Arizona Rubber Magazine - March 2017

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MARCH 2017


FROM THE EDITOR Home stretch in hockey terms only means the best is yet to come


ach year, mid-March means some look forward to spring break and the seasons changing, while in hockey circles, March means state tournaments and the road to USA Hockey Youth Nationals. That certainly holds true in Arizona and this issue features a slew of teams that will continue to play into April at various locales across the country. To those still playing, be safe, play the game the right way and soak everything in. Enjoy the experience and take the time to embrace the situation. Congratulations to all the teams that have won league, state and district championships and good luck to all teams moving on to national tournaments!

A new twist in the saga of the Arizona Coyotes came to light earlier this month when published reports quoted NHL commissioner Gary Bettman saying that “the Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.” Bettman penned a letter to the Arizona Legislature advocating for Senate Bill 1149, which would establish a public-private partnership for financing a new Coyotes arena in the East Valley or downtown Phoenix. He wants to keep the Coyotes in the Phoenix area but wrote that Glendale “is not economically capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise. “For the past 15 years, a succession of ownership groups and the League have tried everything imaginable to make the Glendale location financially sustainable. Our combined efforts all have yielded the same result -- a consistent economic loss. The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed.” The Glendale City Council in 2015 chose to terminate the Coyotes’ existing 15year lease at Gila River Arena and the sides eventually signed a two-year agreement that expires on June 30. Arizona State University reportedly backed out of a deal with the Coyotes in February that would have seen a new arena built in Tempe.

Matt Mackinder

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Congratulations to the state champion teams that recently captured titles in the Arizona Youth Hockey League! 10U Blue – Chandler Jr. Coyotes 9U 10U White – Mission 10U Red 10U Elite – Jr. Coyotes 10U Elite 12U Blue – Arizona Hockey Union 12U Purple 12U White – Mission 12U Red 12U Red – Jr. Coyotes 12U 12U Elite – Jr. Coyotes 12U Elite 14U White – Arizona Hockey Union 14U Black 14U Red – Desert Youth Hockey Association 14U Combo 16U – AHSHA Premier 16U Well done! Scottsdale native and Jr. Coyotes 18U forward Nathan Burke recently inked a North American Hockey League tender agreement with the Aberdeen Wings. Burke, who played five games for the South Dakota-based Wings during the 201617 season, tallied two goals and an assist in his stints in Aberdeen. With the Jr. Coyotes, Burke posted 11 goals and 37 points in 31 games. Aberdeen’s roster includes a trio of former Jr. Coyotes in Trey Bagwell, Carson Dimoff and Joey Strada. Congrats, Nathan!

For the Arizona Bobcats’ Pee Wee team, the chance last month to play at the prestigious Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament was a rewarding experience, both on and off the ice. More on the trip on Page 16.

In a warm-the-heart story, the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Tucson Roadrunners will host “Cunny Did Night” honoring team captain Craig Cunningham on Saturday, March 25, when they host the San Jose Barracuda at 7:05 p.m. The first 1,500 kids 14 and under will receive a Roadrunners youth jersey. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for a pre-game ceremony that will honor Cunningham, who survived a medical emergency prior to the Roadrunners’ game Nov. 19 thanks to the help of Dr. George Haloftis of Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital-Tucson and Dr. Zain Khalpey of Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. Cunningham, Dr. Haloftis and Dr. Khalpey will together drop the puck prior to the start of the game.

Members of the Jr. Coyotes’ state champion 14U and 15U Tier I teams are pictured back row, from left to right, Ben Eddleblutte (15U), Jacob Poteet (15U), Liam O’Gwen (14U), Riley Stuart (14U) and Coleton Panowyk (14U) and front row, from left to right, Trevor Griebel (15U), Kyan Lakin (15U) and Josh Doan (14U). Photo/Sandra Tenuto

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Arizona players representing state well with U.S. NTDP By Greg Ball


hree players with Arizona ties are making the state proud and helping to continue reinforcing the notion that great hockey players can come from a warm-weather state. Eric Middendorf, Adam Samuelsson and D.J. King have all found success this season skating for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) Under-17 team in Plymouth, Mich. “These three guys understand that they’re role models and that they represent the USA jersey, and they’re proud to do so,” said Pete Krupsky, the play-by-play voice of the NTDP teams. “They conduct themselves very professionally.” Samuelsson, a 6-foot-5, 222-pound defenseman, came up through the Jr. Coyotes program and played for their Bantam AAA team during the 2013-14 season before moving on to the USPHL and the NTDP. The son of NHL legend and twotime Stanley Cup champion Ulf Samuelsson, he has committed to play at Boston College (Hockey East), where his older brother, Philip, played. Middendorf played for the Jr. Coyotes beginning with the Mite level, first learning to skate at three or four years old, and finished his time with the program by playing with its 16U AAA team last season. A 6-foot, 173-pound left winger, he has committed to the University of Denver (NCHC). King also played most of his youth hockey career with the Jr. Coyotes, before playing with the Mississauga Rebels at the Bantam and Midget levels in Canada the last two seasons. The defenseman, whose father, Derek, played 830 regular-season games in the NHL for the New York Islanders,

Hartford Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. said the transition to playing with the NTDP has Louis Blues, is a solid 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. provided plenty of challenges and has also helped Through early March, Middendorf had played in him improve quickly as a player. 43 games for the NTDP U-17 team, tallying five “It’s been good,” King said. “Coach (Chris) Lugoals and 13 assists. Samuelson was injured early ongo and Coach (Danton) Cole have helped me this season and has played a lot. It’s a really fast-paced just two games and King league. I feel like I’m gethad appeared in 43 games ting a little more comfortand had four assists to his able. At the start of the year name. The team’s 2016it was a bit nerve-wracking 17 schedule runs through coming to the USHL. It April 8. was a big jump from minor “We’re all family here, hockey, but we’re feeling so you can always look to good about what we’re dothe guys on your right or ing this year.” left to help you out,” MidOf course, the most dendorf said. “We’re all famous hockey player to going through the same come out of Arizona rethings. My time with the cently is Auston Matprogram has been unbethews, the No. 1 overall lievable so far, and wearing pick in the 2016 NHL draft, the USA uniform every day and the Arizona players on is amazing. There’s a ton the NTDP Under-17 team of energy and excitement, have been inspired by him. and everyone just wants to “I’ve always looked up get better day by day.” to Auston Matthews, and Added Samuelsson: “It I feel like he’s expanding has always been my dream hockey a lot in Arizona,” to make it to the NTDP. Samuelsson said. “And of I’ve been injured most of Adam Samuelsson has been shelved with an injury much course, I look up to my two the year, but I’ve gotten of this season with the U.S. NTDP, but said “this is truly brothers, Philip and Henrso much support from my where I want to be.” Photo//Rena Laverty/USA Hockey NTDP ik, who played in Arizona. teammates, my coaches and my billet family. This “I hope to become a role model for younger is truly where I want to be.” players in Arizona - that would be a dream come King said during a game broadcast in January true.”


In The Hunt

Jr. Coyotes boast promising future led by ultra-talented 14U, 15U age groups Potvin, who played 16 years of pro hockey with his final stop during the 2009-10 season with the Arizona Sundogs of the now-defunct Central Hockey League, said ften times in sports and especially youth hockey, organizations and associations that last summer when his 14U team was formed that he had a feeling great things put a heavy emphasis on the younger age levels as these players generally prove may happen this season. to be the future of the program. “Absolutely,” said Potvin. “We definitely believed in our boys right from the start. The Jr. Coyotes know this all too well and are big believers in the philosophy. They’re a special group of dedicated and self-motivated young men. It seriously makes With Tier I state championships at the 16U and 18U levels, the Jr. Coyotes also coaching a pleasure, especially when there’s unwavering and tremendous support saw their 14U and 15U squads claim the prestigious banners this season, lending to from the Shane Doan Foundation, the parents and the association. It’s made this an the theory that the 2001 and 2002 birth years are on par with not only top organiza- incredible season.” tions in the state, but on a national basis as well. Another in a long line of former professionals to make Arizona their home, Potvin Next month, the 14U and 15U teams will host the USA Hockey Youth Nationals at said he wasn’t looking to coach, but coaching was looking for him. the Ice Den Scottsdale, among other rinks “It’s funny, but I wasn’t really planin the Metro Phoenix area. ning on coaching – I was actually lookSteve Potvin, the head coach for the ing forward to bringing my boy to the 14U team, has been coaching with the Jr. rink and simply watching or helping out, Coyotes for seven seasons and has seen but I guess that’s what happens many the association grow exponentially over ex-players choose to retire in Arizona and that span. next thing you know, you’re coaching two “You’ll laugh, but we’ve been to tournateams, running skill sessions for the assoments where people used to ask, “Do you ciation and spending countless hours on guys bring players from all over the states the phone trying to support the growth of and just play tournament games together?” hockey in the state,” explained Potvin. or “Do you guys have a real program out With the 14U and 15U age groups, there with a league?” – they used to laugh the players are generally not ready for juat the idea of playing a team from the desnior hockey, but many, if not all, have asert,” said Potvin. “We definitely took our pirations to make that jump when the time share of licks back then, but once the Ice is right. Potvin said he sees a lot of his Den built a third rink, we were able to add players off the 14U team suiting up and skill sessions, private lessons and additionplaying juniors and college puck down the al practice times during the week, which The Jr. Coyotes’ 14U team captured the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association Tier I state championship road. with a best-of-five series win over the Arizona Bobcats. really helped develop our talent. “You know, this is a really talented “The other reason our program degroup of players and there are so many veloped as quickly as it did was the forelevels of junior and college hockey that I sight and hard work of our director Mike truly believe there is a place for each of DeAngelis. Without his vision, determithem,” Potvin said. “They’ve all earned a nation and his relentless work ethic, we spot and they all play an important role on would not be competing nationally in the this team. Honestly, we’re just trying to inprestigious Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.” still good work habits and work ethic, help The Jr. Coyotes’ 15U coach, Jason the kids master their skills through repetiWright, agrees with Potvin on the overall tion, show up on time and be a good teamgrowth of the Jr. Coyotes, known years mate. Simple, yet fundamental life skills.” back as PF Chang’s. He also is excited Wright feels the same way about his about his 15U group this season. 15U group. “I actually came to coach with Jim “The Jr. Coyotes program has been Johnson and the PF Chang’s AAA proone of the biggest influences on his develgram,” Wright said. “The program has opment in the state,” he said. “Just look at grown tremendously and will continue to the wall in the rink and you can see all the grow with all the great hockey people inkids that have moved to the next level. The volved in the program. I have watched our In another best-of-five series, the Jr. Coyotes 15U squad secured the Arizona Amateur Hockey Asso- future is bright for future of hockey in Arizo15U team develop throughout the whole ciation state title by downing the Arizona Bobcats. na and the Jr. Coyotes program. year. Our goal was always to be working “I hope to see all of the kids make it. on the little things day in and day out. I believe the boys have worked tremendously Hockey is such a long-term development sport and it is very hard to pinpoint how many hard and have developed into a competitive team.” will and how many won’t. There are always the ones that surprise you along the road And with the 14U and 15U nation converging on the desert in less than a month as well.” and both teams already earning a berth in the tournament, it’s a win-win situation all Based on what he has seen this season in terms of forward progress, Potvin knows the way around. the future holds many positives for the Jr. Coyotes. “Oh man, it’s a huge step for our association in terms of national representation for “This has definitely been another season of growth,” said Potvin. “Our program is youth hockey,” Potvin said. “It is an absolute honor to be hosting a national event in chock-full of talented players who swept states across the board. We are so fortunate our building. We’ve worked extremely hard to expose our players to the best talent in to have so many dedicated and talented coaches so passionate about the game and order to gain growth and this gives us a great opportunity to grow, except this time, it’s willing to pass their knowledge on to the kids. It’s really unprecedented and the future in our own backyard.” is indeed bright. “Hosting Nationals is huge for hockey in Arizona in general,” added Wright. “With “Just take a look around the lobby. Where else can you be surrounded by so many (former Jr. Coyote and Scottsdale native) Auston Matthews going No. 1 last year former and current NHL players, as well as professional players from Europe and North in the NHL Draft and now Arizona hosting the 14U and 15U national championships, America? Our community might be small, but it’s tight, inclusive and proud to be conthere is a huge spotlight on Arizona and the hockey development here. nected to the Coyotes.” “Everything is about development at this age. Skill, speed, and playmaking ability “I think hockey in general breeds a culture of pride in the jersey that you pull are the biggest factors and helping these kids move towards junior hockey and college over your head and represent,” added Wright. “It is no different at the Jr. Coyotes hockey.” program.”

By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Arizona crowns hard-working trio of Tier II state champs By Matt Mackinder


ate February and early March led to the crowning of three Arizona Amateur Hockey Association state champions at the Tier II level. The Jr. Coyotes team out of Scottsdale claimed the

the championship game to send the Jr. Coyotes to the USA Hockey Youth Nationals from April 6-10 in Coral Springs, Fla. The Scottsdale Jr. Coyotes took after their 14U cohorts with the championship win at the 16U level. The Jr. Coyotes knocked off the Jr. Sun Devils 2-1 on March 7 at AZ Ice Gilbert as Grant O’Neal and Will Josephson scored to back Sean Slavik’s 17 saves in the blue paint. Taking a 2-0 lead into the third period, the Jr. Coyotes held off a late surge from DYHA after Josh Plunkett cut the lead in half late in the period. Jr. Sun Devils goalie Tristan Hadley stopped 30

Arizona Hockey Union and also topped the Jr. Sun Devils and Mission AZ. The 16U Tier II USA Hockey Youth Nationals will be staged in Frisco, Tex., from April 6-10. At the 18U event, held Feb. 28-March 7 at the Arcadia Ice Arena, DYHA upended the Flagstaff North-

The Scottsdale Jr. Coyotes captured the 14U Tier II state championship with a series win over the Jr. Sun Devils.

A thrilling three-game series saw the Jr. Sun Devils win the 18U Tier II state championship over Mission AZ.

14U title, while the Jr. Coyotes, also from Scottsdale, captured the 16U championship and the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils skated away as 18U champions. The 14U tournament, contested from Feb. 28-March 5 at AZ Ice Peoria, saw the Scottsdale club go undefeated with a 5-0 run to the title after preliminary round wins over the Jr. Sun Devils, the Jr. Coyotes 14U team out of Chandler and Mission AZ. In the best-of-three championship series, the Jr. Coyotes and DYHA played two one-goal games, with Scottsdale coming out on top 2-1 in Game 1 and 1-0 in the clinching game. Ben Leshin scored the lone goal and Jonas Hamrin made 21 saves to pick up the win in goal in

stars in the prelims before going to the limit with Mission in the best-of-three finals, winning Game 2 by a 5-1 count and Game 3 in a 7-1 rout after losing 7-5 in the opener. The championship game on March 7 saw Ryan Bonner score three goals and Barrett Rosser make 34 saves to pick up the win between the pipes. Evan Shupe, Devin Most, Anthony Masanotti and Jeffrey Solomon also scored in the win and Turner Stansbury had a pair of assists for DYHA. Emmanuel Malki tallied Mission’s lone goal and goalie Jonathan Dinges stopped 16 shots. The Jr. Sun Devils now travel to Lansing, Mich., for the USA Hockey Youth Nationals from April 6-10.

The 16U Tier II state title was claimed by the Scottsdale Jr. Coyotes after a series win over DYHA.

shots in defeat. After the Jr. Coyotes took a 4-2 win in Game 1 of the best-of-three series, DYHA came back with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 as Andrew Suan was the hero. That set the stage for the thrilling Game 3. In the preliminary round, Scottsdale blanked the



It’s time for spring training with Arizona Hockey Union By Jason Prentice


he Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) has announced its spring development program, which will get players prepared for the 2017-18 team tryouts. Coaching of individual skills and team concepts for hockey players of all ages and skill levels will be prominent this spring, as well as a focus on technique training on forward and backward stride, stopping, starting, turning, puck control, passing and shooting, positional play and game situational drills. It’s the perfect environment to learn and understand while actually doing and discovering. All sessions will be held at AZ Ice Gilbert. Wednesday Sessions 6:20-7:30 p.m. – Mite 7:40-8:50 p.m. – Squirt and Pee Wee 8-9:10 p.m. – Bantam and Midget Sunday Sessions 8:50-10 a.m. – Mite 10:10-11:20 a.m. – Squirt and Pee Wee 11:30-12:40 p.m. – Bantam and Midget Please note that some session times may differ due to rink availability. Please be sure to check the club calendar for exact session times. Mites: Basic Fundamentals: Power skating/technique,

stickhandling, passing, shooting and small-area games. Squirts and Pee Wees: Power skating/technique, stickhandling, passing, shooting, breakouts and body contact introductions (angling defensively, angling skating with puck carrier).

Scott Lundahl and Trevor Wilson, AHU goalie skills coaches • AHU team coaches Punch cards are $150 for six sessions (discounted rate). Individual drop-in skates are $30 per session payable at the door by cash, check or credit card. •

Bantams and Midgets: Power skating/technique, passing, shooting, stickhandling, breakouts, forechecking, zone entry options, checking techniques, offensive and defensive situation game-play. Goaltenders: AHU goalie coaches will be out at all Wednesday sessions to work on goaltender skills as on-ice goaltender training is designed to improve player’s agility, coordination, stance, technique and concentration. Emphasis is placed upon the proper technique for covering angles and the importance of correct position in the net. Sunday will focus on game situations. • • •

Sessions will be directed by: Colten St. Clair, AHU skills coach Kurt Goar, AHU coach-in-chief Holly Harrington, AHU power skating director

Training starts Tuesday, April 5, and runs through Tuesday, June 11. • No training Memorial Day Weekend • No training April 28 and April 30 AHU tryouts • Time change on May 3 due to tryouts Punch cards can be purchased online at www.

As WSHL season comes to a close, Knights focus on ’17-18 By Matt Mackinder


he Phoenix Knights finished out of the Thorne Cup Playoffs this season, but coach-GM Mike Bowman is already hard at work to see that doesn’t happen in 2017-18 for his Western States Hockey League club. Bowman was hired late last summer and put together a Knights team in relatively short order. “While the season didn’t go as we’d have liked, we were able to start gathering the resources necessary to put together a successful program longterm,” Bowman said. “Some sacrifices were made for now that will benefit the team and program for years to come. Hopefully, we can build off of the resources we have in place currently to make the upcoming seasons much more competitive and in line with our goals for our players, team and program.” The Knights faced adversity on a regular basis in 2016-17, according to Bowman. “We dealt a lot with a short bench as we had a lot of younger players who couldn’t miss much time from school, and we had injuries throughout the season, which left us shorthanded,” said Bowman. “We also had to deal with some players leaving for some other leagues across the country closer to where they grew up. We did a decent job of plugging the holes, but it didn’t come without sacrifice.” That said, expect the Knights to have a different look next season. “As we continue to search not only for the right players, we look for the right people, too,” said Bowman. “Some of this year’s players may return, but we are looking for players who are good people and willing to learn. They must be coachable, trustworthy off the ice and good teammates. Players that come into the program next season must be ones that have realistic goals of playing at the next level and are willing to follow through with our plans to get them there. “The old saying ‘talent gets you noticed, character gets you recruited’ is a fair motto for what we are looking for next season.” 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY NAU D-II squad solely focused on ACHA national tourney

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION Exciting times coming to Flagstaff with new hire, new programs

By James Kelley

By Matt Mackinder



oming up March 15-17, Northern Arizona University’s Division II team will play in the ACHA National Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Northern Arizona is slotted in Pool D along with Miami (Ohio) University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Lindenwood Belleville. Miami is ranked sixth nationally and Lindenwood Belleville is No. 1. “Everybody always jokes about a group of death,” said NAU director of hockey operations A.J. Fairchild. The IceJacks open the tournament with Miami, but Fairchild said he and head coach Travis Johanson don’t see it as a negative, that with so many tough teams in their group, they could get through with a 2-1 record and goal differential. Fairchild said beating Miami could show the country that the IceJacks mean business. “We’re going to use our speed and we’re going to continue to be aggressive like we have all year, shut it down defensively like we have all year,” Fairchild said. “I feel like we’re strong in goal and our defense is improving tremendously and we have scoring on all four lines, especially the top three.” The IceJacks (25-7-1) only lost two games to teams in their division this season. Fairchild noted that NAU won’t be intimidated because they ended the regular season playing Division I top-10 Arizona State University, plus they scored an unlikely result between the regular season and Nationals, beating the Arizona Coyotes alumni team in a fundraiser game. “Usually they come in and score like 15 goals on us,” Fairchild said. “We used our team speed and continued to work hard and we actually beat them 8-3. We never even got remotely close to beating them before.” NAU also had a 14-game winning streak this season. “We feel like we’re right there with everyone else and we’re going to give it a go,” Fairchild said. “A lot of it depends on that first game. I know one thing – the guys aren’t going to be intimidated by it. They’ll play their best hockey of the year and that’s all you can ask.”

lagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA) president Kevin Tye has reason to say his association is “really excited.” A recent tournament championship, a soon-to-be-named hockey director and a full slate of spring and summer programs will have that effect on someone. While not 100 percent official, Tye said the Northstars’ impending hockey director has an extensive playing and coaching background and “will bring some continuity to Flagstaff.” “Our hockey director will be able to work with all of our coaches and with kids from 4-17 on such things like skating technique and cross-ice games with the American Development Model (ADM),” said Tye. “They are also a big believer in the Long Term Athlete Development model, which goes hand in hand with the ADM. Having a fulltime hockey director is a major point of progress for us and we have already secured a sponsorship to help with this position. “Top to bottom, our hockey director will be able to have an impact on the program from the youngest kids to our 18U group. This is just some great news for the program and I can’t wait to be able to make the announcement in the coming weeks.” Starting this spring, FYHA will also host several hockey camps, including Northwestern Hockey and Rocky Mountain Hockey Schools. “We will also have cross-ice games going on and stick time,” Tye said. “We’ll certainly have lots of opportunities for these kids to continue to grow and this will go straight through the summer.” In recent FYHA news, the Northstars’ 12U team captured the 12U B division title last month at the Arizona Hockey Union-hosted Presidents’ Day Invitational, which was held at several rinks in and around the Phoenix area over Presidents’ Day Weekend. The Northstars outscored their opponents 26-7 and upended the host AHU in the championship game by a 4-3 count.


Time off means time off – give brain, body a needed break I

t’s getting close to that time of year again where hockey players seasons wind down, playoffs and tournaments are abound, and everyone is taking the time to reflect on the season that was. Or maybe Bowman not everyone. As soon as your season ends, spring tournaments are popping up, tryouts are scheduled right around the corner, summer camps are being filled, and you have to start making some decisions that may affect the rest of your hockey player’s life. How much time off is appropriate for my child? Players and parents need to rest, recover, and recharge between hockey seasons. For some, that may mean taking the entire summer off. For others, it may mean two weeks of absolutely no hockey, then training starts up again. For others, somewhere in between might be the key. No matter what the right solution may be for you,

it is imperative that you get away from the game for at least a short time. Give the brain the break that the body may not think it needs. Stay out of the rink — no pickup, no stick/puck, no camps, nothing. Just a complete break, for whatever period of time suits you. It’s also a good idea for younger players to play another sport in the offseason. It’s very beneficial to develop the skills that are focused on in other sports and bring them to hockey. Today’s hockey players need to be athletes more than ever. It seems in the past, many hockey players were multi-sport athletes and as a result, they had a more ‘athletic’ game. Now, hockey players are becoming more one-dimensional and cannot excel as easily as all-around players. There is too much emphasis on ice hockey year-round. Just like many other sports are starting to demand a full-year of training for each season, the only difference being the price you spend on hockey far exceeds most of those other sports. Maybe your child wants to play on a spring team, or take private lessons. Whatever they choose to do, hopefully there is enough of a complete shutdown mode to fully recharge the batteries for another long season of hockey. As players get older, the levels get more serious, and the top teams get harder to make. Then all

those younger years with time off between seasons will come back to benefit a recharged player that now needs more training time to prepare to make a team, or even prepare to be successful in the upcoming season at a higher level. These are also nice times to go on family vacations or even long-weekend getaways. Let the kids play with some of their non-hockey friends that sometimes get forgotten during the season. Anything that makes them well-rounded people and athletes is a good thing. This is also a nice time to try some new activities. Perhaps enroll in a martial arts class with your child. Maybe they want to get involved in the arts somehow — an instrument, music, film, photography, etc. A great time to pick up a new hobby is when it’s not planned, but spontaneous. Even the most serious athletes need a release from their craft. So do movie stars, politicians, scientists, doctors, etc. The best in the world need that balance in their life, too. This is the perfect time to start exploring what they will do with their life after hockey. Even the most serious hockey players, at the top level in the world, take 2-4 weeks off minimum before starting up training again for the next season. Don’t let all the external pressure dictate the internal signals your body is sending you in regards to your overall mental and physical health and well-being.

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



Spring camp, summer clinics on tap for Jr. Sun Devils By Matt Mackinder


he 2016-17 season may be coming to a close for the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA), but the Jr. Sun Devils are already starting to focus on the 2017-18 season. Running from March 19-April 29 at Oceanside Ice Arena, the DYHA’s Spring Elite Camp is for all youth age groups from Mite to 18U, while specialized clinics focusing on checking, shooting, stickhandling, explosive skating and defensive skills. will run over the summer, also at Oceanside. Goalies get an extra five sessions at the spring camp that are specific to their training. For the Spring Elite Camp, DYHA director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief Sean Whyte said the camp is “a great opportunity for all players that are wanting to be at the top of their game prior to entering into tryout season.” “The camp is split by age division and some even by birth year,” explained Whyte. “These players will

receive professional instruction for 10 on-ice sessions, focusing on their overall individual skill development.” The goalies also get individualized instruction at the spring camp. “The main instructor for the goaltenders is Jeff Tecca, who has been in the Valley working with goalies for many years now,” Whyte said. “There will also be some other instructors on the ice as well, teaching the goalies the necessary fundamentals in becoming an effective, competitive goaltender.” And while the camp is for a wide range of player age levels, Whyte finds positives in that and it all hinges on USA Hockey. “USA Hockey has developed a strong program for all age and skill levels called the American Development Model,” said Whyte. “All of our coaches at DYHA are well-versed in building age-appropriate practice plans, along with a series of progressive drills that keep pushing the players out of their comfort zone.” Then for the summer clinics, those are very specific to a skill set necessary to help the budding youngsters improve their overall game and keep building to be better hockey players. “They are four sessions over a two-week period that progressively build on the skills needed to be proficient in that area of the game,” Whyte said. “Players that register for these clinics will receive intensive training solely related to the skills they need


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to improve upon.” DYHA’s tryouts for the 2017-18 season start April 30 and Whyte is elated to keep watching the Jr. Sun Devils program keep growing not only in quantity each year, but in quality as well. He expects tryout season to be as competitive as ever and sees the coaching staff with tough decisions to make as the summer months roll on. “DYHA holds open tryouts and we are as transparent as possible in our selection process,” Whyte said. “We look to build the best teams possible based on skills, compete level, attitude, respect for the game and their families. We have a very strong sense of family here, as it is the culture that we promote and believe in. The players that compete at DYHA most likely drive past another rink in the Valley to get to ours, and the reason for this is that they believe in our philosophy. “We use hockey as a medium to build better people.” So what is it that keeps players and their parents coming back to DYHA year after year? Whyte said the answer is simple. “There are various reasons why families continue to play at DYHA year after year,” said Whyte. “However, I believe the most important factor is that everyone involved with our program is family. They are all treated with respect and all of our coaches, although striving to win, focus on the overall development of each individual player.”

Sun Devils finish first full NCAA D-I season, take ‘huge step’ By Matt Mackinder A 6-3 win over the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-18 Team on Feb. 25 wrapped Arizona State University’s first full NCAA Division I season. Playing as an independent with no conference affiliation, ASU finished the year 10-19-3. In the season finale, senior Robert Levin made 34 saves in goal and senior forward Ryan Belonger netted the game-winning goal. “I’m so proud of our guys,” said ASU head coach Greg Powers. “What a great exclamation point on what we think is a really good season to get our program heading in the right direction. Couldn’t be happier for the way this ended for our seniors. It’s poetic justice for some great kids and great all-time Sun Devils. “Ryan Belonger obviously scored a goal in the third to help extend a lead. Rob Levin had maybe the best game he’s played all year and in his career – to end that way against this team and get a win, that kid deserves it. He deserves that game, that win and that game puck. We’re going to miss him very much.” Over the course of the season, the Sun Devils earned huge wins over ranked teams (Air Force, Western Michigan University, Quinnipiac University), tied Ohio State University and took other stacked teams to the limit on numerous occasions. Powers is using the 2016-17 season as motivation moving forward for the Sun Devils. “We took a huge step in the right direction this year,” said Powers. “We started out with a young, inexperienced group that played against an incredibly tough schedule and we cut our teeth and learned everything the hard way. As soon as the New Year hit, the guys really bought in to how we need to play and it showed. We have some huge wins that this program can hang its hat on and catapult into the future with.”

THE WHYTE STUFF So many signs that hockey is growing in Arizona, U.S. A s a kid growing up in Northern Ontario, hockey was everything. Pretty much everyone played, whether it be organized hockey in the arenas, or at very least on the frozen rinks or streets. Although it is easy to say that’s all Whyte we knew, we did play other games and competed in such sports as baseball, football, soccer and lacrosse. Regardless, hockey was always Canada’s game. I recently read an article by Alex Silverman where he elaborates on the rapid growth of ice hockey in the United States. He mentions that the sport has grown in numbers of over a half million new players since 1999. In Arizona, hockey has grown over 120 percent. Silverman also mentions how Canadians make up just over 48 percent of the National Hockey League this season, which is the first time that it has been less than half. However, the U.S. crop has grown to

over 23 percent of all NHL players, which is a new high. These statistics are pretty amazing, but there are good reasons as to why this trend is moving in the direction where the United States will soon be a dominant player in the National Hockey League. This includes the NHL expanding in non-traditional markets, retiring players getting involved in youth hockey, and a joint force of the NHL, NHLPA and USA Hockey growing the sport at the grassroots level. Population alone plays a big role in the overall growth of hockey in the U.S. However, it is not naturally the sport that most would gravitate to living here, or in other cities not noted for the sport. The fact that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s initiative in the 1990s to bring the NHL to numerous non-traditional markets plays a key role in the ever-expanding popularity of ice hockey. Areas of the United States where ice hockey has been completely foreign to the overall culture has now become a household item. The game and its players have slowly infiltrated cities where football, baseball or soccer have always been prominent. This, in turn, draws retiring players to plant roots in the city they played for, and ultimately getting involved at the youth level. Speaking from experience, many of the players that finish their career off in a particular city end up staying there and take up coaching youth hockey. The benefits that players gain from being in-

structed by former NHLers is invaluable. The experiences that these former players can draw from and pay it forward are priceless. The NHL and NHLPA have recently invested in working with USA Hockey to grow hockey at the grassroots level. This is a very impactful venture that will hopefully pay huge dividends for the NHL in not only building a stronger hockey community, but also breed a new generation of fans. The owners of NHL franchises have all come together to work with the NHLPA in developing a Learn to Skate/Learn to Play program that will strive to grow hockey at the youth level in hopes of earning lifelong participants. While still in its infancy stage, the goal is to provide all of the necessary gear, ice time and instruction to these young up and coming athletes, teaching them how to skate, play the game and hopefully, fall in love with the sport. While hockey still is, and will probably be for as long as I am around, the No. 1 sport in Canada, the United States has definitely taken numerous strides in growing the game across the country. Seeing an Auston Matthews selected first overall in last year’s NHL Draft has blazed the trail for many more future NHL stars coming from unexpected hockey markets like Arizona. With key players such as USA Hockey, the NHLPA and the NHL involved, it is only a matter of time before hockey’s well-deserved accolades are praised across all of the United States.

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



Tahoe Hockey Academy looks to ride momentum into Year 2 By Greg Ball


t’s March, and that means the majority of youth hockey teams have finished their seasons and have begun to set their sights to building for 2017-18. Tahoe Hockey Academy (THA) is no different, and is well into its recruiting season and in search of its next high-level prospects. “We were able to successfully recruit a great class of players for our inaugural season,” said THA head coach Michael Lewis. “To be able to sign players who participated in USA Hockey’s National Player Development Camps and played at the Tier I and II level shows that there is an overall belief and trust in our development model.” Looking back at the results from the program’s first year, it’s safe to say that THA’s approach to training and individual development has paid off for its student athletes. “We’re a young team, but by creating instructional yet challenging environments for our players, we were able to successfully compete against teams much older than ours,” Lewis said. As chronicled throughout the season, Tahoe Hockey Academy is California’s first residential boarding school dedicated to hockey. While it’s natural for there to be plenty of questions surrounding a new program

of this magnitude, THA is making a name for itself both locally and nationally. “We’ve participated in a rather aggressive schedule that put us in some high-profile showcases and tournaments throughout the U.S. and Canada,” THA president Leo Fenn said. “To be able to show well in the Bauer Invite, NAPHL Future Prospects and Western Prospects Hockey League opened a lot of eyes and doors for our program. Based on our overall play, we’ve secured an invitation to participate in the NAPHL Future Prospects Showcases for the upcoming 2017 season.” With recruiting season now here, administrators at Tahoe Hockey Academy are emphasizing everything the school offers its student-athletes. Student life at THA resembles that of any typical high school, with some added athletic benefits. “We practice up to two hours every day and can focus a lot of time on the individual player-development aspects of building better hockey players,” Lewis said. “We infuse that with yoga, strength training with an NCAA staff, rehabilitation services and proper nutrition to ensure our students get the best development possible.” The competition for the next crop of top players is well underway.


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“Similar to any club or prep program out there, you’re always looking for the top candidates, and our program is no different,” Lewis said. “That being said, we’re looking for players who want the challenge to train harder and more consistently in order to showcase their development to the next level of scouts and coaches. Those are the players who will get the most out of our program.” Plans for the offseason are also taking shape. “Currently, we’re developing our THA Future Prospects list of those players interested in finding out more information about attending the Tahoe Hockey Academy,” THA associate coach Chris Collins said. “We’re looking to build summer teams that will compete in some pretty high-profile showcases at the 16U and 18U divisions.” A strong start and finish to the 2016-17 season can only mean good things are in store for those that call the Tahoe Hockey Academy home. The THA staff is eager to meet its next potential incoming class and get things in motion for the upcoming season. “We’re constantly looking for and identifying those players who demonstrate the passion and desire to improve their games,” Fenn said. “Our goal is to scout and inform as many parents and players as we can about the benefits our program has to offer. We’re out there - whether in Escondido for the CAHA state playoffs, Globals in Las Vegas or USA Hockey Youth Nationals across the country - and we’re searching for the right individuals who embody the THA philosophy.”


Jr. Coyotes sweep en route to four Tier I state titles By Matt Mackinder


our new banners now reside with the Jr. Coyotes as the organization captured all four Arizona Amateur Hockey Association Tier I championships for the 201617 season. On top of that the 14U and 15 Only Tier I USA Hockey Youth Nationals will be hosted by the Jr. Coyotes from April 6-10. At the 14U level, coach Steve Potvin led his team to the title after winning Game 4 of the best-of-five series by a 5-2 score on March 1 over the Arizona Bobcats at the Arcadia Ice Arena. Potvin called the championship “absolutely gratifying” and said the best part of the team is “the commitment from the players, parents, coaches and director.” Five different players scored in the title game and goaltender Liam O’Gwen made 16 saves. Jason Wright took the 15U team to the 15 Only title after a three-game sweep of the Bobcats that culminated Feb. 12 at Ice Den Scottsdale in a thrilling 3-2 overtime win on Rowan Miller’s second goal of the game. Garrett Wright added a goal and two assists and John Werber stopped 24 shots in goal. “The boys were very excited to win as it was their goal all year,” said Wright. “These kids have been resilient. They have not had an easy road, but they have persevered and reached one of their team goals with character and hard work. For Nationals (also in Scottsdale), we will probably be ranked as one of the lower

The Jr. Coyotes swept the Arizona Bobcats in two straight games to capture the 16U Tier I state championship on Feb. 10.

Another two-game sweep saw the Jr. Coyotes take the 18U Tier I state title Feb. 10 over the Arizona Bobcats.

teams there, but that is what our boys are used to. We will prepare all month and hopefully be able to make it out of our first bracket. From there, who knows?”

“Back-to-back titles always feels good,” added assistant coach Mike Johnson. “This group works hard and has really matured over the years. I think we can do well at Nationals here in Scottsdale.” Shawn McCosh’s squad took two straight from the Bobcats to win the 16U title with a 1-0 win on Feb. 10 proving to be the clincher. Kyle DeCoster netted the lone goal and Evan Szary earning the shutout with a 24-save shutout. “The boys have faced a lot of adversity all year, especially with injuries, so it makes it a bit more special winning states,” said McCosh. “They are a good bunch of kids on and off the ice.” Next for the 16U team is Districts from March 17-19 at AZ Ice Gilbert. The Jr. Coyotes’ 18U team completed the sweep of the Bobcats after a 9-2 win at Arcadia on Feb. 10. “Any time you can continue to make advancements towards your final goal is always rewarding,” said 18U coach Ryan McGinnis. “Districts are next up for us (March 17-19 at AZ Ice Gilbert) and our expectations have remained the same since Day 1, and that’s to get better every day so that we are best prepared for Nationals in Pittsburgh come April.” “This team has really bought in to what the coaches were selling,” added 18U assistant coach Mike Vukonich. “Most of their success is due to their high compete level and the added bonus is how they have adapted to the systems put in front of them. They really deserve where they are today.”

18U Tier I 16U Tier I 15U Tier I 14U Tier I 12U Elite AZYHL 10U Elite AZYHL 10U Red AZYHL 16U Tier II 14U Tier II 12U Red AZYHL 10U Blue AZYHL


State Supremacy

Wildcats, Lumberjacks tangle for WCRHL Division II regional championship By Phillip Brents


his year’s Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) regional championship tournament, held March 4-5 at The Rinks-Corona Inline in Corona, Calif., provided a showcase for the league’s three Arizona teams, two of which met in the Division II championship game. In an all-Grand Canyon State finals match-up, the University of Arizona Wildcats edged WCRHL newcomer Northern Arizona University 5-4 to claim the title in a bracket full of upsets in the two-day tournament. Competition proved fierce in all three divisions, in fact. Both the Division II and Division III championship games were decided in overtime. “The competition in Division I was tight, though the Division I championship game was an exception,” summed up WCRHL director and National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) executive director Brennan Edwards. “In Division II, CSU Fullerton and Chico State earned byes to the semifinals. However, neither one could pull out a win as Arizona and NAU came out to play.” The top four regular-season finishers in the Division I standings, plus the top six regularseason finishers in both the Division II and Division III standings, qualified to compete at this year’s WCRHL regionals. Teams were seeded in round-robin pools to start the two-day event and all teams were guaranteed berths in the single-elimination brackets. UC Santa Barbara won championships in both Division I and Division III, while the University of Arizona successfully defended its Division II title. The WCRHL’s three newly-crowned regional champions advance to compete in the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships April 5-9 in Ft. Myers, Fla. At-large bids were extended to eight more WCRHL teams to bring the total to 11 WCRHL teams invited to compete at this year’s NCRHA nationals.

Going for gold

Both Division II finalists turned in a tournament

to remember for various reasons. The Wildcats State 5-3 in the semifinals. faced off round-robin play with a pair of losses -Meanwhile, Arizona had eliminated second4-3 to NAU in overtime and 6-3 to CSU Fullerton seeded CSU Fullerton 7-5 in the semifinals after -- but won every game after that to capture the recording a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Cal Poly division title. Pomona. For first-year NAU, the Lumberjacks were simply “We knew NAU was having a great tournament, making history. so we would have to play one of our best games,” “Winning regionals is a big accomplishment Bushnell assessed. for our program and team,” noted Wildcats senior Jacob Toro earned first star honors in the Jesse Rooney, who scored the game-winner in Division II final with two overtime against NAU in goals and one assist, while the championship game. teammate Dan Holmes “A handful of us had the scored twice. chance to lift the cup last Trevor Riffey led NAU year, so it was good to do with two goals and one it again with them and also assist and Austin Cannon the new faces.” scored the goal that sent “It feels amazing the game into overtime. winning back-to-back Riffey had two goals regional championships, and one assist in the especially with how we semifinal win over Chico were 0-2 during roundState, the division’s regular robin play,” Arizona club season champion, while president Brett Bushnell NAU goaltender Anders added. “That’s our type of Hultgren stopped 29 of 32 hockey, though. Whenever shots. things seem the worst, we The University of Arizona Wildcats successfully defended their DiRiffey led the manage to find that little vision II title at this year’s Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League Lumberjacks in tournament something to rally behind regional championship tournament. scoring with 18 goals, and come back.” including nine in a 10-5 quarterfinal win over UC Edwards called Arizona’s overtime win in the San Diego. championship game “amazing.” “We just knew coming in that we needed to put NAU led 2-0 before the Wildcats knotted the it all on the floor if we wanted to have a shot at score 2-all by the end of the second period. Arizona nationals,” Riffey explained. “Everyone gave their led 4-3 late in the game before the Lumberjacks best effort and it showed in big wins against U of A pulled their goaltender and scored with 45 seconds and Chico State and in a shootout loss to Fullerton. left to force overtime. “After the U of A win (in round robin), I think the Rooney earned his second consecutive guys really got pumped up and believed more that championship game MVP award by notching the we could make a run. Honestly, I think just believing game-winning goal 2:15 into the overtime. “Rooney is a graduating senior, so this will be and giving 100 percent was the key to success at regionals and we were then able to get a bid to his last trip to nationals,” Edwards noted. “We hope to have a great run this year,” Rooney nationals after the way we played.” Arizona State’s Division I and Division III teams said. NAU had seemed primed to deliver the knockout both received NCRHA bids, while Arizona and NAU blow after upsetting No. 1-nationally ranked Chico received bids in Division II.

Lady Ghostriders take gold at State Wars Winter Wars T

he Arizona HMF Lady Ghostriders continue to make history every time they roll onto the playing court as the only women’s team competing in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL). They’ve proven they’re a darn good women’s division team as well. The Lady Ghostriders, part of the Shadows Hockey Amateur Athletic Union Level III elite hockey program based in Phoenix, finished third in the Women’s Platinum Division at January’s NARCh Winternationals in Huntington Beach, Calif. The Arizona-based team returned to the same rink during a break in its AIHL schedule to win the Women’s Division championship at February’s State Wars Hockey Winter Wars West tournament. The two elite place-finishes have given the Lady Ghostriders international recognition. “The Lady Ghostriders have made an instant name for themselves as a new team on the move, with great promise,” team manager Brian Craven explained. 14

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“They plan to build on it throughout the year as they Cyclones proved to be an international showcase as support the Ghostriders’ mission of raising money for the Lady Ghostriders boasted four Team USA alumni and the Cyclones’ roster featured cancer research and hockey learnfour Team Canada players. The to-play and player development Cyclones erased an early 1-0 Lady programs.” Ghostriders lead to eventually win Chelsea Wilkinson earned the 4-1 and push the Arizonans to third division’s Top Goaltender Award place. at the NARCh Winternationals The Lady Ghostriders defeated with two shutouts and a stingy the Republic, 3-2, in overtime to 1.34 goals-against average in four win the Winter Wars West title games. after posting a 4-3 OT win over the Besides Wilkinson, the Lady Ghostriders roster also included Jack-O-Lanterns in the semifinals. Macarena Aragones, Allison Wilkinson received the Most Era, Paige Hinrichs, Chelsi The Arizona HMF Lady Ghostriders played Valuable Player Award in the Wells, Joy Garvey, Lindsey Fry, strong hockey and earned the right to cel- championship game. It was her Emily Etchebarren and Melissa ebrate their Winter Wars West women’s second individual award in the past division championship. Fiskin – the same lineup the team two months. uses in its AIHL games. The semifinal contest against the Pama Labeda - Phillip Brents


IHAAZ parity shines brightly at recent Peoria festival By Brian Lester


here was a little concern on the part of the IHAAZ board about hosting the opening season IHAAZ festival barely one week prior to Christmas. However, the families converged on the Peoria Sportsplex with a feeling of celebration with their children that was truly a holiday in itself. Four out of the six programs represented at the tournament ended up with division titles, which highlighted the parity that the inline programs displayed throughout the festival. Prescott won the 8U title and the Jr. Wildcats won the 10U division. Yuma claimed the 12U crown by winning all four of its games and the AZ Royals prevailed in the 14U division, defeating the Knighthawks 7-1. The AZ Royals Blue won the Midget title. In the 8U division, the top goalie was Dylan Foster of the Knighthawks, who made 21 saves. Zach Turner of Prescott (seven saves) and Aidan Mullarkey of the Jr. Wildcats (24 saves) also played well in the tourney. Nate Magby of the Knighthawks was named the top offensive player. He scored seven goals and dished out seven assists. Nicholas Lopez of Yuma was tabbed the top defender. He finished with seven goals as well. Kelzi Olson of Prescott earned MVP honors. She tallied one assist. Rylee Hobson of the Prescott Storm finished second in the 8U division in points, tallying six goals and two as-

MVP of the 14U division and Kelton Chadwick of the Jr. sists. Yuma’s Jonathan Pool was named the top goalie in Wildcats was tabbed the top offensive player of the tournament. the 10U division. He racked up 13 saves. Gross scored five goals and dished out three assists. Eli Shulman of the Jr. Wildcats was the MVP after a stellar performance in which he scored 13 goals and Chadwick racked up five goals and two assists in the festival. Oren Shtrom finished the weekend with the most dished out two assists. The Knighthawks’ Brandon Gorzynski was named points. He scored five goals and dished out four assists. Tatum Proud of the Knighthawks, who tallied 53 outstanding offensive player after tallying nine goals and saves, was named the top defendfive assists. Matt Boelts of Yuma er and one of the division’s top earned outstanding defender hongoalies. Dylan Sharkey of the AZ ors. He racked up seven goals and Royals and Jeremy Fleming of five assists. Prescott also earned outstanding Cole Gebhart of Yuma fingoalie honors. Sharkey made 29 ished tied for second in most saves while Fleming racked up 27. points. He scored nine goals and The MVP of the Midget dividished out five assists for the sion was Carter Newlin of the Blaze. AZ Royals Blue. Newlin finished In the 12U division, Justin VanDeberg of Yuma was named the The prestigious table that all players in Peoria clamored the tourney with four goals and MVP. VanDeberg came through for last December displayed division trophies and med- an assist. Griffin Sherwood of with six goals and three assists in als for the top participants at the IHAAZ festival. Prescott was named the best offensive player of the tourthe tourney. Dominik Barber of the Jr. Wildcats was the top of- ney, racking up four goals and an assist. Logan Estes of fensive player thanks to his six-goal performance at the fes- Yuma was the top defensive player. Estes came through tival and Landon Olson of the Knighthawks was named with four goals and an assist. Nathan TePaz of the AZ the top defender. Olson finished the weekend with three Royals White racked up 47 saves and earned outstanding goalie honors. goals and an assist. Keegan Lamb of the Prescott Storm finished with the Emilio Wilson of Yuma tied for the most points in the most points in the Midget division. Lamb scored twice and tourney as he tallied four goals and five assists. Matthew Gross of the AZ Royals was named the tallied five assists for the Storm.



Bobcats’ experience at Quebec Pee Wee tourney memorable By Greg Ball


t’s been more than a month since they returned from the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, but Arizona Bobcats players, parents and coaches are still basking in the excitement of what many describe as a milestone event in any hockey player’s youth hockey experience. The Bobcats’ Pee Wee team spent more than a week in Quebec in mid-February, and in addition to competing in the 58-year-old tournament that annually hosts 150 teams and approximately 2,000 players from around the world, they also got to experience the atmosphere of the city and enjoy some important bonding time with their teammates. The roster for the Bobcats’ Pee Wee team that traveled to Quebec included forwards Palmer Coupe, Cameron Ferraz, Mighton Johnson, Jake Livanavage, Charlie Salem, Oren Shtrom, Preston Soderblom and Jack Walters; defensemen Dayton Craik, Dylan Gordon, Ryan Gorzynski, Ryan Hawley, Max Marr and Ethan Poole; and goalies Max Geddes and Gorial Yaro. Coaches who went on the trip included Ron Filion and assistants Mark Gordon and Jim Livanavage, and every player had at least one parent join the festivities for at least part of the trip. “I had been to watch the tournament as a kid, but didn’t play in it and hadn’t been as a coach until this year,” Livanavage said. “I know it’s a lot of money and a lot of time away from school, and there were some doubts early on about whether it was worth the expense, but having been

there now, I think every team that has the opportunity to go all come into play to make the trip a smooth and successful to the Quebec tournament needs to go. The experience one. was incredible for everyone.” Marianna Eggert, Walters’ mom, spearheaded the Arranging all the details for the trip and raising money fundraising effort, which was a major undertaking. The Bobto offset the high cost of traveling to Quebec, wasn’t easy. cats solicited donations and held an online auction, among Team manager Lisa Poole was instrumental in coordinat- other activities, and a number of other parents helped out. “It’s a very expensive trip for parents, not only to get ing those efforts, while also still handling her day-to-day there, but to stay the whole 12 responsibilities of managing days,” Poole said. the Bobcats’ Pee Wee team Poole added that the Quefor all their other events and bec tournament was a onceattending to her full-time job in-a-lifetime experience for her with an industrial distribution company. son and his teammates, along “It was a tremendous with all the families who got to attend. amount of work,” Poole said. “It “It was awesome - the was very time consuming, but games at the Videotron Cenit was worth it. The event adter made them feel like stars, ministrators make things very like they were in the NHL,” she organized and provide a deThe Arizona Bobcats’ Pee Wee team made the trek to tailed checklist of instructions Quebec last month to partake in the Quebec Internation- said. “The whole ambience to take you through everything al Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament and returned ‘a really was like that of a true professtep by step. The biggest help, tight-knit group,’ according to team manager Lisa Poole. sional game. “The organization and the people who put on the tourwith the players’ billet family coordination, came from our billet captain, Sophie Picard, who has been with Ron’s nament are incredible in their dedication. They have put in teams for 10 years now.” years and years to make sure this event goes off without Once the Bobcats learned they had been accepted a hitch. And there were so many things to do in Quebec to participate in the Quebec tournament back in October, and in the outskirts - the carnival, skiing and snowboarding, Poole and her team got to work arranging travel permits, snowmobiling and pond hockey games. The team came airline tickets, hotel reservations for parents and coaches, back as a really tight-knit group, and the parents felt that registration payments and the many other small details that same sense of team bonding.”


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Mission AZ takes home pair of AZYHL state championships By Greg Ball


wo new state championship banners will be hanging on the walls of AZ Ice in Peoria soon. Mission AZ’s Pee Wee Red and Squirt Red teams recently won Arizona Youth Hockey League state titles, and the program couldn’t be prouder. “Both of these teams were consistent all year,” said Jeremy Goltz, Mission’s director of hockey operations and the head coach of both state championship squads. “They brought a lot of energy and outworked everybody. At the end of the season, they both went on good runs. “That’s what I’m most excited about, is looking toward the future with these two groups of kids. It’s not easy for them to learn to be so consistent so early in their youth hockey careers. For so long, we’ve been telling kids that they’re going to go through the process and learn, and they may not experience a lot of success until they get to the older levels, but we’re starting to see the younger teams starting to get more and more competitive. It’s almost like a reset button for our program.” The roster for Mission AZ’s Pee Wee Red team includes forwards Justin Casillas, Troy Coleman, Hayden Cruz, Dylan Farber, Cameron Fetzer, Jacob Gallardo, Justin McConneha, Carson Oller, Kaden Paterno, Tyler Payne, Tyler Singpradith, Conner Stegen, Spencer Stenholm and Cannon Tominna; defensemen Michael Bird, Gavin Bodway, Blake Jankunas and Connor Taney; and goalies John Drum III and Ethan Montgomery.

Goltz’s assistant coaches are Scott Farber and Adam Brill. The Pee Wees opened the state tournament with a 6-3 victory over the Desert Youth Hockey Association 11U team on Feb. 23 as Bird and Spencer each scored two goals and Montgomery stopped 21 shots in goal. They toppled the Chandler Jr. Coyotes 11U the next day 8-2 thanks to four goals from Singpradith, three assists from Stegen and 11 saves from Drum. They fell to the Arizona Hockey Union Black 12U team

Mission AZ’s Pee Wee Red team won its second consecutive AZYHL state championship after a 3-2 win over the Jr. Coyotes on Feb. 26.

4-2 on Feb. 25, but bounced back with a 3-2 victory over the Jr. Coyotes in the championship game the next day. McConneha scored twice for Mission, and Casillas added a tally, while Drum registered 16 saves. “What’s cool is that the Pee Wee team has now won the state titles in back-to-back years, so we kind of put that expectation on them,” Goltz said. “There are about six or seven returning players, and the rest are new to the team

this year, so they really rose to the challenge. “When you coach older teams, you expect that those older players are going to be the consistent ones and the younger teams are going to have a tougher time, but I was totally impressed with these kids’ attitude and energy. They controlled what they could control, and the foundation that they set is really important.” The roster for Mission AZ’s Squirt Red team includes forwards Zachary Hickman, Mason Morin, Ethan Niles, Kyle Rihela, Chance Taylor and Lucas Uilkie; defensemen Jason Casillas, Kian Knapp and Brady Levake; and goalie Oliver McNeil. Adam Brill and Kelsey McLean are the assistant coaches for the Squirt Red team. Mission’s Squirts opened the state tournament with a 7-1 victory over AHU White 10U on March 4. Niles tallied four goals and Casillas added a pair, while McNeil made seven saves. They toppled AHU Purple 10U by a 5-1 count later that day as Casillas and Knapp each scored twice. On March 5, they upended DYHA 10U by an 8-0 score. Knapp registered three goals, while Farrer and Rihela each added two. In the championship game later that afternoon, Mission skated to a 6-0 triumph over AHU White 10U. “The Squirt championship was sort of unexpected,” Goltz said. “We had about 20 kids come out for our Squirt level, which is an unusual number - it’s too many for one team and not quite enough for two – so we decided to go with two smaller teams each with about 10 skaters and one goalie, and it looked like it was going to be a challenge. Those kids really kicked some butt.”

Mission AZ Hockey Club


Quartet of schools claim AHSHA state championships By Mikhial Tsatskin


he buzzer sounded as four teams were awarded division championship in the Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) playoffs on Feb. 4 at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Pinnacle claimed the Division 1 title, while Centennial won the D2 championship, Desert Vista the D3 crown and Chaparral secured the junior varsity title. Pinnacle won its title after a tough defensive matchup led to a 4-2 win over Notre Dame. It was also a defensive showcase for two of the top-ranked goalies in Arizona between Notre Dame’s Cameron Judge and Pinnacle’s Kevin Church. “Our scoring came from our non-first line,” said Pinnacle coach Glenn Karlson. “All season, we realized our depth was deeper than any other team we played.” The Pioneers’ game plan was to shut down the Saints’ top line and to move the puck efficiently to create opportunities for the offense capitalize on. Church finished the game with 30 saves and was awarded the game MVP. Church was given an honorable mention for the Division 1 All-State team. Centennial defeated Horizon in the Division 2 championship by a score of 4-1. The Coyotes utilized their goalie, Darshan Manhas, to make crucial saves in big games down the stretch to propel their team into the championship. “He is a true team player with nasty hands and in my opinion, one of the best players playing in high school sockey,” said Centennial coach Greg Vaughn. “Coming together is a beginning, keeping

together is progress, working together is a success. game MVP. We had an unbelievable season and each and every For Chaparral, shutting out Mountain Ridge 3-0 one of those boys did their job and they deserved to meant the JV championship. The Firebirds team conbe champions.” sists of players from four different schools, includCaptain Declan George was awarded the game ing one player who had been home-schooled. Many MVP and both Manhas and George were awarded teams in AHSHA have students from multiple schools spots on the All-State and All-Arizona teams. in order to form teams in the four different divisions. In the D3 game, In the title match, coach Ray Reed led goalie Matt Diamond Desert Vista over Shadput on a defensive show ow Ridge 3-2 to win its as he held the Mountain first championship under Lions scoreless and was Reed. awarded the game MVP. “Most well-disci“We had several plined and dedicatplayers that had never ed teams I’ve ever played organized hockcoached,” said Reed. ey before the start of The Thunder created the season and they all longer passing opporflourished as the season tunities and used these wore on,” said Chaparral opportunities to hold coach Chad Hampton. control in the title game. “Diamond is not only a Desert Vista held a onevery talented goaltengoal lead heading into der, but he is a good kid the final minutes of the and would help the less game. After two sepexperienced goalies on arate penalties for the Pinnacle High School secured the AHSHA Division 1 state cham- our team with tips and Thunder created a 5-on- pionship Feb. 4 with a 4-2 win over Notre Dame. tricks on how to play the 3 advantage for Shadow Ridge, goalie Macy Eide position and would help the players in front of him by stood tall. communicating with them constantly.” ”Macy was on a mission,” said Reed. With all four division championships completed, With a depleted team goalie corps, Eide held many teams will be rooting for Pinnacle as the PioShadow Ridge scoreless during the final minutes to neers now advance to the USA Hockey High School secure the victory for her team and was awarded the Nationals in Cleveland starting March 30.

NEW MEXICO REPORT Mustangs hit on all cylinders, Cibola, Taos reign supreme as claim MSGHL 12U championship New Mexico high school champs By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



loyd Braaten said watching his New Mexico Mustangs’ 12U team celebrate a Mountain States Girls Hockey League (MSGHL) championship earlier this month was exhilarating. That said, the title served as the icing on the cake for the Mustangs’ successful season. “Seeing the team win the title was a bonus as the goal of the Mustangs organization is always to develop hockey, life skills, good sportsmanship and learn to enjoy the game,” Braaten said. “While winning is fun, it is not the main goal for the MSGHL team.” The Mustangs captured the MSGHL title for the second year in a row with a 5-1 victory over the Vail Mountaineers. The championship game was played Feb. 26 at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, Colo. So what’s next for the 12U Mustangs team? “Out of the 19 kids on the roster, nine move up to 14U next year,” said Braaten. “We are hoping to try to hit a couple 14U AA tournaments just to give it a try on top of our normal MSGHL schedule.” The Mustangs’ 12U roster is comprised of Emily Archuleta, Hailey Braaten, Gabrellia Domenici, Brianna Fryer, Giada Geherin, Sofia Geherin, Jordan Hancock, Rachel Hart, Taylor Hartinger, Carly Hinz, Lydia Huegler, Ainsley Jakaboski, Shae Jakaboski, Elena Jordan, Kiera Langenwalter, Gabrielle Moss, Audrey Neale, Brianna Shay and Maisyn Shay. Captains were Braaten, Jordan and Maisyn Shay. Braaten noted that all players skated as a forward or defenseman and just two – Hart and Ainsley Jakaboski – played between the pipes. “As for positions on this team, the girls understood that they will play every position except goalie,” said Braaten. “I only had two that were crazy enough to play in net and when they were not playing in net, they were skating out.” When asked what the most special about the 12U group, Braaten didn’t hesitate in his response. “The best thing about this team is they played for each other, and they played as a team,” said Braaten. “Every kid on the team had at least one goal and every one but three had assists.” 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

wo New Mexico high school state champions were crowned over the March 10-11 weekend with Cibola winning its second straight league championship and Taos capturing the Pure championship. For Cibola, Tanner Colyer, Ricky Haverland and Kyle Usiak scored for the Cougars and Grace Hausenfleck and Max Hoffman combined on a 22-save shutout in a 3-0 win over Durango March 11 at the McDermott Athletic Center in Rio Rancho. “I have been coaching high school hockey for several years and every season is different,” Cibola coach Brett Lovette said. “We were the defending state champs and with that title comes added pressure because everyone wants to beat you, which means you have to step up your game and reach a new level of play. As a coaching staff, we had to help our team mentally prepare for that challenge, a challenge this team accepted and met.” Robby Grogan took the loss in goal for the Devils, but did turn aside 27 shots. In the Pure championship game March 10 at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center in Santa Fe, Taos defeated Los Alamos 4-3 as the Ice Tigers erased a 3-1 deficit with three goals in the third period. Ysidro Gravelle notched two goals for Taos, while Max Mount made 26 saves in goal. “Los Alamos has a great program and won the Pure title the past two years, so a win against them in the championship game represented a huge victory for our community,” Taos coach Mark Richert said. “I’ve coached many of the high school players since they were Mites and a championship is the perfect sendoff for our graduating seniors. “At 7000 feet in the Southern Rockies, the kids are out there practicing at 10-below zero some mornings. Regardless of winning the championship, I think finding enough kids in a small town who love showing up regularly under those conditions is a big win for the sport of hockey.” For the Hilltoppers, Sam Fisher fashioned a 43-save performance in net in suffering the defeat and Ben Rees potted a pair of goals for Los Alamos.

Lil’ Howlers program a major boon to youth hockey growth rinks in the country, is about to come on board. Plus, Shott is expanding to Tucson and plans call for programs in Flagstaff in the fall. As well, a girls youth hockey program is now in its formative stage. The current program, which includes about 900 players, ages 4-8, and six sessions, now includes a $100 tuition, but players keep their equipment. That includes helmets down to skates. Playing time expanded by two weeks and Shott added, “they’re getting extra time to learn about the game of hockey, gain learning

stage to its developing stage, the NHL was not far behind. Launched in the 2016-17 season, its “Learn to Play” proreat minds think alike. gram expands the barriers with introductory hockey proJust ask Matt Shott, who is the Arizona Coyotes’ grams and provides head-to-toe equipment. director of amateur hockey development. At the same time Overall, youth hockey is the NHL and the NHL Players Association developed the Arizona is rapidly expand“Learn to Play Initiative” aimed at developing youth hockey ing. In addition to players in NHL markets, Shott and his team were well at work to enrolled in the Lil’ Howlers plan for and witness hockey development in the desert. program, there are 33 high That began just less than a decade ago with formation school hockey teams in the of Kids First, a program designed to put players on the state. Shott said there are ice during a four-week program. Players rented equipment currently over 7600 playand received their deposit back at the end of ers in the state, noting “I’ll the session. There was also a stipulation that bet we’ll be able to break the equipment be returned. 10,000 players within the While that program helped introduce hocknext year.” ey to the desert, the program was isolated. In the meantime, Shott said there are an in“We helped fund the program with the Arcreased number of certain jerseys appearing in izona Amateur Hockey Association, but this the desert. There’s a good and proud reason. needed more of a Coyotes presence,” Shott “We’re starting to see a few more 34s,” said. “We changed to name to Lil’ Howlers, Shott said, in reference to Scottsdale native talked to the area rinks and said we need to Auston Matthews. “Number 34 is starting to have more of a structure. We needed more of show up more.” a game plan instead of just let the kids go out For now, Shott said the expanding number there and learn on their own.” of players and available ice time for those in The Arizona Coyotes- and Arizona Amateur Hockey Association-funded Lil’ Howlers Then the NHL became involved with its in- program helps in-state youth learn the game with detailed structure. the program present a specific challenge. The centive to grow the game in warm weather environments. skills and have instruction from former NHL players.” search is on for new sheets of ice and the window for The league came back to Shott and the Coyotes with an Players aged 6-15, Shott added, “is a little harder.” playing time is tighter. outline, or what Shott called, “a basic drawing.” The NHL He said the biggest issue here remains the physical size. “Ice time in the Metro Phoenix area is maxed out,” explained what they would like, what the youth program Kids between the ages of 8-12 exhibit a pronounced Shott said. “It’s a good problem to have. It shows that needed to accentuate, and Shott took that revised pro- range and that it is difficult to keep players at a uniform hockey is booming here. It’s not like it’s only one rink that’s gram to the local rinks. size. With kids between 4-8, the size differential is not as crowded, it’s six rinks. Then you go up to Flagstaff and Today, five of the six Phoenix area rinks have the pro- prominent. Tucson and they’re maxed out. They’re begging for more gram and the Ice Den in Scottsdale, one of the busiest If the youth hockey program moved from its formative ice sheets.” By Mark Brown


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


Drew Newmeyer (Scottsdale) – Arizona State University



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

CHA Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Stockton Heat Trevor Cheek – Tucson Roadrunners * Jeremy Langlois (Tempe) – Rockford IceHogs Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Manitoba Moose Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Tucson Roadrunners Philip Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – St. John’s IceCaps

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

ECHL Mike Krieg (Phoenix) – Norfolk Admirals Zac Larraza (Scottsdale) – Utah Grizzlies


SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Castro (Peoria) – Columbus Cottonmouths Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Mississippi RiverKings Matt Grogan (Gilbert) – Peoria Rivermen FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints EUROPE J.T. Barnett (Scottsdale) – Russia Anthony Caruso (Queen Creek) – Sweden Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – France Joey Sides (Tucson) – United Kingdom Dave Spina (Mesa) – Finland NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Connecticut Whale COLLEGE HOCKEY NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Derek Brown (Peoria) – Niagara University Christian Cakebread (Gilbert) – Niagara University ECAC Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute WCHA Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Alaska-Fairbanks DIVISION I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Edward McGovern (Scottsdale) – Arizona State University

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

COMMONWEALTH Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Alec Mono – Curry College & Hector Majul – Curry College ! MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Mass.-Dartmouth NCHA Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – College of St. Scholastica NEHC Bryan McFarlane (Scottsdale) – New England College NESCAC Jon Carkeek (Phoenix) – Hamilton College SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University WIAC Adam Kleven (Phoenix) – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN COLONIAL HOCKEY Alex Bloom (Scottsdale) – Canton State University Emily Dennee (Chandler) – Becker College Sarah McSweeney (Chandler) – Becker College ECAC WEST Bri Carroll (Peoria) – Buffalo State University Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Emily Coope (Phoenix) – Utica College

MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St. Olaf College Kylie Kramer (El Mirage) – College of St. Benedict NEHC MacKenzie Lyons (Scottsdale) – Nichols College Mackenzie Meegan (Phoenix) – New England College Tori Wolter (Chandler) – Nichols College NESCAC Lynddy Smith (Glendale) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Hayden Knight (Scottsdale) – Coquitlam Express CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Sage Englund (Phoenix) – Carleton Place Canadians Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – Carleton Place Canadians EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Jack Allen (Yuma) – Vermont Lumberjacks (Premier) Jeremy Briscoe (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Dom DiMambro (Phoenix) – New York Applecore (Elite) Branson Duty (Apache Junction) – Boston Jr. Rangers (Elite) Joshua George (Chandler) – New England Wolves (Elite) Samuel Kany (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Little Flyers (Premier) Jacob Kerns (Phoenix) – New York Applecore (Premier) Drew Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (Premier) Erik Pritchard (Phoenix) – Walpole Express (Premier) GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Nick Acevedo (Desert Hills) – South Muskoka Shield Marvin Simmons (Phoenix) – Kingsville Kings GREATER ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Sam Dallas (Phoenix) – Stratford Warriors NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Tempe) - Aberdeen Wings Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) - Aberdeen Wings Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) - Bismarck Bobcats Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Wilderness Reid Miller (Phoenix) – Aston Rebels Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – Aberdeen Wings Keenan Spillum (Paradise Valley) – Aberdeen Wings Joey Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Odessa Jackalopes Mason Vukonich (Chandler) – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Bessee (Globe) – Helena Bighorns Kevin Bird (Glendale) – Glacier Nationals

Malachi Bushey (Tucson) – Great Falls Americans Eddie Cannon (Glendale) – Syracuse Stampede Trevor Checketts (Peoria) – Great Falls Americans Hunter Feagins (Surprise) – Gillette Wild Jonah Gower (Prescott Valley) – Glacier Nationals Joshua Kirk (Gilbert) – Glacier Nationals Nick Nast – Great Falls Americans & Jordan Nolan (Phoenix) – Jersey Shore Wildcats Corey Rees (Florence) – Long Beach Sharks Mitchell Tulk (Chandler) – Glacier Nationals Austin Wilks (Avondale) – Point Mallard Ducks NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Ashton Amaya (Gilbert) – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Matteo Pietroniro (Prescott Valley) – Baie-Comeau Drakkar SASKATCHEWAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Brett Pickler – Flin Flon Bombers * Ivan Vilcauskas (Phoenix) – Kindersley Klippers UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Michael Boyle (Phoenix) – Dubuque Fighting Saints Jaxon Castor (Phoenix) – Dubuque Fighting Saints Jake Durflinger – Bloomington Thunder & Matt Jones (Phoenix) – Des Moines Buccaneers D.J. King – U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team * Phillip Knies (Phoenix) – Sioux City Musketeers Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team Rourke Russell – Green Bay Gamblers & Adam Samuelsson – U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team * Carson Vance (Tempe) – Sioux City Musketeers Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Chicago Steel UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – Boston Jr. Bruins (Elite) Mendell Dubuisson (Waddell) – Florida Eels (Elite) Colton Egge (Chandler) – Atlanta Jr. Knights (Elite) Dakota Gottlieb (Scottsdale) – Jersey Hitmen (Elite) Frazier Mohler (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (USP3) Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Boston Jr. Bruins (Premier) Colton Seeman (Phoenix) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Chase Smith (Glendale) – Syracuse Stars (Elite) Sam Weidenbaum (Scottsdale) - Decatur Blaze (USP3)

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Bernsdorff (Glendale) – Phoenix Knights Christopher Carouchi – Arizona Hawks % Caleb Cavazos (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Garrett Fineberg (Glendale) – Arizona Hawks Chase Jeffery (Peoria) – Arizona Hawks Marshall Jones (Gilbert) – Arizona Hawks Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Arizona Hawks Ethan Middendorf (Scottsdale) – Vancouver Rangers Donovan Myers (Chandler) – Springfield Express Brett Robinson (Scottsdale) – Ogden Mustangs Alex Rodriguez (Phoenix) – Phoenix Knights PREP SCHOOL Jackson Birecki (Phoenix) – Tahoe Hockey Academy Alexis Ryan (Mesa) – Williston Northampton Jared Shuter (Prescott) – Tahoe Hockey Academy

NEW MEXICO COLLEGE HOCKEY NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Jackson Barliant (Santa Fe) – Sacred Heart University NCAA DIVISION III – MEN NESCAC Nicholas Faturos (Albuquerque) – Amherst College SUNYAC Nate Werhane (El Dorado) – Buffalo State University NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN NESCAC Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Jake McNerney (Taos) – Seguin Huskies

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

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

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

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

% former Mission Arizona ! former Phoenix Firebird



Very rewarding to see AZ high school hockey keep growing T


he Arizona High School Hockey State Championships on Saturday night, Feb. 4, was the place to be. The four championship games were held on two rinks at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. The crowds arrived early and boy,

did they arrive. Finding a parking spot would have been easier on Black Friday at the mall. Fans and parents showed up in their school’s jerseys and colors. The atmosphere was electric. It is amazing to see how the students have embraced hockey in the state. Through the power of social media, the students can keep updated on their schools’ hockey team. Most schools have their own hockey Twitter accounts. Behind The Mask ran Twitter polls asking which teams would win each of the finals divi-

sion games. For the Division 1 game, we received 499 votes, for the D2 game, 372 votes, the D3 game had 67 votes and for the junior varsity game, 95 votes. A total of 1033 people cast their vote. Incredible! All four games had great student sections. School chants rained down from the packed bleachers. The players saluted the students with some great post-goal celebrations that included glove ice sweeps and Alex Ovechkin-like board jump celebrations. The students went wild, most standing and cheering the entire game. Having been involved with high school hockey since its inception, I could not be more proud of what I am seeing. In its infancy, the schools did not even acknowledge hockey as it was and still is a club sport. Over time, that has changed. There are still some of those friendly faces associated with the programs from the early days. Even some whose kids have long since graduated, but still have the passion to help grow high school hockey. These volunteers are truly amazing and I commend you for your commitment. BTM has presented the Stephen Daniel Demchik Memorial Scholarship for the past decade. This academic and community service award was named in honor of a Thunderbird High School hockey player who was killed in a hiking accident

in 2006. Each year, seniors are encouraged to submit an application to the Arizona High School Hockey Association. This year’s award was proudly presented by my wife, Kathy, and I to Horizon D2 captain Jack Dobbins. BTM donates $1000 to the school the winner will be attending. Through BTM, we get to see many of the high school players in our stores. But when the applications come in that show the players’ GPA, SAT and ACT scores, I get to see how successful these kids are in both the classroom and in the community. Other awards were presented that night including the Scott Gower Memorial Scholarship, named after the late coach of Deer Valley. Scott was a great man who did a lot in the early years of high school hockey. This year, the award went to Cameron Judge of Notre Dame. Plus, the All State and All Academic teams were given out. It was great to see the well-deserved recognition given out to these players. There were many proud parents, grandparents and friends that evening. To see the players hoist the state championship trophies will provide hockey highlights for a lifetime. For most, this will serve as the pinnacle of their hockey careers. Congratulations the winners: D1 Pinnacle, D2 Centennial, D3 Desert Vista, JV Chaparral. Watch out Minnesota – we’re coming for you!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The Flagstaff Northstars captured the Pee Wee B title at the Arizona Hockey Union’s Presidents’ Day Invitational, which was showcased Feb. 17-20 at several Phoenix-area rinks.

The Flagstaff Northstars captured the Pee Wee B title at the Arizona Hockey Union’s Presidents’ Day Invitational, which was showcased Feb. 17-20 at several Phoenix-area rinks.

The Mission AZ Mites brought home the silver medal at the California State Games, which were showcased Feb. 17-20 in San Diego.

The Jr. Coyotes’ 10U Elite squad captured its division’s title at the Tinseltown Presidents’ Day Challenge, a tournament that was held in Los Angeles from Feb. 17-20.

The New Mexico Mustangs captured the 12U division championship in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League playoffs, which were held Feb. 24-26 in Littleton, Colo. Photo/Scott Cattelino/Colorado Hockey Hub

The Jr. Coyotes’ 8U Elite team secured the Mite A division championship at the Arizona Hockey Union’s Presidents’ Day Invitational, which was held at several Phoenix-area rinks from Feb. 17-20.

The Jr. Coyotes’ 12U Elite team won its division’s championship banner at the Arizona Hockey Union’s Presidents’ Day Invitational, which was showcased Feb. 17-20 at several rinks in the Phoenix area.

The Mission AZ 18U Red team captured its division championship at the Big Thaw tournament Feb. 24-26 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Arizona Hockey Union claimed the Mite B division banner at their own Presidents’ Day Invitational, which was showcased Feb. 17-20 at several rinks in the Phoenix area.

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Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Guildford, Great Britain Acquired: Coyotes’ first-round pick (12th overall) in 2014 NHL Draft Age: 20 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Brendan Perlini: Playing for the Detroit Belle Tire team in my Bantam season (2010-11). We won the national championship, so that would probably be my favorite memory. We had a lot of good players, like Dylan Larkin (now with the Detroit Red Wings). There were about four or five of us who became first-round NHL picks and we had many others who were drafted. Being drafted by the Coyotes was also a great memory. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? BP: My NHL first game (against Columbus), my debut was awesome. You work your whole life to get up here and see your dream come true. To be up here most of the year is an awesome achievement. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? BP: Probably my parents. They’ve done so much. It sounds cliché, but a lot of guys would say that. They do much for you, like taking you to the rink, feeding you in the early morning, and that kind of stuff. We moved from England to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., to Detroit and they went out of their way for me, molded me as a hockey player and as a person. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? BP: No.1 is to have fun. That’s the main thing. If you’re not having fun every day, and not sure of what you’re doing, it’s especially trying to be a hockey player and not worth playing. The main thing is coming to the rink with a smile on your face every day and ready to work. Whether it’s at the rink, at home, school, whatever, and if you want to be a hockey player, try and get better every single day and hopefully, things will work out. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? BP: Growing up in England, I loved soccer and the Premier League. My favorite team is Manchester United - I’m a big supporter. Grew up and played soccer over there and I play a lot of golf, too, but I like anything, to be honest. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? BP: It’s pretty relaxed. We have a pre-game skate, I’ll eat after that, and sleep for a bit. I’ll get to the rink for a 7 p.m. game around 4:45. I’ll get a little snack and just keep it light. Light stretch, get my body ready, tape a couple of sticks, and get mentally focused and ready to hit the ice. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? BP: It’s probably True Foods. I like that place and I like to eat healthy, so it’s all good. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? BP: Last couple of road trips, not exactly by myself, but with Alexander Burmistrov, we play video games. One of us will bring either Playstation or Xbox and it’s something we’ll play on the plane. Essentials? A suit, I guess. You’ll look pretty bad going to the game not looking nice. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? BP: That was Mario Lemieux. I liked him, liked his No. 66. Obviously, a big guy with great talent. He retired when I was really young, maybe nine or 10. I liked a lot of European guys, Russian guys, those types of players. It’s nice to watch them, really elegant, and good skills. I took pieces from their game, try to apply important parts to my game, and emphasize speed. Photo/Norm Hall/Getty Images


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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



May 26 -29, 2017

Application Deadline: April 21, 2017

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


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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