidence and enthusiasm are contagious and the parents, coaches and players are thrilled when he is in the rink,” said Shupe. “It will be exciting to watch as Colten helps coach the next great hockey players from the Valley.” Shupe also noted that AHU coaches can contact St. Clair directly to work with their teams. He is also offering one-on-one sessions. For more information or to schedule a training session, St. Clair can be reached at

Thanksgiving Shootout lends to more success for AHU

Knights ‘on the right path,’ making strides in WSHL season

By Jason Prentice

By Matt Mackinder


or the past 15 years, the Arizona Hockey Union has been hosting the Thanksgiving Shootout Tournament and each year, it has been bigger and better than the previous year. The club’s 2016 tournament consisted of over 70 teams from the Southwest U.S. and parts of Canada and had 10 divisions from Mite to Midget. The Shootout is also one of the only tournaments in the nation that is conducted over the Thanksgiving holiday, but does not schedule games until Friday morning. So although some great Black Friday deals may be missed the AHU teams can celebrate the holiday with their families. The Union had two championship teams as the Mite White and Squirt White teams both won their divisions. “The AHU family would like to congratulate them for their accomplishments,” said AHU president Stacy Shupe. “Both teams had tremendous fan support and the kids did great. Way to go boys and girls.” The Ventura Mariners from Simi Valley, Calif., had a very impressive showing by having a team in all 10 of the divisions. “This is a tribute to the success of the tournament and the fun that teams have when they attend,” noted Shupe. “The teams traveling in from out of state also have a positive economic impact on the local community and we greatly appreciate all of the local hotel support. “We also want to thank all of the great volunteers and the AHU Tournament Committee for all of the great work they do. Planning the tournament begins months before the actual event. Once the event kicks off, it’s all hands on deck and the team did an absolutely awesome job.” Moving forward, the AHU’s focus is now on the Presidents Day tournament in February, which will utilize all 11 sheets of ice in the Metro Phoenix area. 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


n junior hockey, progress isn’t always measured on what’s lit up on the scoreboard. For the Phoenix Knights, their Western States Hockey League (WSHL) season has seen the club not play to its potential early, but coach-GM Mike Bowman knows the team’s best hockey is still ahead. “The team has come a long way in its defensive zone coverage responsibilities and limiting opponents’ prime scoring chances,” said Bowman. “We have found more ways to generate scoring chances offensively, and have become much more accustomed to the speed of the game and level of play in the WSHL.” With the Knights in rebuild mode, Bowman added that daily improvement is of the utmost importance. “We are spending more time working on the finer aspects of the game, as well as continuing to improve our fundamental skills and skating,” Bowman said. “While we will always be a younger team, we strive to be one of the hardest working, most disciplined teams out there with the main goal of developing and advancing our players as the north star.” Moving forward, Bowman noted that seeing each player have a better game as the one before is a priority. “We have been able to take major steps forward, but stumble a little bit and have to make up some of that ground the next game,” said Bowman. “We need to take solid steps forward and land firmly, ready to take more steps as we progress. Long term this season, we are focusing on playing like seasoned veterans by the stretch run in January and February. If we are doing the little things right, keep our focus, poise and discipline, we will be well on our way to accomplishing our long-term goals. “This is a process. We know what we want, how to get it, what the costs and sacrifices are that are associated with it – it’s just a matter of putting it together consistently and everyone buying in to the coaches and the philosophies.”

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY NAU D-II team finishes first half First-year 16U, 18U Flagstaff strong, confident moving ahead programs making progress By James Kelley

By Matt Mackinder



orthern Arizona University’s Division II team saw its 14-game winning streak come to end at the end of the semester, but the IceJacks are confident about the second half of the season. NAU dropped a pair of games in Las Vegas 6-5 and 4-2 to UNLV to end the streak. The IceJacks’ losses to the Skatin’ Rebels were also their first to teams in their division. While they started the year 1-3, those three losses were to Division I Arizona and two of those games were in Tucson. NAU was without top-line forwards Reise Keiffer and Lucas Lomax at UNLV. “It’s gone really good,” said NAU Division II coach Travis Johanson about the first semester. “We had some injuries there to finish up the first half. Going to Vegas, we lost two thirds of our top line, so we need to use this break to get healed up and get ready to hit the second half at full speed.” During that streak, the IceJacks went 4-0 on their trip to Utah, getting wins over ranked Utah State, Colorado, Boise State and Weber State. “It’s huge to go 4-0 up there in Utah – that’s a really big deal for us,” Johanson said. “Moved us up in the standing and to beat those teams, to beat Utah State, which is always a good team, at home and Weber, at home, that’s nothing but confidence and it was a great team building, bonding road trip for us. It showed really how tight of a team we have.” Johanson isn’t worried the winter break – six weeks between games – will hurt the IceJacks’ momentum. “Everybody’s going through the same thing,” said Johanson. “I think the break’s going to be good for us, get some guys rested up.” Stats wise, all but one NAU D-II skater had recorded at least one point during the first half, while Max Mahood led the scoring charge with 22 goals among 40 points. Jaxson Gosnell registered six wins in goal, along with an assist.

hen the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA) created 16U and 18U travel teams for the 2016-17 season, the organization ventured into the relative unknown as FYHA had not had these age groups in the past decade. Now with the calendar knocking on 2017, FYHA board member Bill Kuche said he’s been pleased with the inaugural run of the Northstars’ 16U and 18U squads. “We certainly have not been disappointed and everything has gone as expected,” said Kuche. “These kids are playing in a competitive Tier II league and I can honestly say that both coaches have done a tremendous job with these kids and are developing these kids not only as better hockey players, but into young men and fine citizens as well.” Nick Karastamatis heads up the 18U team and also serves as the FYHA’s Midget coordinator. Zach Fader coaches the 16U group and played for the Northstars as a youth before playing AAA for PF Chang’s and then college hockey at Northern Arizona University. “As an organization, we aren’t worried about wins and losses, but rather how the kids are developing and I can’t say it enough how Nick and Zach are developing these kids,” Kuche said. “These kids are dedicated and work extremely hard on and off the ice and even take the time to come help out our 6U and 8U coaches during those practices. They really believe in our program.” And with this season breeding growth and success, Kuche said he expects the numbers for each team to be the same next season, what with Flagstaff having a limited player pool. “Again, the fact we have these two teams comes from the coaching leadership,” said Kuche. “They have the knowledge to make these kids better, both on and off the ice.”


Coaching teenagers – not a simple task, but rewarding Your job goes far beyond the x’s and o’s of the sport. You are with them during a crucial time in their lives, where they will be faced with tougher decisions than perhaps any other time. Peer pressure, social Bowman media, hormone imbalance, and inexperience lead to questionable decision making at times. You also spend more time with them than their own parents, in some cases, by the nature of the sport. As a coach, you are often a trusted, respected adult for the players, who may be afraid to approach their parents, teachers or counselors with questions about drugs and alcohol. You can help teenagers make decisions that will steer them down the right path, avoiding a lot of tough lessons in life. However, it’s not as easy and clear a job as it might seem, mentoring youth. It’s often important to allow young people to ulti-

mately make their own decisions and own the consequences. The best you can do is explain to them what they are getting into, the ramifications of the decisions they can make, and how it affects not only them, but other people as well - not only how it may affect them now, but what it might mean down the road. Education and advice are the best remedies to limiting destructive behavior. It’s tough for young men and women to hear “No” or “You can’t” and just accept it. It’s in their DNA to test the limits or revolt, especially those who were not raised with the fear of doing the wrong things. Providing alternatives for teens is a great way to distract them from the bad vices that are available to them. Occasionally, take it upon yourself and coaching staff to schedule and plan team or group activities that consist of good, clean fun. Unfortunately, at times, the organizers amongst peer groups are people that organize to control. They often want to bring people into their circles and do things which are not legal or acceptable, but by adding more people to the activities, it somehow validates the behavior to them. The teenagers who are more driven and organized are generally not gathering large followings with them. They understand that

in order to be the best, you have to separate yourself from the pack. They also understand that what they are trying to accomplish is uncommon — it’s not for everybody. They are willing to make the tough choices and sacrifices to get ahead, realizing it will pay off in some way down the road. Often times, these young men and women will either be by themselves or with 1-2 people with similar ambitions and goals. The pack they run with tells you the image they have of themselves. As a coach, observe and identify the different personalities on your team. Get to know your players, and find out a little more about the circle of friends they keep. You can be a major influence in their lives not to go down the wrong path, or to start going down the right path. Pay attention to behavioral changes, mood swings, and consider external circumstances. Make sure your players know that you are there for them to talk to if they ever have any problems they want to speak about. Be a mentor so that these players will go on in life to represent you and your values as if they were your own kids. At the end of the day, regardless of the final score of the games or the position in the standings, you will have developed a group of winners.

Mike Bowman is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League.



Jr. Sun Devils’ 18U AA squad having fun, earning success By Matt Mackinder

game against the Oak Park River Forest Huskies on Nov. 5 was a hard-fought contest as DYHA battled back from a 2-0 deficit and scored a late goal in the third period with 19 seconds left to win 4-3. Defeating the Orland Park Vikings 5-2 later on Nov. 5 prepared the Jr. Sun Devils for the finals against the Marauders.

The DYHA 18U AA team is comprised of forwards Ryan Bonner, David Martin, Anthony Masanotti, Devin Most, Haden Shevalier, Evan Shupe, Jeffrey eff Shevalier played nine years of professional hockSolomon, Turner Stansbury and Joshua Tucker; ey in a career that included 32 games in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. defensemen Nick Hinshaw, Evan Montano, BrenHe then jumped into the youth coaching realm in Ardan Nall, Jacob Nickerson, Trent Nietzel and Peter izona and this season, was named head coach of the Schilletter; and goalies Kevin Church and Rosser. Desert Youth Hockey Association’s (DYHA) 18U AA Shevalier is joined by assistant coach Jon Dunmar team. and team manager Steve Bonner. If the first couple months of the season are any inShevalier noted that the team doesn’t have any dication, the Jr. Sun Devils have the potential to be dominant standouts – just someone new stepping up playing hockey into the early spring, much like only a and contributing each night. “We have three solid lines, six good defensemen select few NHL teams get to experience. and two good goalies,” said Shevalier. “This is the first Back in early November, the 18U AA team jouryear that I have ever had so much size as well. I like our neyed to Nashville, Tenn., to partake in the Music City whole team. We play really well when we are moving Showdown and came away as tournament champiforward, but we struggle when we are on our heels.” ons, downing the host Music City Marauders 2-1 in a Shevalier added that “penalty killing is usually the shootout in the championship final on Nov. 6. strongest part of our game. We like to force all over It took six shooters before the Jr. Sun Devils broke the ice.” through and goalie Barrett Rosser shut down the Moving forward into the holidays and then 2017, Marauders, allowing no shootout goals. Rosser subse- The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ 18U AA team won the Music City Showdown last month in Nashville and has been playing a strong team game the Shevalier said the team has very reachable goals and quently captured MVP honors for the finals. aspirations. “What a great tournament for our young men,” said first half of the 2016-17 season. Photo/The Church Family Shevalier. “We had a hard time scoring goals, but we “Our boys were focused and ready to play for the title “The ceiling is very high for this team, but it is really up outplayed every team that we faced. It was great to see and pulled it out with a solid team effort,” said Shevalier. to the players on the team,” Shevalier said. “If they dedithe whole team pick up their game versus the Marauders “Every line performed, generating many scoring chances cate themselves to training away from the rink, we will be – we outworked a very skilled Music City team.” and playing solid defense. It was a great boost to win unstoppable. Our long-term goals are to make and play The Jr. Sun Devils began the tournament Nov. 4 with that tournament. We learned that if you play the whole well at (USA Hockey Youth) Nationals. Short-term goal a game against the same Marauder team and lost 3-1, game, no AA team can beat us. We absolutely dominat- is to keep having a lot of fun. “I really enjoy being around this team.” which made the finals even more satisfying. The next ed the Music City Marauders in the final game.”



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Roadrunners captain Cunningham on the road to recovery By Matt Mackinder


he hockey world stopped and watched and then offered thoughts and prayers on Nov. 19. Just prior to the American Hockey League (AHL) game at the Tucson Convention Center between the Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose, Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice before medics rushed to his aid, performing chest compressions. The AHL postponed the contest and no make-up date has been announced. The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, the Roadrunners’ parent club, issued a statement later that night that confirmed the 26-year-old Cunningham suffered “a medical emergency.” Tucson later postponed the club’s games on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23. “I think it was a very good decision for everybody to take a deep breath, to really take in what’s going on, to try to move on a little bit,” Roadrunners coach Mark Lamb told the Roadrunners website. “You know, time – everyday, time heals a little bit. It was pretty emotional what happened. It happened in front of everybody’s eyes, everybody saw it, so a couple of days – it’s just a game, and this is a life situation. It’s two games, we’ll be better for it. The league’s been good, the other teams have been good, they’re all on the same page as we are, so I think that’s very important. “It’s a real tough thing that happened, ‘Cunny’ being in the hospital and everything, how it happened. It’s been a very emotional time for everybody, but I think everything’s on the up and up. Cunny’s in stable

condition, and he’s getting great help. He’s been getting great help right from the start. We’re all praying for him (and) we’re doing the best we can. We’re a team here, he’s the leader of our team, and we want to stick together and do it for him.” Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic, one of Cunningham’s close friends, told that Cunningham is “heading in the right direction, but obviously, there’s a lot

Oct. 14 against the San Diego Gulls, Cunningham scored the franchise’s first two goals in team history with the first one on a power play 2:17 into the second period at the Valley View Casino Center. He also assisted on a Kyle Wood goal, but Tucson lost the game 5-3. Tucson forward Chris Mueller also told the Roadrunners website that Cunningham is “a lifelong friend.” “It’s amazing how small the hockey world is, how strong it is,” Mueller said. “If you didn’t even know Craig, or who the person was that was hurt, you support them, just because you know what we go through. We’re a very close-knit athletic family, and 99.9 percent of the hockey players I know or play against are good people. There’s one or two guys on every team that you’re always going to talk to, that you love, that you more progression and healgravitate toward, and Cunny’s ing to be done.” one of those guys. A cause for Cunningham’s “That’s what you see on fall has yet to be made public. all the social media, guys sayCunningham served as Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham remains ing ‘he’s my best friend,’ and captain of the AHL’s Spring- in a Tucson hospital after collapsing prior to a game at it’s true. It’s not just because he’s in a difficult situation, he field Falcons during the home on Nov. 19. Photo/Phillip Brents 2015-16 season, posting 22 goals and 46 points in is that special of a person. There’s a reason why every 61 games. Cunningham retained the role as captain single guy on our team voted him captain – it’s a speof the team after the Falcons were sold and relocated cial privilege, and he earned every single guy’s vote beto Tucson this past spring. cause of the person he is. He deserves everything he’s In the Roadrunners’ inaugural game, on the road getting, and he’s a beautiful person. He really is.”

THE WHYTE STUFF Let’s face the facts – hockey encompasses all sports W hile serving as a player-coach in El Paso in the late 1990s, we had to vacate our dressing room due to the rodeo coming into town. As we were moving our equipment out and loading it into vans, there Whyte were a couple cowboys standing there watching. One of them asked as I walked by if we were the hockey players in town, to which I responded we were. He then blurted out how crazy we were. I chuckled and turned back towards the hombres to ask why they thought that. He explained that we must be crazy to move around on the ice the way we do, trying to stick each other all the time. He also mentioned he thought it was awesome we could fight, all the while skating on a couple of knives. Although I felt he did have a point, I was quick to remind the young vaquero, who I found out was

a bull rider, a couple of key facts. Our competitor is about the same size and weight as we are, is very much aware of the rules, and we have officials that step in when things get out of hand. He however attempts to stay on top of a very large and angry animal with horns growing out of its head, with his only protector being a clown – and he thinks that’s pretty normal behavior. Later, as I was replaying the conversation in my head, I began to analyze a number of sports and the skills one needs to compete at a successful level. In doing so, I realized that pretty much all of them have at least one or two fairly strong similarities to ice hockey. Football is a very physical, hard-hitting sport that demands strength, explosiveness and timing. Basketball involves the mental aspect of a constant switch from offense to defense and back again, all within seconds. Baseball relies heavily on keen eye-hand coordination while attempting to hit a moving object with a bat. Soccer is a constant cardio sport that demands amazing footwork from everyone on the field. Lacrosse is a team sport where success depends on each player’s ability to accurately pass or shoot. Golf shows displays of power and technique off the tee, but finesse and soft hands on the green.

Ice hockey encompasses all of these skill sets, and more. It is a sport that brings brute strength together with agility, all the while where the athlete displays unbelievable moves with his stick and the puck. It is faster than any of these other sports, which in turn means a far quicker read and react time. And while they are focusing on making contact with an odd-shaped moving object, not only are they also moving, but someone is trying to knock them on their butt. If these similarities in themselves do not convince the closed-minded critic that hockey is by far one of the most difficult sports to play, let’s not forget that they are doing all of this on ice while balancing on quarter inch blades of steel. I would be willing to place a large wager that anyone arguing this statement has probably never skated before, or if they have, they must have fell and hit their head while learning. Please don’t get me wrong. I am an athlete that admires all sports and respects anyone that competes with passion and drive. There are reasons why the above-mentioned games generate billions of dollars each year – they are exciting to watch and extremely difficult to master. Personally though, I take great pride in the fact that ice hockey is the most exciting and unique sport out there, and if you have ever played yourself, you should be proud, too.

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



Tahoe Hockey Academy boasts solid marks at halfway point By Greg Ball


s 2016 draws to a close, the leadership at Tahoe Hockey Academy is taking some time to reflect on the trials and tribulations of starting a hockey academy from the ground up, and the many successes they’ve encountered since opening their doors to their first class of student-athletes on September 12. “Our goal from Day 1 was to build a hockey academy that rivaled what could be found in most junior and NCAA Division I programs throughout the country,” said academy president Leo Fenn. “This entailed more than just booking ice and scheduling games, and although it hasn’t been an easy task, we feel like we’re taking the right steps to build a foundation for lasting success.” Lake Tahoe is an amazing location for athletic training. The U.S. ski team and recent winter Olympic medalists such as Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman and Hannah Teter made it their training base, and Fenn is fully aware of what makes it such an ideal area. “We’re proud to be members of the Tahoe athletic community, as we understand the benefits of sportspecific, high-altitude training,” he said. “Lake Tahoe allows us the proper training environment that enables our student-athletes optimum results. Factor in a curriculum that mimics USA Hockey’s American Development Model, and the product on the ice is beginning to reap the rewards.” Those rewards seem to be turning a few heads in the process. The team was recently invited by North

American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) director Lucas Trombetta to compete in a NAPHL tournament. Tahoe went 3-1 in round robin play and lost by one goal to the eventual tournament champion, and head coach Michael Lewis felt that the results spoke volumes for the quality that Tahoe is already putting on the ice. “To be in front of junior, college and NHL scouts as well as compete against some of the top high school and club teams in North America is all you can ask for,” Lewis said. “To see our team compete at such a high level with roughly two months of development under our belts was extremely rewarding.” Of course, there’s more to Tahoe Hockey Academy than simply hockey, as academics play a huge role in the daily lives of the academy’s studentathletes. While plenty of time is spent developing better hockey players, an equal amount of time and energy is focused on producing excellence in the classroom. “When we opened our doors in September, we started with students in grades 9 through 11, with each student having the opportunity to enroll in a number of advanced classes,” Fenn said. “Partnering with U.S. Performance Academy (USPA) to serve as our educational component has allowed our


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

athletes a chance to train, travel and compete while staying on top of their studies. “We would be hard pressed to provide the weekly hours of on-ice and off-ice training in a traditional club hockey environment. USPA was pivotal in taking our program to the next level, and helping our students increase their grade point averages to our 3.0 requirement speaks volumes about our program’s success so far.” With 2017 right around the corner, the natural question for all those involved in this startup academy surrounds what’s next. The academy has a load of hockey development planned for the upcoming months, with an individual testing combine, a full slate of games in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League and their THA future prospect tournaments. “We’ll be busy, and we’ll be spending considerable time fine-tuning each player’s development,” Lewis said. Although it’s still a brand-new program, the leadership at Tahoe Hockey Academy is working hard to put itself on the map with the most prestigious academies in the country. It won’t be an overnight venture, but based on the past, present, and the future, those that call the academy feel like they’re right where they need to be.


Jr. Coyotes’ Mite Jamborees promote small-area games, fun each association has available to hold their event and game lengths vary, but teams usually get to play several s the mite development director for the Coyotes Am- different games over an hour or so of ice time. More than ateur Hockey Association (CAHA) for five seasons, 20 teams involved in these events in some instances. Tony Radke has the knowledge to grow the game from “I think the Jamborees are a good example of a small the lowest rung of the advancement ladder. part of the overall process,” said Radke. “These events Radke, who also coaches the 2008 and 2009 Jr. are designed to give our state’s 8U players an opportuCoyotes Mite teams, serves as a member of the Arizona nity to play some games at a fun event that is designed Amateur Hockey Association specifically for them, their (AA HA) Board of Directors, families and their age group. is the Jr. Coyotes (Scottsdale) They certainly play a part in representative to the Arizona their overall development, but the real progress for players at Youth Hockey League comthis age comes from well-run mittee, as well as the chair of practices. The use of small-arthe AAHA Mite Committee. ea games, skill progressions Part of Radke’s duties with and proper ice utilization is CAHA is organizing and coreally what provides the path ordinating the organization’s for development through maxMite Jamboree events. The imizing repetitions and puck Ice Den Scottsdale held a touches. Jamboree on Dec. 10 and the “The Jamborees are a Ice Den Chandler will host its CAHA youth players are all smiles prior to taking the ice at the Ice Den Scottsdale earlier this month for a Mite Jam- great way to support this event on Feb. 4. The Mite Committee has boree, which is a monthly event in the state that promotes growth and allow the kids development at the youngest level of the game. to experience some games. established standardized playing rules and format for all the Jamborees. Each associa- There are also other activities that usually go on at the tion has the option of setting up their event to be played Jamborees that make these so much fun, like visits from as 3-on-3 cross ice or 4-on-4 half ice and each game (Arizona Coyotes mascot) Howler.” And while the small-area game concept is nothing played within that format varies on the type of event. The number of teams is determined by the amount of ice time new at the Mite level, Radke has his own philosophy on By Matt Mackinder


the Jamboree events. “Most, if not all, levels utilize the concepts of a smaller ice surface to aid in development,” explained Radke. “Through this process at this age, we are able to shrink the playing surface to maximize involvement and puck touches to increase development. Hockey is a muscle memory and repetition sport. The more opportunities players have to execute a skill, the better they will get. Small-area games support this and create an environment where the focus becomes less about one player being able to skate end to end and more about the use of skills like passing, stickhandling, and team play.” As for his 08 and 09 Mite squads, Radke is relishing the opportunity being involved with those teams and players. “We have been able to create a process that can be repeated each year,” said Radke. “For us, development of the 8U players is based on preparation for the next levels and also includes education for the parents. We have focused very heavily on the development of the players’ individual skills as well as the basic introduction of team play as they reach the end of their second 8U season. This process has proven to be a huge factor in the advancement of their individual skills while providing a bridge to the 10U level. “Our teams this year are doing fantastic. They are progressing as well as any teams we have worked with in the past and are having a great time. We are excited to see how they will continue to progress as we move to the second half of the season.” Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for the hockey player, skater or fan on your list or looking to celebrate the spirit of the season,

Stop by administrative desk or any retail registers to purchase!

per skater including:


• Skate rental ($5 for children five and under) • 2-hours of public skating, with holiday music & lights! • Special guests including Frosty, Rudolph or the elves!



ASU roller team gaining momentum as first semester ends By Phillip Brents


hings appear to be looking up for Arizona State University at the midpoint of the 2016-17 Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) season. The Sun Devils’ Division I squad has gone 5-1 in its last two tournaments against WCRHL competition, finishing 3-1 at the Nov. 12 regular season event at the Las Vegas Roller Hockey Center and 2-0 at the Nov. 19-20 Huntington Beach Inline event. At 7-3-0, the Sun Devils trail UC Santa Barbara (11-0-1) for the Division I lead. Meanwhile, ASU continues to lead the Division III standings with an 8-0-0 record. WCRHL play resumes in January. ASU Division I team co-coach Nick Boyarsky said the opening semester was all about learning about the division in which they are playing this season. The second semester will be about building on what was learned in that first semester. “We’ve spent our 12 games over first semester figuring out how to play the other four teams in the WCRHL,” Boyarsky explained. “We had a solid win against UNLV in our one game with them, have handled Long Beach each game, and bounced back from our initial loss against Cal Poly by winning our next two against them. “It was just UCSB that had our number. With our OT win over them in Huntington Beach, we feel like we now know what will be necessary out of our team to continue to be successful in the WCRHL. The challenge is to now show up and play accordingly in our second semester games.” The 7-6 overtime win over the Gauchos was the first 14

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

loss for UC Santa Barbara in WCRHL play this season. teams in HB.” Stetson Dircks scored the overtime game-winner for Boyarsky said ASU’s Division III program continues the Sun Devils. to try to find a formula that will result in a national chamRyan Cotton (eight goals, six assists) and Wes pionship. Fry (seven goals, seven assists) lead ASU’s offense, “This biggest challenge for our Division III teams while goaltender Braxton Schulz has posted a divi- has always been to understand the difference in the sion-leading two shutouts. level of WCRHL Division III Cotton leads the team competition versus the rest with three game-winning of the country,” said Bogoals. yarsky. “Our first semester, The Sun Devils’ lone we’ve seen all but one Diviblemishes during November sion III team – the University were a trio of non-conferof Arizona hasn’t played us ence setbacks to national yet -- and handled almost power Lindenwood Universievery game easily, beating ty. The Lions defeated ASU’s more than one team by douDivision I team by scores of ble digits. 8-1 and 5-2 and blanked the “Then we played consisSun Devils 11-0 in a Division tent national champ LindenIII encounter. wood Gold in our last series ASU co-coach Alex of the semester and saw Dodt said the games against what our path to succeedLindenwood were an invaluing at nationals would be able experience for the Sun like, getting beat by double Devils. digits ourselves. Winning Arizona State University’s Chris Lombardo looks to settle the “The WCRHL teams all puck in front of the UC Santa Barbara net in first-semester games like that one will take play a slight variation of the Division III Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League game a whole new level of commitsame game style and tempo, action Photo/John Kirker ment and buying into some and only playing those teams has always handicapped new systems to stay competitive. That will be the focus us come NCRHA nationals,” Dodt explained. “Having of the second semester as we will hopefully get some the chance to play Lindenwood gives us an advantage added Division II games to our schedule to face toughgoing into nationals, in that we’ll know what’s in store er competition.” for us, and have all of the second semester to fix the Clay Heinze and Zach Kenyon lead ASU’s D-III things that hurt us in our losses to the Lindenwood team with 11 goals each at the semester break.


Knighthawks’ 12U girls team shows IHAAZ growth booming By Brian Lester


istory will be made when an all-girls team is fielded in the IHAAZ for the first time in 18 years of league play. The Knighthawks will have a 12U team this season and interestingly enough, the girls themselves were the behind the idea to start one. “They asked if we could make it happen,” said Brent Proud, the president of the Knighthawks. “So myself and a few others came together and formed a team for the girls. These girls have all built long-time friendships playing against each other in tournaments and are extremely excited to now skate together against the boys.” Inline hockey isn’t new for girls -- interest began to rise when the Arizona Inline Hockey Association (AIHA) started in the late 1990s -- and the popularity of the sport continues to grow. Dave Marmorstein, the head coach of the women’s world inline team and the business owner of the Peoria Sportsplex, has seen the rise of that popularity first-hand. “The girls were influenced in part by older male siblings or fathers who played hockey and introduced inline hockey to their sisters or daughters,” Marmorstein said. “These young female players were given an opportunity to compete at the club level because of the AIHA.” A women’s division of the AIHA was eventually created and lasted from 2005-08 with teams from Tucson, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Peoria. “These four teams of pioneering women hockey players created the Arizona women’s inline hockey legacy we

couldn’t make it through a practice without crying beenjoy today,” Marmorstein said. The best female players and coaches in Arizona are cause they were more emotional than the boys and had now role models and mentors. their feelings hurt when someone ran into them or took “This transition of top female players to role models has the puck,” Dahl said. “But not once did I ever hear any influenced a new generation of young women looking to boys picking on them or making fun of them. Those girls go on to be some of our toughest play inline hockey,” Marmorstein said. players.” “No longer is it an older brother or faProud said one of the best parts ther that motivates the young female about coaching the girls is seeing the player, but an Olympic medalist (Lyndstrides they have made as players sey Fry) or the captain of our national over the years. women’s inline hockey team (Allison “Some of these girls like my Era), both homegrown in Arizona.” IHAAZ is benefitting from their daughter and Faith Dababneh I influence and Jr. Wildcats president have had an opportunity to coach for over four years,” Proud said. “There Erik Dahl will tell you as much. A is no better feeling as a coach than total of 12 of the 70 players in the seeing the improvement each and program’s rec league are girls. Five of every practice and watching these them also play travel. girls grow and improve. Faith is the Jr. Wildcats have seen a steady perfect example of improvement. She increase in the number of girls playnever wants to come off the rink and ing inline hockey,” Dahl said. “The skill level has increased exponential- Allison Era – the most decorated female inline truly loves the game and that love player in Arizona history – was the youngest ly. We’ve found that when they’re player ever selected to the Team USA Wom- with all the girls carries over for the younger, the girls seem to develop en’s World Inline Team at 15 and developed her entire team.” their skills faster than the boys their game as a youth playing in the IHAAZ with Team Dahl doesn’t expect the girls’ love Excalibur. same age.” of the game to wear off anytime soon. While girls do compete against the boys, competitive“I certainly don’t see the growth of the girls coming ness isn’t affected and girls aren’t treated differently than to the sport slowing down,” Dahl said. “I do think in the the boys. coming years we may have the ability to do more all-girls “We’ve had girls who, when they started playing, teams.”




Trio of Bobcats represent program in NAPHL All-Star Games By Greg Ball


layers wearing Arizona Bobcats sweaters compete in plenty of meaningful games throughout the season thanks to the high level of play in the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL). A trio of Bobcats skaters took that to a higher level this month when they were selected to compete in the NAPHL’s All-Star Games. Brendan Winslow played in the 18U game, and Adam Bricker and Ryan Weick competed in the 16U game as the league’s top players came together in Blaine, Minn., on Dec. 4. The All-Star teams were selected based on nominations from coaches and player evaluations from North American Hockey League (NAHL) Central Scouting through the first three months of the season. NAHL coaches Kyle Grabowski (Austin Bruins), Alex North (Coulee Region Chill), Michael Benedict (Minnesota Wilderness) and Gary Harker (NAHL Central Scouting) served as coaches for the squads. “We are extremely proud of our boys,” Bobcats hockey director Ron Filion said. “All three have been with our program for many years, and all are ready for the next adventure in their hockey careers. Their futures are looking good if they maintain the same level of focus on the details of the game.” Bricker, a fast, skilled center on the Bobcats’ 16U Elite AAA team, has been with the program for four seasons, and said the experience of playing in the All-Star

game represented a significant opportunity to showcase tremendous hockey players and will likely end up playing his skills to scouts and coaches. juniors somewhere.” “Playing against the top players from the league, and The Bobcats trio said playing in the All-Star game has even some of the top players in the country, led me to opened their eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead for them. find out that not only can I compete at that level but I can Weick said he’s looking at the Western Hockey perform at a high level,” Bricker said. League (WHL) as the next step in his development. Weick is a teammate of Bricker’s on the 16U Elite “Last summer, I attended the Lethbridge Hurricanes AAA team in his third season with the Bobcats program, training camp, where I was listed and given the option to and Filion described him as a big, sign a standard player agreement,” tough defenseman. Weick said he Weick explained. “After talking it was truly honored to be selected for through with some past coaches, the All-Star game. we decided that to better my devel“Being given the opportunity to opment I should come back to the represent myself as well as the BobBobcats for my 16U season and cats organization in front of all of the not sign a WHL contract just yet, scouts was one of the best experibut it is my goal to secure a roster ences in my playing career,” Weick spot with the Hurricanes next seasaid. “Competing with and against son.” some of the top prospects in the Bricker sees his path continuing with the NAHL. country was a very exciting experi“My hope and drive is to play in ence. The competition and intensity Brendan Winslow has been a stalwart on the level during the game was outstand- Arizona Bobcats’ 18U Elite blue line and was the North American Hockey League starting in the 2017-2018 year, ing. Everyone was looking to show named an NAPHL All-Star this season. moving on to the USHL and Division I hockey,” Bricker their best and leave everything on the ice every shift.” Winslow is a defenseman on the Bobcats’ 18U Elite said. “Those things push me to work harder and harder AAA squad and is an extremely skilled player, Filion said. every day.” Winslow nailed down his next step by signing an NAHL He’s in his fourth year with the program. “It meant a lot to me that my hard work payed off tender agreement recently with the Aberdeen Wings. “I want to play in juniors and long term, I want to play and got me recognized by the league,” Winslow said. “It was a great experience. All of the players out there are Division I hockey and get my degree,” said Winslow.


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Gibson, Roe add expertise to Mission AZ coaching staff By Greg Ball


ehind every great youth hockey program is a group of standout coaches, and while the head coaches often get most of the attention, it’s often the specialists that are the keys to a program’s success. That’s certainly true with the Mission AZ program, where goaltending coach Larry Gibson and power skating coach Crystal Roe have become integral members of the coaching staff. “Larry has been with us for years and has been a great resource and liaison to our tenders for a long time,” said Jeremy Goltz, Mission AZ’s director of hockey operations. “He brings a calming effect when things get hectic with practices, games and travel. “Crystal has brought a great level of expertise to the most important aspect of our great game. She brings great energy and has earned a lot of respect from players and coaches throughout our organization.” Because time is limited on the ice and head coaches and their assistants spend much of their time working on team drills, strategy and skill development, it’s easy for the specialized teaching of goalie skills and proper skating technique to get neglected. So Goltz knew that bringing in Gibson and Roe would be an important step in helping Mission’s players develop into the best hockey players they could be. Gibson has been with Mission AZ since 2009 and has extensive coaching experience. A member of Northern Arizona University’s club hockey team from 1979-83,

he has been the USA Hockey coaching coordinator for Arizona since 1990 and was recently appointed the organization’s goalie development coordinator for the state. He has coached at nearly every level in Arizona, including a seven-year stint as the goalie coach for Arizona State’s club team. He said he loves that Mission is a great organization because of the philosophy that comes from the top down.

Two important components of the Mission AZ coaching staff – goaltending coach Larry Gibson and power skating coach Crystal Roe – continue to make the program a desired location for Arizona youth.

“Jeremy expects discipline and structure with his kids, which I like a lot,” said Gibson, who works with all of Mission’s teams and aims to be with each squad 3-4 times a month. “It’s good to have that specialized coach for goalies so they are getting the proper development just like the forwards and defensemen. I strive to have my goalies be pre-

pared and competing for every shot - not only does it help the goalies, but it helps make the shooters better, too.” Gibson has coached hundreds of players throughout his career and is proud to have contributed to a number of those moving on to the junior and college hockey ranks. His daughter, Kaley, played for Division III St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, and Anthony Ciurro is a Mission alumnus currently playing for the Victoria Cougars in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Roe has 16 years’ coaching experience and is in her third season coaching with Mission. A former competitive figure skater with two U.S. Figure Skating gold medals on her resume, she works regularly with both figure skaters and hockey players. In addition to her work with Mission AZ, Roe also teaches private lessons and has worked with players throughout the Phoenix area, a number of whom have advanced to play college and junior hockey. No matter the age or level, Roe emphasizes a number of basics. She said she appreciates the trust put in her to work with Mission’s players. “I focus on the fundamentals such as basic skating skills and applying proper body technique to the players’ movements,” Roe said. “The key building blocks for a strong player are keeping low by emphasizing hip bend, knee bend and ankle bend, while shoulders are up, pulled back and head up. “I emphasize that bigger and louder equals power. The bigger or longer the push with edge pressure produces loud edges, which then creates power. The longer blades are on the ice, the longer the strides and the more ice you cover with minimal steps.”

Happy Holidays

from all of us with

Mission AZ Hockey Club


AIHL season underway for Arizona Outcasts, Ghostriders By Phillip Brents


he American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) has returned for the 2016-17 season, though reorganized from 19 teams in four geographic divisions in 2015-16 to 12 teams in two geographic divisions this season. The Pacific South Division includes both an Elite and Minor component. Elite Division teams include the Arizona Ghostriders, Arizona Outcasts, Las Vegas Aces and OC Rocket Flex (which replaces the former OC Alliance). The Alliance won the 2015 AIHL Champions Cup, while the Outcasts scored a runner-up finish last season to the Revision Delco Demons. Seven teams are slated to play in the Pacific South Minor Division: Arizona Ghostriders, Arizona Lady Ghostriders, Arizona Outcasts, Las Vegas Aces Blue, Mavin Outlaws and two OC Rocket Flex teams. The Alliance doubled by winning the 2015 Minor Tier 1 national championship. League play was scheduled to face off Dec. 10-11. Additional tournaments are planned Jan. 7-8 in Las Vegas, March 4-5 in Peoria and April 14-15 in Irvine, Calif. Teams will play 18 regular-season games. The Elite Division expects to be particularly competitive. Besides finishing second at last season’s nationals, the Outcasts finished third two years ago. “We return almost everyone this year with the exception of a few guys who are playing in Europe right now,” Outcasts co-coach Alex Dodt said. “Our core is still the same as always, mostly guys who have played college or NARCh together for many years. “Paul Linder and Will Heinze are top guys. We added Kevin and Kyle Mooney, brothers from UC

Santa Barbara’s Division I college team. Hopefully, we can get back to where we were last year with a better result this time. That’s always the goal.” Tyler Svoboda will serve as player-coach on the OC Rocket Flex Elite team. He held the same title during OC Alliance’s national championship season. Svoboda said not to expect a revival of the former OC Alliance team, however.

The Arizona Lady Ghostriders will compete alongside men’s teams in the American Inline Hockey League’s Pacific South Minor Division in 2016-17.

“A lot of the players from the last Elite team just don’t have time to play with big boy jobs and kids,” Svoboda explained. “Some of the Minor Tier 1 guys who won two years ago have gotten the call up and some of my local Revision Pro guys will be filling out the roster. “As for the Minor (OC Rocket Flex team), we had a great turnout at tryouts and will be fielding two very good teams. Those rosters are being finished, but if I

were a betting man I would say one -- if not both teams -- will make the finals in Vegas.”


The Outcasts dispatched the higher-seeded San Diego Tron Hosers (semifinals) and Las Vegas Aces (finals) to win last season’s Elite Division Pacific South regional championship playoff tournament and, in the process, advance to the AIHL national championship tournament in Long Island. The Outcasts made a statement at the AIHL national championship tournament by winning their opening five games. They defeated the Pacific North region champion East Bay Jawz two games to none in the Champions Cup semifinals. The Outcasts then met the Mid-Atlantic region champion Demons in the Champions Cup Finals, losing by scores of 7-3 and 5-0 to post a runner-up finish. Meanwhile, the Ghostriders and Aces paired in the Minor Tier 1 regional championship series. The Aces edged the Ghostriders in double overtime to also punch their ticket to the national finals in New York. However, Las Vegas did not advance past the Minor Tier 1 semifinals at nationals. Heinze (most valuable defenseman) and Clay Taylor (most valuable goaltender), along with the Aces’ Darren Corsatea (scoring leader), all picked up divisional awards in 2015-16. Minor Division award-winners included the Las Vegas trio of Landon Grubb (scoring leader), Anthony Farrell (most valuable defenseman) and Colby Ashton (most valuable goaltender). The Demons return to defend their AIHL title in 2016-17.

NEW MEXICO REPORT Taos Thanksgiving tourney UNM Lobos learn talent, strong showcases high school’s best fan support leads to success By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



he Taos Ice Arena was the happening locale Thanksgiving Weekend as it hosted the Thanksgiving Ice Hockey Tournament for high school junior varsity teams and Midget development squads. Woodland Park and Taos met in the tournament final after Woodland Park finished first in pool play with a spotless 4-0 record. Taos finished second with a 3-1 mark, its lone loss to Woodland Park on Nov. 26. “The tournament was exciting and fun for all the teams,” said tournament director Brian Greer. “The competition was strong for the most part, with some very close games. For this early part of our season, it was terrific to see the teams improve and perform better as they progressed through the tournament. Thanks to everyone that participated.” In the championship final Nov. 27, Jordan Cisneros led Taos with two goals, while Josh Esquibel tallied a goal and an assist and Finn McMullin and Leandro Richert scored one apiece as Taos took a 5-1 win. Taos goalie Skyler Spriggs stopped 18 of 19 shots for the win, only allowing a second-period goal to Brenden Bowman. Garrett Richardson made 24 saves for Woodland Park. Taos was a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill and scored (Richert) on its lone power play opportunity early in the second period to open the scoring. Cisneros’ second goal of the game was of the shorthanded variety. In the semifinals, Taos edged Durango 4-3 with Richert, who led the tournament with nine points, potting the game-winning goal shorthanded at 9:45 of the third period. Everett Howland scored twice for Durango in a 58-second span in the second period to tie the game at 3-all. The other semifinal saw Parker Taranto notch three goals and an assist in Woodland Park’s 8-1 win over NMAHA. Carson Bowman added two goals and an assist and Richardson needed to make just seven saves for the win in net. Los Alamos was the fifth team at the event and was eliminated after the round robin. 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

rant Harvey has seen both ends of the spectrum at the University of New Mexico. When he played, the team rarely had more than the players’ parents in the stands. Nowadays, the Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque is regularly sold out for the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division III team. UNM started off fast this season, winning its first 10 games. “We were running on all cylinders,” said Harvey, now the Lobos’ head coach. “Even after a small slide, the positives are that my young team is playing poised and we are winning the close games and making good comebacks in the third period.” “It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but overall a great season,” added Lobos captain Austin Short. “I’ve been very honored to play for this team.” Earlier this season, UNM was ranked fifth in the region – its highest ranking in school history. The top 10 teams in each region qualify for the Pacific Region playoffs. “My expectation is to get to regionals with a full, healthy team and surprise many people with our mostly homegrown talent,” noted Harvey. Short said the early part of the season had its share of highlights. “We won several exciting overtime games over Northern Arizona University and Air Force and Graeme Chiasson, our leading scorer, has been phenomenal. He always manages to score hitting the puck out of the air, never ceasing to amaze us.” Playing at the Outpost, tucked up against the Sandia Mountains and looking down at the rest of the city, is unique, according to Short. “The Outpost is a great place to play hockey,” said Short. “It actually has two ice sheets that are connected by two smaller ice sheets, creating a full loop. Last season, during a game against Metropolitan State University, our fans, and we have great fans, got a little rowdy and broke a pane of glass by pounding on it. “Being at Outpost, we were able to skate over to the other sheet of ice and finish over there.”

Wildcats, Lumberjacks face off new WCRHL season with promise By Phillip Brents


orthern Arizona University and the University of Arizona inline hockey teams missed October’s season opening tournament in San Jose, but made up for that by playing six games at the Huntington Beach Inline regular-season event Nov. 19-20. Defending WCRHL regional champion Arizona chalked up a respectable 3-1-2 showing. while NAU faced off its maiden season with a 3-3 record. The Wildcats sit third in the eight-team Division II standings behind Chico State (7-1-0) and CSU Fullerton (6-0-0). The Lumberjacks are just two standings points behind Arizona. “We came out the gates slow and lost in a shootout (4-3) to Cal Poly Pomona,” Arizona top scorer Jesse Rooney said. The Wildcats rebounded with dominating wins over UC San Diego (9-1), UC Irvine (13-1) and Cal-Berkeley (15-4) before dropping matchups to West Valley JC (5-4) in overtime and Chico State (5-2). Arizona returns its Division II team from last season with the addition of goaltender Brett Bushnell and forwards Taylor Knight, Jared Johnson and Jacob Toro. “The future looks promising for both teams as we polish up some rough areas we noticed in HB,” Rooney said. “Team chemistry is good and the depth of the (Division III) team is best yet.” Arizona goaltender Chris Faulk, a converted skater, ranks second in Division III with a 3.95 goals-against average, but tops the division with a .850 save percentage. The Lumberjacks defeated the University of San Diego (Division IV) by a score of 6-1 in their first WCRHL game. Austin Cannon earned first star honors with a hat trick, while teammates Chandler Littley (one goal, two assists) and Jordy Maugeri (one goal, one assist) were named second and third stars of the game, respectively. Trevor Riffey collected three goals and one assist in an 8-4 victory against Pomona and scored four goals in a 10-3 win over Cal. He leads NAU with 13 goals and one assist at the semester break. Maugeri (13 points) and Cannon (11 points) follow closely in the scorebook.

2016-17 ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO ALUMNI Email all additions, deletions and corrections to




CHA Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Stockton Heat Trevor Cheek – Tucson Roadrunners * Jeremy Langlois (Tempe) – Rockford IceHogs Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Manitoba Moose Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Tucson Roadrunners Philip Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – St. John’s IceCaps ECHL Mike Krieg (Phoenix) – Norfolk Admirals Zac Larraza (Scottsdale) – Utah Grizzlies SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Castro (Peoria) – Columbus Cottonmouths Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Mississippi RiverKings Matt Grogan (Gilbert) – Peoria Rivermen FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints EUROPE J.T. Barnett (Scottsdale) – Russia Anthony Caruso (Queen Creek) – Sweden Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – France Joey Sides (Tucson) – United Kingdom Dave Spina (Mesa) – Finland NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Connecticut Whale COLLEGE HOCKEY NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Derek Brown (Peoria) – Niagara University ECAC Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute WCHA Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Alaska-Fairbanks DIVISION I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Edward McGovern (Scottsdale) – Arizona State University Drew Newmeyer (Scottsdale) – Arizona State University

HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire WCHA Amanda Martin (Peoria) – Minnesota State University Katherine McGovern (Scottsdale) – University of Minnesota-Duluth NCAA DIVISION III – MEN

NEHC MacKenzie Lyons (Scottsdale) – Nichols College Mackenzie Meegan (Phoenix) – New England College Tori Wolter (Chandler) – Nichols College NESCAC Lynddy Smith (Glendale) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY ALBERTA JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – Fort McMurray Oil Barons

COMMONWEALTH Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Hector Majul – Curry College !

BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Tempe) – Wenatchee Wild Christian Cakebread (Gilbert) – Vernon Vipers Hayden Knight (Scottsdale) – Coquitlam Express

MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Sage Englund (Phoenix) – Carleton Place Canadians Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – Carleton Place Canadians

NCHA Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – College of St. Scholastica

EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Jack Allen (Yuma) – Vermont Lumberjacks (Premier) Jeremy Briscoe (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Dom DiMambro (Phoenix) – New York Applecore (Elite) Brandon Duty (Apache Junction) – Boston Jr. Rangers (Elite) Joshua George (Chandler) – New England Wolves (Elite) Samuel Kany (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Little Flyers (Premier) Jacob Kerns (Phoenix) – New York Applecore (Premier) Drew Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (Premier) Erik Pritchard (Phoenix) – Walpole Express (Premier)

NEHC Bryan McFarlane (Scottsdale) – New England College NESCAC Jon Carkeek (Phoenix) – Hamilton College SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University WIAC Adam Kleven (Phoenix) – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN COLONIAL HOCKEY Alex Bloom (Scottsdale) – Canton State University Emily Dennee (Chandler) – Becker College Sarah McSweeney (Chandler) – Becker College ECAC WEST Bri Carroll (Peoria) – Buffalo State University Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Emily Coope (Phoenix) – Utica College MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St. Olaf College Kylie Kramer (El Mirage) – College of St. Benedict

GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Nick Acevedo (Desert Hills) – South Muskoka Shield Marvin Simmons (Phoenix) – Kingsville Kings GREATER ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Sam Dallas (Phoenix) – Stratford Warriors NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Wilderness Reid Miller (Phoenix) – Aston Rebels Keenan Spillum (Paradise Valley) – Aberdeen Wings Joey Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Odessa Jackalopes NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Bessee (Globe) – Helena Bighorns Kevin Bird (Glendale) – Glacier Nationals Malachi Bushey (Tucson) – Great Falls Americans Eddie Cannon (Glendale) – Syracuse Stampede Trevor Checketts (Peoria) – Great Falls Americans Hunter Feagins (Surprise) – Gillette Wild

Jonah Gower (Prescott Valley) – Glacier Nationals Joshua Kirk (Gilbert) – Glacier Nationals Nick Nast – Great Falls Americans & Jordan Nolan (Phoenix) – Jersey Shore Wildcats Corey Rees (Florence) – Long Beach Sharks Mitchell Tulk (Chandler) – Glacier Nationals Sam Weidenbaum (Scottsdale) – Long Beach Sharks Austin Wilks (Avondale) – Point Mallard Ducks

Garrett Fineberg (Glendale) – Arizona Hawks Chase Jeffery (Peoria) – Arizona Hawks Marshall Jones (Gilbert) – Arizona Hawks Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Arizona Hawks Ethan Middendorf (Scottsdale) – Vancouver Rangers Donovan Myers (Chandler) – Springfield Express Brett Robinson (Scottsdale) – Ogden Mustangs Alex Rodriguez (Phoenix) – Phoenix Knights

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Ashton Amaya (Gilbert) – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners


QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Matt Jones (Phoenix) – Baie-Comeau Drakkar Matteo Pietroniro (Prescott Valley) – Baie-Comeau Drakkar SASKATCHEWAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Brett Pickler – Flin Flon Bombers * Ivan Vilcauskas (Phoenix) – Kindersley Klippers UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Michael Boyle (Phoenix) – Dubuque Fighting Saints Jaxon Castor (Phoenix) – Dubuque Fighting Saints Jake Durflinger – Bloomington Thunder & D.J. King – U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team * Phillip Knies (Phoenix) – Sioux City Musketeers Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team Rourke Russell – Green Bay Gamblers & Adam Samuelsson – U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team * Carson Vance (Tempe) – Sioux City Musketeers Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Chicago Steel

Jackson Birecki (Phoenix) – Tahoe Hockey Academy Alexis Ryan (Mesa) – Williston Northampton Jared Shuter (Prescott) – Tahoe Hockey Academy

NEW MEXICO COLLEGE HOCKEY NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Jackson Barliant (Santa Fe) – Sacred Heart University NCAA DIVISION III – MEN NESCAC Nicholas Faturos (Albuquerque) – Amherst College SUNYAC Nate Werhane (El Dorado) – Buffalo State University

UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – Boston Jr. Bruins (Elite) Mendell Dubuisson (Waddell) – Florida Eels (Elite) Colton Egge (Chandler) – Atlanta Jr. Knights (Elite) Dakota Gottlieb (Scottsdale) – Jersey Hitmen (Elite) Frazier Mohler (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (USP3) Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Boston Jr. Bruins (Premier) Colton Seeman (Phoenix) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Chase Smith (Glendale) – Syracuse Stars (Elite)


VANCOUVER ISLAND JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Anthony Ciurro (Peoria) – Victoria Cougars

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Quinn Martin (Santa Fe) – Red Deer Rebels

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Mark Kastelic (Phoenix) – Calgary Hitmen Jeremy Masella (Phoenix) – Victoria Royals Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals & Austyn Playfair (Scottsdale) – Tri-City Americans

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Cory King (Albuquerque) – Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Bernsdorff (Glendale) – Phoenix Knights Christopher Carouchi – Arizona Hawks % Caleb Cavazos (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights

NESCAC Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Jake McNerney (Taos) – Seguin Huskies

* former Phoenix Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat % former Mission Arizona ! former Phoenix Firebird

19 * &


So many smiles, so many memories with One Step Bobcats I

walked into AZ Ice Peoria with my stick and small coaches bag to help however I was needed with the One Step Bobcats skate. Upon entering the lobby where the players were assembling, a few players Exelby shouted out to me, “Who are you?” to which I replied, “I’m Randy.” At this time, a familiar face from the group came up to me. It was a good friend to Behind The Mask, Nick. Nick is the captain of the One Step Bobcats team. Nick has been coming into our store for years and in fact, Nick helped us with the move of our Peoria store last June. A big smile came over Nick’s face and he shook my hand. Nick and I converse numerous times a week on Facebook Messenger. He is a HUGE Arizona

Coyotes fan, having gone to almost 200 straight home games. If you have been to a Coyotes game, you might have seen Nick – he’s hard to miss. He is 6-foot-5 and wears an Oliver Ekman-Larsson jersey. I give credit to Nick as he was the one many months before the 2016 NHL Draft that suggested to me that the Coyotes should take Jakob Chychrun. He was spot on (Chychrun was selected in the first round, 16th overall). After our small talk in the lobby, we headed to the dressing room. You could see the players’ eyes light up as they put on their gear. Most needed some help on putting the gear on and tying their skates. Each player put on a Bobcats jersey. They looked like a team. Players filed out of the dressing room and waited patiently by the gate to get on the ice. The Arizona Hawks junior team (in the Western States Hockey League) was coming off the ice from their practice and the players high fived the One Step Bobcats on the way out – a true sign of respect among hockey players. A few of the Hawks players stayed on the ice to help with the skate. It was great to see them out there helping. Volunteers helped the players get on the ice. They were fully dressed with skates on, but most were seated on chairs and pushed out on the ice.

A few players, including Nick, could skate on their own. Nick was a towering figure on skates. I don’t believe I have ever seen more smiles on the ice at one time than this moment. A chill ran down my spine. This is what it’s all about. Nothing else mattered but the joy of participation. Coaches and volunteers pushed the players around in the chairs, setting them up in a half circle in front of the net. I passed pucks and the players shot the pucks. It was amazing to see the players improve their hand-eye skill as the session went on. Players took turns playing goal. There were celebrations for goals and saves. The hour passed quickly and players left the ice, except for Nick. It was his job as captain to pick up all the pucks and put them in the puck bag. Back in the locker room, players reminisced about the ice session and got undressed. Talk changed to many other subjects. Nick continued to ask my thoughts on Dylan Strome and whether he should stay with the Coyotes or go back to junior. (Strome has since been reassigned to the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters.) I left the rink that day with a better understanding of not only hockey, but life. And to top the day off, there was a message on my Facebook from Nick that night thanking me for coming out. I replied, “No, Nick. Thank you!”

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The Jr. Coyotes won the 14U AA division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at AZ Ice Gilbert.

Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi (middle, hat) surprised the Arizona State University women’s team and joined the Sun Devils for their optional practice at the Gila River Arena on Nov. 22.

The Jr. Coyotes won the 12U Elite division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at the Ice Den Chandler.

The Arizona Bobcats won the 18U AA division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at AZ Ice Gilbert.

The New Mexico Warriors’ Bantam team came home with the Drop The Puck Tournament championship and banner, bagging the title Nov. 21 in Gunnison, Colo.

The Arizona Bobcats won the 10U Elite division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at AZ Ice Gilbert.

The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils won the 14U A division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout on home ice at the Oceanside Ice Arena.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Mite White team claimed the Mite division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at the Ice Den Scottsdale.

The Arizona Hockey Union Squirt White team won the Squirt B division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at AZ Ice Gilbert.

The Jr. Coyotes won the Pee Wee Elite division title Nov. 27 at the Arizona Hockey Club’s Thanksgiving Shootout at the Ice Den Chandler.

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Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Acquired: Signed as a free agent on July 1, 2016 Hometown: Brandon, Manitoba, Canada Age: 28 Arizona Rubber: WWhat’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Ryan White: Probably when I was 15 back home (Brandon, Man.) and we ended up winning a national championship. We were not supposed to be that good of a team that year, but things turned out really good for us. Just a kind of Cinderella season. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? RW: Probably playing in the NHL playoffs. I got a chance to play in great rinks in Montreal and Philadelphia. It was a pretty special moment for each game. (NOTE: White appeared in 10 Stanley Cup playoff games with Montreal and six with Philadelphia.) AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? RW: My parents. They are both blue-collar, hard-working people. My dad was always hauling me around everywhere when I was a kid. He got into trouble one time and it was funny. We were traveling for a junior game and my dad got caught for calling in sick for taking us to the game. Lots of good memories like that, and he is a good example for me to be a hard-working player. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? RW: Have fun. I mean, you can’t make a career with something you’re not having fun. Come to the rink every rink and try to enjoy it. That’s what kept me in the game for so long. I had so much with my buddies growing up and a lot of fun just going to the rink. More fun than anything else. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? RW: Getting more into golf and I like fishing quite a bit. Anything that will relax me in the summer. I love watching football, too. Probably golf is the one right now. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? RW: Just how I get ready for every game. Same routine when I was a kid and the same exact way. Go through your routine every day and prepare to play that night. Each player kind of prepares differently, so it’s whatever works for you. AZR: What does your game-day routine like? RW: Not too much. Come to the rink and basically get ready. Wake up and head to the rink for the morning skate. Get home, have a nice meal, have a little nap and then come to the game. Just try to get my mind and my body for ready for the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? RW: We tried a couple, and they’re great. We like Italian. I can’t remember the exact names, but I’m sure I’ll know these places pretty soon. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? RW: First, a toothbrush, a few extra pairs of shorts and an extra shirt or two. I’m really a messy eater, so I have to be prepared. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? RW: Probably Steve Yzerman (with the Detroit Red Wings). He was always a clutch player and someone I admired.

Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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



November 24 - 27, 2016 September 2 - 5, 2016 . Bantam AA, A, B . Pee Wee . Midget 18U AA/A - Midget 16U AA/A High School



Midget Open . 2003 Elite & AAA February 17-20, 2017 2004 Elite & AAA . 2005 Elite & AAA & AAA . 2007 Elite & AAA Application Deadline: January 20, 2017 2006 Elite2008 Elite & AAA 2009 Mite Track I (Half Ice) 2010 Mite Track II (Half Ice) AA, A, BB, B . Squirt A, BB, B . Mite Track I & II

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