Arizona Rubber Magazine - May 2017

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IHAAZ – the Inline Hockey Association of Arizona – recently concluded another spectacular festival season that saw the game continue to grow and gain popularity, as well as increase in parity across the board at all levels


MAY 2017



FROM THE EDITOR Wrapping up the season, but hockey seems to never stop


h yes, the month of May. Just a few leagues and teams are left playing and before you know it, the rinks are empty, the ice is gone and the kids are out of school. Summertime is a glorious time of the year and gives us all a chance to kick back and unwind from the grueling grind of hockey season (yes, magazine editors go through the grind, too!). That said, there really is no offseason any more, what with summer showcases and tryout camps, junior hockey drafts, college commitments and next month’s NHL Draft in Chicago. I just want to take this opportunity to publicly thank everyone we here at Arizona Rubber Magazine work with throughout the course of the season that makes Matt Mackinder our jobs easier and even more enjoyable. To thank everyone by name would be a separate column, but you know who you are for that, stick taps for everyone! Be safe and we’ll see you in July!

Arizona Rubber Magazine is a production of:

Three Arizona standouts will suit up for Team California from July 3-9 to partake in the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Two players from the Jr. Coyotes Scottsdale team – forward Max Edwards and defenseman Isaac Nelson – and forward Brandon Gorzynski from the Arizona Bobcats will play at the Brick and also at the Carmen Starr Invitational in Los Angeles over Memorial Day Weekend and at the North American Hockey Classic in Winnipeg this month. Congrats to the Arizona trio!

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

Kudos to Phoenix native Sydney Blackman on being named the 19th recipient of the USA Hockey Brian Fishman Internship. Blackman’s experience will include 12 months in the communications division at USA Hockey’s national office in Colorado Springs, Colo., beginning in late June, with the second 12 months of the internship spent in the communications department at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) in Plymouth, Mich. Blackman graduated from Arizona State University this month and currently works for the Arizona Coyotes as a social media and marketing intern.

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Congrats to former Arizona Bobcats goalie Nick Nast on committing to play NCAA Division III hockey for St. Mary’s University, a school located about 90 minutes outside Minneapolis. Nast played for the North American 3 Hockey League’s Great Falls Americans during the 2016-17 season and finished with a 20-3-0-1-1 record with a .934 save percentage, a 2.13 goals-against average and four shutouts. Well done! A slew of Arizona connections were selected in United States Hockey League (USHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL) drafts to open May. Jr. Coyotes 15U AAA standout Garrett Wright was taken by the Bloomington Thunder in the eighth round (118th overall) of Phase I of the USHL draft on May 1 and then the next day, a pair of Scottsdale natives and Jr. Coyotes grads were taken in Phase II as Carson Dimoff went in the second round (19th overall) to the Sioux Falls Stampede and Joey Strada was nabbed in the fourth round (52nd overall) to the Fargo Force. Strada is also an Arizona State commit. Several players with Arizona ties were selected on May 4 during the annual WHL Bantam Draft. Coleton Panowyk, Jr. Coyotes 14U AAA (Regina Pats, fourth round); Erik Atchison, Arizona Bobcats 14U AAA (Spokane Chiefs, fifth round); Riley Stuart, Jr. Coyotes 14U AAA (Tri-City Americans, fifth round); Jeff Montoya, Jr. Coyotes 14U AAA (Lethbridge Hurricanes, seventh round); Hunter Hastings, Arizona Bobcats 14U AAA (Spokane, eighth round); Mark Gordon, Arizona Bobcats 14U AAA (Victoria Royals, ninth round); Josh Doan, Jr. Coyotes 14U AAA (Kamloops Blazers, ninth round); Trey Taylor, Jr. Coyotes 14U AAA (Portland Winterhawks, ninth round); Daylan Kuefler, Jr. Coyotes 14U AAA (Kamloops, 10th round); Andrew Ramsey, Arizona Bobcats 14U AAA (Victoria, 12th round). Way to go!

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Marc Fritsche, who has coached in the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association the past two seasons, has been named the organization’s new Elite Hockey program director. He will also continue coaching two Jr. Coyotes teams in 2017-18. More on Fritsche on Page 13.

ON THE COVER Inline Hockey Association of Arizona (IHAAZ) players gathered recently at Barney’s Family Sports Complex in Queens Creek earlier this month for the IHAAZ championship tournament. Pictured back row, from left to right, are Corbin Horvath (Havasu Dust Devils), Luke Pancrazi (Yuma Blaze) and Garrett Ruby (AZ Royals Blue). Pictured third row, from left to right, are D.J. Oldham (AZ Royals), Cole Delvecchio (Jr. Wildcats) and Tanner Horath (Havasu Dust Devils). Pictured second row, from left to right, are Carter Robinson (Prescott Storm), Riley Sato (Prescott Storm) and Trevor DiCori (Yuma Blaze). Pictured front row, kneeling, is Tatum Proud (Knighthawks). Photo/Dean Koressel

New rink at NAU means opportunity for school, community these costs to be over $2 million dollars.” Speaking of cost, the school is also asking the hockey program to contribute $250,000 for boards and glass, locker room conversion to hockey, a scoreboard and a Zamboni. Originally, the goal was $500,000, but with some savings in the construction costs and the insurance benefit, the cost to NAU hockey was reduced.

As a non-varsity sport at NAU, the school is not building a rink expressly for NAU hockey. The rink is fter playing at the city of Flagstaff-owned Jay seen by the president of the university and the other Lively Activity Center for over 30 years, Northern top officers of the school as a means of recreation for Arizona University may finally be playing their games all NAU students. There will be skating clubs, learn to on campus again in the near future. skate programs and open ice for recreational skating With a brand-new on-campus rink coming to at the new facility. NAU clubs, sororities and fraterNAU, the IceJacks program is getting a great boost. nities will be using the ice for gatherings for both The rink, which has already broke ground skating and broomball. on construction, will be the centerpiece of “As the top club sport at NAU, the hockey the existing Fieldhouse building on campus program will take the lead in assisting in the and should be ready for the IceJacks’ two building of the facility,” noted Fairchild. “Our ACHA teams by January 2018. expertise may be used to insure the proper “The huge attendance increase would purchases are made so that a there is a sucraise funds and enable NAU hockey to becessful hockey conversion. We have already come one of the most competitive teams in recommended changes to existing plans. the ACHA,” said NAU hockey GM A.J. FairThis will lend to a growing partnership bechild. “There have been plans in the works tween NAU hockey and the university. NAU for years to convert the Fieldhouse building hockey would be the major tenant and comon campus next to the Student Union to a mand better times for games and practices. rink suitable for hockey. Several things had There will also be opportunities for our playto take place for that to happen. We had to ers to work at the new facility to maintain the keep NAU hockey as a viable entity to allow ice and work with other user groups as we for both NAU hockey ACHA Division II and do at the city rink currently.” ACHA Division III teams to be the major tenThe seating will be over 1500 for NAU ants. Then the tennis team and the basketball home games in the first season with room to teams both had indoor facilities built for their grow much larger. The ticket sales will make practices, freeing up space for the rink con- Construction has begun on a new rink that will be housed in the NAU Fieldhouse a tremendous difference to the team, which on the campus of Northern Arizona University. The rink should be ready for NAU’s is currently averaging 300 fans per game at struction at the Fieldhouse. “NAU’s insurance got the transforma- two ACHA teams next January. Artist rendering/Lightvox Studio Jay Lively Arena. tion started. The area was completely dug up and “With the support of alumni, fans, boosters and “We are very proud that NAU came to us and said the pipes were repaired. The work continued and parents, we can reach our goal to make our rink on they wanted us to be the No. 1 tenant,” Fairchild said. the concrete was poured for the rink. NAU will make campus a reality,” added Fairchild. “This is the most “We’ve always had to prove ourselves, but the new further investment for the ice plant and the require- exciting thing to happen to our program in the 12 rink will make us more viable within the university. I ments to change the facility under code. We expect seasons I have been involved.” think we’re all looking forward to that.” By Matt Mackinder



Wheels Up

Arizona inline hockey – led by IHAAZ – continues to emerge as a popular, growing sport Our three teams have shown very well on tile floors, but struggled when it came to play on concrete floors like Prescott and Yuma have.” rik Dahl of the Jr. Wildcats will be the first to tell you the Inline Hockey AssoEvery team in the league made improvements and seeing progress from the ciation of Arizona (IHAAZ) is in as good of shape as ever. start of the year to the end is what every coach wants to see, whether a season Programs are growing and success is being enjoyed across the board by ends with a championship or not. teams in all six age divisions and interest in the league is extending beyond the Proud was certainly pleased with the strides his Knighthawks program made state line of Arizona. over the course of the season. “The league is continuing to grow,” Dahl said. “This year we had a San Diego “Our players improved tremendously,” Proud said. “Dustin Jans, myself and team at one of our tournaments. Last season, we had some teams from Albuquer- our coaches all feel every kid gained the skills of learning life lessons that they can que and we’re hoping that maybe they’ll be able to come back.” take with them in every aspect of their life whether it’s a job interview, being under The Jr. Wildcats are a perfect example of the growth the league has enjoyed. pressure at school, handling struggling times or anything that may come their way. This season was the first in which the program had four teams, fielding teams in Win, lose, blood, sweat and tears, whatever it is, hockey is the greatest game in the 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U division. the world and it teaches kids a ton.” “We’ve grown every year,” Dahl said. “Having this many teams created some Boyarsky noted a lot of ice hockey players often give roller hockey a shot and long tournament days for our coaches, but they were able to work with each team make strides in that sport. He was pleased with what he saw from the players that to improve them dramatically from the start of the season to the end.” made that transition. The Knighthawks are thriving as well and came away with championships in “Without recreational leagues to pool from, the Royals is an outlet for ice hockthe 10U and the 14U age divisions. ey players to try out roller hockey with minimal travel costs and in a competitive but “At the state finals, all of our teams were clicking and working together as fun environment,” Boyarsky said. “There’s always a learning curve for those new a unit,” said Brent Proud, the head coach of the program. “Teamwork is what to roller hockey to figure out the slight differences in the two games. This season, makes things work and it’s great to see a true team effort from all.” like most others, we got better as we went on.” The Knighthawks have been instrumental in growing interest among girls as Nolan believes one of the biggest improvements the players in his program well as they fielded their first ever all-girls team this past season. made was that they gained more knowledge about the game itself, knowledge that “These girls improved more than any other team in all of IHAAZ,” Proud said. “I will benefit the players going forward in their hockey careers. am sure everyone can attest to that. The Ladyhawks have inspired so many people “Each team really showed continued improvement with skating, passing and and young girls to want to play working together as a team,” the game. We plan to make this Nolan said. “I hope the players happen again next season with also gained a better undercoaches Ali Era and Anthony standing of the game and what Ray at the helm.” it means to be a part of a team. One of the keys to success I also hope they had as much for the Knighthawks program as fun playing as we did watching a whole is that it emphasizes them all season.” the importance of not relying on Dahl said his players took just one or two players to sucbig steps forward as well, both ceed. on and off the floor, and en“We will never be a group joyed the experience a great that operates only on individudeal. al success,” Proud said. “We “The experience our teams teach our kids the importance all got this year was learning of being a team and each playto work through adversity and er has their role in the unit. You overcome obstacles,” Dahl can’t remove the alternator from said. “Some of our teams were the car and expect it to work. short players and other playThe same goes with our players adapted and overcame. ers. If you take away one, things An important goal of our club get tough.” is to teach our kids some life Havasu is the midst of a lessons along with having fun transition period and dealt with The 10U Knighthawks engage in a ‘mosh pit’ celebration team photo at the very end of their IHAAZ state championship playing hockey. I think they all a great deal of adversity, but game, a 5-4 win against the Jr. Wildcats in sudden-death overtime in early May at the Barney Family Sports Complex grew as players and as people in Queen Creek. Photo/Dean Koressel made the best of its situation. this season.” “Injuries to key players in our Midget division caused our young players to step The Dust Devils enjoyed their experience as well despite the adversity it faced up all year,” said Havasu head coach Bill Beckman. “We fought Mother Nature at times. all year long and she washed out a majority of our practices. Our program is in a “We were able to welcome some players from out of town to join our teams transition period and we are hoping for new players and parents to help solidify this year and they were very much a part of our success,” Beckman said. “The the future of our program.” 14U team had a huge win in overtime at the Prescott tournament to give us the The Prescott Storm, which won the 8U state championship, was pleased with 14U B championship. That was a highlight of our season.” the overall direction its program moved in this season. It won’t be long before the next season is underway and all signs point to con“The season went really well,” said Storm head coach Freedom Nolan. tinued growth of the highly successful league. “The players definitely enjoyed the addition of another tournament weekend. Any “We’ve seen an explosion in growth of our rec program and we’re planning to chance to play more hockey is great.” have four full teams again next season,” Dahl said. “For the first time in our history, Three of the players in the Storm program are girls and compete with the La- we’re probably going to have to cut some people at tryouts at a couple of our age dyHawks as well. levels. That’s always hard since we really want to give everyone a chance to play who The AZ Royals have made strides as well. They won the 14U A division state wants to, but at this level, it’s so competitive that we really need the best of the best.” title and its AZ Royals White team claimed the Midget division crown. Dahl adds the popularity of the sport continues to rise. “Overall, the 2017 IHAAZ season was a good one for our Royals teams,” head “The popularity of the sport is growing and more and more people are starting coach Nick Boyarsky said. “The true test of an IHAAZ team is running the gambit to see that inline is a great way to continue building hockey skills for ice players in of each festival’s floor and how teams must adjust their game play accordingly. the offseason,” Dahl said.

By Brian Lester



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Coyotes continue to make commitment to Arizona youth By Mark Brown


irst, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a commitment to the community and now, the Arizona Coyotes stepped forward. While both organizations are highly visible in the community, the Diamondbacks reached out to softball and baseball players in the area of physical enhancement. That includes building playing fields throughout Arizona and supplying players with equipment. To date, the Diamondbacks financed 39 fields across the state, and the latest one, the Paul Goldschmidt Field, opened to coincide with the Diamondbacks opening day game against the San Francisco Giants early last month. Acting on the same level, but as separate supporters of community and youth programs, the Coyotes have set out to build facilities with equal enthusiasm, energy and purpose. Last October, the Coyotes announced a partnership with Luke Air Force Base, about a 10-minute drive down Glendale Avenue from Gila River Arena. At that time, the Coyotes committed $200,000 to construct an outdoor dek hockey rink and put a large footprint in the community. The response was overwhelming. Personnel on the base embraced the project and waited anxiously for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Though the target date was Jan. 1, the dek was not competed until early April. Still, the project came at a time where hockey is flourishing in the desert and personnel at Luke, from all over the country, remain passionate about hockey. “We had an opportunity to bring the Stanley Cup on base,” said Randy Kwiatkowski, the com-

mand chief for the 56th Fighter Wing out of Luke. “I thought just a few people would show up, but we had over 200 families come out. Many had their hockey shirts and logos from their home teams. It was the biggest audience I could ever imagine.” To help in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 14 were several Coyotes players, including defensemen Connor Murphy, Anthony DeAngelo and

Luke Air Force Base family members team up with Arizona Coyotes players prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 13 for the new dek hockey rink located on the base. Photo/Senior Airman James Hensley/U.S. Air Force

Alex Goligoski and forward Jordan Martinook. Personnel from the base as well as their families and the Coyotes became immediately engaged and filled the rink with gloves, sticks, goalie pads and flying rubber balls. For now, the rink is for enjoyment of those on the base. At the same time, the facility represents the Coyotes’ incentive into the community. Whether an ambitious plan for dek rinks is planned through-

out the state, as is the case with the Diamondbacks incentive, is to be determined, but the motivation has begun. For now, the players warmly embrace the concept and look forward to additional outdoor rinks. “This is a great partnership,” said Murphy, who captained Team USA in the World Championships in Cologne, Germany, this month. “Plus, this is natural, because Luke is so close to our building. And the best part? You don’t have worry about ice. This is really great, and I know we’re all happy to help in any way we can.” Incentive for the project germinated from the Coyotes’ desire to expand and market their brand. While Anthony LeBlanc, the Coyotes’ president and CEO, promised to add additional dek facilities throughout Arizona, the thrust of the motivation comes from the desire to put as many sticks in the hands of younger players as possible. “There are many ways to grow the game, and we believe this is one important way,” LeBlanc said. “The first step for us to move forward and get as many young people involved. We’re proud of what we have here at Luke, and plan to have this one as the first of many.” While no additional sites have been finalized, LeBlanc pointed out that facilities in Tucson and Flagstaff would be ideal. After all, the way to expand interest and reach as many as possible is to reach into the community. For that reason, the franchise dropped the name “Phoenix Coyotes” and broadened its appeal to “Arizona Coyotes.” That’s a statewide attempt to gain a greater identity factor, and utilization of dek hockey facilities only helps to broaden its base and scope.


FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION New FYHA president Miele has eye on continued development By Matt Mackinder


amie Miele is the new president of the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA) and in her short time in the position, has continued the work of previous presidents to keep the organization moving in a positive direction. “Our board is full of individuals who really want to see our association be successful, while maintaining the positive spirit of Flagstaff,” Miele said. “We have created and continue to create committees to set and reach goals for the association. The spirit of teamwork and the idea that ‘many hands make light work’ are what I am most excited about. Instead of having a fundraiser, for example, we will have a fundraising committee. “There are so many families in our association with unique talents that can help us, and we want to harness that.” The 2017-18 FYHA Board of Directors is made up of Miele, Dave Bereson (VP), Emily Mokelke (secretary), Stephani Allen (treasurer and fundraising committee chair), Lindsay Mellen (registrar), Ryan Gearhart (coaching committee chair), Kevin Tye (ice scheduler and scheduling committee chair), Scott Robinson (webmaster) and Mick Cummard (committee member). Miele said the summer agenda will be full of continued planning for next season, with an eye towards development. “Our 6U/8U program is very important to the continued development of FYHA,” Miele said. “Last year, we fielded two 10U travel teams for the first time and we will likely be doing that again for the upcoming season. The effort put into our 6U/8U program is what allowed for this growth. Our goal is to continue this trend in 10U and to be able to add a second 12U travel team in the next year or two. To make this happen, we need to capture and keep those young players in the program. We will provide our 6U/8U program with quality coaching and game-play opportunities. Last year, Kevin Tye spearheaded the development of a 6U/8U league, complete with weekly games and a championship. “The kids loved it and we will definitely be doing it again next season.”


Off-season training, having fun with it, must go together I

n this article, I am going to break down by each age group what each should be doing in the off-season to keep their physical and mental game sharp for the upcoming season.

Mite At this age group, players should be watching hockey all the time and learning the fundamentals of this sport. At this age, players should be attending things like Kurt Goar’s camp to help develop skill and have fun. Players would benefit at this age by skating with a power skating coach such as Holly Harrington. Holly is great with young players to develop and improve their skating stride at a young age. Always remember that one of the most important things at this age is to HAVE FUN. St. Clair

Squirt As a Squirt, you can start doing some quick feet

agility exercises on and off the ice. This is just body weight stuff so that way you can stay healthy longer in your career. If you start lifting at an early age, it can really mess up your growth and at times, it can cause you to get burned out. As a Squirt, some of the most important things that you should be doing are stickhandling and shooting pucks off the ice. I think that this is important at all ages. Again, HAVE FUN. Pee Wee This is when you can start ramping up the training a bit. The agility things you do as a Squirt should come natural by now and you can start training a little longer. At this point, you should start doing some body weight stuff to improve strength. These could include push-ups, body weight squats, lunges and even some sit-ups. Again, shooting pucks at this age is a must because your body is starting to grow and shooting pucks will help a lot with strength. Make this fun for yourself – maybe create a shot chart and record how many shots you take a day. Start a 500-shot club and make that your goal for the week. This is also a good idea for coaches to do for their teams. HAVE FUN. Bantam At this age, kids are starting to learn how to hit. Some kids at this age might be 6-foot-1 and oth-

ers may be 5-foot-3. That being said, starting to workout at this age is a must. You will realize that working out will obviously help with your strength, but it will also help with your confidence. Confidence is a big thing for hockey players because the game moves at such a fast pace that you have to have confidence in your abilities. Core strength is the most important thing to off-ice hockey training. This is where hockey players generate most of their strength. When you are shooting pucks, again sticking to the fundamentals, try shooting off balance and shooting in uncomfortable situations. HAVE FUN. Midget Start working out more heavily. This is a time in your life where your body is growing and will be able to put on some size. Work on the core strength and start progressively working out harder and harder. Kids should be attending off-season camps and maybe even a couple showcases. This is not a must. It will not make or break your career, but if you are good enough and want to do it, this will help get your name out there. HAVE FUN. This is all an outline and just some things that kids can do. The biggest thing to do in the summer is to stay active and get to the rink a couple times a week. Always remember, have a blast getting better at hockey.

Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union. 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



McCaughey finds ‘perfect fit,’ named DYHA hockey director By Matt Mackinder

my first kid with one on the way, so I decided to get out of hockey and into real estate,” said McCaughey, or the last several years, Brad McCaughey has who played NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Michigan and was a 1984 draft pick of the Monworked in real estate in the Phoenix area. Busy, for sure, but now taking over as the new treal Canadiens. “I didn’t want to leave Phoenix and director of hockey operations for the Desert Youth we decided this was where we were going to raise Hockey Association (DYHA), McCaughey knows the our family. As my kids started to come of age, they hours may be just as long and jam-packed. started playing hockey and I started to coach.” McCaughey takes over for Sean In seeing DYHA’s growth over the Whyte, who will remain with the Jr. Sun years and the work Whyte put in to Devils as the club’s 18U AA coach. build the program, McCaughey said “I’ve been keeping my ears open the there is a lot to be intrigued about in getting involved last few years to get back, get further with the Jr. Sun Devils. into youth hockey in a management lev“I think the biggest part el,” McCaughey said. “I’ve been out of is the opportunity to put hockey for a while, other than coaching, my footprint on a probut when Sean apprised me of the pogram and assist in detential for him moving on, I let him know veloping youth hockey,” that I’d definitely be interested in the Brad McCaughey McCaughey said. “I’ve had job. That led to an interview and subsesome ideas on how I would help youth quent hiring. “It’s just a perfect fit, so once the opportunity hockey associations grow and now, I have the opportunity to step in and imarose, I took advantage of it.” Coaching with the Jr. Coyotes the past two years, plement some of my ideas. Just to help McCaughey also has a history in the game in Arizo- these kids grow, and it’s not just about na. In 1992-93, he skated with Whyte for the IHL’s hockey and skills, but we want to teach these kids Phoenix Roadrunners and was later coach-GM for life lessons – teaching them about teamwork and the Phoenix Mustangs WCHL pro team where Whyte work ethic – along with the opportunity to participate in the game at a top level.” served as player-assistant coach. McCaughey added that DYHA’s relationship with “When that team folded, I was married and had



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Arizona State University is “certainly exciting.” “It’s exciting to see where our program can go in the future with that relationship,” said McCaughey. “There are nothing but positives down the road for our program and it’s an opportunity to help hockey grow and this program grow.” His first day April 30, McCaughey said the start to the transition has been very positive and it helps to have Whyte around to help with the changes. “We’re getting through tryouts right now and once we finish those, I’ll be able to tackle some of the other aspects of the job,” said McCaughey. “I’ll be looking at budgets and as we move through spring and summer, I’ll be able to look at the program and see what we can do to keep improving. I’ve got some ideas that aren’t practice-related. I’d like this program to be known as the best skating program in town. If you can’t skate, you can’t play hockey. I have some ideas to implement that and some may take time, but there is also some off-ice stuff I’d like to implement as well. “For us, it’s not about winning, it’s about getting these kids to play the game and having everyone we play against say, ‘Gosh, I hate playing those Jr. Sun Devils because they just work so hard.’ Winning is a byproduct of teaching the kids the right way to play.”

IN A DEVILISH MOOD Bottom line – if you can’t skate, you can’t play hockey A


s I sat down to write this article, I found myself contemplating the many times in the past few years where I have been asked the question, “What do you recommend that my son or daughter focus on to become a

better player?” My answers always varied as every player has different strengths and weaknesses, but there was always one part of my answer that never changed – SKATING, SKATING, SKATING. I believe those three words are the equivalent of LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION in the real estate world. Being a good skater is an absolute must if you want to be an above average hockey player. The problem is that this is the one area of the game that kids like to work on the least. Kids associate power skating with punish-

ment, and for good reason as some of the time, due to inexperienced coaches bag skating the kids and telling everyone he is a power skating specialist. However, there have been plenty of times that I have personally witnessed where a very experienced power skating instructor is on the ice running some excellent drills and 80 percent of the skaters out there are just going through the motions, waiting for the pucks to come out. This is the attitude that we, as coaches, need to change in this Valley. The problem is that we cannot do it without the help of you parents out there. We can do our part to educate ourselves to make sure we know what we are talking about when we teach proper skating techniques, or to get someone else to do it. We can also break it up a little and add some fun to the lesson so that the kids will start to associate fun with power skating. But this is also where you, as the parent, need to hammer home with your child that no matter how good of a skater he or she thinks they are, they can ALWAYS get better. They not only owe it to themselves to do so, but they owe it to their teammates. Hockey is a team sport and good teams are comprised of individual players who have bought into the team philosophy that what is good for the team is all that matters. Good teammates have an obligation to work hard and

always strive to get better. I grew up playing hockey in Ann Arbor, Mich., where I was pretty much the best player in my age group all the way up through high school. I dreamed of playing for the Wolverines. When the Michigan coach asked me to be a walk-on for the team, and guaranteed me that I would at least make the team and that I would get SOME ice time my freshman year, I was in heaven. That summer, that coach got fired and Red Berenson was hired. This eventually turned out to be a great thing for me, but at that moment, all I knew was that my guarantees were gone. Coach Berenson recognized that I had a great head for the game and a natural ability to put the puck in the net. What he also noticed was that I was a horrible skater. I was a straight-legged skater who did not generate any power. I ended up getting plenty of ice time and had a pretty good college career, largely due to the fact Coach Berenson made me do power skating all four years I was there. Here’s the lesson. They say that there are certain things about hockey that you can’t teach, like hockey sense. Like shooting and passing, skating is very much an improvable skill. I would even consider it a requirement to continually work on becoming a better skater for anyone who is serious about becoming a better hockey player.

Brad McCaughey is the new director of hockey for the Desert Youth Hockey Association.



Coming off solid first year, THA ready for second season By Greg Ball


he snow has melted in the Sierra Nevadas, and it appears that things have started to heat up within the Tahoe Hockey Academy (THA) program as well. The month of May traditionally marks the start of AAA tryouts and the tryout season for CAHA and SCAHA teams. With Tahoe Hockey Academy being a non-traditional market, its program faces certain challenges not found with any other program in the state. Being the first full-time residential academic program dedicated to hockey in California has put the Tahoe organization in a different position when it comes to students looking for a unique opportunity. “We knew from Day 1 that it was not going to be easy building our program within a state that is so entrenched in a club-oriented environment,” THA Leo Fenn said. “The goal all along has been to offer an alternative to players who are interested in more time on the ice, more time spent in school and more room for overall development of their hockey game.” With Tahoe Hockey Academy having a full season under its belt, it would appear the program’s model is providing benefits for its student-athletes. “Our program isn’t designed for the masses,” said THA athletic director and head coach Michael Lewis. “We’re on the ice and in the weight room every day, and that’s designed more for the player looking to prepare himself for the higher levels of hockey once he’s done playing Midgets.”

Those benefits seem to be enticing to many players inA more detailed look at what the academy has to offer in comparison to other hockey programs in the state re- side and outside the state, as Tahoe continues to commit flects a different approach to achieving a player’s personal new student-athletes for the 2017-18 season. “We’re a new program and in being unfamiliar to goals. “I grew up in the Southern California youth hockey the masses, we understand it’s going to take time to be scene, and there’s no question that THA was something viewed as a viable option,” Lewis said. “I’ve been coachthat the hockey community here needed,” THA associ- ing travel hockey for the past 20 years, and have seen my players advance on to juate coach Chris Collins said. niors, NCAA institutions and “I saw so many of my friends the professional ranks. There’s leave the state to pursue obviously nothing wrong with hockey based on the fact that their clubs couldn’t provide the the traditional way of developthings needed for development ing players, as it continues to and advancement.” work for many players locally - I During the month of May, just have to wonder how many when parents and players deadditional players we can move cide their home for the upcomon to the next level with the ing season, the Tahoe Hockey more advanced and specialAcademy continues to be a ized hockey curriculum that we topic of discussion for those Players at the Tahoe Hockey Academy found success on offer at THA.” who are looking for an alterna- and off the ice during the school’s inaugural season of A more detailed look into 2016-17. Photo/Joe Naber this specialized program tive to the norm. “I’ve seen it from all sides of the table when it comes to shows that Tahoe Hockey Academy’s search is designed Southern California hockey,” said Fenn. “I’ve raised three for players who are focused on individual progress and sons playing hockey in SCAHA and CAHA, been a coach development. “In the end, it’s going to be a player’s own personal with different programs and witnessed the many hours spent on the freeways and away from the classrooms. development that’s going to get him noticed help him Our program is designed to eliminate the negatives as- advance,” Fenn said. “From start to finish, we’re able to sociated with travel hockey while providing huge benefits refine, construct and produce a more well-rounded player because our model offers more.” to a player’s growth as a young man and athlete.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


CAHA ‘in a good place’ with Fritsche new Elite director By Matt Mackinder


uring the 2016-17 season, Marc Fritsche coached a pair of Jr. Coyotes Tier I teams and along with head coach Steve Potvin, took the 2002 team to USA Hockey Youth Nationals and the 2006 team to a second straight state championship. He’ll coach the 2006 team and the 16U Tier I team in 2017-18, but will be most busy in his new role as the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association’s (CAHA) Elite Hockey program director. In this role, Fritsche will provide direct oversight to the 11 Jr. Coyotes elite teams and coaching staffs, competing in the Mite to Midget age divisions in the local Arizona Youth Hockey League and the prestigious Tier 1 Elite Hockey League levels. “I’ve been with the program the last two seasons and when the position became available, I put my name in the hat,” said Fritsche. “I’ve done it before (with the Cleveland Barons program) and I had that experience behind me. Then lo and behold, this great opportunity was given to me and I’m very excited about it. It’s a different market here than in Cleveland where we had Columbus, Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Detroit all within two hours. It made scheduling easier, but as far as the structure, it’s very similar.” Prior to joining the Jr. Coyotes, Fritsche was head Midget coach and program director for the Barons, also of the Tier 1 Elite League. During his 15 years with the program, Fritsche played a key role

in developing the program, its players and coaches or so had already been in place, so I haven’t realto consistently compete at the highest level. Under ly put my spin on anything at this point,” said Frithis leadership, Fritsche’s teams captured two Tier I sche. “The first couple of days, we had to make our Elite League championships as well as a third-place coaching announcements and we were the proud host of the (14U and 15 Only Tier I) national tourfinish at the USA Hockey National Tournament. During the 2016-17 season, the Jr. Coyotes nament held at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Immediately following Nationals, we held tryouts swept the state championships at for 18U down to our 2004 team. the Tier I 14U, 15 Only, 16U and That led into Tier 1 Elite League 18U levels, and captured nine admeetings, which luckily, were held ditional state championships at the here in Phoenix. Then came tryouts younger elite levels. for our 2005 team on down to our Fritsche said he accepts the challenge of building on this strong 2010 team. foundation of excellence and suc“So yeah, it’s been a whirlwind start, and the last month has been cess. His goal is to create an all-incrazy, but it’s part of the job and clusive and unified program focusonce it slows down a bit, I’ll be able ing on skill development, teaching to start putting the infrastructure in and the recruitment of quality place to keep moving forward.” coaches and players, with the goal Two moves that Fritsche has of becoming a top regional and naalready implemented include hirtional elite hockey program. Marc Fritsche ing Potvin as the skills director for “Our job here is to keep building and growing hockey in Arizona and to compete on a the organization and former Canisius College goalie national stage,” Fritsche said. “The organization as a coach Mike Nepsa, who will serve in the same role whole is in a good place right now.” working with Jr. Coyotes goaltenders. Since taking over in March, Fritsche has been As for next year, Fritsche anticipates more sucquickly getting acclimated to what the new job will cess, both on and off the ice. entail and what he’ll be doing over the summer “We just want to keep doing what we’re doing,” months leading in to the 2017-18 season. said Fritsche. “Just continuing the success we’ve “Everything that we’ve done in the past month had and building on it.”




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We Are The Champions

Six state champions crowned as IHAAZ caps another stellar festival season By Brian Lester


early 20 Inline Hockey Association of Arizona (IHAAZ) state finals have been played in the history of the league and there is little doubt the 2017 edition of the championship tournament ranks right up there with the best of them. The action on the floor was thrilling and the Knighthawks claimed two titles, winning the 10U crown and the 14U B championship as well. The AZ Royals also picked up two championships, winning the 14U A crown and the midget division championship. The Prescott Storm claimed the 8U title and the Yuma Blaze soared to the championship in the 12U division. In addition to the tremendous play the tournament offered up to fans, the AZ Coyotes provided an interactive experience for the fans, while Skills Champions Jerseys were awarded by Grasshopper Athletic Team Apparel. Players also received custom shirts made by Phat Teez. The memories made over the weekend will last a lifetime and it’s worth taking time look back on the action that unfolded at the Barney Family Sports Complex in Queens Creek. 8U Division The Knighthawks and Storm were the two best teams all season, with both teams going undefeated against every other team in the league. The Storm had never lost to the Knighthawks either, but that changed in the round-robin portion of the tourney as the Knighthawks edged Prescott 3-2. Both teams went on to win their semifinal games, setting up a showdown for the title. Prescott went into the final hungry for revenge and got it, rolling to a 9-4 victory over the Knighthawks. Eli Simpson paved the way with six goals in the title game and earned MVP honors. Simpson scored 11 goals in all in the tourney. Zach Turner was tabbed the top goalie, racking up 23 saves, and Hunter Matthews of the Knighthawks was the top offensive player after finishing the weekend with 10 goals. Teammate Landon Jans earned top playmaker honors. Jans came through with eight goals and four assists. 10U Division No championship was more competitive than the battle for the 10U crown, which pitted the Knighthawks against the Jr. Wildcats. The two teams tied each other in round robin play and the Knighthawks went into the final as the top seed. But the Jr. Wildcats had the lead with 22 seconds left in regulation, clinging to a 4-3 advantage, and they appeared to be on their way to the title. Gage Woolford tied the score at 4-4 off an assist by Addison Nolfsinger as the game went into overtime. One minute into OT, Faith Dababneh scored to lift the Knighthawks to the 5-4 come-from-behind win. Dababneh earned MVP honors, scoring a goal and dishing out four assists, and Jonathan Pool of Yuma was the top goalie. He came through with 36 saves in the tourney. Eli Shulman was the top offensive player, scoring 19 goals, and Brandon Gorzynski was named the top playmaker after tallying 11 goals and four assists.

8U Prescott Storm

10U Knighthawks

12U Yuma Blaze

14UA AZ Royals

12U Division This division was the one the spotlight was on right out of the gate at the state finals as it featured three great teams fighting for spots in the championship game. A year ago, the Jr. Wildcats won the crown in overtime and it looked like perhaps they would win again this year. 14

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In the end, it was the Knighthawks and Yuma Blaze that met for the championship. The Blaze lost to the Knighthawks earlier in the tournament but used great defense and a stellar performance by MVP Justin VanDeberg to secure a 5-1 victory. VanDeberg scored six goals and dished out three assists in the tournament. C.J. Foster of the Knighthawks earned top goalie honors, racking up 59 saves, and Wesley Amos of the Prescott Storm was the top offensive player, finishing with 13 goals and six assists. Ryan Gorzynski of the Knighthawks was named the top playmaker, scoring seven goals and dishing out one assist. 14UA When round robin play began, it looked like a safe bet the AZ Royals and Yuma Blaze would play for the championship. That turned out to be the case as both teams went unbeaten in pool play to punch tickets to the final. The AZ Royals dominated the championship game, playing well in all phases of the game. Dylan Sharkey gave up just one goal and the Royals’ offense was clicking on all cylinders in a 7-1 victory. The Royals capitalized on the fact that they had a team with a strong cast of second-year 12U players. Matt Gross of the AZ Royals was named the MVP, tallying seven goals and four assists, and Sharkey was tabbed as the top goalie, making 17 saves. VanDeberg of the Blaze was named the top offensive player, scoring eight goals and dishing out an assist, and D.J. Oldham of the Royals was the top playmaker, finishing with three goals and two assists. 14UB Division The biggest surprise of the tournament occurred in this division as the Knighthawks overcame two tough losses in pool play to win the championship. They lost 8-0 to the Jr. Wildcats and then lost to the Blaze as well. But rather than fold, the Knighthawks battled back and punched a ticket to the final with a 4-0 win over tourney favorite Havasu. That set up a second meeting with the Jr. Wildcats and the Knighthawks, behind unbelievable play by Tatum Proud, earned a 6-3 victory. Proud became the first player in league history to win top goalie and MVP honors. Proud finished with 76 saves in goal. Dominik Barber of the Jr. Wildcats was the top offensive player and Kelton Chadwick of the Jr. Wildcats was named the top playmaker. Barber scored five goals and dished out two assists while Chadwick finished with eight goals and six assists. Midget Division The AZ Royals White didn’t win a title at any of the festivals during the regular season and it seemed like their fate wasn’t going to change in the state finals. Yet, they rose to the occasion when it mattered most to claim the championship, dominating nearly every team in their path on its way to the title. The only exception was a 2-2 tie with the AZ Royals Blue. Continued to next page

Half-dozen teams nail down titles, All-State picks named Continued Nathan TePas turned in a stellar performance in goal, the kind every goalie hopes to have in a big setting, and MVP Carson Welch stepped up his game as well to pace the AZ Royals White to the championship. The Blaze went into the tourney as the reigning champs of the Midget division and seemed confident they could repeat as champs. The AZ Royals White were ready for the challenge, though, thanks in large part to TePas, who shut down one of the league’s top scoring threats in Logan Estes. The AZ Royals White dominated on both ends of the floor to pick up a 5-1 win in the final. Welch scored a goal and dished out six assists while teammate Cody Case finished the weekend tied for the division-lead in scoring in the tourney, tallying five goals and two assists. TePas racked up 61 saves in the tourney, fashioning a save percent of nearly 90 percent, as he earned top goalie honors. Keagan Lamb of the Prescott Storm managed to earn top offensive player honors, scoring five goals and two assists and Estes was the top playmaker of the tournament. Estes scored twice and dished out three assists for the Blaze. All-State Selections The all-state selections were picked prior to the start of the tournament. A total of 30 players were selected from the six divisions. Brandon Gorzynski was named the top playmaker with 24 assists and Tatum Proud led the way in saves with 473.

14UB Knighthawks

Midget AZ Royals

8U: F Nicholas Lopez, Yuma Blaze, 37 goals; 10 assists; F Nate Magby, Knighthawks, 29 goals, 12 assists; D Charlie D’Antonio, Prescott Storm, 18 goals, 9 assists; D Kelzi Olson, Prescott Storm, 3 goals, 11 assists; G Dylan

Foster, Knighthawks, 166 saves, .765 save percentage 10U: F Brandon Gorzynski, Knighthawks, 48 goals, 24 assists; F Eli Shulman, Jr. Wildcats, 67 goals, 11 assists; D Faith Debabneh, Knighthawks, 13 goals, 6 assists; D Kirsten Kacynski, Jr. Wildcats, 5 goals, 7 assists; G Jonathan Pool, Yuma Blaze, 135 saves, .799 save percentage 12U: F Dominik Barber, Jr. Wildcats, 38 goals, 8 assists; F Justin VanDeberg, Yuma Blaze, 36 goals, 8 assists; D Jackson Gebhart, Yuma Blaze, 5 goals, 4 assists; D Brandon Ott, Yuma Blaze, 15 goals, 10 assists; G C.J. Foster, 201 saves, .871 save percentage 14U (First Team): F Clayton Garnier, Havasu Dust Devils, 17 goals, 5 assists; F DJ Oldham, AZ Royals, 22 goals, 12 assists; D Brad Carpenter, AZ Royals, 7 goals, 8 assists; D Sean McBride, AZ Royals, 5 goals, 15 assists; G Dylan Sharkey, AZ Royals, 169 saves, .849 save percentage 14U (Second Team): F Justin VanDeberg, Yuma Blaze, 29 goals, 15 assists; F Ian Torp, Prescott Storm, 22 goals, 4 assists; D Koryn Kaczynski, Jr. Wildcats, 3 goals, 4 assists; D John Bomberg, Knighthawks, 9 goals, 5 assists; G Brendan Rizzo, Havasu Dust Devils, 362 saves, .823 save percentage Midget Division: F Logan Estes, Yuma Blaze, 16 goals, 11 assists; F Keegan Lamb, Prescott Storm, 26 goals, 9 assists; D Luc Spinasanta, AZ Royals White, 3 goals, 11 assists; D Miguel Cazares, Yuma Blaze, 4 goals, 5 assists; G Garrett Ruby, AZ Royals Blue, 161 saves, .931 save percentage



Bobcats hire trio of new head coaches for ’17-18 season By Greg Ball


ith a growing program and increasingly high expectations, the Arizona Bobcats know they must employ the best coaches they can find to help their players develop. Hockey director Ron Filion knows just how important coaching is, and believes he has found three excellent leaders in the trio of head coaches he has selected to add to the Bobcats’ roster for the 2017-18 season. Jeff Alexander will coach the program’s Squirt AAA team, Dillon Shaffer will coach the Pee Wee AAA team, (a 2005/2006 birth year combo) and Kirk Bolduc will coach the Bantam AAA squad alongside Filion. “Our program has always focused on giving our young hockey players the best development possible and to achieve this goal, we need qualified coaches,” Filion said. “With the program growing so much over the past two years, we needed to find local coaches with coaching and playing experience who could relate a clear message and guide our teams to a higher level. We have found three people that we are proud to welcome to our program as head coaches.” Alexander grew up in Chandler and moved on to play junior hockey in the Eastern Junior Hockey League and Division III college hockey at Castleton State University in Vermont from 2006-09. He returned to the Valley and coached with Mission AZ, Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) and CAHA in Chandler - working with

players from Mites to the 18U level along the way. “I was an assistant coach with the Bobcats 2003 team last year, and I was looking for kids who want to compete every single day and who are looking to take the next step to play in college and juniors,” Alexander said. “The Bobcats’ program is really focused on developing players and their skills. That’s the culture here,

Kirk Bolduc (middle), who played NCAA Division III hockey at Castleton State University, will coach the Arizona Bobcats Bantam AAA squad alongside Ron Filion during the 2017-18 season.

and that’s my preference. “I learned a lot of lessons after I was done playing, as far as what I could have done to make myself better. I wish I had known growing up what I know now, and I think I can use that knowledge to help these kids get where they want to go.” Shaffer played mostly at Oceanside with the Fire-


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birds growing up and was a center at Northern Arizona University from 2006-11. During his last season with the Lumberjacks, he started coaching with AHU in Gilbert. He worked three years with the Union, a season with Mission AZ and two more with CAHA, coaching alongside Alexander - who he had grown up playing with and against - with many of his teams. “To me, the Bobcats are what a youth hockey program should look like,” Shaffer said. “You walk into the rink and there’s almost a tangible aura in the air. It just feels right. Jeff and I and a few other guys in the program are from Arizona, so there’s a unique sense of pride involved. We’ve had that ‘hockey in the desert, us against the world’ mentality for a long time, and we know how good the hockey is and can be here. “We met with Ron, and I think that discussion clicked fairly quickly. I like the lack of fluff and the focus on hockey. For me, it was a pretty easy decision. It was a very comfortable fit right away.” Bolduc played with Alexander at Castleton from 2006-10, then played for a year with the Rome Frenzy of the Federal Hockey League. A native of Lewiston, Maine, he moved to Arizona after his playing career wrapped up and has been coaching ever since. Mostly, he has worked at the AA level, from Squirts up to Midgets at CAHA, Mission and AHU. “At the Bantam level, especially with first-year Bantams, it’s an impressionable year because it’s the first year they can hit,” Bolduc said. “The opportunity for me to coach at the AAA level was really attractive.”


Mission’s Goltz adds scouting role with Arizona Wildcats By Greg Ball


eremy Goltz has deep ties to the University of Arizona and has his finger squarely on the pulse of the youth hockey scene in the state, so it seems a no-brainer that the director of hockey operations for Mission AZ would combine his two strengths to benefit both. Goltz was recently named as the director of North American scouting for the Wildcats men’s hockey program, a role he’ll fulfill while still maintaining his position leading Mission AZ. “I’m really excited about it,” Goltz said. “I’ve modeled a lot of what we do at Mission after my college experience. I feel like the scouting and my work with the Mission kids will go hand-in-hand.” Goltz played hockey for the Wildcats from 1990-94, then went directly into a role as an assistant coach for the next six years. He eventually moved on to a number of other positions in hockey locally, including starting the Mission program and serving as the head coach at Arizona State University, where he was named the ACHA Division I coach of the year in 2010. No matter where he’s been on the ice and behind the bench, though, he has always kept in close contact with the program at U of A, and when Chad Berman asked him this spring to come on board in an official role, he was thrilled to have an opportunity to help his alma mater. “Jeremy welcomed me with open arms when I arrived here,” said Berman, entering his fourth season as the

Wildcats’ head coach. “I got to know him at some alumni events and really enjoyed picking his brain about hockey, and that evolved into him suggesting a few players for me to look at. I wouldn’t take the advice of just anybody, but since I have such great respect for Jeremy and his eye for talent, it made sense. “The reason it makes sense to make him such an integral member of our team is that he understands the type of character we want to add to our program. When he calls me and tells me ‘This is a kid you

want to consider,’ I don’t need to get into a long conversation about it because we’re completely on the same page.” Last year, Goltz advised Berman to look at hybrid forward/defenseman named Manny Rowe, who had grown up playing for Mission and was somewhat under the radar playing in the North American 3 Hockey League. He

turned out to be the Wildcats’ Rookie of the Year for the 2016-17 season. Of course, Goltz’s role with U of A won’t mean that he’ll funnel players only from Mission to the Wildcats program. He’ll advise Berman on players he thinks fit his program from the perspective of their play on the ice and their character - whether they happen to wear a Mission sweater or play for the many other teams Goltz sees every year. Because he has worked in the game for nearly 20 years, Goltz has developed a strong network of coaches, scouts and hockey administrators throughout Arizona and across the U.S. This network will help him tremendously in seeking out and identifying players that would be a good fit for the Wildcats program. In late June, he’ll hold his first prospect camp in the Phoenix area, for players interested in showcasing their skills for Berman and his staff. “Everybody knows ‘Goltzy’ - it’s like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” Berman said. “It would be short-sighted of me to say his connection to Mission is all he provides. He knows so many hockey players across the state, and the key is bringing the right players to our program.” Goltz feels he’s uniquely qualified to help the Wildcats grow. “Having played there and coached there, I have a good feeling for what it takes to play at that level and be a part of a successful program,” Goltz said.

MISSION STATEMENT ACHA college puck is top quality, not ‘just club hockey’ I

n sticking with the theme of being back involved with the University of Arizona, I want to use this article to help educate folks on what the uneducated like to call “ just club hockey.” Make no mistake, the American Collegiate Goltz Hockey Association (ACHA) is high-level college hockey with a variation in levels and over 500 options across the United States. Recruiting, rivalries, fans. Yep, it’s college hockey alright. I have had the privilege of playing and coaching in this league for the better part of 13 seasons, and it is frustrating to me that parents and kids have absolutely no clue of this level of play. My experience at U of A, playing in front of 5500 fans a night in a college town with playing against the likes of Arizona State University and Ohio University and national rankings at stake – every game was sim-

ply and truly unreal. The reality of our town is that only a handful of kids will have the opportunity to play NCAA Division I hockey, and the other 96 percent have to wake up and realize that in state, we now have four ACHA programs to offer – in-state tuition and a great level of hockey, especially at the ACHA D-I level. I see it firsthand every year with players I coached who went off and had a successful run in junior hockey. They are faced with the option of playing NCAA D-III for a school of 2500 students for $25,000 a semester or come home, play a level that is as good, if not better, and play for major universities and in-state tuition. It’s a no-brainer and for years, this has been the path of so many kids. Half the time after a player says he plays NCAA D-III, for example, at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the very next question will be, “Where is that?” Personally, I would rather have a big college experience with a big college degree in a job interview.

The ACHA league consists of three levels D-I, D-II and D-III and now, a well-established women’s league as well. When I was coaching for ASU, we went head to head with NCAA D-III schools all the time. Folks really need to get an understanding of how many options in state players really have. I, of course, am proud to have been a part of both ASU and U of A, and take pride that so many of my ex-players now represent all four major schools. There is nothing better than playing college hockey for a major school. I have been an ambassador for this league for 20 years, and will tell you how special my experiences have been being a part of it. Do yourself a favor – the next time ASU travels to Tucson to play U of A in the Convention Center, make the drive. I am pretty sure your player will walk away from that night pretty excited about the prospect of one day being good enough to hopefully play “just club hockey.”

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


Konixx Outcasts gearing up for NARCh West Coast Finals The Outcasts recorded a first-place finish in the Men’s Division and runner-up finishes in both the Bantam Gold (16U) and Junior (21U) divisions. Ryan Bottrill earned the Pee Wee Division high scorer award with 10 goals and 14 points. Robbie Vanotterloo earned the top goaltender award in the Junior Division with a .871 save percentage, while Tommy Tartaglione earned the top goaltender award in the Men’s Division with a .866 save percentage.

place at the Huntington Beach reagional and fourth in a large, competitive field in Irvine. The seven Arizohe Konixx Outcasts have two upcoming tournana players hail from all over the Grand Canyon State: ments circled on their calendar: a NARCh regional Carter Newlin, Ryan Bottrill and goalie Luke Yubeta qualifier June 2-4 in Escondido, Calif., and the NARCh from Phoenix; Luke Fain and Griffin Sherwood from West Coast Finals June 16-25 in San Jose, Calif. Prescott; and Jake Dempsey and Austin Pacewick Both events are huge for the Phoenix-based infrom Yuma. line hockey program, according to director Nick Bo“This is one of our teams I think could truly make yarsky. a run at a national championship,” Boyarsky boasted. The Outcasts are fielding teams this year in the 8U, “They’ve got some immediate chemistry and teamwork 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U youth divisions, plus that couldn’t be taught if we tried. They improve several teams in the men’s divisions. game to game and don’t seem to have even hit their Many teams are hoping to bring back hardware peak yet.” from the two events. Dempsey won the high scorer award at the HB “The growth of the Outcasts program with the regional. addition of 8U, and the continuation of 10U and The 16U team (2000 birth year) under Boyarsky 12U, with a second 12U division added, shows the and Dodt received a Platinum seed at the Irvine demand for inline hockey in Arizona is growing by qualifier, finishing fourth. leaps and bounds,” Boyarsky explained. “If there “The core of this group has been together for was rink time and coaches to accommodate it, the four years and is just starting to hit their stride,” Boprogram could very well have had 3-4 more teams yarsky noted. “They’ve proven they can play with the to boot.” top teams in the region. The goal is to build off the Boyarsky said the biggest challenge Outcast positives from elimination losses (at the HB and Irteams currently face is the ability to stay competivine events) and be better going into San Jose in tive with other West Coast programs that play year- The Konixx Outcasts captured the Men’s Division championship title June, ready to go all the way.” round and that have access to greater quantities of at April’s NARCh regional tournament in Irvine, Calif. Photo/NARCh Standouts include Michael Bloom, Connor rink time. Some Outcast teams are playing shortened sea- Bottrill and Grant Ziegler. “With the shortage of facilities in the state that of- sons in order to qualify for the NARCh West Coast Boyarsky said the program’s first- and second-seafer time, most Outcasts teams will only clock a slim 10 Finals and thus will be out in force to gain experience son coaches — Dustin Jans and Jeremy Hiltabitel or so hours of practices by the end of the season,” he at the Escondido regional. (8U/10U), Brent Proud and Marvin Simmons (12U said. “In the past, it was 2-3 times this amount.” Some teams have already logged invaluable Blue) and Wes Parker (12U Gold) — have been inIf the results of the 251-team NARCh regional tour- NARCh playing time. strumental in growing and developing younger teams nament April 27-30 in Irvine, Calif., are any indicator, The 14U team (2002 birth year) under Boyarsky, that will be key, in his words, “allowing those players the Outcasts should be able to hold their own. Alex Dodt and Jayme Haveman, captured third to be competitive going into the future.”

By Phillip Brents



From Santa Fe to Sacred Heart: Barliant’s hockey journey American Hockey League for the Soo Eagles and the United States Premier Hockey League for the hen scouring college hockey rosters, one will Baystate Breakers before starting at SHU in the fall see that the majority of players hail from hockey of 2015. During his freshman season at Sacred Heart, hotbeds of Michigan, Minnesota and New England. Take a look at the NCAA Division I roster for Barliant posted a goal and four points in 26 games. He only saw action in eight Sacred Heart University and one games this past season after player’s vitals stand out. tearing his MCL. Jackson Barliant – Home“My sophomore year revealed town, Santa Fe, N.M. itself to be a true test of characNot too many top-level hockter,” said Barliant. “After getting ey players have come out of New injured early on in the season, I Mexico, but Barliant is the excepwas left watching a lot of hockey tion to the rule it seems. for nearly the entirety of the sea“As my family moved to New son. Despite my injury, it was a Mexico from Chicago before I very defining year as a team. The was born, my dad and his famiyear began with an exciting move ly grew up playing hockey,” explained Barliant, who just comto our new rink, Webster Bank pleted his sophomore year with Arena, and a very challenging the Atlantic Hockey school based out-of-conference schedule. Dein Fairfield, Conn. “When my dad spite both our record and playcaught news of the Genoveva off appearance being somewhat Chavez Community Center being disappointing, there was truly a Jackson Barliant will be a junior at Sacred built, he knew that I, too, would Heart University this fall and is eyeing a team consensus that the year incontinue the tradition.” comeback year after being injured for much spired large amounts of growth In his youth days, Barliant of 2016-17. within our locker room. played for both the Santa Fe youth hockey program “Despite the many obstacles that I was forced as well as the travel program in Rio Rancho. He left to overcome, I can truly say that I learned a lot about home in his teens to play AAA hockey in Colora- myself and my team from a perspective that I had not do for the Colorado Thunderbirds and Pikes Peak seen before.” In the classroom, Barliant is currently double Miners and later played junior hockey in the North

By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

majoring in Finance and Economics with a minor in Mathematics. “Being injured this year, I was able to truly give my schoolwork and degree an amount of attention that I had not been able to previously provide,” said Barliant. “I also had the privilege of joining the Student Managed Investment Fund, which helped expose me to a new-found passion within my major. Through the support of our team academic advisors, I was able to finish my first two years at school with a 3.87 GPA and as a team, we were also able to achieve the highest cumulative GPA for any team on campus. His plans for the spring and summer include staying in Connecticut to both train and start a summer internship at Barnum Financial Group focusing on advising and wealth management. Barliant has advice for young hockey players growing up back home that are passionate about the game of hockey. “I would definitely say that despite the sport of hockey still being rather small within the state, with hard work it is more than possible to move on to play high levels of hockey,” said Barliant. “Despite this, hockey is growing tremendously within the Southwest, as both Colorado and Arizona have made tremendous strides in regard to their player development. With this being the case, it is truly only a matter of time until this same growth takes place within the state of New Mexico. “I definitely believe that the re-introduction of a high-level junior team would also help to cater to the growth of youth hockey within the state.”

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

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

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

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 Hannah Kiraly (Glendale) – Plattsburgh State University

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 Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – 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

Ghostriders wrap up ‘16-17 inline year in AIHL playoffs By Phillip Brents


he American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) playoffs wrapped up for the Arizona Ghostriders April 29 at the Las Vegas Roller Hockey Center. According to team owner Brian Craven, the program’s women’s, men’s elite and men’s minor teams “could finally leave the rink for the last time knowing they had given their all and created more hockey memories and friendships that last a lifetime.” The Ghostriders men’s elite team, riding a threegame winning streak from its last regular-season tournament in Irvine, lost by scores of 5-3 and 5-2 in its best-of-three series against the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces to end its season. The Ghostriders men’s minor team ended its playoff run with a 3-3 record after dropping its final Minor Tier 2 playoff series two games to one against the Las Vegas Aces Blue team. Previously, the Ghostriders men’s minor team edged the Lady Ghostriders two games to one in the opening round of the Minor Tier 2 playoffs. The Las Vegas teams advance to the AIHL national championship tournament May 19-21 in Las Vegas as the Pacific South Division representatives in the Elite and Minor Tier 2 divisions. Craven said the 2016-17 AIHL season will be remembered most for the ground-breaking performance of the Lady Ghostriders team that made history as the first women’s team to enter a men’s division league – and win games. “Inspired by their athleticism, skill and leadership, the AIHL board voted unanimously to create an AIHL women’s division for the 2017-18 season that begins

in December,” Craven said. Craven noted that Florida is one of the expansion targets. “Talented women are already coming forward to express an interest in creating a Tampa Bay-area AIHL team that will continue the Lady Ghostriders’ mission to bring elite roller hockey to all women,” Craven explained. The Ghostriders program is based out of the Peo-

The Arizona Ghostriders men’s minor team advanced to the second round of this year’s Pacific Division Minor Tier 2 playoffs. Photo/Arizona Ghostriders

ria SportsPlex. The Lady Ghostriders first created a buzz by competing in the Women’s Platinum division at January’s NARCh Winternationals where Chelsea Wilkinson captured the Most Valuable Goaltender award. The team then won its division at February’s State Wars Winter Wars West tournament. The Lady Ghostriders won three games against

men’s competition in regular-season AIHL competition to make another statement. The Lady Ghostriders (3-20) and the Ghostriders men’s minor team (7-16) met in the opening round of the Minor Tier 2 playoffs April 17 in Phoenix. The Ghostrider teams traded wins before the men’s minor team ended the series with a 4-3 win in overtime to advance to the division’s Minor Tier 2 finals. Justin Hauver notched the OT game-winner for the Ghostrider men’s minor team, which captured the opening game in the series by a score of 6-2. The Lady Ghostriders evened the series at a win apiece with a 3-2 win in Game 2 as Allison Era scored three goals, teammate Lindsey Fry dished out three assists and Wilkensen stopped 24 of 26 shots to pick up the win between the pipes. Era paced the Lady Ghostriders in the playoffs with five goals and seven points. She led the team in regular-season scoring with 13 goals and 18 points, followed by Fry with 11 goals and 15 points. The Las Vegas Aces Blue team (8-15 in regular season play) recorded a 9-2 win over the Ghostriders men’s minor team in Game 1 of the division’s Minor Tier 2 finals before the Arizona team forced a third and deciding game in the series by posting a gritty 4-2 win in Game 2. The Las Vegas team won Game 3 by a score of 4-2 to advance to the national championship tournament. Jake Marr (five goals, three assists) and Andy Villanueva (two goals, six assists) led the Ghostriders men’s minor team in playoff scoring with eight points. Brandon Marr was the regular-season scoring leader with 21 points.



Not every hockey player has to be a pro to be successful A

rizona has been getting lots of hype nationally for producing Toronto Maple Leafs star and probable Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews, who should be the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. We are definitely now on Exelby the hockey map. This will open opportunities for future generations of hockey players. Plus, Arizona is producing numerous other players who are now competing at the college and junior levels. Players are also receiving valuable Division I scholarships to some of the top hockey schools in the United States. There could not be a prouder Arizona hockey person than me about this. But in my over 28 years of involvement with Arizona hockey, there are things that need to be said about Arizona hockey that get passed over. Through my involvement with Behind The Mask, I have seen

hundreds or maybe even thousands of youth hockey players come through our doors. Great friendships have been made with these hockey players. Most of our employees at one point were these players. What might I be talking about? The point I am trying to make is that Arizona hockey has produced some terrifically successful people outside the field of hockey. Youth players who are now doctors, lawyers, firefighters, police officers, teachers, business leaders etc., I used to see every day as the customers I have watched grow up. Hockey is a very important part of creating a person’s character – learning how to be part of a team, learning how to interact with teammates, parents and coaches, learning the core values of hard work, learning to make proper life choices, learning how to win and lose gracefully and learning about sportsmanship. These values you cannot put a price tag on. They are values that set up a person to be a success if used correctly. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing one of our customers now grown up come in the store. Whether it is because they still play and are getting something or they just stop by to say hello. I always want to know what they are doing now. And quite often, the aforementioned professions are mentioned. Since we have been in business over 23 years, customers who came in as new hockey players just

starting out now are coming in outfitting their kids. Or parents coming in outfitting grandkids. What a great thing to see hockey being passed down through the generations! Customers who I have not seen in years I often don’t recognize until they mention their names. Many had attended one of our ice, inline or goalie camps over the years. We usually have some good memories and stories. Goalies to this day mention the dreaded “Dot Day” at the Behind the Mask Goalie Camp. I look at it as a rite of passage – a badge of honor and respect. Those who have attended understand exactly what I am saying. Successes and failures make up a person’s character and certainly, hockey gives us both. No matter how good the player, you have always been cut or have had failure at some level of hockey. This includes Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who was at one time cut from the Canadian World Junior team as a 16-year-old. Learning how to deal with both defines our character. If we always won something, what would we take it for granted? Would we truly be challenging ourselves? Failure often makes a person stronger than success does. A person with these values is a commodity in the working world. I want to personally thank all the parents, coaches and players for creating such influential people.

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The Arizona Hockey Union’s Squirt Black team brought home the championship banner in the Squirt B division at the Spring On Ice Tournament that wrapped up on April 16 in Anaheim, Calif.

Lt. Col. Kevin Marzette, 56th Mission Support Group deputy commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randall Kwiatkowski, 56th Fighter Wing command chief, cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the dek hockey rink on April 13 at Luke Air Force Base. Arizona Coyotes players attended the ceremony and held a skills clinic for Airmen afterwards. Photo/Senior Airman James Hensley/U.S. Air Force

Former Arizona Bobcats goaltender Nick Nast, who played for the North American 3 Hockey League’s Great Falls Americans and in the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Mich., this past February, has committed to attend and play hockey at NCAA Division III St. Mary’s University. Photo/NAHL

Mission AZ alumni Taylor Knight (University of Arizona), David Kaplan (University of Denver) and Jared Johnson (Arizona State University) met up at the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships in Ft. Myers, Fla., last month.

Dusty the Roadrunner, the mascot of the American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners, visited with students at Los Ninos Elementary School in Tucson in late April and even played ball hockey with the kids in the school’s gymnasium. Photo/Tucson Roadrunners

Erie Otters captain and Arizona Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome celebrates with the J. Ross Robertson Cup after Erie knocked off the Mississauga Steelheads to capture the Ontario Hockey League championship on May 12 in Erie, Pa. Photo/Dan Hickling/OHL Images

Through June 11, the Arizona Hockey Union is offering skills sessions at AZ Ice Gilbert. The group that participated on April 27 left with smiles and even took time for a group picture.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Pee Wee Black team captured first place and the championship banner in the Pee Wee BB division at the Spring On Ice Tournament in Anaheim, Calif., that concluded on April 16.

Scottsdale native Auston Matthews, who just wrapped up his rookie season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, took batting practice prior to the Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on April 28 and proceeded to belt a home run over the right field fence. Photo/Toronto Blue Jays

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Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Mt. Brydges, Ont., Canada Acquired: Traded from Florida, along with Dave Bolland, to the Coyotes for a conditional 2017 second-round pick and a 2018 third-round pick Age: 19 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Lawson Crouse: My first memory was a combination of getting drafted and then playing for the world juniors in 2015 (with Team Canada). Pretty amazing feeling to be on home soil in Toronto and Montreal. That was pretty fun and then the draft, also. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? LC: Playing in my first NHL game and scoring my first goal. When you get to this level, there are certain things that you remember for the rest of your life. These are definitely some and I’ll carry for a long time. My first goal was against San Jose, but I don’t remember the goalie. Might have been Martin Jones, I don’t remember. (Ed. Note: Yes, it was Jones.) AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice? LC: My dad. He’s been there all the way up, and I wouldn’t be here without him. As much as he criticizes me to improve my game, he is also my biggest supporter. He’s a pretty straight-forward guy, and tells you how it is. Glad to have him around. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? LC: You have to work hard. If you want to stay in this league, you have work hard each and every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s practice, a game, in the gym. You will not go anywhere if you don’t work hard, don’t have the right attitude and the heart that you need to put in the game. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? LC: Probably golf right now. I do a lot of golfing. Growing up, I played baseball, lacrosse and golf. You get to that point in your career that you have to pick one. I went with hockey. When I go back home, I play softball in leagues during the summer and I’m always golfing. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? LC: Not really. I try and stay away from superstitions. I feel you can’t do something here or there, I try and stay away from it as much as I can. If I have a really good game, I’ll try and remember what I did, and what I ate and stuff like that. As far as superstitions, I really don’t do anything. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? LC: Same game-day routine for me. I wake up at the same time, go to the rink, have a meal. Obviously, we have our morning skate and then come back. Right now, I’m learning how to play guitar. I usually play a little bit before I nap. Then, get a quick nap and head back to the rink for the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? LC: Eat a lot of steak and we have a few guys always go out together. We kind of cycle through Dominick’s, Ocean Club, Preston’s and mix in True Foods. That’s pretty much it. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? LC: I travel pretty light – underwear, socks, suits, garment bag. Depending how long the trip, a pair of jeans and a couple of T-shirts when we go out to eat. Mostly, we’re in a suit or golf shirt, so it’s pretty easy. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? LC: My favorite player was Jarome Iginla. Back when he was in Calgary, I remember watching him a lot and loved the way he played. Good player and he plays tough. Just fun for me to able to watch him. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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

LABOR DAY WEEKEND September 1 - 4, 2017

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND November 23- 26, 2017

PRESIDENTS’ DAY WEEKEND February 16-19, 2018

. A&B B . Pee Wee AA, A, BB, B . Squirt A, BB, B Mite . A, AA, am Bant . ol Scho High AA/A 16U et Midget 18U AA/A - Midg


Midget Open/High School 2004 Elite & AAA . 2005 Elite & AAA 2006 Elite & AAA . 2007 Elite & AAA 2008 Elite & AAA . 2009 Elite & AAA Mite Open - 2010/11 (Half Ice)

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

Registration opens on June 1, 2017!

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