Arizona Rubber Magazine - January 2017

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The Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association is experiencing tremendous growth this season and with a new spin on its 6U and 8U programs, sustainability and a future increase in numbers have the Northstars program extremely excited

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FROM THE EDITOR Past the halfway point, but so much more hockey to go this year


Matt Mackinder

know, it’s hard to believe that we are going into late January wondering where time has gone. It’s the second half of the season and this is always the time of year when things get interesting and the intensity level shifts into “ludicrous speed,” if I can borrow a phrase from the 1987 classic “Spaceballs.” Just check out the action from the recent AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival and Arizona Cactus Cup tournaments – some high-quality youth talent on display there and plenty of names to keep tabs on in the future! If your New Year’s resolutions included seeing the growth of hockey continue out West, you’re in luck. So many good things happening not only in the Metro Phoenix area, but just look at our cover

story for growth up in Flagstaff. Take it all in, folks – this is a very special time in Arizona when it comes to all levels of hockey. The game is definitely trending skyward in the desert with no signs of hitting a plateau. The 22-man roster for the U.S. Men’s National University Team that will compete in the 2017 Winter World University Games from Jan. 28-Feb. 8 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, includes Arizona State University Division I ACHA players Sean Murphy, Michael Cummings and Jordan Gluck. “This is a very experienced group,” said Team USA head coach Sean Hogan. “We’re excited to bring this team to Kazakhstan to represent our country this month at the Winter World University Games.” The roster is comprised of players that compete in the ACHA. Gilbert native Christian Cakebread made the jump to NCAA Division I hockey at the semester break, enrolling at Niagara University and joining the forward corps of the Purple Eagles team that is a member of Atlantic Hockey. Cakebread had been playing for the British Columbia Hockey League’s Vernon Vipers and in 35 games this season, recorded nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. “Christian comes to us with a ton of experience at the junior level, and he will add high-end speed and skill to our roster,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. In his youth days, Cakebread skated for the Arizona Bobcats. Another Bobcats alum, some guy named Auston Matthews, who led all rookies with eight goals and four assists in 12 games, was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for December. The Scottsdale native registered at least one point in nine of his 12 December appearances with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then to open January, Matthews continued his roll and netted his first overtime winner for the Leafs against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 1 in the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic. He was also named to the NHL All-Star Game later this month in Los Angeles. As a youth, Matthews played for the Arizona Bobcats, Jr. Coyotes and Lemieux Hockey Academy. Congratulations to the nine champions that were crowned at the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival over New Year’s Weekend: Arizona Bobcats (Mites), SDIA Oilers (Squirt B), Anaheim Jr. Ducks (Squirt A), Flagstaff Northstars (Pee Wee B), Arvada (Pee Wee A/AA), DYHA Jr. Sun Devils (Bantam A/AA), AHSHA Premier (16U A), Alaska Oilers (16U AA) and AHSHA Premier (18U A/High School). As well, a shout out to the 12 banner winners at the Arizona Cactus Cup, which was showcased over the Jan. 13-16 weekend: Denver Jr. Pioneers (Squirt Minor), Jr. Coyotes (Squirt Major), DYHA Jr. Sun Devils (Pee Wee B), Jr. Coyotes (Pee Wee A), Abbotsford Hawks (Pee Wee Elite), Arizona Hockey Union (Bantam B), Tri Valley Blue Devils (Bantam A), SSAC Anderson (Bantam AA), Denver Jr. Pioneers (16U A), Semiahmoo Ravens (16U AA), AHSHA Premier (18U A) and NSWC (18U AA).

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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

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Parents and players from the One Step Bobcats, a new special needs program that skates mostly out of AZ Ice Peoria, show the smiles that have taken the Arizona hockey community by storm. Pictured, from left to right, are Karen Kerns, Karissa Brown, Bri Donathan, Kristin Woosley and Kelsey Goebel. More on the One Step Bobcats on Page 13.

ON THE COVER Father and son duo Dwight Downs (father) and Nash Downs (son) are part of the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association’s 8U program for the 2016-17 season. Photo/Sean Openshaw Photography

WYHA finding its niche in Arizona youth hockey circles By James Kelley

runners’ attendance has confirmed the interest in hockey in the Old Pueblo. “We knew that there was interest, but now they know better because they come to games, they see us and a lot of people still actually tell us that, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that there was ice hockey here for youth,’” Simard said. “The team makes a big change because they’re supportive of everything that we do.”

when it started a few years ago. In 2011-12 when he first got involved with the program, there were hile Tucson still doesn’t have a regular ice around 15-20 kids and they skated for 1-3 times rink yet, the Wildcat Youth Hockey Associaa week. Now, the WYHA has an 8U team, a 10U tion (WYHA) has seen marked growth. team, 12U travel team, 14U team, 18U team, a The addition of the American Hockey League’s Learn to Skate program, and the Little Howlers pro(AHL) Tucson Roadrunners sped up WYHA’s gram just started this year. growth spurt. “We’ve grown exponentially,” DeJoe said. The number of players in the WYHA had jumped Last summer, the WYHA was voted into the Arifrom about 60 last year to 130 this year and the zona Amateur Hockey Association. kids in the Learn to Skate program rose from Tucson has been without a regular sheet of about 50-60 to 70 regulars this year. Plus, the ice since the last rink closed in 2007 and the WYHA 12U team joined the Arizona Youth University of Arizona, adults, youth and figure Hockey League and became WYHA’s first travel skaters all share Tucson Arena (at the Tucson team. Convention Center), which also hosts circuses, “The Roadrunners put everything on turbo monster trucks and the gem show. charge,” said WYHA coaching director Ryan When Simard moved from Montreal, she DeJoe. was nervous about how popular hockey was in He said the Roadrunners’ first employee, Southern Arizona, but was pleasantly surprised. Tayler Kern, reached out to them on Day 1 “When I came here, I was a bit scared of and WYHA vice president Scott Perger said what would I find for my son, who was a playthe Roadrunners have helped with marketing the A recent Wildcat Youth Hockey Association team practice in Tucson has er already, and I was very, very well surprised,” all the players geared up to keep learning the game from their coaches Simard said. “It’s amazing, the community here, youth association. The Roadrunners’ help follows the trend and to keep the game growing in Southern Arizona. Photo/James Kelley the people here. They are dedicated so much, started by their owners, the Arizona Coyotes. The Roadrunners’ presence also has produced they love it. It’s a real family, but I’m not surprised. “We’ve always worked with the Coyotes a lit- other benefits that are harder to quantify. Perger Hockey is mainly that, that’s what happens, it’s a tle bit and they’ve always helped us, but because said the kids were thrilled to see Brendan Perlini real family and we do what we have to do to keep they’re so far north, it’s harder with them,” Perger move up to the NHL after they had skated with him. it going.” said. “With the Roadrunners actually being right “These kids are watching somebody that they If and when Tucson gets another ice rink, youth here, they’ve been very hands on and they’ve been shot around with actually in the NHL and their eyes hockey is expected to explode in Arizona’s second fantastic for us. When we need help, help with the are lighting up,” Perger said. “It’s fantastic to watch largest city. ice, the Tucson Convention Center or equipment, that excitement.” “The growth is unbelievably untapped,” Perger they know who to go to, who to talk to. It’s just been Perlini led the AHL in scoring when he first got said. “The huge problem right now is just an ice a great resource to have them in town.” called up to the Coyotes. rink. I think if we had our own ice rink, we’d be fieldWYHA president Isabelle Simard said RoadDeJoe said WYHA is light years different than ing team after team.”



Raising the Bar

With new philosophy at 6U, 8U levels, Flagstaff upping the compete level with youngsters then one week off with all eight teams rotating through the schedule. “This makes it so much easier for the parents, who can plan and know that their he Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association’s (FYHA) objective is simple, and it is very kids play two weekends and then don’t that next weekend,” Bereson explained. “That succinct in its mission statement. also seems to have helped with retention and keeping kids coming every Saturday.” Sanctioned through USA Hockey, the primary goal for the association is to proFYHA received donations of jerseys from the Arizona Coyotes and all team vide an environment “where our youth can learn the game of hockey and excel at the names for the 6U and 8U teams are from now-defunct minor league teams, namely recreational, regional and national level.” the Rockets, Rebels, Clippers and Generals. Under the direction of an all-volunteer Board of Directors, the FYHA offers hockey The players will also rotate positions with a new way of running players out for opportunities for children aged 18 and younger in both its recreational (house) and the goalie position. All players will get to strap on the pads and be a goaltender on a competitive (travel) hockey programs. rotating schedule over the course of the After age 14, FYHA players can join the season. Tye said that “getting interest in Flagstaff Avalanche High School club the goalie position is also something we at the junior varsity and varsity levels, want to explore.” or otherwise skate at the FYHA Midget “I think one of the biggest and most level with the Northstars’ 16U or 18U important parts of this is that we will be teams. strictly adhering to USA Hockey ADM This season has shown that change standards with the cross-ice games, is good and for the better in Flagstaff. small-area games,” Tye said. “We hope The FYHA has given its younger this takes root and other associations in rec-level players something they’ll alArizona will follow suit.” ways remember – a chance to compete Learning the game is obviously the against one another and the opportunity most crucial aspect of the new way of to hang a championship banner inside running the Mites program, but Bereson the Jay Lively Arena. reiterated that it’s much more than that. The Northstars are taking all of their “We’re also seeing the kids get6U and 8U Mite players and dividing ting to know one another, rather than them into two groups – one of sevenjust throwing them all out on the ice,” and eight-year-olds and one of kids that Bereson said. are six years old and under. With four And making the 6U and 8U proteams in each group, the teams will grams more competitive is simply a bocompete every weekend through Februnus component for the overall makeup ary in cross-ice games and once March of the FYHA. rolls around, playoffs will be contested “What we decided for our communiand the winning 6U and 8U teams will ty is that we know the kids keep score,” earn trophies. Bereson said. “No matter what, the kids “We want the rec kids to play for a keep score. I know the ADM says not purpose and know that there’s light at to keep score, but we keep score. We the end of the tunnel, not just the end of felt like, they keep score in baseball and the season,” said FYHA president Kevsoccer, so by keeping score with this, in Tye. “We are all thrilled that this is it’s just another way to keep the kids enhappening and we think this has been gaged. This is my sixth year doing this a very fun and exciting season so far for and this year, we bought scoreboards these 6U and 8U kids. We’re so happy and taped them to the glass where all we were able to pull this together.” three ponds have a scoreboard. At the Games started the first weekend in end of the day, the kids can see who December. Taking a new approach to the 6U and 8U teams this season, the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association won and who lost and then in the back, “We’ve had these 6U and 8U pro- divided those groups into eight separate teams (four in each level) and will stage a championship tour- we’ll have another board posted where grams for a long time, but the change this nament for each age group in March at the Jay Lively Arena. Photos/Sean Openshaw Photography the kids can see which teams had the year is that we developed teams with names and rosters and a league schedule,” most points.” said former FYHA president and current Flagstaff USA Hockey American DevelopThe March tournament will have the first-place team play the fourth-place team ment Model (ADM) coordinator Dave Bereson. “In the past, we had a bunch of kids and the second-place team play the third-place team in a round robin format. in blue jerseys and a bunch of kids in white jerseys and every Saturday, they’d come “These kids work hard and they should know who wins,” said Bereson. “For our out and play, but we never had any team cohesion. Sometimes, you’d end up with community and doing this for 6-7 years, we have realized that the score and the too many kids in white or too many in blue, so we’d have to scramble to make teams.” standings and having cohesion does matter and keeps these kids coming every This year, a schedule was created where teams plays two weeks straight and Saturday.”

By Matt Mackinder


FYHA embraces and promotes the core values set forth by USA Hockey: A. SPORTSMANSHIP – Foremost of all values is to learn a sense of fair play. Become humble in victory, gracious in defeat. We will foster friendship with teammates and opponents alike. B. RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL – Treat all others as you expect to be treated. C. INTEGRITY – We seek to foster honesty and fair play beyond mere strict interpretation of the rules and regulations of the game. D. PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE AT THE INDIVIDUAL, TEAM AND ORGANIZATIONAL LEVELS – Each member of the organization, whether player, volunteer or staff, should seek to perform each aspect of the game to the highest level of his or her ability. E. ENJOYMENT – It is important for the hockey experience to be fun, satisfying and rewarding for all participants. F. LOYALTY – We aspire to teach loyalty to the ideals and fellow members of the sport of hockey. G. TEAMWORK – We value the strength of learning to work together. The use of teamwork is reinforced and rewarded by success in the hockey experience. 6

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Bobcats set to enjoy esteemed Quebec Pee Wee tourney perience.” The roster for the Bobcats’ Pee Wee team travelon Filion grew up playing hockey in Montreal and ing to Quebec includes forwards Kelly knew it was a special experience playing in the Carroll, Palmer Coupe, Brian ErQuebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, icsson, Cameron Ferraz, Bruce but being so close geographically and already being Hubbard, Mighton Johnson, immersed in the culture, he said he didn’t appreciate Patrick Lindholm, Jack Livait the same way he does now. navage, Charlie Salem, Oren And getting the chance to bring teams the southShtrom, Preston Soderblom west of the United States year after year has been and Jack Walters; defensemtruly special for the Arizona Bobcats’ hockey dien Dayton Craik, Dylan Gorrector. don, Ryan Gorzynski, Ryan “Going there with teams from Arizona is truly Hawley, Max Marr and Ethan an incredible experience, and I’m looking forward Poole; and goalies Max Gedto experiencing it with my son in two years,” Fildes and Gorial Yaro. ion said. Filion and assistant coaches Mark Gordon, “For me, I’ve been there so many times, and I Jim Livanavage and Leeor Shtrom will travel grew up in the snow, but every year, it’s so cool with the team, and most players will have one to bring these kids from Arizona who have never or both of their parents join them in Quebec, as experienced that atmosphere and culture. They the tournament is truly a memorable family expeare in awe, especially the first few days. You can rience. see it in their smiles and their level of excitement “Everybody is going - nobody wants to miss about everything they’re doing.” it,” Filion said. The Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey The Arizona Bobcats’ Pee Wee team will head more than 2700 miles northeast “We have three kids on our team who know a Tournament, the legendary 58-year old event in next month to Canada to play in the always-competitive Quebec International little bit about what to expect because their oldthe picturesque, French-speaking city, has been Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. Photo/LRH Photography er brothers have played in the tournament, but a highlight of so many young hockey players’ careers. Western team to ever win the event. until you live it and see the atmosphere with 3,000 The tournament runs from Feb. 8-19 and typically “The level of play is really high, but you don’t nec- or 4,000 people in the stands for the first game, you hosts 150 teams and more than 2,000 players who essarily go there just for the hockey,” Filion said. “It’s can’t really understand how amazing it is. come from across the United States and Canada, as about the overall experience. We have the same bil“I spend 10 days away from my own family every well as other parts of the world. let families that host us year after year, and the kids year to do this, but seeing how excited the kids get It is considered an honor to attend. go ice fishing and snowmobiling. We usually sched- and seeing how much they enjoy themselves is the Many of the biggest names in professional hockey ule some exhibition games against European teams reason I do it. It’s all worth it when you see the kids’ have played there - from Guy Lafleur to the Gretzky when we’re there, and we just really soak up the ex- faces. It’s really cool.”

By Greg Ball


and Howe brothers, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Steven Stamkos - but for most players, it’s not an event that’s focused as much on showcasing their talent as it is about celebrating their passion for the game of hockey. The Bobcats had sent a team to the Quebec tournament for 10 straight years until missing 2016, and they’re excited to be back in the fold this season. They won their division in 2015, becoming just the second



AHU, AZ Ice Gilbert Mite Jamboree will create memories By Greg Ball


ockey players eight years old and under from all across the greater Phoenix area will get to enjoy one of their first tournament experiences on Jan. 29 when the Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) and the AZ Ice facility in Gilbert host their third annual Mite Jamboree. The all-day tournament is expected to include 16 travel teams and 12 house teams competing in cross-ice games. It’s set up to provide a fun and family-friendly environment that gives youngsters an introduction to tournament hockey while helping them develop their skills. The tournament is free of charge for all teams. “We wanted to give back and promote the game of hockey at the Mite level,” AHU president Stacy Shupe said. “The state has helped us financially to make this happen. We donate our time and other resources to grow the game of hockey.” The teams are separated into a travel division and an in-house division, and each team will play a minimum of three games. While there won’t be any champions crowned or banners to be taken home, the event provides an opportunity to get Mite players on the ice and experiencing a tournament atmosphere,

said Bob Platt, the hockey director at AZ Ice Gilbert. “It’s a good way of gathering everybody involved in the Mite hockey world in Arizona, and putting on an event that showcases the entry-level kids up to the more skilled players is a great thing to do,” Platt said. “It’s a little more family-oriented than maybe some tournaments for older kids are, and it needs to be based on the ages of the players involved. There’s a lot of stuff going on off the ice with raffles, and the Arizona Coyotes will have a presence at our event.” Platt said that alongside Shupe and a number of other people who have helped plan the Mite Jamboree, Carly Accardo has been kept busy in keeping all the details together. Accardo is the team manager for Arizona Hockey Union’s 8U Black team and is in charge of making sure the tournament runs smoothly. “Carly has been instrumental in putting this entire event together, working with the committee and organizing everything from the schedule to the rules and beyond,” Platt said. The Mite Jamboree is made possible by the generosity of some key people in the local hockey community. A committee from the AHU works throughout the fall to plan the tournament. The Arizona Amateur Hockey

Association provides financial and organizational support as well, in the spirit of helping develop the players who will make up the travel players of the future in the local area and continuing to grow the game. In addition to a competitive environment, the committee has taken significant steps to ensure that the tournament offers a fun atmosphere as well. The event logo features the slogan “Hustle and Flow” in a 1970’s-style font, complete with a silhouette of a player with old-school hockey hair, and T-shirts featuring the logo will be available for purchase at the rink. They’re also expecting an appearance from the Coyotes mascot, Howler, and every kid goes home with a goodie bag from the tournament. “It’s really a grassroots effort to expand the game, which helps with the travel programs throughout the area,” Shupe said. “This is a way to give back to the community and keep kids interested in hockey.”

Arizona Hockey Union Mite Jamboree

Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 | 9 AM - 5 PM AZ Ice Gilbert 12 TRAVEL TEAMS |16 HOUSE TEAMS

Register at

AHU Presidents’ Day Invitational Knights’ Mickelson brings work boasts 173 teams, 362 games ethic, leadership to WSHL club By Matt Mackinder

By Jason Prentice


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


Minnesota native, Jared Mickelson is well immersed into the hockey lifestyle. Now a key cog with the Phoenix Knights, Mickelson has brought that knowledge to the desert and is forging a desirable season with the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) club. “He’s definitely one of our more talented players and comes from a very structured hockey background,” said Phoenix coach-GM Mike Bowman. “Jared is a player that everyone on the team likes and gets along with, and it is easy to follow his work ethic on the ice. “He really represents what we’d like this program to be like on the ice. We hope to be able to fine-tune some of his skills and promote him onto the next level.” An alternate captain, Mickelson said he has never been a captain in the hockey realm, but has playing other sports growing up back home. “It’s a privilege to lead your teammates,” said Mickelson. “As a younger team, the vibe here is always very energetic.” The 19-year-old Mickelson, from Inner Grove Heights, Minn., has played in a warm climate before, kicking off his junior hockey career in 2014-15 in Tampa, Fla. He’s more than excited to be spending this current season in the WSHL. “First off, I really love the area and it’s been truly amazing living in Arizona,” Mickelson said. “I’m always looking forward to coming to the rink to see the boys and practice. It’s been a very good and fun season so far for me and I want it to continue that way.” With one more year of junior eligibility after this season, Mickelson is in no rush to see his future set in stone. Instead, he has reasonable goals. “My main goal is to get better every day and with school, I’m not 100 percent sure what I want to pursue in college yet,” said Mickelson. “For our team, the goals are very simple – we just want to win as many games as possible. “We need all the points we can get.”

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY NAU D-II team ready to renew, start in-state rivalries in ‘17 By James Kelley


fter a successful fall semester that included a 14-game winning streak, Northern Arizona University’s ACHA Division II hockey team returns after the winter break with a couple key series in Prescott Valley. NAU’s first games of 2017 in Arizona are a series against Grand Canyon University at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Jan. 20-21. IceJacks director of hockey operations A.J. Fairchild thinks the Prescott Valley crowds will be bigger this semester with more promotion after their previous games there had to go against the historic Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs World Series. Still, NAU beat Cal Lutheran 16-2 and 17-0 and GCU 8-3 and 4-1. On Jan. 27-28, the Ice Jacks face Arizona State’s Division II team at Prescott Valley. “They’re much better for the January games,” Fairchild said. “We played during the World Series in the fall, so there was a lot of stuff going on and Cal Lutheran isn’t a natural draw and Arizona State is a natural draw.” The Arizona Sundogs pro team that skated in the Central Hockey League played at the Prescott Valley Event Center, which is now home to the Northern Arizona Suns basketball team in the NBA Development League. Fairchild thinks GCU, which is in its first season, can become one of the ACHA elites like NAU, Arizona and ASU. “They’re growing, they seem to be well-coached and they seem to be getting better every week, so we know we’re in for a good battle against them when we play them,” Fairchild said. “We got a lot of players in the area and there’s no reason why all four teams can’t be competitive.” Fairchild expects a swarm, of fans for the ASU games like they drew last year in Prescott Valley. The Sun Devils are ranked 13th in the West; NAU is No. 3. “It’s going to be great – we had a packed house both games last year and we hope we do it again,” Fairchild said. “The guys feed off the energy.”


All games played at Jay Lively Arena Saturday, Jan. 21 6U Clippers at Generals Rockets at Rebels Generals at Rockets Rebels at Clippers

Saturday, Feb. 4 6U Clippers at Rockets Generals at Rebels Generals at Clippers Rebels at Rockets

Saturday, Feb. 18 6U Rockets at Generals Clippers at Rebels Rockets at Clippers Rebels at Generals

8U Rockets at Clippers Rockets at Clippers

8U Clippers at Rebels Clippers at Rebels

8U Rebels at Generals Rebels at Generals

Saturday, Jan. 28 6U Generals at Clippers Generals at Clippers

Saturday, Feb. 11 6U Rebels at Rockets Rebels at Rockets

Saturday, Feb. 25 PLAYOFFS

8U Rebels at Generals Rockets at Clippers Clippers at Generals Rockets at Rebels

8U Generals at Rockets Rebels at Clippers Generals at Rebels Clippers at Rockets

Saturday, March 4 CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY Saturday, March 11 Spring Break Reserved for extra games

More on FYHA on Page 6!


Coaching hockey can be broken down into seven principles A

successful hockey team and program can be run just like a successful business, relatively speaking. There are a lot of parallels in how you plan and operate your hockey team with running a competiBowman tive company. What is it that you hope will be the identity of your team or program? What are your goals for the current season? What about your goals for the upcoming games? How about this week of practice? What about today’s practice? You have to have both short- and long-term goals in order to get the most efficiency out of your operation. You need to have the staff and the resources in place to be able to accomplish those goals. Set your goals realistically. Be prepared. Step back occasionally and monitor and measure progress. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Take Stephen R. Covey’s “Seven Habits of

Highly Effective People.” Let’s examine these habits and apply them to our hockey program/team. Habit 1 - Be Proactive: If you are prepared for possible problems and situations, you can better respond. You can choose how to handle difficult situations, using your resourcefulness and initiative to explore solutions, instead of waiting for them to be worked out by other people or factors. Habit 2 - Begin With the End in Mind: Develop a mission statement based upon principles. You can extend that mission statement long-term and have the roadmap be representative of those principles every step of the way. Habit 3 - Put First Things First: You should spend time doing the things that fit your mission. Exhibit a balance between being productive and building your capacity to be productive. In hockey terms, put together systems to build team chemistry, but also focus on the fundamentals that will allow the individual players to execute within those systems. Habit 4 - Think Win/Win: Seek arrangements that are mutually beneficial to your players, your team and your program as a whole. If a win/win deal cannot be achieved, you must accept that making no deal might be the best alternative. Be sure to properly develop organizational culture by rewarding win/win behavior and do not mistakenly reward win/lose behavior. Habit 5 - Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: Seek to understand your players and

coaches and then try to be understood. You must realize the perspective from which your coaches and players are observing and participating in order to make progress as a unit. Why are your players here? What are their individual goals? What about your coaches? Are they just helping out? Or do they have bigger plans for a career? Habit 6 – Synergize: Basically put, 1 + 1 = 3. That means take the individual parts and find a way for them to work together to achieve more than the sum of the individuals. The best teams usually are the ones who epitomize synergy on the road to a championship. It’s not always the teams with the best players. Habit 7 - Sharpen the Saw: Sometimes take a break from working in order to expand the potential of your players, team and program. Refresh and renew the physical, mental, social/emotional and sometimes spiritual dimensions of your players and coaches. It’s important to maintain a balance of these dimensions. It can’t always be about focusing on fundamentals, systems and working out. Players and coaches need regular maintenance and opportunities to expand as people, not just hockey participants. Take some time to read this book if you have an opportunity. It can be very helpful for players, coaches, and anyone who wants to organize a path or give meaning to their life in a structured environment.

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



Pair of Jr. Sun Devils squads show well at Coyotes Cup By Matt Mackinder


o ring in 2017, and for the 18th straight year, the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival took place New Year’s Weekend at the Gila River Arena, Ice Den Chandler and Ice Den Scottsdale. For two Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) Jr. Sun Devils teams, both the Bantam 03 team and Pee Wee Combo team came home to Oceanside Ice Arena with championship game appearances – the Bantams won their division by defeating the Colorado Rampage 2-1, while the Pee Wees fell 3-1 in their title game to the Flagstaff Northstars. Head coach Zac Fryer said his Bantam 03 team has overcome its share of injuries and adversity this season. “Our team has played well, winning three tournaments, and we have had solid team leadership with the boys playing hard for one another all season,” said Fryer. “Our locker room environment is outstanding. It is a cohesive, respectful, hilarious and determined place to be. The families that support the team are second to none. They are supportive and allow coaches the latitude to set a direction without interference. Having parents that believe in the direction of the team makes coaching a team very enjoyable.” On New Year’s Eve in Scottsdale, the Bantams captured their latest tournament title. “The final game was quite a challenge,” Fryer said. “We played great in the last game of the round robin and carried that over into the first period of the finals, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. From there, we played sound, defensive hockey

and fought through a very physical contest and came out on top. I think the boys felt a sense of accomplishment as we had set a goal of winning three tournaments this season and achieving the goals we set as a team is very rewarding.” The DYHA Bantam 03 team is comprised of forwards Michael Battigan (also plays defense), Jack Brown, Brody Dejong, A.J. Fryer, Ryan Green, Carson Gyl-

The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ Bantam 03 team edged the Colorado Rampage 2-1 on Dec. 31 to claim the Bantam AA title at the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival at the Ice Den Scottsdale.

ling, Michael Sandviken, Jake Schmitt, Stephen Sica, Tyler Tremeroli and Kaidan Willa; defensemen Ryan Koshiol, Logan L’Heureux, Matt Ryan, Reese Tamburo and Ryan Widders; and goalies Sam Peterson and George Serbin. Joining Fryer are defensive head coach Jon Koshiol and assistant coaches Chad Bailey, Cody Gylling and Cam Johnson. Steve Sica is the team man-


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ager. Chris Sehring’s Pee Wee squad is starting to really come around to a team concept where the players learn that the “we” is more important than the “I.” “There is a lot to like about this team,” said Sehring, the team’s head coach. “Our players are open to listening and learning and have made a huge effort to develop as both team players and individuals. They are a lot of fun to coach and a great group to be around on or off the ice. Our families are great and without their support, our players and coaches cannot be successful. My coaching staff is dedicated and resourceful and does a great job working with the team.” Making up the Jr. Sun Devils’ Pee Wee Combo team are forwards Weston Eby, Jaydin Feliciano, Matthew Garcia, Thomas Hickey, Declan Membrila, Jake Myerthall, Tyler Sehring, Tye Smuckler and Jackson Wall; defensemen Justin Hutchison, Keith Johnson, Kyra Mittendorf, Andrew Olkoski, Matthew Seifert and Taylor Swanson; and goalies Chase Ebeyer and Aaron Mittendorf. Assistant coaches are John Eby, David Hutchison and Marc Membrila and team manager is Jonathan Olkoski. Even in dropping the Coyotes Cup final to Flagstaff on Dec. 31, Sehring said his team found positives. “It showed us that when we work together as a team, we can accomplish great things and that even though we did not win it all, we still competed and played really well,” said Sehring. “This will help motivate the group for the remainder of the season and show how hard you have to work if you want to accomplish your goals.”

THE WHYTE STUFF The hockey rule book should be black and white, no gray R ecently, I was coaching in a local tournament here in Arizona where a very controversial call was made that put my team in a difficult position. We ended up losing the game, but it was not the ofWhyte ficials’ fault. Our loss was due to blowing a two-goal lead, which was clearly on a few key mental breakdowns. This column, however, is to address the inconsistency in one rule that should be considered black and white. In layman’s terms, here is the game situation: Our team was down by a goal. We pulled our goalie late in the game to attempt to score the tying goal. The puck was in our own end and one of our players cleared it to the neutral zone. As the opposing defenseman retrieved the puck at his own blue line, his teammate yelled “empty net.” He spun around and shot the puck the over ev-

eryone’s head and into the empty net. They still had two players in our zone, which would make it off-side and the goal nullified. The linesman immediately blew the whistle and waved the goal off, which was the right call. I yelled from the bench that the faceoff should be in the other team’s end, due to a player intentionally shooting a puck on net when he still has players in our zone, as that is the rule. The officials ruled that the faceoff would be in the neutral zone where the player shot the puck. When I finally got the referee’s attention and explained the rule, he conversed with his linesmen. He told me that the player didn’t intentionally shoot the puck at the net, which meant the faceoff would be in the neutral zone. If the player would have missed the net, it would have been icing, and the faceoff would be in their own end. If we had a goalie in the net, and he had to make a save, it would have been blown down instantly, and there should be a faceoff in the opposing zone. So why is it that when we pull the goalie, it is not considered intentional? Conversely, later that day during our second game, we had the same incident occur. This time, our goalie was still in the net, and when the opposing player shot the puck down the ice and on our net, they still had players in our zone.

The linesman blew his whistle for the off-side and motioned his arm, indicating that the faceoff would be in the opposing team’s end. Less than 10 hours later, the interpretation of the rule had changed. Rules like this, and there are countless others, have too much gray in them. The more we can establish definitive parameters in our rule book, the smoother games will be played out. I fully understand that being an official is a difficult task; I was one for years. Knowing the rules and reacting in an instant can be tricky, but once the call is made and a discussion is had, the rule should be enforced accordingly. The fact that these officials ignored the details and continued with the wrong call is where the frustration creeps in. Once again, this column is not to say that we lost because of officiating. It is merely attempting to shine light on the necessity to find consistency in the determination of the rules USA Hockey deems we play by. Hockey is a game of mistakes made by everyone, including players, coaches and officials. The more we continue to be educated and dedicated to making this sport a better game, the more it will grow and be enjoyed by many. The more black and white we can make it, the better the game will be.

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



Tahoe Hockey Academy: What a difference a year makes By Greg Ball


he beginning of a new year is a time when most people make resolutions to improve in the year ahead while reflecting on what they have achieved in the previous 12 months. The staff at the Tahoe Hockey Academy (THA), although off to a great start in its inaugural season and school year, is hard at work putting together plans for its 2017 recruiting class. “Our goal right now is to continue establishing an awareness about our brand and also introduce ourselves to student-athletes who could benefit from what Tahoe Hockey Academy has to offer,” THA president Leo Fenn said. “At this point last year, we were nothing more than an idea, a concept of what could be. To see where we are now is a testament to the hard work and support of our staff, parents and players.” Unlike most club teams or even high school teams in California, Tahoe Hockey Academy is a full-time resident academy that focuses on both academics and athletics. “I grew up playing hockey in Southern California, and up until this past year there were zero options for a California player to attend a resident hockey prep school locally,” associate coach Chris Collins said. “To be a part of the Tahoe Hockey Academy, where we provide the daily development and instruction needed to advance our players’ games, shows just how far hockey has grown over the last 10 years.” With that growth comes additional expectations.

Tahoe Hockey Academy is paving the way as the first school of its kind in the state. “We want to evolve and continue to find the best ways to help our student-athletes advance,” Fenn said. “We want to make sure that 2017 is better than the year before it, so we can continue to provide the best experience possible for our students.” If past achievements are any indication of what the

Players at the Tahoe Hockey Academy are not only excelling on the ice in the program’s inaugural season, but progress on the academic side is also a positive for THA. Photo/Joe Naber

future holds for the staff in Tahoe, then 2017 is already shaping up to be a promising season. “We have some unfinished business so far from the 2016 season with the WPHL Championships this month, the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League playoffs and various tournaments, so we’re focused on


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preparing our teams to compete,” Collins said. “We also understand that it’s the relationships we establish, and the communications we set up with potential prospects, that will allow us to continue to build our program. We’ve performed well in our league as well as the showcases we’ve attended, so that’s a great way to show potential prospects what Tahoe Hockey Academy can offer.” As the staff turns its attention to the class of 2017, THA has a busy schedule ahead. “The model works - we’re a development-first type of program that offers our athletes up to 10 hours of ice each week while providing a dedicated academic environment,” Fenn said. “The program isn’t for everyone, as it does take a dedicated and self-driven student-athlete to succeed, but the proof is in our improvement on the ice as well as in the classroom, as each of our players have increased their overall GPA since Day 1.” The early part of 2017 will see THA off to Colorado, the University of Notre Dame and many points in between. Then it’s summer camps, prospect tournaments and showcases while the staff hits the trail looking for the right players for the program. “It’s an exciting time of year to meet new prospects and parents to discuss the possibilities for 2017,” Fenn said. “In the end, we’re hockey people, but we’re also parents who understand the rigors of travel hockey and the social dynamics of being in high school.” With one foot in the present and another in the future, THA continues to make positive strides in establishing itself locally and nationally.


One Step Bobcats program ‘built on a wing and a prayer’ and Justin Rogers at AZ Ice have donated regular ice time as well. Plenty of others have contributed to the cause – too here’s something amazing happening in the Arizona many to name. hockey community, and it’s giving some athletes a chance to experience the sport for the first time. “The idea of a special needs hockey team has really The One Step Bobcats is a first-year program for spebrought the entire hockey community together to share cial needs kids and adults, and is the first program of its the game we all love,” Dawn Proefrock said. “It all came kind in the Phoenix area that allows those with intellectual together so fast because of all of the love and support that disabilities to play the game. Earlier this year, the program we have had from our amazing hockey community.” was just an idea in the brains of founders Jared and The One Step Bobcats include approximately 30 Kristin Woosley, but it quickly came to fruition with players that range in age from 20-40, including Seth the support of many in the local hockey community, and Kerns, the 23-year-old son of Rob Kerns. Rob’s four other sons play hockey - two for the Arizona Bobcats just a few months later could already be considered a - and he said the experience of playing hockey with the rousing success. One Step Bobcats has been incredible for Seth. “At One Step Beyond, we are always trying to “We’ve always been around hockey - he has been provide the students with different opportunities and the world’s biggest fan, and now he’s a participant,” helping them discover their passions,” Jared Woosley Kerns said. “Now he’s just one of the boys. He looks forsaid. “A lot of our participants are really into hockey. We ward to playing hockey, and he’s come out of his shell a wanted to start a hockey team, and we thought ‘Why little. It’s great physically and emotionally for all of them.” not?’ Justin Rogers volunteers his time and works with One Step Bobcats “I have seen so much growth in each and every “This has definitely lived up to my expectations. I’m players on a shooting drill recently at AZ Ice Peoria. player since we began this journey,” Proefrock added. thrilled that we’re able to showcase these individuals’ abilities, rather than focusing on their disabilities.” of hockey Ron Filion supplied game jerseys, warmup jer- “There’s a light that shines brighter in every One Step BobThe One Step Bobcats were founded by Woosley - a seys, breezer shells and socks. New sticks came in from cats hockey player - their smiles are bigger each day, and hockey player and former musician turned music teacher the the Cactus Cup, and a delivery of stick tape, water their confidence has soared. They have had the chance to at the Glendale branch of One Step Beyond, a non-profit bottles, skate sharpenings, CCM hats and a puck bag full do something that few special needs people ever have the organization offering comprehensive programs for adults of pucks came from Randy Exelby at Behind The Mask. opportunity to try, and they take it very seriously. “This team was built on a wing and a prayer. It belongs with intellectual disabilities in Arizona and California - along Matt Shott from the Arizona Coyotes reached out to offer with his wife, longtime friend and hockey teammate Dawn brand-new hockey gear, customized Coyotes jerseys and to all of us, and it will take continuous support on and off Proefrock and her son Caden, and Rob Kerns, the di- perhaps most important, ice time at Gila River Arena. Jim the ice to keep it going.” By Greg Ball


rector of player promotion for the Arizona Bobcats, and his wife Karen. The One Step Bobcats are registered with the American Special Hockey Association and are on the ice for practice or games two days a week, mostly at AZ Ice in Peoria. Dawn Proefrock said that when she, Woosley and Kerns began reaching out to their local hockey contacts for support, the response was overwhelming. Arcadia Ice donated equipment and Bobcats director


Mainland Tournament features unique Canada-USA Showcase By Greg Ball


he concept went over so well last year that tournament organizers couldn’t possibly not bring it back, and they decided to one-up themselves in 2017 by expanding it to a second division this year. The Canada vs. USA Showcase was the highlight of last year’s Mainland Tournament, and it is expected to be even more of a draw this year. “It was fantastic last year - the teams loved it, and the kids thought it was amazing,” said Chris Herie, the tournament director now in his seventh year running the Mainland Tournament, which celebrates its 23rd year this spring. “They really loved representing their countries in the championship game.” The concept started with the Pee Wee Major level last year, and will also include the Pee Wee Minor division this year. The winning team from the Canadian pool and the winning team from the American pool in those two divisions will square off Sunday in a pair of games that make up the Canada vs. USA Showcase. Best of all, teams will be outfitted in their country’s jerseys, pants shells and socks, and players will take home the entire kit at the end of the tournament. Herie said the showcase was a big motivating factor for players and teams last year, and he’ll consider adding more divisions to the showcase in future years. “We do it right – we announce the players’ names over the public-address system, play the national anthems and all that stuff,” Herie said. “I think this will be the niche that makes our tournament unique going 14

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forward.” The Mainland Tournament will be held April 7-9 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Coaches can register their teams at, and Herie emphasized that while all divisions are still open, they will fill up fast. There are divisions for Novice Minor (2009 birth year), Novice Major (2008), Atom Minor (2007), Atom Major (2006), Pee Wee Minor (2005), Pee Wee Major (2004), Bantam Minor (2003), Bantam Major (2002) and Midget (1999-2001). Herie said he expects to

goes home with a tournament gift that’s a keepsake of their trip to Vancouver. Every team is guaranteed at least four games, and with so many divisions, a majority of the teams will be playing for something on Sunday. The tournament will be hosted by Planet Ice Delta, and some games may be played at the Richmond Ice Center. Herie said the easy part of his job is getting Canadian teams to register. It’s a little harder to get U.S. teams to travel to Vancouver, but he makes a big push every year in Arizona and New Mexico, partly because they’re close geographically, but also because there is so much good youth hockey being played in those states. “We usually have a good contingent of teams from Seattle and other parts of Washington,” Herie said. “The makeup of our tournament is usually about 80 percent Canadian and 20 percent U.S. I’m hoping that by creating this showcase event, we’re giving U.S. teams a little extra motivation to want to come north of the border and play in our event. The have between 50 and Nine divisions highlight the 23rd annual Mainland Tourna- chance to represent their country a premier showcase event this April that takes place and be outfitted in their country’s 60 teams registered in ment, in Vancouver, British Columbia. gear is something that I think will attract more teams. the nine divisions. One of the things that players, coaches and parents “One of the programs that played in the tournament like so much about the Mainland Tournament is how for the first time in 2016 - Compete Hockey out of Spowell the staff treats its visitors. In addition to champi- kane, Wash. - brought two teams last year and have deonship trophies for each division, there are first-place cided to bring seven this season. Their team made it to medallions and runner-up medallions, and every player the showcase, and their players were just ecstatic.”


Half-dozen champions highlight IHAAZ Havasu F2 Festival By Brian Lester


two-hour rain delay on Saturday didn’t dampen the spirits of the players competing in the Havasu F2 Festival Jan. 6-8 in Havasu. Six champions were crowned at the end of the thrilling weekend. Prescott won the 8U title with a shutout win over the Knighthawks. The Knighthawks won the 10U bracket, knocking off the Jr. Wildcats 7-3, and the Yuma Blaze won the 12U championship. In the 14U A division, the AZ Royals won it all, topping the Knighthawks 8-0, while the Yuma Blaze won the 14U B division, defeating the Jr. Wildcats 9-6. The AZ Royals Blue squad won the highly-contested Midget division title with a 1-0 win over Yuma. The Prescott Storm’s Rylee Hobson was the MVP of the 8U tourney after tallying six goals and two assists and Adian Mullarkey of the Jr. Wildcats was named the top goalie. He tallied 50 saves. The Knighthawks’ Landon Jans was tabbed the top offensive player, scoring seven goals and dishing out three assists. Brody Amon of the Yuma Blaze was named the top defensive player. Havasu goalie Dylan Foster turned in an impressive performance as well, making 29 saves. In the 10U division Brandon Gorzynski of the Knighthawks earned MVP honors, racking up 10 goals and five assists. Teammate Reece Curry was named the top goalie, making 10 saves.

Reed Rooke of the Dust Devils was the top offensive championship teams over the weekend. The Blaze’s Jackson Gebhart came home with MVP player, scoring eight goals and an assist, and Cole Gebhart of the Blaze was named the best defensive player. honors in the 14U B division as he made 44 saves. Rachel Crabb of Havasu had a great showing, scoring Jeremy Fleming from the Prescott Storm was the top goalie, coming up with 49 saves, and Kelton Chadtwo goals and three assists. Trevor DiCori of the Blaze was the MVP of the 12U wick of the Jr. Wildcats was named the top offensive division, tallying four goals and four assists. Tatum Proud player. He scored nine goals and dished out four assists. Brandon Spitz of the Dust Devils was the division’s of the LadyHawks captured top goalie honors (92 saves) and Cole Gebhart of the Yuma Blaze was the top offen- best defensive player and Lucas Mertes of the Jr. Wildcats earned the distinction of feasive player (six goals, one assist). tured player after racking up 29 The Knighthawks’ Zac Proud saves. was the top defensive player of his division and Carter RobinTwo Royals Blues players son of the Storm came through took home honors in the Midget division, with Joshua Thies with a goal and an assist to earn being named MVP and Garrett featured player honors in the tourRuby earning top goalie honors. nament. Thies scored five goals and Oren Strohm of the Royals tallied two assists to lead the ofearned MVP honors of the 14U A fensive attack for the AZ Royals division as he came through with Blue and Ruby finished with 38 three goals and six assists and saves in goal. teammate Dylan Sharkey was Knighthawks (white jersey) and Yuma Blaze (red) Prescott’s Griffin Sherthe top goalie. He racked up 29 The battled in the 10U division finals at the IHAAZ festival wood was the top offensive playsaves. on Jan. 7 with the Knighthawks coming out victorious. Royals standout Brad Carer and Miguel Cazares from penter was named the top defensive player and Ethan Yuma was the top defensive player. Sherwood finished Centa was named the top offensive player. He finished his weekend with a goal and two assists. the weekend with two goals and an assist. AZ Royals White standout Cody Case shined over Tatum Proud of the Knighthawks was phenomenal in the weekend, punching in three goals and dishing out an goal, racking up 57 saves as she ended up as part of two assist.


Cunningham survives heart attack, playing career over By Phillip Brents


he Tucson Roadrunners’ inaugural American Hockey League season has taken many turns since its season opening 5-3 loss to the San Diego Gulls on Oct. 14, including some unexpected ones. The team underwent a traumatic event on Nov. 19 when team captain Craig Cunningham, who scored the first goal in team history, collapsed on the ice just moments prior to the start of the Roadrunners’ game against the visiting Manitoba Moose. As Cunningham lay motionless on the ice, it was apparent to everyone in attendance that a medical emergency was in progress. It is now known that Cunningham, just 26, suffered a heart attack, though why he collapsed remains a mystery to doctors. Fortunately, things came together in the right order – and in expedient fashion – to save Cunningham’s life. The doctors who treated him over his month-long stay in the hospital remain amazed by his recovery; some might even call it miraculous. Cunningham’s pro hockey playing career is likely over following the amputation of part of his left leg on Christmas Eve due to a lingering infection. The British Columbia native had progressed to the point where he had been scheduled to be released from the hospital prior to Christmas until further complications arose. But Cunningham, originally a fourth-round pick (97th overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL Draft, would rather focus on his new lease on life. Despite the loss of part of the leg, Cunningham remains positive, just grateful that he had defied death. “I’m lucky I’m not 10 feet under,” he said. Following emergency CPR administered while he 16

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was still on the ice, Cunningham was transported to at Banner, to every single nurse that has helped me Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital where he underwent so far,” he said. “If I could actually use some names, further lifesaving procedures. Still in critical condition from St. Mary’s, Dr. George and Dr. Reza, and from and his heart bruised by compression techniques, Cun- Banner Hospital, Dr. Khalpey, Dr. Hughes and Dr. ningham was then transported to Banner-University Yankis. Without those five people, our trainer, DeMedical Center Tucson where ven, and the fire department, I he received advanced life-savdon’t think I’d be here today, so ing therapy using ECMO thank you.” (extracorporeal membrane He acknowledged the wide oxygenation), a specialized support from the hockey comexternal heart-lung procedure munity as being instrumental in for patients who are unable to the recovery process. sustain cardiac and respiratory “It feels good, any time support. you can get some extra supThe ECMO procedure was port and some extra help from considered radical, but with other people, it makes a big very few options available, difference,” he explained. “It’s Cunningham’s mother, Heathnice to know that people are er, who saw her son collapse reaching out to try and help you on the ice, gave the OK. through tough times.” The application of extraorThe event has served to dinary measures did indeed bring the city of Tucson closer save Cunningham’s life. After to the team. People now know recovering to the point of being who the Roadrunners are as able to leave his hospital room, Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham’s fans embraced the new franhe gathered together with his heart attack in November and subsequent leg ampu- chise to share in its battle to surgery means he’s done on the ice, but he will mother and the doctors who tation overcome tragedy. remain Tucson’s captain the rest of this season. Photo/ saved his life for a press con- Phillip Brents Cunningham remains on ference Dec. 21 at Banner. the road to recovery and made a surprise visit to the Cunningham’s first order of business was to thank team prior to the Roadrunners’ Jan. 14 home game those who have supported his recovery, including staff against the Texas Stars, a 3-2 Tucson win. at both hospitals, emergency personnel at the arena, “Everyone was really excited to see him in the lockteam staff, teammates and fans. er room,” Tucson forward Hunter Fejes explained. “I want to thank everyone, from the fire department “He’s our captain and he’ll be our captain for the rest to our trainers to the doctors at St. Mary’s, the doctors of the year.”


Mission AZ 18U Red’s Thorsen a true throwback on the ice By Greg Ball


imitri Thorsen was born in Russia and learned to skate in Michigan, but he has truly grown up with the Mission AZ hockey program. Thorsen is a standout 6-foot-2 defenseman on Mission AZ’s 18U Red team, and has honed his skills on the ice wearing a Mission sweater since he was 11 years old as a Pee Wee. He said playing for Mission teams all these years has been a tremendous experience all around. “Everyone says it, but the thing that makes Mission special is the brotherhood,” Thorsen said. “Everyone comes together, and it’s about the bigger picture - it’s not just about you. It has been a great experience.” For Jeremy Goltz, Mission AZ’s director of hockey operations, it has been an honor watching Thorsen’s development throughout his years with Mission. Nothing makes Goltz more proud than seeing a kid enter his program at a young age and playing through his age 18 season. While he enjoys seeing them improve their hockey skills and get better on the ice, he’s also a big believer that kids who stick with the Mission program develop into young men of strong character as well. “I have literally watched ‘Demo’ grow up in front of my eyes, having coached him for seven years now,” said Goltz. “He is what I call ‘our last pure warrior’ not only referring to his play on the ice, but also his mental toughness along the journey.”

Thorsen described his many years playing with Mis- pionship, and I decided that something needed to be sion AZ as having shaped him in a number of positive different,” Thorsen said. ways, both on and off the ice. The competitive level, Added Goltz: “His work ethic is one of the best I along with the support and guidance of the coaches have seen, as he puts in the extra hours every week to he has had along the way, have been big reasons for make sure he is continually improving. I want nothing him to stick with the program. more for him than to create an opportunity for him to “Being part of the Mission play in a national tournament beprogram prepares you for life before his time with Mission AZ is yond the hockey rink,” he said. done.” “It helps you prepare to fight To that end, Thorsen is hopethrough things if something’s not ful that he and his teammates going your way. As far as hockey can continue improving and play goes, I think we’ve all benefited well when it counts down the as individual players and as a stretch this season. They have team by traveling to other states performed well in state, but so and playing against really comfar, haven’t yet achieved the repetitive teams. That has really sults they want when traveling given us a different perspective across state lines. on the game and has helped us While his focus now is on winning as many games as improve.” possible with his Mission teamThorsen said that only a Dimitri Thorsen wants to pursue junior hockey and few years ago, he considered college hockey after this season, one that is see- mates, Thorsen is hoping to play himself just average in terms of ing his round out his game with the Mission AZ juniors next season and parlay that into a college hockey catoughness on the ice. He knew program’s 18U Red squad. he had to improve in that area if he wanted to have a reer. Goltz is certainly rooting for that, but for the next chance to play at a higher level, so has made sure to couple months, will enjoy watching Thorsen skate for focus on that every time he laced up his skates. The the red and white. “He is a throwback in both attitude and mentality, approach applies not just to physical toughness, but and I have a ton of respect for this young man,” Goltz mental discipline. “It was the summer after we lost in the state cham- said.

MISSION STATEMENT Let’s keep hockey pure and put our egos, agendas aside O K, folks, this time of year always brings this topic to the forefront for me, as I start to take a look at our tier teams and how they are match up in our state’s quest to get our second national championship ever. First of all, I Goltz continue to hope and push that this is the actual goal for our hockey community. It is as much about achieving the goal as it is keeping in perspective that this game is still truly a team sport. I have always said that team success, as the priority, will translate into not only individual opportunity, but more importantly, keep the lessons and all the tools that a proper team first approach can teach our young players skills to be successful human beings. I still see so much focus on individual promotion, improper labeling to appease egos, and a lack of emphasis on team goals. To illustrate my point, I would like to use our

16U level as my example. We currently have four AAA 16U teams (two 15U, two 16U), seven 16U AA and a handful of A teams in our state. With 70-80 players at a AAA label, what we are doing is thinning out our talent pool from the very top and the trickle-down effect is a watered-down AAA product, a thinned-out AA talent pool, and a handful of players who want travel experience rather than just the high school experience. I have a few suggestions to help reset this effect and refocus our priorities on our state and team success. • A unified AAA program, where we might have 20 kids who are truly at this level. • A renewed focus on AA and our state’s realistic opportunity to really make a push nationally as we deepen this pool of talent to compete with stronger, unified states who are realistic about where their kids truly are. We used to have deeper, stronger teams who took pride at this level – that needs to be a focus again. • Refereeing needs to have a more consistent approach across the Valley so our teams can have a unified standard that mirrors national standards so our kids have a consistent mentality to each game. • I am focused on an older level, but the mindset needs to change at younger levels and labeling.

We can’t have AAA Squirt teams that are playing at the same level as A-B teams. The state needs to step in and stop this mindset and propaganda early so folks can start to refocus less on letters and more on the actual team play and level. I also think a few good steps have been made with our in-town league, for example. It is far from perfect, but it is helping folks see a little more proper perspective when A teams are beating AA and AAA labeled teams by the organization. The reality labels are more for marketing and less about the actual team level. I also see a best-of-three at the AA level – a great step by the state as an effort to get the best and most consistent team to represent our state at these national events. The key to any success is a deeper, more consistent team that can put together 15 periods of hockey in a four-day span. If you aren’t at that level, you will eventually be exposed by this much hockey. I hope organizations will refocus on how team success is, in reality, the sacrificing of egos and personal agendas for a common goal. That has been the essence of this great sport and with that as our guiding light. With that look in the mirror and refocus, things will start to get back to where they need to be if folks are truly honest and pure to this great game.

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


Arizona teams rolling as AIHL season hits halfway point together, so it wasn’t a bad first weekend for them,” Dodt explained. “The Elite team had a short bench he American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) the first day, but a fuller bench the second day. The reached the midpoint of its 2016-17 season fol- Minor team also played with a short bench. It was lowing its Jan. 7-8 regular season event at the Las close to the holidays, plus colleges having finals Vegas Roller Hockey Center. made travel tough for both teams.” Regular season events follow March 4-5 in PeoKevin Mooney led the Outcast Elite squad with ria and April 14-15 at The four goals and nine assists afRinks-Irvine Inline in Califorter the first tournament, while nia. Ryan Cotton (two goals, The Arizona Outcasts three assists) paced the team topped a very competitive field with two game-winning goals. in the four-team Elite Division In the cage, Taylor Clay postwith a 4-1 start following the ed a 4-1 record with a 3.80 season opening event Dec. goals-against average and a 10-11 in Irvine. The OC Rock.800 save percentage. et Flex followed with a 3-1-0Zach Medlock led the 1 record (three wins, one loss Outcasts Minor team with and one overtime loss) while four goals and six assists, Las Vegas Aces were 3-2 and while teammate Andrew the Arizona Ghostriders were Stacy (four goals, four as0-5. sists) chipped in with two In the seven-team Minor Digame-winners. Connor vision, the Mavin Outlaws led McShane backstopped the the field with a 4-1 record, folteam between the pipes with Lyndsey Fry lowed by the OC Rocket Flex a 4.93 GAA and a .807 save Green (3-1), OC Rocket Flex Blue (2-1), Arizona percentage. Ghostriders (2-2), Arizona Outcasts (2-3), Arizona Zach Clawson topped the Ghostriders’ Elite Lady Ghostriders (1-3) and Las Vegas Aces Blue team with three goals, while Justin Hauver paced (1-4). the Ghostriders’ Minor men’s team with five goals. Outcasts player spokesman Alex Dodt termed The most notable news to come out of the openit a good showing for the program’s two teams. ing event was the performance of the Arizona Lady “There are some real good teams in the Minor Ghostriders, a women’s team competing against Division and our group of guys don’t all ever play men’s teams. By Phillip Brents


The Lady Ghostriders made history – or should that be herstory? – when they became the first women’s team in league history to win a game against a men’s team in a regular-season event. The Arizona team, stocked with some of the top names in women’s inline hockey, faced off the regular-season event with a 7-2 setback to the OC Rocket Flex Blue. But the Lady Ghostriders promptly entered their name in the history books by defeating the Las Vegas Aces Blue 5-4 in their next game. Olympic silver medalist and Chandler native Lyndsey Fry led the Lady Ghostriders with two goals and one assist in the game, while Team USA veteran Joy Garvey added one goal, as did Maccareena Aragones and Melissa Fiskin. Fiskin scored the game-winning goal. Sam Wolfson stopped 15 of 19 shots to pick up the victory. The Lady Ghostriders were outscored 25-11 in the four games, but still made a statement. “Our Lady Ghostriders team is making history by being the only women’s team to compete in the AIHL,” Arizona Ghostriders head coach John Marr said. “They earned the respect of many players and showed everyone they are here to play. By what we are doing, we hope to encourage others to organize their own women’s AIHL teams.” Fry picked up two goals and three assists in the four games to lead the Lady Ghostriders in team scoring. Garvey was right behind with three goals and one assist. Aragones and Brooke Blaylock each scored two goals in the four games and Wolfson finished 1-2 with a 6.00 GAA and a .775 save percentage.

NEW MEXICO REPORT Albuquerque’s Molina making New Mexico Warriors’ Pee Wees waves with NCAA D-III Amherst take second at Silver Stick By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



risten Molina realizes she’s the lone female playing women’s NCAA hockey. She wishes she wasn’t. “It’s pretty fun that I can say I’m the only female from New Mexico to be playing hockey at the NCAA level, but at the same time, I wish I wasn’t able to say it,” said Molina, a junior defenseman and economics major at NCAA Division III Amherst (Mass.) College (NESCAC). “I would love to see ice hockey in New Mexico progress so that there would be more players, male and female, reaching the collegiate level. And while not having much access to high quality coaching and training is an issue, I also think many hockey players in New Mexico are simply unaware of the caliber of hockey in other states and how it’s necessary to compete at that level to have a chance of playing in college.” For Molina, an Albuquerque native, she prepped at the Albuquerque Academy and then spent a postgraduate year at the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y. Along with inline hockey, Molina played for the Cibola High School team and during her junior and senior years, practiced with the New Mexico Storm 18U A team. She also played for the VOSHA Lady Coyotes program from eighth through tenth grade and the Colorado Tigers in Colorado Springs her junior and senior years. Overcoming hurdles in her youth also helped Molina get to play the college game. “To be honest, most of the hurdles that stood in my way growing up were ones that my parents overcame for me,” said Molina. “I was fortunate my mother’s job permitted her to spend Fridays driving to Arizona or Colorado for weekend practices, and my father was always happy to supply “dadvice” (or just coaching as he would rather me say) on the mental aspects of competing and staying disciplined. “Because there was nothing I’d rather do than play hockey, committing my summers and spare time to the sport never felt like a sacrifice or obstacle, and I think that helped me achieve my goal of playing in college.” 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

inning a silver medal is an accomplishment, but obviously, not the ultimate goal. The New Mexico Warriors’ Pee Wee team that traveled to Pelham, Ont. (just outside Toronto) to play in the International Silver Stick Finals finished second for the second straight year – nothing to be upset about, according to coach Brian Barnes. “Our organization provides competitive opportunities for our players that rec programs simply cannot,” Barnes said. “Going to Canada and competing against teams of that caliber is invaluable for our players. Getting to compete with teams from across North America allows us to really see how we stack up. Going to Silver Stick, we played several Canadian teams and a team from Philadelphia and every game was competitive. That shows us that we are doing the right things with these kids and that is a very rewarding feeling. “We spent time in buildings that have more sheets of ice in them than we do in our whole state. When you look at in those terms, these kids were amazing. Trying new chocolate bars and stocking up on ketchup chips was a lot of fun for everyone.” In the championship finals Jan. 8, the Warriors fell 2-0 to the Strathroy (Ont.) Jr. Rockets. The Warriors’ Pee Wee team is comprised of forwards Travis Arguello, Cashton Barnes, Coulter Barnes, Taylor Hartinger, Luc Kibodeaux, Max Kofcher, Hunter Tafoya, Aaron Thomas and Charlie Young; defensemen Seth Darreman, Zane Irion (also plays forward), Scott MacGillivery, Jonathan Onkin and Gavin Richards (also plays forward); and goalies Harrison Coe, Mathias Sizov and Sean Terrel. Barnes is joined on the bench by Vladimir Hartinger and the team manager is Derek Irion. Barnes has been impressed with his team to this point and expects the Warriors to keep improving. “This team is pretty scrappy,” said Barnes. “We have kids who are on the opposition quickly. I think we are tough to play against for that reason. We take away time and space and every kid plays with a lot of heart. I love that and that is something I can’t really coach into them. They just have it.”

Doan sees in-state youth hockey growth as ‘exciting’ By Mark Brown


f there is an individual who keeps his one eye on the rink and the other in the community, it’s Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan. Now in his 20th NHL season, Doan has amassed all offensive records in franchise history. At the same time, he keeps an invaluable eye on development and rise of youth hockey in Arizona. Committed by his own passion to the game and the progress of teams in the area, Doan’s eye on this window is unique. Over the two decades of skating in the desert, Doan has witnessed the growth of youth hockey to a certain extent that he, among others, is not clearly certain as to the trajectory. One estimate shows that by the end of 2015, 7329 youth players were registered. That represented a growth of 50 percent from the previous count in 2012. These numbers are based on registration figures compiled by USA Hockey. “Starting in the beginning here in the Valley, there were only two rinks with ice,” Doan said. “Now, there’s six used with any regularity. The Ice Den in Scottsdale is one of the premier buildings in North America. The amount of people playing there has drastically grown. It’s been going for about 20 years and you’re starting to see the fruit of 20 years. It’s exciting.” Doan estimates the number of youth playing in the greater Phoenix area is about eight to 10 times the number of players from when he arrived. Playing with the old Winnipeg Jets in their final season in Canada before transferring the fran-

chise to Phoenix, Doan remains in a unique posi- na can certainly be proud.” tion to monitor success. Aside from his observation, Doan is a handsWhile the number of those registered remains on dad and a principal promoter of youth hockimpressive, the move of the Coyotes from the tun- ey. His 14-year-old son, Josh, is playing on one dra of Canada to the Valley of the Sun clearly pre- of two Arizona teams vying for the Cactus Cup cipitated growth. Now with the NHL moving into tournament held at the Ice Den Scottsdale and Las Vegas next season, Doan said he expects a Oceanside in Tempe this month. similar spurt in youth hockey While winning tournain neighboring Nevada. ments of this nature would One by-product of this be gratifying, the fact that growth is the development of teams from Arizona are now players like Scottsdale native in a conversation with teams Auston Matthews. After his throughout North America four-goal opening night effort says something exclusive and selection to the 2017 about the caliber of play and NHL All-Star Game, Matcommitment. thews clearly lived up to the “You want to make the expectation of being the No. state of Arizona one of the 1 pick overall in last June’s top states in the country for draft. While the youth hockey youth hockey,” he said. “A programs remain ambitious program which would be in and determined to move forthe 10th, 15th in the nation. ward, Matthews represents Yes, likely the end result of a a unique and gifted hockey competitive program. During player. a good year, you would have “I don’t think there are Longtime Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan ar- a chance to go to nationals many players like Auston rived in Phoenix for the 1996-97 NHL season and and do well. If you’re able to Matthews coming out of any- has not only seen the NHL grow in the desert, but do that, this brings everyone the youth game as well. Photo/Getty Images where,” Doan said. “There’s a else along with it.” reason why he’s so effective. The chance you’ll While all the pieces would be in place for suchave another one like him is pretty remote, but cess, Doan adds, it’s the nature of winning which I think the ability to produce professional hock- spurs the growth. Winning is exciting, winning ey players is here. There’s definitely opportunity gets people involved and winning clearly repcoming up and that’s something as a state, Arizo- resents a catalyst for growth and expansion.

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 NCAA DIVISION III – MEN COMMONWEALTH Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Alec Mono – Curry College & Hector Majul – Curry College ! MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Massachusetts-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 Trey Bagwell (Tempe) – Wenatchee Wild 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 Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings 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 NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Bessee (Globe) – Helena Bighorns Kevin Bird (Glendale) – Glacier Nationals Malachi Bushey (Tucson) – Great Falls Americans Eddie Cannon (Glendale) – Syracuse Stampede Trevor Checketts (Peoria) – Great Falls Americans Hunter Feagins (Surprise) – Gillette Wild

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Goalie school to BTM: Amazing how fast the time flies by A

fter graduating from Lake Superior State University in 1987, I decided that I wanted to start a goalie school. I rented ice once a week at Weston Lions Arena in Toronto and bought a puck shooting machine (one that would later Exelby be famous). All I needed to do was put up a couple posters and the goalies would come. I arrived at the rink a couple hours before the first session of what was then called the Randy Exelby Goalie School. I waited and waited until my first and only goalie showed up. So here I was with a puck shooting machine and an hour and a half of ice time rented – to have one goalie show. A little discouraged by my lack of attendance, I hit the area rinks harder, putting up more fliers. By the end of the first summer, I had a better idea that running a goalie school was harder than I thought.

I spent the next winter playing in the American Hockey League for the Sherbrooke Canadiens, the Montreal Canadiens’ farm team. On the long bus rides, I thought of ideas to make my goalie school better. That next summer, I had a steady stream of regular goalies and a few new ones show up to the weekly sessions. I wore full goalie equipment on the ice and demonstrated all the power skating and movement drills. I now brought out college and Junior A shooters. It was starting to look like a goalie school. After another season in the AHL plus five callups to the NHL team, I was ready for my first fullweek camp at Tomkin Twin Rinks in Mississauga, Ont. My family plastered the rinks with goalie school brochures. I had 18 goalies signed up and the camp was a success. One year, I got a call from a parent wanting to sign up his son over the phone. I asked for the student’s name, to which the reply was “Michael Dryden.” Imagine the surprise when Ken Dryden showed up on the first day with his son Michael. On the last day of the school, both Hall of Famer Ken and his NHL goalie brother Dave showed up to watch the school. What a thrill for me and the other goalie school parents. In September of 1989, I was traded by Montreal to the Edmonton Oilers. After playing in a few exhibition games, I was given the choice of going to Cape

Breton in the AHL or to the IHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners. I chose Phoenix. Little did I know that I would retire from hockey here and open Behind the Mask. In 1992, I decided to see if I could run my week-long goalie school in Phoenix. I rented ice at Oceanside and got a record 20 goalies. Each year the school grew, goalies starting coming from out of state to attend. A fond memory was the dryland sessions outside on the hot asphalt. I guess you could call it a character builder. Back to the famous puck shooting machine. I received a call from my good friend Orlando Boni, the manufacturer of the Boni Puck Shooting Machine. It looked like a sitcom wanted to rent my puck shooting machine to use in an episode. I put the machine on a trailer and drove with a couple friends to L.A. The show was Home Improvement. In Feb. 1994, episode 65, my puck shooting machine was given a paint job and new graphics – now called the “Puck Chucker.” It was a classic episode, which included Tim “The Toolman” Taylor stopping shots wearing lawn furniture seat cushions, and ended with Tim souping up the machine that resulted in a puck being shot through the neighbor’s window. Now as we start our registration for the 31st Annual Behind the Mask Goalie School, I look forward to my favorite week of the year. See all you goalies in July!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT During the NHL Centennial Tour in Tempe over the Jan. 7-8 weekend, the NHL donated $5000 to a local “Hockey Is For Everyone” program. The Arizona Coyotes Foundation matched the donation and $10,000 was donated to the One Step Bobcats. Photo/Arizona Coyotes

The Arizona Bobcats claimed the Mite division championship at the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival, which was showcased New Year’s Weekend at the Ice Den Chandler, Ice Den Scottsdale and the Gila River Arena.

The AHSHA Premier team brought home the banner in the 18U division at the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival, which was showcased New Year’s Weekend at the Ice Den Chandler, Ice Den Scottsdale and the Gila River Arena.

Players from the Jr. Coyotes’ 02 Elite team participated in a community service project that included teaching kids how to skate on Dec. 20 at Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Squirt Combo team traveled to Anaheim, Calif., and brought home a Winter Classic tournament championship on Dec. 30.

Longtime Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan poses with the puck used to score his 400th NHL goal in his 1500th NHL game – all with the Coyotes franchise – on Dec. 23 at the Gila River Arena. Photo/Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi and Scottsdale native Auston Matthews (both middle in suits) pose with various youth hockey players after Matthews’ Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Coyotes 4-1 at the Gila River on Dec. 23. Photo/Arizona Coyotes

In the Pee Wee B division, the Arizona Hockey Union’s Pee Wee Purple squad captured the division title at the AZ Coyotes Cup Holiday Hockey Festival, which was showcased New Year’s Weekend at the Ice Den Chandler, Ice Den Scottsdale and the Gila River Arena.

One Step Bobcats players (from left) Carmen, Carlos, Matt and Chris take in their first Arizona Coyotes game at the Gila River Arena back on Dec. 19.

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Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Toronto, Ont., Canada Acquired: Traded from Toronto Maple Leafs for sixth-round pick in 2018 NHL Draft on Dec. 9, 2016 Drafted: Anaheim Ducks’ first-round pick (15th overall) in 2009 NHL Draft Age: 26 Arizona Rubber: WWhat’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Peter Holland: Tough to boil down to one. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of great memories. Playing minor hockey in the Quebec Pee Wee Tournament stands out. I was a 12-year-old and we won it in front of about 13,000 people. That was pretty special. There are other moments, like representing my country in the World Under-18 Championship and winning a team gold medal. First-round draft pick was special and scoring my first NHL goal (Nov. 11, 2011 vs. Vancouver). These are all very special. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? PH: Probably playing for my hometown team, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. That was a dream come true for me. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? PH: My parents. They tie with coaches for No. 1. I am very thankful for the time they devoted driving me places and the amount of money they put into my development. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? PH: Have fun. I think the minor hockey leagues today are becoming too much like pro hockey and there are too many x’s and o’s. I remember I was younger and we would just go out there, play and let the better team win. Just have fun. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? PH: That’s easy – golf. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? PH: I really don’t have any superstitions. I definitely have rituals, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are superstitions. If I don’t follow my ritual, it’s not going to throw me off or anything like that. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? PH: It’s pretty normal, honestly. I like the morning skate, and get my feet under me. Have chicken and pasta as my pre-game meal, have a nap and get the rink about two hours and 20 minutes before the game. Tape my stick at the same time, warm up, play a little soccer and get ready to play the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? PH: I went to a really great restaurant recently called Grass Roots Kitchen. I’m still new to the area. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? PH: My phone, that’s definitely the No. 1 essential. Make sure I have a tie for game day, and usually like a pair of sweatpants that I can change into during a leisure time. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? PH: Mats Sundin (with the Maple Leafs) Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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



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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