Arizona Rubber Magazine - February 2017

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From humble beginnings, the Arizona Bobcats now ice 10 teams and nearly 200 players this season ranging from 8U to 18U and show no signs of slowing down



FROM THE EDITOR So much happening these days when it comes to Arizona hockey


here is really no slowing down this time of year. We’ve got state tournaments, teams prepping for USA Hockey Youth Nationals, associations getting set for spring hockey, inline hockey in full swing, you name it. And while winning these events and succeeding is obviously a priority, let’s all remember to have fun and to play the game the right way. Onward and upward and good luck to all teams, players and coaches!

Congratulations to the Arizona teams that captured AHSHA high school state championships on Feb. 4 at the Ice Den Scottsdale! Division 1 – Pinnacle (defeated Notre Dame Prep 4-2) Division 2 – Centennial (defeated Horizon 4-1) Matt Mackinder Division 3 – Desert Vista (defeated Shadow Ridge 3-2) Junior Varsity – Chaparral (defeated Mountain Ridge 3-0) We also have the All-State and All-Arizona Teams in this issue over on Page 14. Well done, everyone! On the girls side of the game, the 14U Tier II and 19U Tier II Rocky Mountain District Tournament is coming to AZ Ice Gilbert and Oceanside Ice Arena the weekend of March 17-19. Both tournaments start the morning of St. Patrick’s Day and the championship games are slated for the morning of March 19. Best of luck to the AZ Lady Coyotes! The first-year Arizona State University women’s team picked up its first Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League (WWCHL) wins Feb. 4-5 with a sweep at Oceanside over the University of Denver. The 2017 WWCHL conference playoffs will be hosted by ASU and Oceanside and will take place Feb. 24-26 and will include the top six teams in the conference. The winner will receive a bid to the national tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Good luck, ASU!

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In mid-January, NHL Central Scouting released its mid-term rankings for players eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft. Phoenix native and Jr. Coyotes graduate Mark Kastelic made the cut, ranked in the fifth round (133rd overall). Kastelic, now in his second season as a forward with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, has compiled nine goals and 20 points in 48 games this season. Last year, Kastelic posted five goals and 10 points over 59 contests. The 2017 NHL Draft is scheduled for June 23-24 in Chicago. After a report surfaced in the Glendale Star regarding the Arizona Coyotes taking a recent tour of arenas in Portland, Ore., and Seattle, possibly looking to move the team out of the desert, team president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc released a statement on Feb. 9. “Recent reports by the Glendale Star that the Coyotes ownership group has explored arena options outside the Arizona market are completely false. The Star referenced an anonymous arena source and an anonymous Coyotes source, and these are a fabrication. “The Coyotes are focused on creating one of the most taxpayer friendly facilities in the country here in the Valley. This new arena will pay for itself, create jobs and generate millions of dollars of revenue for the state, county and municipality where it’s built. We are fully committed to Arizona.” A new East Valley arena that the Coyotes were to share with ASU reportedly fell through in early February when the university was said to have backed out of the deal, according to published reports.

Arizona State University goalie Joey Daccord has emerged as the Sun Devils’ starter this season and has been impressive as of late between the pipes. More on ASU in Page 11. Photo/Arizona State Athletics

And congratulations (again) to Tempe native and Jr. Coyotes alum Carson Vance, who has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey next fall at Western Michigan University (NCHC). Vance initially committed to the University of Wisconsin (Big Ten) last season, but decommitted when the Badgers changed coaches from Mike Eaves to Tony Granato in the offseason. This season, Vance has two goals and 18 points in 38 games between the USHL’s TriCity Storm and Sioux City Musketeers.

Players from the Arizona Bobcats program gather recently at Arcadia Ice. Pictured top, from left to right, are Palmer Coupe (12U), Austin Poole (13U), Matthew Gross (13U), Aidan Coupe (14U) and Jared Sanchez (18U). Pictured middle, from left to right, are Brandon Tessmer (9U), Patrick Murphy (16U National), Ethan Poole (12U) and Sheldon Wilson (11U). Pictured bottom, from left to right, are Joey Lepore (8U), Carson McGinley (10U) and Blaise Becker (11U). Photo/LRH Photography

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Bonding time with father helped shape Coyotes’ Chychrun “There are two big things I learned from my dad – work hard and have fun,” Chychrun said. “My dad always said you have to enjoy the game and you have to love the game. You have to have a passion for it and if you don’t, you won’t be dedicated enough to continue to push forward and improve yourself. Most importantly, you have to have fun. An-

to be close to his dad. First, Jakob and Jeff commuted each weekend f your dreams and aspirations are to play in the for two years from south Florida to Detroit so Jakob NHL, then there is no better a coach and mentor could play AAA hockey for Little Caesars during two than your dad. Bantam seasons. Then again, not all aspiring players have a former “I was ready to leave the house at 12, but my NHL defenseman as their dad and coach. mom wanted me to remain at home, so I stayed,” That’s the enviable position Arizona Coysaid Chychrun. “I went to school in Florida otes’ rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun during the week and every weekend, my dad enjoys. Not only has Chychrun settled in as and I would fly to Detroit to play in tournaa valuable member of the Coyotes’ blue line ments for Little Caesars. Those were two contingent, his presence is hardly noticed. A great years of bonding time with my dad.” prevailing axiom in sports holds than if you Attempting to move to the next level, Chydo not notice a player, an umpire in baseball chrun hit a roadblock. USA Hockey required or official in a striped shirt, then they are prea special exemption for 15 year olds to be forming their duties with competence and caeligible for Major Junior hockey. When Jakob pability. and his dad petitioned USA Hockey for an exThat seems to be Chychrun’s reality. emption, they were denied. That’s when ChyPaired with Connor Murphy, the pair has eschrun joined the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the tablished a solid rapport in the dressing room Greater Toronto Hockey league for his Minor and a high degree of reliance on the ice. Midget season. For Chychrun, that all started skating on From there, he became the first pick of the youth hockey teams in south Florida with his Sarnia Sting in the 2014 OHL Priority Selecdad, former NHL defenseman Jeff Chychrun, tion and the Coyotes made him a first-round by his side. pick (16th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft. Following a 10-year career with Philadel- Jakob Chychrun learned the game in South Florida and experienced many long “The game is growing tremendously, esphia, Los Angeles, Kings, Pittsburgh and Ed- road trips in youth hockey before being a first-round pick in the OHL and NHL pecially in southern states like Florida, Calimonton, including getting his name etched on drafts. Photo/Norm Hall fornia and Arizona,” Chychrun said. “It’s great the 1992 Stanley Cup while playing for Pittsburgh, other main thing my dad taught me is how hard you to see the game growing and I consider myself very Jeff was part of the Florida Panthers’ coaching staff have to work. Some things you can’t control, like lucky to have the opportunity to grow up and play when Jakob was on March 31, 1998. having a bad day in school or if the ref makes a bad hockey in Florida. I honestly would not want that any Throughout his development on youth teams in call on you. You always control showing up at the other way. I would be at the beach on the weekend the Miami area and later playing for youth teams in rink, giving it your all and not being outworked.” and playing games during the week. I was pretty Detroit and Toronto, Chychrun is the first to credit Jakob’s path the NHL was not a straight line, and lucky to have my dad coach me growing up and he his dad for support and instruction. there were unique situations in which he continued made it fun for my teammates and myself.”

By Mark Brown



On The Prowl

Growth of Arizona Bobcats program made possible by rock-solid foundation By Greg Ball


en years ago, when the Arizona Bobcats were just getting started and director of hockey Ron Filion was overseeing just three teams, it would have been hard to imagine what the program would become in 2017. Back then, the program was known as the Valley of the Sun Hockey Association (VOSHA) Mustangs. It didn’t have a permanent home, hadn’t yet achieved Tier 1 status playing in the North American Prospects Hockey League and started as a spring and summer program only. Fast forward a decade or so, and the Bobcats are a mature, established program with a strong history and an even more promising future. Three years ago, Filion secured the right to play and practice at Arcadia Ice and the program expanded from icing three teams to 10. “The vision was pretty simple for us - to develop kids and promote them,” Filion said. “The rest has kind of fallen into place. We started having success with our three teams, and once we moved to Arcadia, we were able to expand. Our main focus when we started wasn’t on growing - our focus was to offer a good program with great opportunities for development, and we’ve been able to build upon that.” With 10 teams this season ranging from 8U to 18U and nearly 200 players in the program, the Bobcats offer a clear path for top competitive players to advance from the youngest levels right through the top. Since its birth in 2008, the Bobcats program has produced multiple state championship teams and numerous teams that have won the Quebec International PeeWee Hockey Tournament and other major events. More important for Filion and his staff, though, is their track record of developing players ready to advance to the next levels of hockey. Both winning and developing top players have lent credibility to the program throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Bobcats’ website features a list of 65 alumni playing on various junior teams in leagues across the country and in Canada, in college programs and in the pros. In addition to Brendan Lemieux (who is with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose) and Phil

“Jim has been a huge addition to our program - his experience and coaching knowledge have made our 2004 group a very solid team,” FIlion said. “Our discussions on team strategy and player management have proven that Jim is a perfect fit for me and the entire Bobcats organization. You definitely can’t buy experience and contacts, and his time at the junior level as owner and GM of two NAHL teams is also helping us move our players to that league.” Added Livanavage: “I think the kids know that we all as coaches bring something to the table, and it’s important that they realize that this is a long process trying to develop players. For me, I won’t consider my work with the 2004 team a success unless a number of those players advance to play beyond youth hockey in Arizona. It’s our job to give them the tools and develop them so they can move on and continue their careers - that’s where my experience comes into play.” Livanavage and his son, Jake, came to the Bobcats before the 2015-16 season from the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) Jr. Sun Devils, realizing it was the right time to make the move to AAA hockey. The long-time coach and hockey administrator has been involved in youth hockey for many years in the Phoenix area, and admired from afar what Filion was building before joining the program. “I think Ron has developed a tremendous coaching staff, from the U18s with Brent Gough and Pat Mahan all the way down to Ron with the 2005 group,” Livanavage said. “Every one of the coaches cares immensely about the players. It’s not just about the success of one individual season, but everyone wants to see their players be successful in the long term. With all the people Ron has surrounded him-

The 2016-17 Arizona Bobcats organization boasts 10 teams with nearly 200 players ranging from 8U to 18U age levels. Photo/LRH Photography

Pietroniro (with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies), there is of course Auston Matthews. The first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Matthews has electrified the league in his rookie season with 24 goals and 19 assists through his first 51 games. Having an NHL star like Matthews as a recent product of the program can only help the Bobcats. “It’s definitely something to be proud of, and we have plenty of other guys playing in college and juniors,” Filion said. “That not only represents the Bobcats well, but is a good representation of hockey in Arizona, too. From top to bottom, everything is being done more professionally across the state, which really helps develop great players.” The foundation of the Bobcats’ success, FIlion believes, is the coaching staff they have carefully built since Day 1. Brent Gough, Pat Conacher, Leeor Shtrom, Matt Eltman and Michael Hensdell make up the core of that staff, and other valued members of the coaching crew include Jason Oliver, Mark Gordon, Brad Donaldson, Scott Wilson, Larry Hastings, Pete Papadatos, Viv Woolford and the newest addition to the staff, Jim Livanavage. Livanavage joined the program last year to coach his son, a Pee Wee, and plans to continue working with the 2004 birth year age group until they age out of youth hockey, just as he did with the 1996 birth year at his previous stop. 6

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

self with, he’s not looking for ‘yes men.’ He wants everyone to provide their input and discuss what’s best for players’ development, rather than just listening to what Ron wants and doing it.” So what’s the future for the Bobcats? Do they add more teams at different levels, or simply continue to excel at the AAA level and get even better at producing winning teams and players ready

to advance to juniors and college hockey? Livanavage thinks it’s the latter. “I’m impressed with how the program has grown so quickly,” he said. “Ron had talked about it when I was at DYHA. I figured it would be a few years down the road, but he went from three teams to 10 almost overnight. It’s just incredible to see all the kids that are playing for the Bobcats right now. “What I see in the future is more development pieces, like what we have with the Bobcat Academy right now. I see stronger teams with more to offer for the development of players. The more you can offer to develop kids as hockey players, the better. “I think if we keep sticking to the plan of developing players for the long haul, I don’t know if there will be another Auston Matthews, but there will continue to be players that come out of Arizona that will impress people. If we continue to have success, that will shine a brighter light on hockey in Arizona.” Filion agrees with that assessment. “For us, the plan is to stay the course,” Filion said. “We want to keep on developing top talent and providing opportunities for more kids from Arizona to reach their goals. Yes, we love winning, but all our coaches understand our philosophy that winning is a byproduct of how well you prepare the players.”

Team Arizona greasing the wheels for America’s Showcase place where they can be seen by scouts,” he said. Green said each Team Arizona player over the past few years was contacted by a scout, either at the tournament or later through a phone call or email. America’s Showcase also is a great resource for Green in his job as ASU’s coach. “I get to meet coaches from the around the country and establish connections with them,” he said. Team Arizona has done well at the tournament through the years.

year. Goltz said this year’s Team Arizona roster once merica’s Showcase is exactly what its name imagain is filled with high school and travel players from plies. across the state. Anywhere from 60-80 players usualThe annual tournament is a showcase for junior ly try out each and senior high school hockey players from across year. the country. E a c h Team Arizona, organized by the Arizona High team in School Hockey Association, will head to Robert MorAmerica’s ris University in Pittsburgh for the tournament once S h o w again. The tournament dates this year are April case is 20-24. allowed a Jeremy Goltz is Team Arizona’s coach for maximum the sixth year. 25-player “America’s Showcase is a first-class tournaroster. For games, ment,” Goltz said. “Most importantly for the playa team can dress 18 skaters, there are a lot of scouts there watching the ers and two goalies. games.” Team Arizona’s 2017 roster includes forScouts come from NCAA Division I and III wards Tanner Castleberry (Hamilton), Brett teams, American Collegiate Hockey Association Charron (Mountain Ridge), Justin Hayward (ACHA) club teams, and prep schools and junior (Pinnacle), Joshua Ihling (Pinnacle), Cole Kaprograms. min (Pinnacle), Joseph Mancuso (Chaparral), Being scouted at America’s Showcase is a Paxton Parker (Sandra Day O’Connor), Cole particularly big draw for Arizona high school Tiedemann (Flagstaff), Spencer Zach (Hamilhockey players who want to continue their hockton) and Grant Ziegler (Pinnacle); defensemen ey career at a higher level. Adam Beckermann (Pinnacle), James Brown That’s because many don’t get looks from Team Arizona is a squad made up of high school juniors and seniors that will III (Sandra Day O’Connor), Brett Fryer (Notre scouts unless they play travel hockey, Goltz said. partake in the America’s Showcase event in April. The 2016 team (pictured) Dame Prep), Jacob Herzog (Desert Mountain), Tait Green is a Team Arizona assistant coach fared well last spring in Pittsburgh. Oscar Kahler (Sunrise Mountain) and Collin and coach of the ACHA Division II Arizona State UniA total of 24 teams made up of more than 600 McHugh (Hamilton); and goalies Nick Kocharov versity club team. Like Goltz, he’s a big fan of Ameri- players compete in three eight-team pools before (Horizon) and Darshan Manhas (Liberty). ca’s Showcase. the top two teams in each pool move on to bracket Other assistant coaches are Barry Harcus and “The tournament gives us an opportunity every competition. In 2014, Team Arizona was the C pool Daniel Roy and Kenny McGinley serves as the year to take a group of 17- and 18-year-olds to one champion. Team Arizona will be in the B pool this team’s manager.

By Steve Stein




Hey Coach, it’s the third period and we’re really tired By Jason Prentice


very hockey player knows fatigue begins to take hold in the third period. Well, hockey families across the nation are in the third period of their season as well. Similar to the waning minutes of any game, by now during the season, there have been ups and downs. There have been the good, the bad and let’s face it, the ugly, but we’re all still in it. The beauty of it is that now is when the best hockey is being played, teams have gelled, plays are getting dialed in and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. However, there is still more hockey to be played, but the energy level, the commitment level, the level of passion is starting to show signs of weakness. Just like in any game, this is the part of the season where mental strength is necessary to prevail. So let’s break out the coaches quotes: “Good teams find a way” and “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.” Truthfully, it’s not only the kids that need this, it’s the families. Let’s face it – by now, parents, siblings and grandparents have sat shivering through around 40 or 50 games and practices, they’ve been at the rink before the lights turned on and when they were turned off. They’ve seen the goals and the push-ups and now many of them just want it to be over. As with life sometimes, it is difficult to stay pos-

itive in the thick of it, but as legendary coach Herb Brooks said: “Today, I will do what others won’t so tomorrow, I can do what others can’t.” Don’t take the third period for granted, and don’t wish it was over. As Brooks again said: “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” Sure, he meant on the ice during a game, but it applies here. On a recent road trip with our team, I met a great couple in the hotel lobby and they noticed all of the jerseys and began asking questions, like how old the kids are and where we are from. After a few minutes of talking, I learned that they had grown children that played the game years before and they told some wonderful stories, but one thing stuck with me. They said, “You will really miss it when it is over. We do, and now we’re bored on weekends.” So let’s all take a collective breath and remember that when the third period is over, it’s over. Do we remember all of the stats, every shot, every pass, all of the faceoffs? No, we don’t. We remember the moments, we remember who was there and

the feeling of victory or defeat – these are moments that last a lifetime. The same is true for the third period of the season. We will remember the moments and we have a funny way of remembering more of the good moments than the bad after just a short time. So it’s is time to dig deep and play through the pain and enjoy these moments. Next time you want to just say “When will this be over?” or “I can’t wait for the season to end,” think of it as a great opportunity to create more everlasting moments with teammates, friends, family and that hockey player in your life that has worked so hard. Consider the remaining early mornings and late nights, practices, games, road trips and great opportunities – remember what Brooks said. We all love the game, but really, we love the moments and memories. Make as many of them as you can now because once the boring weekends arrive, the period will be over and there will be no more opportunities.

AHU Presidents’ Day Invitational Zurbuchen proving to be valuable boasts 173 teams, 362 games presence in net for Knights By Jason Prentice

By Matt Mackinder


p North and back East, a few days off from school to celebrate Presidents’ Day meant some extra time on the ponds to dial in the perfect dangle. Here in Phoenix, with an average high temperature of 74 degrees in February, we have to rely on our 12 sheets of ice to get us through. Thanks to the Arizona Hockey Union’s Presidents’ Day Invitational, there will be plenty of hockey to go around. Among the excitement of Barrett-Jackson, the Waste Management Open, and the NCAA Final Four, one of the largest youth hockey tournaments in Phoenix is about to get underway Feb. 17-20. AHU is proud to present the 16th annual event and with 173 teams registered, it is sure to be another big hit. This tournament comes at a point in the season where teams are playing their best hockey of the year and the kids are excited, ready to have fun and play for that elusive banner. This is a great chance for hockey players and fans of all ages to take in some excellent games and potentially the next big star. This year’s tournament has 362 games scheduled over four days. The AHU’s team of tournament volunteers have been working for months on this and will be out all around the Valley to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. With teams from as far away as Alaska traveling to play, this has a great impact on the local economy and a chance for our hockey families to show our visitors that hockey is thriving in the desert. “We are all excited for a weekend of great fun and excitement and are looking forward to seeing smiling faces as our youth compete in the greatest game on ice,” said AHU president Stacy Shupe. For more information or to stay tuned to all of the action, visit the dedicated tournament website at 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


t’s been quite the culture shock for Phoenix Knights goaltender Tim Zurbuchen this season, but his play on the ice hardly reflects it. A Switzerland native, Zurbuchen has emerged as the Knights’ No. 1 netminder and “one of our best performers this season,” according to coachGM Mike Bowman. “I have experienced a lot of new things this season, like going on long road trips that last 3-4 days and playing three games in a row each week,” said Zurbuchen. “Game-wise, I have experienced some new things like getting used to the smaller ice surface, getting more shots as a result, and depending more on skating to make positional saves. Also, I have never played in this many games in one season as in Switzerland, we have around 35 games in a season.” Playing for a young team in the Western States Hockey League has been a positive as well for Zurbuchen. “It offers a lot of practice and action in each game,” explained Zurbuchen. “I just try to focus on my game and how I feel playing. If I felt good and played well in my eyes, I’m happy, regardless of the result or statistics. I can also rely on our coach to provide me with input to further help me develop.” “Tim continues to make progress on the fundamentals of his game and his performance allows us to be in more games that we otherwise might be out of,” Bowman noted. “His work ethic and dedication to improvement is among the tops I’ve seen at this level.” Like almost all goalies, Zurbuchen has his own daily routine, which includes minimal usage of electronics. “I stretch every day, I work on my hand-eye coordination for at least 15 minutes a day and I watch and analyze most goals that got scored in the NHL the night before,” he said. “Other than that, I go on runs on off days, go to the gym 3-4 times a week, have a 30-minute stretching session with a specialist each week and make sure I sleep and eat right.”

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY Northern Arizona D-II club gaining momentum, playoffs on tap By James Kelley


orthern Arizona University’s ACHA Division II team saw its 11-game unbeaten streak end recently at the hands of Arizona State’s ACHA Division I team, but the IceJacks still enjoyed a prolific regular season. NAU (25-7-1) also had a 10-game losing streak before they lost to the Sun Devils. The Ice Jacks only lost two games to teams from their division. “I think we came together as a team and just played hard together and that’s why we got the results that we did,” said NAU director of hockey operations A.J. Fairchild. “Even against ASU D-I, we played well against them.” During the win streak, NAU also got revenge against UNLV. The Skatin’ Rebels ended NAU’s season by knocking them out of the West Region tournament and handed the short-handed Ice Jacks their only Division II losses. After losing in Sin City to UNLV in early December, 6-5 and 4-2, NAU beat the Skatin’ Rebels 6-3 and 6-5 at home in early February. “It was great; we’ve been looking forward to them all year,” Fairchild said. “We had injuries before we played them up in Las Vegas. We had five kids hurt from the Weber State game, so we came in short-handed against them in Las Vegas, but we still lost a couple close games, so we felt like with us having a full team and everybody back healthy, that we would beat them.” Also during the win streak, NAU enjoyed a successful stint at Prescott Valley Event Center, sweeping both the in-state rivals they faced, beating Grand Canyon 10-0 and 5-2 and ASU’s Division II team 5-1 and 2-1. “It was good,” Fairchild said. “We had good crowds for ASU and for Grand Canyon University and we hope to continue those games going up there in the future.” Fairchild likes NAU’s chances in the postseason and said they will spend more time in practice on coming together as a team. “I think the sky’s the limit,” Fairchild said.

Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association presents the

5th Annual Mite Jamboree Sat. & Sun., March 18 - 19, 2017 Jay Lively Arena . Flagstaff, AZ

You don’t want to miss out on this incredible and renowned hockey event!

Cost is $400 for the first team and $250 for each additional team

Contact for more information


We must work for hockey growth, not hockey survival H

ockey survival. That is what the sport does when individual organizations only aspire to have the best and majority of the players in any given geographical area. They may have some of the most dedicatBowman ed and efficient leaders in the organization, as well as some of the best coaches. Their teams are always top notch or at the very least, competitive. These are the organizations that don’t mind luring players away from other organizations because it’s ultimately about their own survival and success. It’s short-sighted and free-market and competitive. Top players sometimes like to practice, train and play with other top players, so they switch teams from season to season. Other top players like to be recognized as the top player, so they stay with or go to teams where they can have the spotlight.

Regardless of the situation, all of these things often times lead to stunted growth, or even a reduction in the overall numbers. The different levels of hockey are starting to become watered down with the addition of so many junior hockey teams and Tier I youth teams. There are a lot more players playing at these levels that would develop more by playing at a level more appropriate for their current stage of proficiency. That means there are a lot of players playing Tier II youth hockey to fill the holes left by players moving up too early to Tier I, which makes it look more like bad scholastic hockey, where 1-3 players dominate the games for each team. Overall, this is bad for the sport of hockey. More people playing the game is great for the growth of the sport. Too many players playing at levels where they are not remotely competitive or prepared is not only a player safety issue, it’s a quality of play and development issue and ultimately, bad for the future of the game. If hockey is to grow in mid-size markets, leaders and organizations need to begin to work together to establish what programs and rinks have Tier I, what programs have Tier II and which ones specialize in rec and house-level hockey. While areas around Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia (to name a few) may

have the talented numbers for multiple high-level programs, other areas do not. Those other areas have too many programs trying to establish themselves at the higher levels, despite the talented player supply not meeting the demand for the higher levels. That’s when the players jumping from organization to organization begins, and the animosity is created. It becomes an ‘every man for himself’ situation, which almost always ends in mutual destruction. The other side of the equation is Tier I programs that are adding birth-year and Tier II teams to their organization to help spread out the costs of the more expensive programs. While fiscally that makes sense, it does not usually bode well for the growth of the sport and the competitive balance or level of play. Most of the time, these issues are created by motives such as power, money and ego. It’s the dark side of free enterprise and loose regulations. The more good people who are involved in the sport for the right reasons, the better the sport will ultimately become. While you cannot hold everyone’s hand and have them run things the same way, you can work towards common goals as a hockey community and share the benefits as well as the responsibilities.

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



Success comes to DYHA Pee Wee teams three times over By Matt Mackinder

defensemen Justin Hutchison, Keith Johnson, Kyra Jim and Tagger Tamburo. Assistant coaches are Chaz Mittendorf, Andrew Olkoski, Matthew Seifert and Donati and Homer Schreckengost and team manager he Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) Pee Jackson Wall; and goaltenders Chase Ebeyer and Aar- is Kevin O’Reilly. on Mittendorf. Sehring is joined by assistant coaches Smith explained that the Pee Wee 05 team was brought Wee teams know that good things happen in threes. Over MLK Weekend in mid-January, hardware was John Eby, Dave Hutchison and Marc Membrila. Team together from players of several different organizations and the players have become very close. brought back to Oceanside Ice Arena as the Jr. Sun Devils’ manager is Jonathan Olkoski. “On road trips, the entire team is inseparable,” said Pee Wee Combo team captured Jarred Smith coaches both the Arizona Cactus Cup champithe Pee Wee 04 and 05 teams and Smith. “Youth hockey is about fun, friendships and skill deonship, the Pee Wee 04 team won was equally excited by what he saw velopment – very cool to see this group doing all of those things.” the Lone Star Invitational down in in Texas. He also noted that Texas and the Pee Wee 05 squad “Winning a tournataking second at the Lone placed second at the Lone Star Inment like the Lone Star Invitational is huge for Star Invitational “is a big vitational. our team and DYHA,” accomplishment.” Head coach Chris Sehring “We had a slow start Smith said of the 04 said it was “huge for us” for the Pee to the tournament, but the group. “A few keys to Wee Combo team to “take home team battled back to find the banner.” The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ Pee Wee 04 team came our success during the themselves in the champi“We have been working to- home champions of the Lone Star Invitational in tournament included onship game,” Smith said. strong team play, a wards this accomplishment all sea- Texas over MLK Weekend last month. MLK Weekend in mid-January, the DYHA Jr. “The 05 team had fun, son,” said Sehring. “We played several teams from Cal- commitment to team defense and focus from Over Sun Devils’ Pee Wee 05 team started slow, but ifornia that we had lost to in a previous tournament, so it each player. What impressed me the most claimed second place at the Lone Star Invitation- worked hard and was very professional all weekend.” really showed the progress of the group to that point. We about this team was how each and every al in Texas. The Jr. Sun Devils’ 05 team is comprised of forwards truly played together as a team and it really reinforced to player handled themselves on and off the ice. They were Ryan Caputo, Carson Curry, Liam Devlin, Kai Hurtado, the group what we can do when we all work together. Our very polite, well behaved and professional at all times. Making up the DYHA Pee Wee 04 team are forwards Ryan Jim, David Keene, Marcello Lane, Caden May, coaches and families could not be prouder of what this Kelton Chadwick, Zack Ellwanger, Ryan Ensley, Jack Garren Narvaez and Hayden Stott; defensemen Nolan team accomplished that weekend.” The DYHA Pee Wee Combo team is made up of for- Giles, Nik Nacopoulos, Daniel O’Reilly, Brandon Gentry, Luke Parker, Logan Tinney, Hudson Wernle wards Weston Eby, Jaydin Feliciano, Matthew Garcia, Sandmoen, Nick Vatis and Pierson Zittel; defensem- and Ben Woolaver; and goalies Aiden Biswanger and Thomas Hickey, Declan Membrila, Jack Myerthall, en Austin Gaskin, Evan Kobley, Nathan Lamp, Caleb Ben Vatis. Assistant coaches are John Curry, Wes ParkTyler Sehring, Tye Smuckler and Taylor Swanson; Schreckengost and Joshua Shunk; and goalies Ethan er, Chris Woolaver (also team manager) and Donati.



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Sun Devils continue to pick up important wins in ’16-17 season By Matt Mackinder


irst, Arizona State picked up its first win over a ranked opponent when the Sun Devils knocked off then-No. 18 Air Force in October. A few more wins along the way against fellow NCAA Division I teams Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rensselaer, Colgate and American International and ties with then-No. 10 Ohio State and then-No. 9 Western Michigan has shown the Sun Devils are for real in their first season playing a full D-I schedule. But nothing could compare to the Jan. 27-28 weekend when the Sun Devils traveled to Hamden, Conn., to play then-No. 17 Quinnipiac University for a twogame set. The opening game saw the Bobcats score three power-play goals en route to a 5-2 win over ASU. “I thought we played well in the third,” said Arizona State coach Greg Powers. “We stayed out of the box for the most part there and scored two goals. Five-on-five, we were fine, but if you give them that many power plays, the guys get gassed and you can’t get any momentum.” The following game, the Sun Devils regrouped and upset the Bobcats in a 4-2 win. Phoenix native and sophomore assistant captain Anthony Croston netted a pair of goals and goaltender Joey Daccord recorded a program-best 53 saves on 55 shots. “Joey had his coming-out party,” said Powers. “We all knew that was the type of game he is capable of having. If he can play like that and be confident in his ability – because his ability is off the chart – the sky is the limit for him.” The win over Quinnipiac is the highest-ranked team the Devils have defeated as a program. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably the biggest win we’ve had to date,” said Powers. “After a less-than-ideal effort (on Jan. 27), for our young team to bounce back, play that hard, and jump out to a lead on these guys was tremendous. “You have to adjust as a young program and a young team and when you see them consistently play at that pace, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

THE WHYTE STUFF A tribute to all of our hockey volunteers everywhere I was recently shown a video called “So God Made A Hockey Mom” and it really moved me. All I could think about was the countless hours that my mom was there for me in all my hockey highs and lows, how she cheered Whyte louder than almost any other parent, and was always positive towards both teams. I can vividly remember my mom, along with all of the other moms on our team, in the stands singing hockey songs they wrote about our team, and rooting us on like it was the Stanley Cup Finals, how all of their lives were so engrossed in their children, and they poured their heart and soul into supporting them the best they could. This then brought me to think about all of the parents I’ve been involved with over the past 17 years as a hockey director, and how in this aspect, very little has changed. It’s staggering to see the

amount of dedication and time hockey parents donate to this sport. The people that volunteer their time and effort here in Arizona is nothing less than awesome. I sit on the State Board, and witness first hand on a monthly basis so many people doing their part in making hockey the best sport around. Most are representing their own association, which is commendable. However, there are a number of them that show up on a regular basis and have no other tie to the sport other than their love and passion. These few truly deserve some heartfelt thanks from everyone that is involved in this state. This also brings me to my own program. Here at DYHA, we have some of the most amazing people on our Board of Directors, and as team managers. They rarely are given any credit for so much that they do, but that isn’t the reason why they are there. They believe in the program and the culture, and they want to be a part of building a fun and safe environment for their children as well as all others. When I first came to DYHA, I did so because of a very good friend and former teammate of mine, John Kosobud. His brother-in-law, Sean Kramer, was on the board during a time where the future of this association was truly in peril’s way. Mr. Kramer was a catalyst in turning things around, and worked countless hours to get DYHA

back on track. And not once did he ever ask for anything in return. As he stepped away, we had another leader fill in that continued rebuilding and rebranding to get where we are today. Sherri Koshiol is another one of those people that does not look for credit, but instead looks to just get the task done. She has done this here for years and because of people like her, we are extremely grateful. There are quite a few people, past and present, that have served on the DYHA Board that merit a great deal of gratitude, not only from past families, but from those today because if not for them, who knows where we would be now? Lastly, I want to mention our team managers. Besides everything else that they have going on in their lives, they perform amazingly when it comes to organizing, scheduling, budgeting, fundraising, communicating, coordinating, mending, consoling and cheering. They are the liaisons between the families and the coaching staff, and they are the glue that keeps the hockey team a family. Please do your part in keeping youth hockey on a positive path. The next time you see one of your board members, and definitely your team manager, give them a huge “thank you.” They deserve that more than most even realize. And watch the video about hockey moms. If you don’t shed a tear, you don’t have a pulse!

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



Tahoe Hockey Academy a stellar mix of school, hockey By Greg Ball


f it’s February, that must mean that youth hockey teams across the country are chasing down playoff spots as their 2016-17 seasons begins to wind down. Similar to many of those teams, the Tahoe Hockey Academy (THA) is gearing up for its big push in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League playoffs, but as the last whistle sounds and seasons to come to an end, the lives of the student-athletes at THA go on. “We’re a hockey academy that incorporates hockey development, academics and the social dynamic where our players attend the local high school,” Tahoe Hockey Academy president Leo Fenn said. “Our students are able to continually train like world-class athletes without sacrificing the academic portion or the high school social interactivity that traveling Tier I and Tier II players sometimes have to give up.” A look into the daily lives of a Tahoe Hockey Academy player reveals a rather regimented schedule. “To be a Tahoe Hockey Academy athlete requires a certain amount of discipline and work ethic,” head coach Mike Lewis said. “We’re spending upwards of two hours on the ice every day and also incorporating training from an NCAA strength and conditioning coach in the gym. Add in hours of academics, social life and travel hockey, and it’s safe to say that success comes from those that truly gravitate toward a structured environment.” With THA being an academy dedicated to hockey

That sentiment isn’t taken lightly, as the THA admindevelopment, it’s easy for outsiders to wonder if it’s “all hockey, all the time” on the Tahoe campus, but a istration’s mission is to develop young men, improved glimpse into daily life there shows a well-rounded mix hockey players and well-rounded academic students. “We have student-athletes from all across the counof fun, relaxation and just being a normal high school try and from varying levels of hockey,” associate coach student. “I like being able to have social interaction with girls Chris Collins said. “We strive to improve each player’s ability to compete by building and other guys outside of our confidence and composure team,” THA assistant captain on the ice as well as off the Jordan Finney said. “It resemice.” bles a normal life where we’re With the Tahoe Hockey able to break up the training with other high school classes.” Academy being the first resiAdd in the beautiful scenery dential prep school dedicated of Lake Tahoe and you’ll find to hockey in California, there’s the team snowboarding on the no question the school is slopes on off days or taking in blazing a trail into uncharted movies, watching other high territory. school athletic contests or at“We knew going into this tending dances. that we would be sole entity “I like being around more in our state forging this path,” people of different backgrounds The Tahoe Hockey Academy prides itself on giving its Fenn said. “Our students are outside of hockey,” THA forward student-athletes the perfect combination of hockey, doing an amazing job repreacademics and social time. Photo/Joe Naber senting our program on and Matt Odom said. Judging by the success of the first-year program, it off the ice, and it shows in the way we’ve been received would seem that the Tahoe Hockey Academy model is by our peers throughout the country.” The school year is in full swing, and so is the acaproducing great results. “I really like how we focus on development so much,” demic and athletic program in South Lake Tahoe. Whether in school, on the ice or on the road, the THA center Jared Shuter said. “I believe the coaches want to see their players go far in their careers, whether young men who call THA home continue to lead a wellrounded life that is reflected in their development. that’s in hockey or just in life in general.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Speedskating now part of Ice Den Chandler programming Ice Den Chandler facility, the benefit of speedskating for a large demographic and the proximity to the Utah Olympic Oval that stages the Olympic trials for each Winter Olymirst, Arizona had hockey. pics,” explained Olson. “I also wanted to discuss the benefits Now, it has speedskating. A new short track speedskating club emerged in the Val- of speedskating for kids to help build core strength and balley some nine months ago and the Phoenix SpeedSkating ance with other sports.” Club now calls the Ice Den Chandler home. The club hosts “After meeting with Ms. Patterson, whose personal and drop-in sessions throughout the year on Sunday mornings professional experience enables her to be very visual, she and during the summer in the agreed to provide ice time exafternoon as well. clusively for speedskating.” After relocating with his The strategy was then family to Arizona from Chicago straight out of the 1989 Kevin Costner film “Field of Dreams” where speedskating clubs are - “If you build it, they will come.” plentiful, Chicago native Rick Through a grassroots efOlson initiated the steps of putfort with the Ice Den, which ting the program together and included communications with is now the organization’s president. Through his experience Members of the Phoenix SpeedSkating Club partake in drop-in U.S. Speedskating, the Phoewith the sport in Chicago, Ol- sessions on Sunday mornings and summer afternoons at the nix SpeedSkating Club was formed. son recognized the potential in Ice Den Chandler. The club has a Board of Directors that has deep expethe Phoenix area and inquired into developing a speedskatrience with speedskating from clubs across North America. ing program at all of the ice rinks in the area. However, only one rink responded with interest—the Ice One Board member, Ian Baranski, is a U.S. Speedskating Den Chandler. National Team alum and still remains deeply involved in the “Julie Patterson (the Ice Den’s vice president of skat- sport. A member of the 1998 World Team, Baranski coming and programming) responded to my email and we set peted at the 1998 and 2002 U.S. Olympic Trials. Speed up a meeting to discuss why I felt that there was great po- skating sessions are instructed by a certified/high perfortential for speedskating here in the East Valley, including the mance-based coach. Speedskating offers benefits to all kinds of athletes, inexisting interest and diversity in ice sports, the competitive sporting atmosphere in Arizona generally, the quality of the cluding sports enthusiasts who value other forms of skating

By Matt Mackinder


on ice, e.g., hockey players and figure skaters, but also inline skaters, cyclists, triathletes and soccer players. With the right coaching, speedskating makes an excellent “power” cross-training sport and thus, can improve strength performance in those other sports. “The development pipeline of U.S. Speedskating is vital to the sport,” said U.S. Speedskating executive director Ted Morris. “We have a long history of producing Olympic champions, but the talent pool for these athletes comes from our grassroots levels and the amazing kids who train hard and push for that speed they need to become elite.” A point of pride for the sport is the constant feeling amongst skaters and volunteers that U.S. Speedskating is a family, not merely an extracurricular activity, and club practices are a reunion each week. Speedskating clubs are a common ground for all age groups and all levels of ability, allowing people to connect and learn from each other with limitless potential and friendships to evolve beyond the sport. The Phoenix SpeedSkating Club is still not quite fully formalized, but according to Olson, its plan, with the support of the Ice Den Chandler, is “to strengthen the program and increase the participation to 30-plus participants, to make it a forum for kids to develop physically and socially, to host races, and develop relationships with other rinks that have the same vision, whether in the same state or in neighbor states in order to host meets. “Further, we also feel that this model will give an impetus to a Tucson club, which is the next Arizona area ripe for this sport.” For additional information contact:

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

Adult Skills Clinics

7225 W Harrison Street Chandler, AZ 85226

Featuring Professional Instruction by Norm Beaudin, NHL, WHL


CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2016-17 ALL-ARIZONA AND ALL-STATE TEAMS! ALL-ARIZONA Forwards Trevor Beneduce, Brophy Ryan Berger, Cactus Shadows Declan George, Centennial Joe Mancuso, Chaparral D2 Jack Kirkpatrick, Desert Vista D1 Paxton Parker, O’Connor Cole Kamin, Pinnacle D1 Grant Ziegler, Pinnacle D1 Brendan Kuffel, Shadow Ridge Defensemen Jordan Behm, Cactus Shadows Erik Tollefson, Desert Vista D1 Jacob Sandnas, Hamilton D1 Marcus Koumontzis, Notre Dame D1 Blake Hermann, Pinnacle D1 Logan Derryberry, Pinnacle D2 Goalies Cameron Judge, Notre Dame Prep Darshan Manhas, Centennial

ALL-STATE TEAM VARSITY D1 ALL-STATE FIRST TEAM Forwards Spencer Zach, Hamilton Jakob Wreschner, Hamilton Jack Kirkpatrick, Desert Vista Taylor Oliver, Desert Vista Trevor Beneduce, Brophy Cameron Grams, Brophy Grant Ziegler, Pinnacle Cole Kamin, Pinnacle Paxton Parker, O’Connor Defensemen Collin McHugh, Hamilton Jacob Sandnas, Hamilton Erik Tollefson, Desert Vista Zach Mattson, Brophy Blake Hermann, Pinnacle Marcus Koumontzis, Notre Dame Goalies Cameron Judge, Notre Dame Guy Blessing, Hamilton D1 HONORABLE MENTION Forwards Christian Adam, Hamilton 14

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Elden Brower, Hamilton Skylar Miller, Hamilton Carson Abercrombie, Basha/Perry Payton Beahan, Basha/Perry Alex Righi, Basha/Perry Ethan Briggs, Desert Vista Ian Freeman, Desert Vista Garth Rubischko, Desert Vista Kyle Tessmer, Brophy Justin Hayward, Pinnacle Josh Ihling, Pinnacle Jackson Peters, Pinnacle Andrei Yanovich, Notre Dame Turner Stansbury, Notre Dame Mason Parker, O’Connor Defensemen Daniel Obarski, Hamilton Justin Sorenson, Basha/Perry Alex Krupinsky, Basha/Perry Will Lombardi, Desert Vista Joe Jacobs, Desert Vista Joseph Grams, Brophy Luke Hicks, Pinnacle Joey Miscio, Notre Dame Goalies Zach Klein, Basha/Perry Garrett Ruby, Desert Vista Nathan Mazur, Brophy Kevin Church, Pinnacle VARSITY D2 ALL-STATE FIRST TEAM Forwards Ryan Berger, Cactus Shadows Dylan Masanotti, Mesquite Tanner Snyder, Mesquite Joe Mancuso, Chaparral Alejandro Apud De La Fuente, Chaparral Declan George, Centennial Will LaChapelle, Pinnacle Jack Dobbins, Horizon Brett Charron, Mtn. Ridge Defensemen Jordan Behm, Cactus Shadows Will Owens, Chaparral Oscar Kahler, Centennial Logan Derryberry, Pinnacle Stephen Kennedy, Horizon Andrei Lyscas, Mtn. Ridge Goalies Darshan Manhas, Centennial

Jerry Lorberger, Desert Mtn. D2 HONORABLE MENTION Forwards Dallon Ruiz, Mesquite Matthew Hayes, Chaparral Christian Laliberte, Centennial Tyler McCaughey, Centennial Jacob Moe, Centennial Jordan Werner, Pinnacle Nick Palermo, Pinnacle Noah Franco, Pinnacle Cameron Anderson, Horizon Noah Anutta, Horizon Nate McClaskey, Mtn. Ridge Sören Griebel, Mtn. Ridge Logan Testani, Desert Mtn. Jake Herzog, Desert Mtn. Carson Sheehan, Highland Blake Hauschild, Highland Chandler Manbeck, Highland McKade Daines, Highland Ethan Prater, Highland Defensemen Peter Schilletter, Cactus Shadows Joshua Thies, Cactus Shadows Brendan Wright, Mesquite Zachary Stiner, Mesquite Esteban Godoy, Mesquite Mattson Heideman, Chaparral Dalton Berber, Centennial Jimmy Scappaticci, Pinnacle Ryan Janowski, Horizon Luke Jones, Mtn. Ridge Will Florence, Desert Mtn. Jake Mars, Desert Mtn. Frankie DeMicco, Highland Nathan Beaudry, Highland Goalies Tyler Barone, Mesquite Joey Fausel, Pinnacle Nick Kocharov, Horizon Steven Pryce, Highland Andrew Gottschling, Flagstaff VARSITY D3 ALL-STATE FIRST TEAM Forwards Jake Smith, Desert Vista Brendan Kuffel, Shadow Ridge Dominic Meardi, Shadow Ridge Matthew Bergin, Corona Tanner Rusing, Corona

Jayden Stroud, Corona Connor Quinn, Basha/Perry Baylor Pinkerton, Pinnacle Caleb Cavinder, Pinnacle Defensemen Lucas Kerr, Desert Vista Robert Piano, Shadow Ridge Evan Peck, Corona Nathan Thompson, Hamilton Nick Kurek, Pinnacle Daniel Landry, Pinnacle Goalies Macy Eide, Desert Vista Jarrod Wolfert, Pinnacle D3 HONORABLE MENTION Forwards Ben Deming, Desert Vista Will Cooley, Desert Vista Ashton Donovan, Desert Vista David Condon, Desert Vista Gavyn Entzminger, Shadow Ridge Jonah Kenney, Corona Aaron Policky, Corona Dylan Frye, Basha/Perry Pierce Rakoczy, Basha/Perry Carson Herring, Hamilton Alex DeMartino, Hamilton Nikolas Staffiery, Hamilton Jake Walker, Hamilton Jonathan Martellini, Notre Dame Marek Hertle, Notre Dame Stavros Koumontzis, Notre Dame Defensemen Lucas Kerr, Desert Vista David Geissler, Desert Vista Austin Deming, Desert Vista Jace Olson, Shadow Ridge Connor Langefels, Corona John Noffke, Corona Karsten Allen, Basha/Perry Goalies Tyler Posivak, Shadow Ridge Servin Magni, Corona Rene LeBlanc, Notre Dame


Yuma IHAAZ festival battles elements, unveils positives By Brian Lester


nce again, things were wet and wild in Yuma as multiple breaks had to be taken during Saturday and Sunday’s IHAAZ competition, with the rain continuing to tease spectators and competitors alike over the Feb. 1112 weekend. But after enduring the delays, only the 14U division was postponed, to be rescheduled at a later date. Yuma teams had their engines running as they had teams in every age division finale except for the 8U division. Prescott ended up as the champion of the 8U division, topping the Knighthawks 7-3 for the title. Prescott scored 23 goals and gave up only six. Jayden Perea of the Storm was named the MVP as he scored three goals and dished out three assists to help pace the Storm to the championship. Nate Magby of the Knighthawks was tabbed as the playmaker and Brody Amon of Yuma was named the outstanding offensive player of the division. Arnon scored eight goals and dished out three assists. Magby also scored eight goals and dished out an assist. Dylan Foster (Knighthawks), Deagan Mullis (Yuma) and Zach Turner (Storm) were all outstanding goalies. Foster finished with 30 saves. Mullis tallied 53 saves and Turner came through with 15 saves. The Knighthawks ended up as the champions of the 10U division, beating the Blaze 5-3 for the championship. The Knighthawks finished with 24 goals as a team. Jonathan Pool of Yuma was named the outstanding

The 14U A championship game is set with Yuma set to goalie, racking up 44 saves. Matthew Boelts was the outstanding playmaker and battle Prescott, while the 14U B title game will pit the AZ Hunter Hinds was the outstanding offensive player of the Royals against the Knighthawks. division. Brandon Gorzynski was the MVP of the KnightIan Torp of the Prescott Storm is currently the scoring leader in the 14U division. He has come through with eight hawks. Boelts came through seven goals and dished out three goals and has also dished out an assist. Matthew Gross assists. Gorzynski finished the weekend with 11 goals and is second in the division in goals scored, racking up six four assists. Eli Shulman of the AZ Jr. Wildcats tallied 13 goals and two assists. Yuma won the champion of the Midget division. The goals and three assists. Blaze held off the AZ Royals Blue The Knighthawks earned the 3-2. Yuma finished with 18 goals as championship in the 12U division, a team and allowed only four. allowing only three goals during their tournament run. They defeated the Keegan Lamb of the Prescott Blaze 3-1 in the title game and finStorm was the MVP of the division and Garrett Ruby of the AZ Royished with 16 goals as a team. als Blue earned outstanding goalie Zach Magby of the Knighthawks honors, tallying 57 saves. He allowed was the MVP of the tourney and only four goals. teammate CJ Foster was the most Lamb finished second in scoring outstanding goalie after allowing only over the weekend as he tallied six three goals. Magby racked up five goals and dished out two assists for goals and two assists for the Knightthe Storm. hawks. Dennis Norris of the Yuma Cole Gebhart of Yuma was The 8U division at the recent IHAAZ festival named the top playmaker and Zak in Yuma was competitive, especially when the Blaze was the most outstanding Proud of the Knighthawks was the hometown Blaze (red) battled the Knighthawks playmaker and Joshua Thies of the (white) during the course of the event. most outstanding offensive player of AZ Royals Blue was named the most the division. Gebhart tallied three goals and three assists outstanding offensive player. Proud came through with five goals and three assists. Norris recorded five points over the weekend, scorDominik Barber of the AZ Jr. Wildcats led the divi- ing three goals and dishing out two assists. Thies scored sion in goals scored with seven. He had one assist as well. three goals and dished out an assist.



Bobcats place significant emphasis on developing goalies By Greg Ball


s someone who has played and coached hockey at nearly every level, from Mites to the pros, Ron Filion knows just how challenging it can be to properly train goalies. The position is so different from any other on the ice, and requires not only specialized skills and training, but also a mental approach that is unlike that required of athletes in any other sport. It’s because of the unique demands of the position that Filion and the Arizona Bobcats place a special emphasis on goalie training. With two former professional goalies - Pat Conacher and Leeor Shtrom - on the Bobcats coaching staff, Filion feels the Bobcats are uniquely positioned to prepare young netminders to build a solid foundation of skills and set themselves up for long-term success. “There is more than just skill and skating - it is a position that requires a lot of focus, athleticism, mental toughness and more,” said Filion, the Bobcats’ hockey director. “It is the most important position for team success, and we’re proud to have two former professionals leading the way for our young goalies.” Conacher said that he and Shtrom split up the duties of coaching goalies equally with the Bobcats, and the fact that they share the same beliefs on how best to develop them has been a big factor in the successes they have experienced. “When it comes to goaltending, I think Leeor and I have the same philosophies,” Conacher said. “Each

goalie coach has his own ideas and thoughts on how to quired to play the position. Aside from the ability to not apply them. It’s all the same concepts, but the biggest let goals allowed get them down and affect their play difference in developing young goalies is how you re- going forward, goalies have to maintain an intense level late to each kid, and Leeor and I are on the same page of focus at all times and must be able to react quickly in chaotic situations. in that respect.” “At a certain age, we address The skills taught to goalies at the pre-game warmups with the kids,” youngest levels are relatively simple, Conacher said. “What do they do but with each new age group comes differently than their teammates? more detail. More and more goalies are throwing Early on, Conacher and Shtrom balls against a wall to track it, jumpbelieve that all kids should play every ing rope and doing other things to position, so they learn to skate well and master some of the stickhanuniquely prepare themselves. dling skills that they might not get if “At the Bantam level, we discuss visualization with them. We ask to they were to exclusively play goalie spend some time envisioning themfrom the start. selves making saves and looking at “I think around 10 years old is the all the situations they’ll find themappropriate time for kids to begin selves in. The third step is setting specializing in goaltending if that’s goals for yourself every day.” what they want to do,” Conacher Conacher said he follows the said. “Kids can move faster through The Arizona Bobcats’ philosophy in the training if they start by becoming training and developing goaltenders is philosophy of long-time goalie coach confident skaters. If you go right into one the association believes can lead to Benoit Allaire, now in his 12th season with the New York Rangers. For playing goalie as a young kid, I think long-term success. you lose a lot of opportunities for athletic development goalies to stay focused, the three key things to keep that you would pick up from playing forward or defense top of mind are quick movements, tight butterfly and - in terms of hand-eye coordination, balance and stride tracking the puck. and power in skating.” “Mental preparation is so key to success for goalOne of the hardest things to teach kids who want tenders,” Conacher said. “Our aim is to prepare our to become goaltenders is the mental toughness re- kids as best as possible.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Girl power keeps Mission AZ Bantam quartet together By Greg Ball


ften by the time female hockey players reach their teenage years, they transition from playing co-ed hockey to skating with girls teams. As boys begin to surpass girls in size and strength, competing with and against girls seems to make sense, and fewer Bantam and Midget teams feature female players. So it’s a rarity to see what’s happening in Peoria as Mission AZ’s Bantam White team includes four girls on its 17-player roster - forward Maddie Guertin, defensemen Reese Middendorf and Payton Goltz and goalie Hannah Schneidmiller. “It’s really cool to have so many girls playing together on one team,” said Jeremy Goltz, Mission AZ’s director of hockey operations and the father of Payton Goltz. “It really helps them tackle the challenge of playing boys hockey. I get to see it as a coach and a father.” Guertin has been playing hockey since she was three years old, and has always played on co-ed teams. She has played with each of the other members of the Bantam team’s female quartet in previous seasons, and really enjoys the experience, she said. “It is awesome having three other girls on the team, and it makes it a lot more fun to play,” Guertin said. “I like playing on the co-ed team, but when I get older, I plan on switching to an all-girls team.” Payton Goltz has also played exclusively on co-ed

teams during each of her five seasons playing hock- girls team would be really fun, too.” ey. She said she has had other female teammates in Middendorf has played on all-girls teams and coprevious seasons, but has never had girls comprise ed teams during her nine years in hockey, and said nearly one quarter of the roster. she doesn’t really have a preference, although “It’s “It’s pretty awesome having three other girls on fun having girls on the boy’s team and not being the the team,” she said. “It was always cool having one only girl,” she said. or two, but I feel like we have our own ‘group’ now. She is hoping to play in college so may go back to Rather than being a girl or two playing on girls teams eventualmixed into a crowd of boys, ly to make sure she’s seen by we’re sort of our own populathe right college coaches, but is tion. Nobody can forget for even enjoying her experience playing a second that there’s girls on co-ed and having so many fethe team, and I find that incredimale teammates. Schneidmiller bly exciting.” plans to play on co-ed teams as Playing on co-ed teams long as she can, and hopes to has been the norm for Goltz play women’s hockey in college throughout her life in hockey, and on the U.S. Olympic team. so she doesn’t have anything Scott Farber, the head to compare it against, Still, she coach of the Bantam White team, said the quartet of female said she’ll consider making a players on his team is viewed change to playing with girls For the girls on the Mission AZ Bantam White down the road. team, playing together has been nothing short of like all the other players, both in “I definitely think I’ll continue ‘awesome.’ Pictured top, from left to right, are Pay- terms of expectations and conto play co-ed for a while,” she ton Goltz, Reese Middendorf and Maddie Guertin, tributions. “They have really bonded said. “I want to play for Mission with Hannah Schneidmiller the goalie. for as long as I possibly can, and I think playing on with one another since the beginning of the season, boys teams has been a very good experience thus far. and from a coach’s perspective, it’s been great to However, if Mission started up a girls team, I would see how hard they compete,” Farber said. “They just definitely want to play on that team as opposed to don’t push one another to be better, they push the co-ed. I like playing with boys, but I think playing on a boys on the team as well.”

MISSION STATEMENT What are reasonable expectations for your hockey player? W


hat are reasonable expectations for your hockey player? A major component of a players’ development as they get older is the ability of players to learn how to show up day in and day out and to be held account-

able to a high standard. Most players have the ability to bring enthusiasm to games and tournaments, but it is the dayto-day preparation and grind that nobody sees that truly creates well-rounded, mentally tough hockey players. I always say players can control energy and attitude each time they come to the rink and that expectation needs to be held in the highest regard if players are truly going to max out each and every day to reach their fullest potential. On many days, I have asked players to leave the ice that don’t bring that level of energy or atti-

tude necessary to not only make themselves better, but be a positive piece to the team’s puzzle. This approach is tough sometimes, but the result is an intense and high-paced productive practice that is pushing players on a daily basis. Most of what we focus on daily is inner team competition, where they are competing against each other all the time. Once again, this requires daily focus and accountability to each player and the team as a whole. This approach, in my opinion, is the single biggest reason we have had so many players move on to be junior hockey and college hockey captains. They have been taught early that the dayto-day work is not only necessary, but required in order to be a high-level athlete. I saw so many players, even at the college lev-

el back when I was coaching Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, that lacked the ability to compete daily and push themselves when the “lights weren’t on,” so to speak. Work ethic can be taught, in my opinion, if this is the standard that is set. Our teams take pride in working hard and being hard to play against, and it all stems from the daily expectation against each other. I also believe and have seen how the mental toughness develops as kids start to embrace this day-to-day push. They show up knowing they need to be ready to go. Those who embrace it make insane strides day in and day out, as now they are competing daily to be the best they can be. Work will always outlast skill. Combine that work ethic with a player who shows up to compete every day and you have the mental toughness to push through adversity. Well, folks, if you do all that, you have yourself a hockey player and more importantly, a foundation to be successful in life.

Jeremy Goltz is the director of hockey operations for Mission Arizona.


Wildcats, Sun Devils set pace at Queen Creek WCRHL event By Phillip Brents


he Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) held its Jan. 28-29 regular-season event at the Barney Family Sports Complex in Queen Creek. The event attracted teams from the leagues’ three competition tiers, including all three Arizona-based programs: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and WCRHL newcomer Northern Arizona University.

Division II

Arizona ran the table at the suburban Phoenix event (4-0-0) to create some separation from the rest of the division and propel the Tucson-based squad among the division leaders. The Wildcats excelled on the court with an 11-5 win over Cal Poly Pomona, 8-1 victory against UC San Diego, 6-5 decision over CSU Fullerton and a dramatic 7-6 overtime nod over NAU. The Wildcats (7-1-2) closed some ground on second place Fullerton (9-1-0) after handing the Titans their first loss of the season. Fullerton now leads Arizona by two points in the division standings. Chico State (10-1-1) still leads the division with a threepoint advantage on the Titans and a five-point bulge on the defending regional champion Wildcats. “It was a great showing for us overall,” Arizona club president Brett Bushnell said. “We have a really cohesive team this year, and everybody is on board with what we are trying to do. It is the first time in our club history that we have had a team go undefeated during a WCRHL event. Even with how great this

weekend went, we are still working on smoothing out Nevada-Las Vegas by forfeit due to scheduling consome rough patches in our game. But being able to flicts for the UNLV team. The Sun Devils defeated grab four wins in our division is huge going into the Long Beach State by scores of 7-1 and 8-2 for their last event of the regular season.” other two tournament wins. In the wildest game of the tournament, the WildASU coach Nick Boyarsky said standouts for his cats trailed NAU 5-2 entering the team in the two games included final period, but turned it on by forward Wes Fry and defenseman outscoring the Lumberjacks 5-1 Ryan Cotton. to win by one goal. Cotton collected three goals and “Our 7-6 OT win against NAU three assists in the two games, while was a hard-fought game,” exFry recorded three goals and one plained Bushnell, who sports a assist. 3.49 goals-against average and Boyarsky noted the biggest aca .847 save percentage between complishment for one individual the pipes. “There is for sure a riduring the weekend was by defenvalry developing between us, and seman Travis Ringeman, who it’s only going to become stronnotched four goals in the second ger, especially since we will face game (8-2 win). off against each other again in “Ringeman is not usually our a double header in Huntington go-to player for goals,” Boyarsky exBeach in February. Expect those plained. “Over his past four seasons, games to be just as physical and he’s been the anchor to our penalexciting as the first one.” ty kill, blocking more shots than our Jesse Rooney leads the goalie in most situations. Although Wildcats in scoring with 29 he’s had some scoring flurries Arizona State University’s Jayme Haveman points and is first in the division helped his team finish 4-0 at January’s West- throughout his time with ASU, I don’t with 18 assists. ern Collegiate Roller Hockey regular-season think there’s been a four-goal game Division I event at the Barney Family Sports for him ever.” Complex in Queen Creek. Photo/WCRHL Goaltender Braxton Schulz Division I ASU’s Division I team picked up four wins to im- posted a .957 save percentage in the first game against prove to 11-3-0 on the season. The Sun Devils re- the Forty-Niners (7-1 win). He leads the division with a main five points behind division leader UC Santa Bar- 3.29 GAA and ranks second with a .867 save percentage. Cotton leads ASU in scoring with 20 points, followed bara (13-1-1). ASU picked up two wins against the University of by Fry with 18 points.


Ice Wolves trio does New Mexico proud at Silver Sticks By Matt Mackinder


t would be a supreme accomplishment for one New Mexico team to capture a regional Silver Stick championship. The New Mexico Ice Wolves (NMICE) did that recently, and then some. The Ice Wolves had three teams (Squirts, Midget Minor 16U and Midget Major 18U) win the Rocky Mountain District Silver Stick Regional in Westminster, Colo., and all three received invitations to play in the International Silver Stick Finals in Canada last month. The Squirts went to Pelham, Ont., where they ended up winning the tournament, while the Midget Minors went to Newmarket, Ont., and the Midget Majors to Sarnia, Ont. Mike Curtin said the trip to Canada for his Squirt team was “quite an experience,” including winning the championship game 4-3 over the Oak Ridges Kings. “The Canadian families we met were very friendly and amazed that our New Mexico team was willing to travel so far to play hockey,” Curtin said. “The majority of our games were very close from start to finish and we had to play all of them like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After winning the championship game, some of the kids got together to play pond hockey for a few hours on a frozen pond – something that most of the kids never got to experience back in New Mexico. “Our team has developed so much in such a short period of time that it’s truly amazing. I am honored to be able to coach these kids who continue to show us all that when we make sacrifices for each other and believe in one another, we can accomplish anything.” 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

The NMICE Squirt team is comprised of forwards Logan Coulombe, Kieran Curtin, Davis Flint, Connor Glover, Nicholas Kaufman, Enzo Ramazzini and Trevor Runck; defensemen Sabastian Gonzales, Ainsley Jakaboski, Grant Jakaboski, Marcos Martinez and Bona Shay; and goalies Hunter Bauer and John Sanchez. Assistant coaches include Scott Bauer, Matt Coulombe, Carl Glover, J.C. Jakabos-

Traveling to the Toronto suburb of Pelham, Ont., the New Mexico Ice Wolves’ Squirt travel team captured the LL Atom championship at the International Silver Stick Finals back on Jan. 8.

ki, Oscar Martinez and Walter Ramazzini. Deanna Flint and Trevor Flint serve as team managers. Richard Shanks coaches the NMICE 18U squad and noted that chemistry with his team is outstanding as the majority of the players have played together for the past 6-8 years. “We have played in the Silver Stick Regional many times and have a handful of second-place finishes,” Shanks said. “This year when the boys won the champi-

onship, it was a great feeling – that feeling of reaching the summit of the mountain. My enjoyment was for the boys to see them relish in victory. Unlike so many teams that shop players and pick up pieces to try and become better, this team has just continued to work as a unit and their success was built, not bought. That component, the building, is what makes this journey so special. “What I enjoy most about this team is the fact that it is a team. We do not have one superstar. Every player contributes and each game we have a different hero.” Shanks’ 18U team is made up of forwards Ricky Haverland, Jason Knoll, Ty Kohlrust, Garrett McKinstry, Alex Perry, Killian Ramazzini, Chance Shanks, Marcus Trujillo and Kyle Usiak; defensemen Steven Bitzer, Tanner Colyer, Kyle Chandler, Sammy Hughes, Zac Lepori, Tyler Lovette, Seth Mitchell and Spenser Smith; and goaltenders Sam Fisher and Max Hoffman. Russ Osborne is the assistant coach, while bench coaches are Brian Hughes, Tim Kohlrust, John McKinstry and Walter Ramazzini and team managers are Michelle Knoll and Kim McKinstry. Russ Payson is the head coach of the NMICE 16U team and boasts forwards Danny Cain, John Charles, Aidan Gantt, Ysidro Gravelle, Theo Hummel, Justin Lucero, Cameron Paradiso, Seth Payson, Leandro Richert, Jeffrey Schetnan and Ismael Valle; defensemen Tristan Colyer, Michael Garrity, Damian Jordan, Carson Schramm and Gabe Valle; and goalie Tyler Talbott. The team’s assistant coaches are Patrick Garrity and Todd Gravelle and Barry Charles is the team manager.

Northern Arizona University rolling in start-up season ly Sports Complex in Queen Creek, though several games were close, including a 7-6 overtime loss to Division II rival University of Arizona. “The second tournament was a little tougher because we were missing a few players as well as our coach (Riffeys father, Todd Riffey) for the first game, and we had to play Fullerton twice,” Riffey said. “After that first game (a 9-0 loss), we started to play better and play more of a team game and the results

ing with 18 goals and 22 points in nine games, followed by Cannon with 10 goals and 14 points in 10 orthern Arizona University’s fledgling team in games. the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League “Austin and I have helped the team out in terms (WCRHL) appears to be holding its own guided by of what to expect from opposing teams and just inline hockey veterans Trevor Riffey and Austin how to play the game of roller because some of our Cannon. guys have never played or have only played ice,” the Riffey and Cannon both entered NAU’s start-up younger Riffey explained. “Sometimes, we do get season with previous WCRHL experience – Riffey frustrated because we know we can play better, but played two seasons at Long Beach State and we have to help the younger guys out who are Cannon played one season at the University less experienced and get them involved.” of Arizona. Trevor Riffey said the team’s first goal of “At the beginning of the season, I didn’t the season is to qualify for March’s WCRHL really know what to expect,” explained the regional championship tournament. He said the 22-year-old Riffey, who has played roller hockteam’s second goal is to receive a bid to the ey for almost 19 years. National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association The Lumberjacks finished 3-3 at their first (NCRHA) national championship tournament in tournament Nov. 19-20 in Huntington Beach, Fort Myers, Fla. Calif. NAU defeated the University of San Di“We just want to get word out that NAU has ego, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal-Berkeley for its a roller hockey program and that we are doing first wins in program history. pretty well in our first year,” the Lumberjacks “The first tournament actually went better scoring leader said. “As of right now, it looks as than I expected, given the fact that we can though we should make regionals and we are only practice on an outdoor concrete rink in on the edge of making nationals as well.” Flagstaff,” Riffey said. “We were able to work At 4-5-1 through 10 games, the Lumberour breakouts and power plays effectively, as Northern Arizona University’s start-up inline hockey team is charting a course for jacks trail Chico State (10-1-1), Fullerton (9-1well as our penalty kills. We did struggle a little the regional playoffs in its inaugural season. Photo/NAU Roller Hockey 0) and Arizona (7-1-2) in the division standings, bit in the first tournament with playing together and showed. We lost close games to Fullerton, 6-4, and but rank ahead of Cal Poly Pomona (4-7-0), UC San working our system because we had never played to U of A, 7-6 in overtime, followed by a 6-4 win over Diego (3-8-0) and Cal (2-10-0). together before. UCSD. When we have all of our players there and NAU will participate in the upcoming WCRHL “Towards the end of the first tournament, things our coach, we start to play better together and work event Feb. 18-19 in Huntington Beach to close out started to click and we were playing pretty decent.” our system the right way.” regular-season play. The Lumberjacks finished 1-2-1 at the Jan. 28-29 The two veterans have helped steer a course for The top six Division II teams qualify for the WCRHL WCRHL regular-season event at the Barney Fami- NAU. Not surprisingly, Riffey leads the team in scor- regionals March 4-5 in Corona, Calif. By Phillip Brents


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


Drew Newmeyer (Scottsdale) – Arizona State University



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs

CHA Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University

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

HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire

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 Christian Cakebread (Gilbert) – 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

WCHA Amanda Martin (Peoria) – Minnesota State University Katherine McGovern (Scottsdale) – University of Minnesota-Duluth

COMMONWEALTH Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Alec Mono – Curry College & Hector Majul – Curry College ! MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Mass.-Dartmouth NCHA Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – College of St. Scholastica 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 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 BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Hayden Knight (Scottsdale) – Coquitlam Express CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Sage Englund (Phoenix) – Carleton Place Canadians Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – Carleton Place Canadians 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) 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 Trey Bagwell (Tempe) - Aberdeen Wings Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) - Aberdeen Wings Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) - Bismarck Bobcats Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Wilderness Reid Miller (Phoenix) – Aston Rebels Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – Aberdeen Wings Keenan Spillum (Paradise Valley) – Aberdeen Wings Joey Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Odessa Jackalopes Mason Vukonich (Chandler) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights 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 Austin Wilks (Avondale) – Point Mallard Ducks NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Ashton Amaya (Gilbert) – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE 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 & Matt Jones (Phoenix) – Des Moines Buccaneers 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 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) Sam Weidenbaum (Scottsdale) - Decatur Blaze (USP3)

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Bernsdorff (Glendale) – Phoenix Knights Christopher Carouchi – Arizona Hawks % Caleb Cavazos (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights 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 PREP SCHOOL 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 NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN NESCAC Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Jake McNerney (Taos) – Seguin Huskies

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 & Luke Ormsby (Scottsdale) – Seattle Thunderbirds Austyn Playfair (Scottsdale) – Tri-City Americans

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Cory King (Albuquerque) – Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers * former Phoenix Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat

% former Mission Arizona ! former Phoenix Firebird



These times they are a-changing – and for the better A

fter we o p e n e d our Behind The Mask Scottsdale location in 2010, due to the proximity to the PGA Superstore located in the same plaza a few doors down from us, we got a lot of new people stopping in our store. Many were Exelby from the Midwest, back East and across Canada. They saw our store sign above the window that said “Hockey” and saw window graphics of hockey players. This spiked their curiosity. They would open the door with almost amazement. Most asked, “Do they play hockey in Arizona?” This was especially of our friends from the Great White North. They were not hard to pick out, dressed in shorts and short-sleeve shirts in the winter, while I was bundled up with a hoodie or jacket while inside the store.

I would respond that they do, and ask where they were from. To my fellow Canadians, I would interject that I was originally from Toronto and this gave me some sort of street cred with them. This opened the door to further discussions on hockey in Arizona. At this point in time, there was not much on my end that could change the poor perception they had on the state of hockey in Arizona. And maybe they were right. The Arizona Coyotes were in a messy bankruptcy that received lots of inaccurate information north of the 49th parallel. At least I got to change the subject when they would ask me if I was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Back when I grew up, the Maples Leafs were marginal, where my Montreal Canadiens were in the middle of a dynasty – still, in my mind, the most complete hockey team ever assembled. To combat this, we asked each association, college program and high school program if they could donate a jersey. These jerseys were hung with pride from the high store ceiling. Now when these customers came in, I could point to the many jerseys and say, “Yes, there is hockey played here.” Fast forward to the new Arizona Coyotes own-

ership that stopped the people from telling me how much better the Coyotes would draw and be on the ice if they moved. I would bite my tongue, not to remind them of the financial struggles both the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames had over the years. Then Arizona State University announced that it was going NCAA Division I and now, people wanted to bring back shirts, hoodies, hats – anything that said “ASU Hockey.” News traveled quickly to Canada of the new program. It marked the first time they were asking and not telling me about hockey in Arizona. They next big change happened a few years ago as word spread of a hockey phenom who honed his skill in the desert. In 2015, when the NHL draft rankings announced Auston Matthews as the preseason favorite to go No. 1 in the 2016 NHL Draft, the buzz grew. And when the draft lottery was won by the Maple Leafs, he was instantly going to be their savior. A player who got his first taste of hockey from going to an Arizona Coyotes NHL game was now the overnight rock star of Maple Leafs Nation. I can’t wait to see what’s next from Arizona hockey.

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The Jr. Coyotes’ 12U team out of Chandler captured the Pee Wee A championship at the Arizona Cactus Cup with a 3-2 win over the New Mexico Ice Wolves on Jan. 16 at AZ Ice Arcadia.

The Arizona Bobcats captured the 14U championship banner as champions of the North American Hockey League’s Future Prospects Tournament on Jan. 16 in Superior, Colo. Photo/ NAHL

The Jr. Coyotes were crowned Squirt Major champions at the Arizona Cactus Cup with a 3-1 win over the Saints Academy on Jan. 16 at AZ Ice Gilbert.

A group of Mite players from all over Arizona gathered at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek to partake in the Mite Winter Classic, which was played outdoors on Jan. 2.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Bantam Purple team claimed the Bantam B division’s championship at the Arizona Cactus Cup with a 3-1 victory over Mission AZ on Jan. 16 at AZ Ice Gilbert.

The Desert Youth Hockey Association’s Pee Wee Combo team won the Pee Wee B title at the Arizona Cactus Cup after a 5-1 win over the California Cougars at AZ Ice Arcadia on Jan. 16.

Arizona Squirt-level players got together at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek over New Year’s Weekend and played their first annual outdoor game on Dec. 31.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Pee Wee White team brought home the 12U B championship banner from the Grizz Cup tournament after a 9-3 win over Sun Valley on Jan. 16 in Salt Lake City.

The New Mexico Warriors captured the Pee Wee B championship at the Littleton Hockey Association’s 31st Annual Slapshot Tournament in Littleton, Colo., with a 4-1 win over the Vernon Hills Ice Dogs.

Playing in Minnesota at the Youth Hockey Hub Squirtacular tournament, the Jr. Coyotes’ 9U Elite team came home champions after a 4-2 win over the Stillwater Ponies on Jan. 22.

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Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes/Tucson Roadrunners Acquired: Drafted by Coyotes in the second round (32nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft Hometown: Wayne, Ill. Age: 19

Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Christian Fischer: I’d probably say in 2010 when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. I was at the game and that was the first time they won the Cup in a while. So it was pretty cool to see that. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? CF: My first pro goal. I scored that in the AHL. I left Windsor (OHL) after we got knocked out in the playoffs. I ended up scoring my first pro goal after about five, six games in the AHL. So that was pretty cool. AZR: What’s your take on setting a Winnipeg/Arizona franchise record with a goal in each of your first two games? CF: Obviously, it’s pretty cool. I mean, you really don’t think about it. Just go out and play your game. I was told about that about the record, so that was pretty cool to go down like that. AZR: Who has been the biggest influence on you, on and off the ice? CF: I’d say my father. He’s been with me through every hockey decision and every hockey journey I’ve had. He was at my first NHL game (Jan. 21 against Tampa Bay). He’s been with me through it all and is a great guidance for me. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? CF: It’s pretty simple. Just work hard. A guy like myself that does not have too much skill and not an unbelievable shot has to make up for that. I just work hard and play with the skills I have. When it comes down to it, you have to be able to work hard in this game. That’s how you make it. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? CF: I love golf. Play a lot of golf in the summer. So if hockey wasn’t there, I’d probably pursue something in golf. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? CF: I do not have any superstitions. I know many players have these, like putting on equipment in a certain way or taping sticks in a certain way. I don’t have any superstitions. Whatever happens, happens. I just go with the flow. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? CF: We have breakfast there at the rink and have our pre-game skate. Then about five or six guys go to Maggiano’s (in Scottsdale). We just sit there at the bar. Christian Dvorak and myself share a Caesar salad together and we just eat, go home, take a nap, show up at the rink and play. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? CF: I’d say obviously suits. You have to bring a couple and I’ve been known to spill a couple of dinners on myself. You can’t go the game with sauce on your shirt. So a couple of suits and usually your travel bag for shaving, toothbrush and stuff like that. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? CF: It was Patrick Kane. Being from Chicago and going to all of the games, he was great. Just watching him do his thing was pretty amazing.

Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

AZR: What about your hometown Cubs winning the World Series? CF: Awesome, it’s been a long time coming. I can’t imagine guys at 80, 90 years old that have been watching the Cubs for that long. I’m pretty fortunate because I’m only 19 and got to see that. Pretty cool and nice to get that. - Compiled by Mark Brown

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



PRESIDENTS’ DAY WEEKEND February 17-20, 2017


Application Deadline: April 21, 2017

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

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

Registration for our final tournament of the 2016-17 season is now open!


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