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VOLUME 12

MISSION AZ PROGRAM CREDITS SUCCESS TO AZ ICE PEORIA ARIZONA YOUTH HOCKEY GRADS MAKE NCAA DECISIONS ICE DENS LOOKING FORWARD TO HOSTING T1EHL SHOWCASE WHYTE DISCUSSES NHL JOB, HOW HOCKEY WILL KEEP GROWING

ISSUE 10

SUMMER 2017

After scoring 40 goals and capturing the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year, Scottsdale product Auston Matthews proved to the NHL what Arizona has known for years – he is the real deal!


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FROM THE EDITOR Even in the offseason, there is plenty going on to stay excited

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Matt Mackinder

ffseason? What offseason? As has been the case for many years now, the hockey world is definitely 24/7. There are no breaks and sometimes, the summer months can be just as busy as the season. Think about it – you’ve got summer skills and tryout camps happening, player advancement, transactions at every level and in some cases, blockbuster trades at the pro level. Sure, the weather may be nicer this time of year and the beaches a tad more crowded, but there is still time for hockey in Arizona. It’s the greatest sport on the planet and the more I stay involved in the game, the more I meet and become acquainted with some of the game’s

most passionate folks. Heck, Randy Exelby echoes my sentiments – check out his “Shop Talk” column over on Page 20. All this said, take the time to enjoy the summer with your family and closest friends because before you know it, the hockey bags are tossed in the car and it’s go, go, go from September through March and in some instances, April. Hope everyone is enjoying their summers and we’ll see you in September! Congratulations are in order for Phoenix native Johnny Walker and his Chicago Steel teammates on winning the United States Hockey League’s Clark Cup championship on May 23 after a thrilling Game 5 overtime victory over the Sioux City Musketeers. “A moment I’ll never forget, with a family I’ll have forever,” Walker tweeted on May 24. Walker, who will return home and attend and play for NCAA Division I Arizona State University in the fall, played youth hockey in the desert for the Phoenix Firebirds and the Phoenix Polar Bears before finishing up in Scottsdale playing for the CAHA 14U program. He also played in the North American Hockey League for the Minot Minotauros and Topeka Roadrunners before joining the Steel after being a firstround pick of Chicago during Phase II of the 2016 USHL Draft. Changes are abound with the Arizona Coyotes and they start at the top. Back in mid-June (before Mike Smith was traded, Shane Doan was not offered a contract for the ’17-18 season and Rick Tocchet replaced Dave Tippett as head coach), president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc and president of hockey operations Gary Drummond stepped down from their duties. In addition, general counsel Ahron Cohen was named as the club’s new COO and Steve Patterson was named CEO. The Coyotes will not replace the president of hockey operations position at this time. “For years, Anthony has been the front office face of our franchise, and we sincerely appreciate all of his hard work and commitment to the Club,” said team owner Andrew Barroway. “Anthony and Gary deserve a lot of credit for stabilizing the franchise. They did great things for hockey in Arizona and helped grow the game in the Valley. They have the lasting gratitude of every Coyotes fan and I want to wish them both the best of luck in the future.” In hiring Tocchet, it’s a homecoming of sorts. “We are very pleased to name Rick as our new head coach,” said Coyotes GM John Chayka. “Rick is an excellent coach and a proven winner. While with the Penguins, he won a Stanley Cup as a player and two cups as a coach. He’s experienced, knowledgeable and is a great leader and communicator. He’s also a former Coyotes player and assistant coach and the perfect fit for us. We’re thrilled to have him re-join our organization.” The 53-year-old Tocchet joins the Coyotes following three seasons and back-to-back Stanley Cup championships as an assistant coach with Pittsburgh. How will these changes translate in the standings? Stay tuned.

Contact Matt Mackinder at matt@rubberhockey.com 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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ROLLING TO GOLD

The Arizona-based Konixx Pure team was all smiles after capturing the Division 1 (25U) championship at June’s NARCh West Coast Finals in San Jose, Calif. More coverage on Page 14. Photo/NARCh

ON THE COVER Main Photo: Scottsdale native Auston Matthews popped 40 goals in 2016-17 for the Toronto Maple Leafs and was the runaway winner of the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Photo/Michael Caples/ MiHockey Inset Photo: After spending his entire 21-year NHL career with the Arizona Coyotes franchise, longtime captain and fan favorite Shane Doan was not offered a contract for the 2017-18 season. Photo/Norm Hall


New chapter for Coyotes as Doan not returning to club By Matt Mackinder

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he Arizona Coyotes will have a decided new look next season. Mike Smith will not be between the pipes, traded to the Calgary Flames in mid-June, and then in a move that raised plenty of eyebrows, longtime captain Shane Doan was not offered a contract to play the 2017-18 season for the only NHL franchise he has ever known. Now 40, Doan was coming off his least productive season offensive in nearly 20 years, scoring just six goals and 27 points in 74 games. He did score his 400th career goal in December, but managed just two more over the next three months. Coyotes owner, chairman and governor Andrew Barroway issued a statement on June 19, the day the news broke that last season was Doan’s final one with the Coyotes. “After serious consideration, we have decided to not offer Shane Doan a contract for the upcoming season,” said Barroway. “The time has come for us to move on and to focus on our young, talented group of players and our very bright future. This was a very difficult decision given what Shane has done for the Coyotes and his unparalleled importance to the organization. With that said, this is necessary to move us forward as a franchise. “On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Shane for everything he’s done for the Coyotes on and off the ice the past 21 years. Shane is a Valley icon who had an incredible career and was one of the best captains to ever play in the NHL. “Shane deserves an enormous amount of credit

for keeping the Coyotes in the Valley and for growing the game of hockey in Arizona. He is beloved by our fans, corporate partners and the media and has been a tremendous leader for us in the community,

After more than 20 seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, longtime captain Shane Doan will not wear the team’s colors in 2017-18 as the team chose to not offer him a contract for the upcoming season. Photo/Norm Hall

and a great role model for kids. We wish him and his family all the best in the future. He will be a member of our pack forever.” Doan, who became an unrestricted free agent on

July 1, has played 1,540 NHL games since Winnipeg selected him in the first round (seventh overall) back in the 1995 NHL Draft. He has recorded 972 points, including 402 goals, but was part of only one playoff run of note, when the Coyotes lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Western Conference Finals. That run was also the last time the Coyotes made the postseason. Once the news was made public, Doan spoke with the “Burns and Gambo Show” on Arizona Sports 98.7. “Yeah, it was the owner’s decision,” said Doan. “When he got possession of the team, he chose that he wanted to go with the younger group and that me being around might’ve kind of delayed things. Sometimes, you’ve got to rip the Band-Aid off and I guess that was kind of the approach they were looking at. The fact that they traded (Smith) right after, you understand. They were making sure they were getting rid of the things that were from the past.” Doan spent one year in Winnipeg before the Jets relocated to Phoenix and became the Coyotes prior to the 1996-97 season. He had worn the ‘C’ for the Coyotes since 2003. “I’m trying to sort through the emotions of it,” added Doan. “I know my personality and my initial response is, ‘You challenge me that way, then I’m going to want to prove you wrong.’ Initially, there’s no doubt in my mind that I want to prove to them I can be effective and help. “As the two days have calmed down, it’s like, ‘Okay, I want to make a decision that’s right and not just one out of competitiveness and anger.’ I want to get an honest idea of where I’d be and what it would be like.” AZRubberHockey.com

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Scottsdale Stud

Auston Matthews completes superb NHL rookie season in Toronto with Calder Trophy win real solid game and when it’s a Winter Classic game, it’s a little bigger setting, a lot more fans, kind of that national stage. For us to come out and get that win was a pretty exciting game. I think people were on the edge of their seats there in the third period and overtime, so it was just really fun to experience this whole thing.” That said, playing outdoors was nothing new for Matthews. “I mean, I’ve played outdoor hockey before, probably just like everybody else,” Matthews said. “I lived in Michigan (playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program) for two years (2013-15), so played quite a bit in the winter when we had time, so it was a blast out there, a lot of fun, the setting, two Original Six teams going at it against each other, so it was a pretty fun night. “The first two periods were pretty defensively structured by both teams, not too much space out there, so you kind of just were taking what was given, and the

By Matt Mackinder

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o say that the last 12 months for Auston Matthews have been a whirlwind is truly an understatement. First, the Scottsdale native was selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Draft, making headlines in the process as a player going No. 1 that wasn’t from Canada or any of the United States hockey hotbeds. Then in his NHL debut in Ottawa against the Senators in October, he recorded four goals to definitely show the NHL that kids from the desert can play hockey. On New Year’s Day in Toronto in an outdoor game – the Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic against the Detroit Red Wings – Matthews picked up the overtime winner at Exhibition Stadium before a crowd of better than 40,000. Still, Matthews wasn’t done. After finishing the regular season with 40 goals, Matthews outdistanced his competition – Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski – in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting and became the first Leaf in more than 50 years to win the award as the NHL’s top rookie. Matthews accepted the award at the NHL Awards ceremony on June 21 in Las Vegas. “It means a lot,” said Matthews. “Just being a Toronto Maple Leaf, an Original Six team, it’s a pretty big honor to play for a team like that. It’s just a special night. I’m not a big public speaker, so it was definitely pretty nerve-racking going up (on stage), but it was pretty cool.” Matthews was a near-unanimous selection, receiving 164 of 167 first-place votes and three second-place tallies for third period kind of 1,661 points. He paced rookies with his opened up a little bit. We were able 40 goals and 69 points while appearing to score a couple quick goals, a couin all 82 games. His 40 goals also shared ple big goals, and momentum kind second place in the entire league, highof switched again and they were lighted by a historic debut in which he able to come back. Regardless, obbecame the first player in the NHL’s viously you don’t really want to be in modern era (since 1943-44) to score that position that we were in, but it’s four times in his first game. good to get the two points.” “Lot of young talent in the league Toronto had a 4-3 lead until the now,” said Matthews. “(The voting totals Red Wings scored with 1.1 secwere) a pretty big surprise to me. Not onds left in the third period. only with Patrik, but with Zach to do what Fast forward to the end of the he did as a defenseman at 19 years old, regular season and Toronto qualified it’s not easy. I think it’s the hardest posifor the Stanley Cup Playoffs, facing tion to play being that young. Then there Scottsdale native Auston Matthews was the top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs Alex Ovechkin and the Washingare other players that aren’t here – such and did not disappoint in his rookie season, bagging 40 goals and capturing the Calder Memorial ton Capitals. a good rookie class. It’s definitely an hon- Trophy. Photo/Michael Caples/MiHockey All six games in the series were or to receive this award.” one-goal games, but the Leafs could only muster two wins and were bounced from The 19-year-old Scottsdale native was Toronto’s first Calder Trophy finalist the postseason. since 1992-93 (Felix Potvin) and becomes the first Maple Leaf to win the award “It was really important to get a taste of that,” said Matthews. “It’s a new year since 1965-66 (Brit Selby). coming up and everybody’s got to be ready and be dialed in. It’s not easy to make But heading into the season, was earning the Calder a goal at all for the Arizona the playoffs, as we saw this year, and I don’t want to say we snuck in, but it was Bobcats and Jr. Coyotes alum? pretty close. It was definitely an exciting year.” “Yeah, of course,” said Matthews. “You want to perform individually, but in the Looking ahead, Matthews sees a bright future for the Leafs. end, you want to do what you can to help the team win and I felt I did a pretty good “The expectations kind of come with the territory,” Matthews said. “All us young job at that, kind of just doing my thing out there, but having fun at the same time guys, we embrace it and we enjoy it. We’re a young team and we’re looking to get playing with some pretty good players. We’re a young team that’s continuing to better to hopefully achieve our ultimate goal. It’s not even us, but a lot of the older build and get better every day. guys – Tyler Bozak, James van Riemsdyk – that are super close. That’s a good “Individually, you want to take a step forward and as a team, you want to take thing to have and everyone being so tight with each other, hopefully that translates a step forward. We got a taste of the playoffs this year, so we want to continue to to on-ice success as well.” push it and obviously, get to that ultimate goal.” What’s on Matthews’ agenda as the summer kicks into full swing? Opening 2017 with his overtime dramatics, lifting the Maple Leafs to a 5-4 win “Been working out, started skating more the last few weeks,” Matthews said. “I over Detroit, Matthews said he just wanted to take in the atmosphere and enjoy thought it was pretty important to take a couple weeks off after the season. Playing the event. a lot of games, your first season in the NHL, it’s been a busy summer, but rested up “Definitely one of the best moments in hockey I’ve ever experienced for myself a little bit and got back into the swing of things, so it’s been really good. – it’s pretty special,” said Matthews. “All 23 guys out there, I think, we played a “Excited for the season.” 6

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Amaya, Storjohann each decide on NCAA Division III paths me about halfway through last season and they immediately stood out because the SUNYAC is known as one of the strongest hockey conferences in the country. The coaches showed a lot of interest in my academic goals and told me I would get the chance to earn good playing time as a freshman.” Amaya finished with 59 points in 56 games last season, placing him among the top 20 NOJHL goal

support from our community was wonderful. It was awesome to see how passionate people are for the aybe it’s ironic the Kirkland Lake team in the game of hockey up there.” Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NO“Playing in Kirkland was a huge change going JHL) is named the Gold Miners. from somewhere like Arizona,” Amaya noted. “It was After all, not only did the team have a pair of a small town and everyone cared for the hockey Arizona natives on the roster in 2016-17, but both team. Playing with Storjohann was great – we’ve have committed to play NCAA Division III hockey been playing together for five years, starting with next season. the AHU Knights and our first year of junior toAshton Amaya, a Gilbert native who was gether in Richmond (for the USPHL’s GenerKirkland Lake’s captain last year, has decided als). It made it better having your buddy there, on Aurora University, located just outside Chiespecially when you’re so far from home.” cago, while Anthem native Alex Storjohann As a youth back in Arizona, Amaya skated is off to play in New York for Cortland State for the DYHA Firebirds, VOSHA Mustangs University. and AHU, while Storjohann played for the Both players are 1996 birth years and exRoadrunners and AHU. Amaya cited Kurt hausting their junior hockey eligibility after the Goar, Shawn Babin, Mychal Moore and season meant each had to work even harder C.J. Nussbaum as positive, influential coachto get the college shot. es and Storjohann gave praise to Babin and Both succeeded. Moore. “The process was easy committing to Au“My advice for young hockey players would rora,” said Amaya. “The coach (Jason Bloombe to always embrace your teammates and ingburg) and staff made it easy to get everycoaches,” Storjohann said. “The game has a thing set up and were always there when you lot to give if you respect it. Be a good teamhad a question about something. What was mate and approach things the right way. Conappealing to me about the school was the Anthem product Alex Storjohann, who played youth hockey for the Roadrunners trol what you can and focus on getting better class sizes and the location. Not being that and the Arizona Hockey Union, will ply his trade at the NCAA D-III level this fall every day.” far from Chicago is nice with being able to go with Cortland State University. “For players in Arizona trying to go as far as down and catch a Hawks game or a Bulls game. The scorers. they can, just keep working on your game because coach knows what he wants from his players and Storjohann placed fifth in NOJHL scoring with when you take time off and don’t push yourself, wants to put them in the right places to succeed.” 73 points in 46 games, led the NOJHL in assists there is always someone out there behind you that “Going into last season, I knew a big part of my with 53 and led all U.S.-born players in scoring. is working on their game and wants your spot,” addfocus off the ice would be deciding where I wanted “The league is super competitive and I was for- ed Amaya. “When you get out of youth hockey, it is to get my education and play college hockey next tunate to be surrounded by great teammates and a business and the staff doesn’t have time to wait year,” added Storjohann. “Cortland reached out to coaches in Kirkland Lake,” said Storjohann. “The for a player that doesn’t want to give it their all.”

By Matt Mackinder

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ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION

Off-ice training excellent for team building within AHU By Bryan O’Sullivan

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ow that the stress of tryouts is over, and the 100-degree temperatures are upon us, it’s time to focus on the 2017-18 season. Each year brings changes to every Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) team and with those changes bring new challenges for the coaching staff. How does the organization make the new families feel welcome in the organization? What can it do to increase the team cohesion before the season starts? For AHU’s West side 10U Purple team, led by head coach Shawn Babin, that means another year of team off-ice training. With the majority of the team playing together for the last three years, five new families joining the team this year brings new opportunities. Purple has partnered with Orange Theory Fitness in Peoria to custom tailor high-intensity workouts for the players, to better prepare them for the rigors of the season. Nothing turns players into teammates like sweating, whether it be on the ice or on a bike. Kye Friend, 10U Purple forward said: “It is fun being out there with my team. We all work hard

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Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

and I am excited about the upcoming season.” This year, the Purple team makes the move from Minor to Major, bringing with it a new level of competition. Having the players enter the season in the mindset of “work hard, play hard” is something that these training sessions are preparing them for. In the hockey world, more does not always mean better. The players must have the time to heal and re-energize and an excellent time to do that is during the summer. Taking time away from the ice rink has many advantages. Couple that with team building activities and you have a formula that leads to greater team unity. Activities that challenge players and parents, leading them to a single goal, help foster lasting relationships. That is something everyone can appreciate when you’re spending the better part of a year together. AHU team managers Jen Friend and Joanne Rosal have planned team building activities throughout the summer, including heading up to Flagstaff to run the extreme rope course and organizing family barbecues. All this teaches the players that there is more to being on a team than just

ArizonaHockeyUnion.com

playing a game. On the East side of town, the 18U AA Black team, headed by coaches Chris Campbell and Lars Hjalmquist, is taking part in a vigorous training program at Triplex Training in Chandler, a facility that understands the needs of athletes. Owner and trainer Kyle Herrig and trainer Alex Barta have personally designed a training plan that pushes the players to their limits. They are focusing on cardio, strength training, nutrition and proper hydration for performance. This unique program incorporates team building, ensuring they have fun as well as train hard together. The summer time is also a great time to “tune up” any weak spots in the player’s game. Many Purple players take the summer to work with personal trainers or coaches on their skating, shooting and positioning. There are also a multitude of specialized camps in the Valley to take advantage of, and they do. All this hard work and dedication is sure to pay off when the season begins as the players will have already have learned about each other, themselves and formed new relationships. These new relationships will only help the team gel and be ready to work when the puck drops this September. In reality, it is all about getting the players together without the pressure of a game, having them grow and learn what it takes to be a great teammate and more importantly, a great person.


FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION FYHA to field pair of travel teams at 10U, 12U for ‘17-18 season By Matt Mackinder

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he old adage “hard work pays off” is clearly evident with the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA). FYHA will have two travel teams at both the 10U and 12U age groups this coming season. The association was optimistic it would be able to roster two 10U teams, as they did for the first time last year, and had set a goal of having a tournament team and a travel team for 12U this season, according to FYHA president Jamie Miele. But thanks to the hard work of many coaches and parents alike, the 12U group was able to form two league teams for this season. Brandon Baille, head coach of the 12U teams, can’t wait for the roll out this fall. “We are very excited to have two travel teams,” said Baille. “I am not sure if we have ever had two Pee Wee travel teams in the past, but I am very excited our player numbers allow for two competitive teams.” The Northstars’ 10U head coach, Matt Gibbs, echoes the sentiments of his 12U colleague. “We are very excited to again have two 10U competitive teams,” Gibbs said. “We believe that this will only help develop higher-level players in the future. Kids want to play in games and experience this great game.” FYHA practices at the Jay Lively Ice Arena, which experienced a roof collapse in 2010, that forced the association to take a season off and rebuild their player base. “It is pretty incredible that in seven years, we have been able to grow hockey in our community so much that we can now offer more kids the opportunity to play hockey on a league team,” said Miele. “After crushing our 10U and 12U team goal, I hope that we can add a second 14U team over the next couple of years.”

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IS CONVERTING THE FIELDHOUSE ON CAMPUS TO AN ICE RINK FOR THE NAU ICE JACKS With the support of NAU alumni, fans, boosters and parents, we can reach our goal to make our rink on campus a reality! PLEASE SEND YOUR TAX-DEDUCTABLE DONATION TO THE LINK BELOW DEDICATED TO THE BUILDING FUND:

HTTPS://ALUMNI.NAU.EDU/GIVING.ASPX?FNDS=05510

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ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION COACH'S CORNER

Playing within your role helps with being a team player E

very team needs to become a family with players that are willing to do whatever it takes for the betterment of the team. Knowing your role as a player is something that kids have trouble with, but that St. Clair makes a better team. The more realistic a player is with himself or herself, the better player they will become. Teams need players that skate with a lot of energy and create chances for their linemates, not just players that score goals. Obviously, scoring goals is a bonus, but there are players out there that are better at being a playmaker or being a shutdown defenseman or even a shutdown center. Every player brings a different piece to a TEAM’S success.

I try to tell every player to strive to be the best at what they do. If you are the best at what you do, then that is what gets you to the next level each time you progress as a player. As I stated before, not every team is looking for the goal scorer, so it is important to know the type of player you are. When a kid has trouble knowing what kind of player he is, I always ask, “What do you do on the ice that helps the team?” Then I can help the player find out if there someone that he plays like in the NHL. I will then tell that player to watch the one person every time they are on the ice and watch what they do to make themselves noticeable for the team. Every coach wants a player that is coachable because that is also what makes a good role player

and a better teammate. The better you are at working hard and showing character on and off the ice, the better off your team will be. Being coachable is something that is a choice and is also a skill. Being competitive every time you are on the ice is also a skill. These are all things that you can choose to control, it’s just a matter of if you want to put the time in to be better at it or not. This all has to do with being realistic with your abilities. It is OK if you are young and not the best player on your team right away, but you can work at it and improve every time you are on the ice. The more you know your playing style, the quicker you will improve your game every time you are on the ice.

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. AZRubberHockey.com

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JR. SUN DEVILS

Whyte steps down as DYHA hockey director, lands with NHL By Matt Mackinder

when I was 14, and the passion just continued to grow from there. After I retired from professional hockey, I s the director of hockey operations and coach- was a hockey director in Arizona for 17 years. When in-chief for the Desert Youth Hockey Association the position was brought to my attention, it seemed (DYHA) the past nine years, Sean Whyte said “it was like a very exciting opportunity, so I applied. After a a wonderful job.” few interviews, one being in New Earlier this offseason, Whyte York City at NHL headquarters, I was stepped down from the position offered the position. Now, I have the with Brad McCaughey taking over, honor of helping grow the sport I love though Whyte will remain head coach exponentially.” of the DYHA 18U team next year. And while the game is growing But the reason is one that will enin Arizona and surrounding states, Whyte has ideas to keep that growth sure the game of hockey continues to going. grow in the desert as Whyte is a NHL “Now that I am employed by the youth hockey regional director. His priNHL, we have some very strong remary responsibilities are to grow hocksources in helping the Southwest ey at the grassroots level in the areas continue to grow youth hockey,” of San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Whyte said. “Our main focus is on Arizona, Colorado and Dallas. the LTP programs, and we want “I will be working with all of these to provide a fun, safe environment NHL teams, their staff and the local ice where parents can bring their chilfacilities that participate in the NHL dren to the rink and watch them learn ‘Learn To Play’ (LTP) initiative, which is a six- to eight-week program where and love a very difficult sport to play. Sean Whyte We want to provide a consistent parents can register their children and receive a full set of equipment from CCM,” explained message that revolves around respect for the game, sportsmanship and a multitude of other positive traits Whyte. Truth be told, the position is nothing new for Whyte. and characteristics to acquire. All of the NHL markets “I have been helping grow hockey for most of my that I represent are doing great work in developing life,” said Whyte. “I started teaching at hockey schools young hockey players, and I plan on working in con-

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Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

junction with them, focusing on the best practices and providing a clearer path to the next level.” Closer to home, Whyte said hockey has grown in leaps and bounds since he first landed in the desert. “I moved to Arizona in 1990 to play for the LA Kings’ farm team, the Phoenix Roadrunners,” said Whyte. “Youth hockey was here, and both Oceanside Ice Arena and Arcadia Ice Arena (then Tower Plaza) were doing very well. Since my retirement in 2001, there have been a number of other facilities built and the growth has been fantastic. During this time, I have seen countless players move on to junior, college and even pro, both in North America and Europe. And although most look to Auston Matthews for his incredible climb to the NHL, the most prevalent aspect of hockey is the life lessons you learn on your journey, and the endless friendships that we are blessed to have.” Whyte added that there still needs to be more kids playing hockey in Arizona to help get the state over the hump and on more radars nationally. “Hockey in Arizona, as in most all other states, is looking to grow its numbers,” Whyte said. “We are striving to have more kids in skates and enjoying the sport. By focusing on the grassroots and keeping young kids involved in the sport, there will be more opportunity for certain players to excel and achieve their goals. “Auston Matthews is a fantastic story that proves anyone from anywhere can reach the pinnacle.”


Coyotes add impressive talent haul in Chicago at NHL Draft By Matt Mackinder

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ith the youth movement seemingly in full swing for the Arizona Coyotes, the team loaded up for the future June 23-24 at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago. The Coyotes selected defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph from the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the first round (23rd overall), and Joseph could not contain his excitement in front of the media. “I didn’t know it was my name – I was in a blank space in my head,” said Joseph. “Then I heard it and I just stopped moving, just a frozen moment for a fraction of a second.” Arizona then selected eight more players on Day 2. With the 44th overall pick in the second round, the Coyotes selected defenseman Filip Westerlund from Sweden) and then added an impressive trio in the third round. The Coyotes chose Hamilton Bulldogs (Ontario Hockey League) forward Mackenzie Entwistle with the 69th overall pick in the third round, center Nate Schnarr from the Guelph Storm (OHL) with the 75th overall choice and then with the 82nd overall selection in the same round, the Coyotes tabbed defenseman and Boston University recruit Cameron Crotty from the Brockville Braves of the Central Canada Hockey League. Defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer (OHL’s Ottawa 67’s) was taken in the fourth round (108th overall) by the Coyotes and another defenseman, Boston College-bound Michael Karow (USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms), went to Arizona in the fifth round (126th overall). Center Tyler Steenbergen from Swift Current (Western Hockey League) went two picks later. The Coyotes’ final selection was in the seventh round (190th overall) as Swedish forward Erik Walli Walterholm went off the board. Also in Chicago, the Coyotes made a pair of trades, acquiring defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin and then getting center Derek Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers in exchange for the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

IN A DEVILISH MOOD Parents, relax and enjoy the youth sports experience A s a parent of three youth athletes, I understand the strong desire that we have as parents that our young athletes are going to someday play professionally. I can’t even count how many times I have been speaking McCaughey with parents and I hear the phrase, “We are just hoping that our child will get a Division I scholarship.” While I admire the faith we, as parents, have in our children, I think it is time to state the obvious. Statistics tell us that the vast majority of our children are going to be doing something other than playing professional sports for a living. I think we need to understand what the purpose of playing sports is for our children. Team sports, such as hockey, can teach our children incredibly important life lessons that will benefit them in whatever it is they decide to do with their lives. The ones that come to the top of my mind are work ethic, teamwork, leadership skills and com-

petitiveness. Our job as parents is to support and encourage our children. After witnessing a lot of crazy parental behavior over the years, I thought I would give you my thoughts as to what you should do, and not do, as a parent, to ensure that your child’s time spent in sports is the best experience it can be and also that he/she gets the most out of his/her time. For the purposes of this column, I will be referring to the ice hockey parent, but these rules apply across the board for youth athletics. 1. LEAVE THE REFS ALONE! Your job as a parent is to support and cheer for your team, not to scream at the refs. If you are new to hockey, I want to let you in on a secret – referees are not perfect and are going to miss some calls and probably are going to make some bad calls, and I am talking about NHL refs! Calls not going your way is part of hockey and it is how your team deals with it that is important. Please don’t let your child use the “ref cost us the game” excuse. There is no place for excuses in hockey. You either did your job or you didn’t – this is called accountability. 2. LET THE COACH COACH! I like to let my parents in on what I my hockey philosophy is, not because I am looking for their approval, but because it is very important that parents are on the same page as the coach. If your child has any chance at all at playing at a higher level, there are some qualities that

coaches look for that have nothing to do with the players talent, and are every bit as important, if not more important. One of those qualities is coachability. Coaches will ask, “How coachable is he/she? This simply asks if the athlete can take what I am teaching him and put it into his/her game. When you, as a parent, think you know more than the coach and tell your child to listen to you and not the coach, you are not doing your child any favors. 3. FORGET THE STATS! Hockey is a team sport and any good team will have a mix of goal scorers, playmakers, defensive-minded players and role players. One i s not more important than the other. Personally, I believe that you have to know how to play good defensive hockey if you have any chance at playing at a higher level. If your child scores a hat trick, but was also on the ice for five goals against, how much did he/she really help? 4. FUN! FUN! FUN! Make sure your child is there because THEY want to be there and not because YOU want them to be there.

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

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TAHOE HOCKEY ACADEMY

THA breaking away from the traditional hockey academy By Greg Ball

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ockey in California has come a long way since it was first played in the state many years ago. Countless players from the Golden State who cut their teeth playing for youth teams here have gone on to compete in junior leagues, colleges and minor pro organizations, with a handful advancing to the NHL. It’s a long, and arduous road to achieve such a feat, though and for every player drafted in any particular league, there are numerous players who get passed over for not being ready come draft or exposure time. The Tahoe Hockey Academy (THA) aims to address that issue offering a new development alternative for young players. “The Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy is a new concept when you consider the traditional model of development that most youth hockey organizations follow,” said academy president Leo Fenn. “We started the Tahoe Hockey Academy after being in the youth hockey environment for 15 years and determining that there could be a better way for players to achieve their dreams of playing higher levels of hockey. “The landscape of youth hockey has changed quite a bit over the years - geographically speaking, players are so spread out from the rinks they practice and play at on a weekly basis. I’ve heard of players traveling up to one and a half or two hours one way to practice, and that practice slot only lasts for one hour.” Tahoe Hockey Academy athletic director Mike

Fenn has seen it too. “Talk to any hockey player competing at a high level in California and you’ll hear stories of sacrifice,” Lewis said. “Whether it’s socially, where out of town travel means missed high school events, or academically, where too much time is spent traveling to and from the rink and grades suffer, it’s truly unfortunate to have to pay such a price. “Our model was born out of the many inspired by an effort to minimize the challenges that parents and players face in California, and more importantly to provide an alternative to combat the need to ship players out of the state if they wish to have a better balance.” A closer look into THA and traditional youth hockey organizations shows that the sport may be the only thing THA and youth organizations have in common when it comes to how they work. “The traditional youth hockey model of development works, as it has propelled many players onto the next level of hockey,” Lewis said. “We aim to provide more of what can be expected at the next level, but incorporate it into our youth program.”

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A side-by-side comparison of THA and traditional youth programs reflects an increase in what Fenn and Lewis are referring to. Often, traditional programs simply don’t have the time or resources to provide the features that are found at THA and other prep school across the nation. More ice time per week, strength and conditioning, yoga, analytical testing, video review and a personalized development curriculum are part of the weekly fabric of the Tahoe Hockey Academy. “A question we asked ourselves is ‘Why can’t studentathletes get the utmost development possible?’” Fenn said. “In asking that, we began to solve the many issues found in the current state of hockey in California and many states across the country. We designed our program to eliminate time spent in traffic, kids out of the classroom, poor attendance in class and falling grades at school, and that was merely the academic side of the equation. “We’re finding that it truly does resonate with parents and players who want to pursue their dreams but currently can’t keep up with the academic and athletic demands.”


COYOTES AMATEUR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION

Ice Dens hosting prestigious T1EHL showcase in December By Matt Mackinder

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his December, the best of the best will converge on the Ice Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler as the two rinks will host Arizona’s first-ever Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL) Super Showcase. The event will run Dec. 15-18 at the home arenas of the Jr. Coyotes. Marc Fritsche, the Jr. Coyotes Elite Program hockey director, could not be more excited for the AAA-level showcase. “Our goal is to host a great event and to showcase our premier hockey facilities which we call home in the Ice Den Chandler and Scottsdale,” said Fritsche. “We also want to show the hockey community just how much hockey has grown here in Arizona. The sport is continuing to thrive in the state and we continue to grow and develop quality program and players to compete on the national stage. This will be the biggest event ever held in the state with 48 teams participating. “This is a great opportunity for us to host every team in the Tier 1 Elite League. Up to this point, we have only hosted Tier 1 West inter-divisional events and slightly bigger divisional showcases with up to 16 teams.” Fritsche is working with Mike DeAngelis on all the showcase details. DeAngelis is the Jr. Coyotes’ T1EHL representative and sits on many committees within the league. “Mike has been working on the opportunity to host an event of this size and significance in Arizona for many

years,” Fritsche said. “Our responsibilities are to work with the Tier 1 Elite League and serve as liaisons with the Ice Dens to coordinate schedules and ensure we host a smooth, high-quality event with a good scouting presence. There will be no championship games held as

it is technically not a tournament, rather the games are considered league games and will factor in the leagues overall standings. “It will be quality hockey, and a lot of it, with 96 games total between the two divisions in the two buildings.”

The showcase with feature 16U and 18U age divisions with 24 teams participating in each. Of the 48 teams, 46 are full-time members of the T1EHL with one guest team invited in both divisions. With the T1EHL’s footprint stretching across much of the United States from Boston to Los Angeles, the showcase will give many programs the opportunity to take in the Arizona ambience. Is there pressure hosting an event like this with some people out there still not accepting or realizing that high-level hockey exists in Arizona? “These types of events provide a unique opportunity for us to showcase our program,” said Fritsche. “The pressure is to make sure we host the best event possible and do our program and the league proud. We look forward to the challenge knowing that, together with our players, coaches and families, and the Ice Den staff, everyone will get involved to pitch in and help us put on a memorable event.” Fritsche concluded that the showcase is shaping up to be the marquee event in all of Arizona for the coming season. “There will be no other Arizona teams participating in this event but for some of the teams from throughout the United States, the event will also serve as a great winter escape and will showcase the benefits of living and playing hockey in Arizona as well,” Fritsche said.

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Outcasts win gold medal trio at NARCh West Coast Finals By Matt Mackinder

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he Konixx Outcasts program set a record by sending 13 teams to do battle at last year’s NARCh West Coast Finals. The Arizona program out did itself this year by sending 15 teams — and was generously rewarded with nine teams that brought home medals, including three gold medals. “It was a very successful NARCh Finals event for us,” Outcasts program director Nick Boyarsky said. The 15 teams the Outcasts sent to this year’s NARCh West Coast Finals, held June 15-25 in San Jose, Calif., ranged from the 8U through Men’s Platinum divisions. Of the 15 participating teams, 10 were designated as youth teams (8U to 18U). “Within the Outcasts program, we have started designating our top non-youth level teams (21U through Pro) with the team designation Konixx Pure,” Boyarsky explained. “Our sponsor Konixx’s flagship product is the Pure Wheel line, so the team is named after that product. “The thought here is that Outcasts teams traditionally are made up of all Arizona or mostly Arizona rosters. By those older age groups, it’s a mix of Outcasts youth developed players and pickups from other places. The renaming seemed appropriate, although they are part of the same program.” Konixx Pure teams won gold medals in both Junior Platinum (21U) and Division 1 (25U) while capturing a silver medal in the Men’s Platinum Division. The Junior Platinum team edged the Pama Prospects 3-2 in an exciting overtime finals matchup while the Division 1 squad topped the Tour Roadrun-

ners from New York 5-1. The Men’s Platinum squad dropped a tough a 4-3 double overtime decision to the Pama Golden Knights in the finals. On an impressive note, six of the 10 youth Outcast teams captured medals at the 186-team tournament. The Outcasts won the Midget Gold Division title after defeating NCR Elite 2-1, while Outcast teams in the Bantam Platinum, Mite Club and Bantam Club

The Konixx Outcasts recorded a championship medal showing in the Midget Gold Division at June’s NARCh West Coast Finals in San Jose, Calif. Photo/NARCh

divisions skated to silver medals. It was close in the two Bantam finals. The Outcasts ‘00 team dropped a 2-1 Platinum matchup against North Shore Zulu from British Columbia, while the Outcasts Yellow lost 1-0 to the Labeda Jets in Club. Outcast youth teams recorded bronze medals in Pee Wee Club and Squirt Gold. The Outcasts ‘03 squad defeated AKS Red 4-1 in Pee Wee Club, while the Outcast Blue team shaded the Silicon Val-

ley Quakes by a 6-4 score in the Squirt Gold thirdplace game. Boyarsky said winning gold medals in the Division 1 and Junior Platinum divisions were a big deal for the program. “Those older groups are very tough divisions to win and with a slew of Arizona players on all the teams, it was pretty special,” Boyarsky explained. At the youth end, Boyarsky said capturing the silver medal in the very tight Bantam Platinum Division was “incredibly rewarding.” “This team has been together for three years now and have been working toward the goal of a NARCh Platinum title,” Outcasts ‘00 head coach Alex Dodt explained. “It was tough for the boys to come so close, but we’re also very proud of how far they’ve come. Competing at this level has always been very difficult for Arizona teams, but hopefully, this group will continue to do so for a long time.” Top individuals Chip Robinson (Top Goaltender) and Parker Moskal (Top Sniper) each captured awards in the Junior Platinum skills competition. Other skills winners from the Outcasts included Top Goaltenders Connor Blondel (Squirt Silver), Luke Yubeta (Pee Wee Platinum) and Aaron Florendo (Bantam Silver), Top Sniper Sean McBride (Pee Wee Silver) and Fastest Skater Michael Bloom (Bantam Platinum). Allen Maupas from the Arizona Royals won the Bantam Gold Fastest Skater award. Next up for the Outcasts program is a trip to Toronto, Ont., Canada, to compete in the NARCh East Coast Finals July 12-23.

Arizona Ghostriders rewarded as Outcasts grab runner-up finish AIHL Organization of the Year at AIHL Champions Cup in Vegas By Phillip Brents

By Phillip Brents

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ach year in conjunction with its league championship tournament, the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) bestows its coveted Organization of the Year award on a deserving member organization for exemplary performance and achievement during the regular season. The Arizona Ghostriders elite adult hockey teams were this year’s recipient. Though the Ghostriders did not qualify for this year’s championship round, team representatives attended the May 19 awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Lady Ghostriders players Alison Era and Paige Hinrichs, along with head coach John Marr, were on hand to accept the prestigious award. The AIHL acknowledged the Ghostriders as the “most organized team throughout the season and for its off-rink mission of raising money for cancer research.” The league also recognized the organization for its historic move by entering a women’s team in the AIHL men’s division during the 2016-17 season. As the first and only women’s team to ever compete in the AIHL, the Lady Ghostriders made a challenge to all women’s teams around the nation. In a post to the team on social media, Marr lauded his players for the organization’s league-wide recognition. “By your outstanding sportsmanship, professionalism and dedication to the Ghostriders hockey mission of putting others first, each and every one of you earned this top honor from the AIHL,” Marr said. “You, the Ghostriders athletes, are what makes everything we do possible.” Team owner Brian Craven seconded Marr’s sentiments about receiving the elite award. It was through the efforts of the Ghostriders, he said, that the AIHL voted to create a new women’s division. “For the AIHL to recognize the importance of including and elevating women’s elite hockey by voting for the creation of a new women’s division for the 2017-18 season was historic,” Craven said. “And then, for the AIHL to recognize the Arizona Ghostriders as the top organization for 2017 is a validation of its commitment to the Amateur Athletic Union’s motto of ‘sports for all, forever.’” 14

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he Arizona Outcasts turned in a gritty playoff run that ended with a runner-up finish in the American Inline Hockey League’s (AIHL) Champions Cup Finals held May 19-21 at the Las Vegas Roller Hockey Center. It marked the second consecutive year the Outcasts finished runner-up in the AIHL’s Elite Division. “The finals in Vegas were fun,” Outcasts forward Kyle Mooney said. “It was a super fun series and fun tournament all around.” The Outcasts were one of two Elite Division teams from the Pacific South Division to advance to the AIHL’s national championship tournament, joining the Las Vegas Aces. Four teams from different geographic zones comprised the Elite Division at the AIHL nationals. The New Jersey Alliance and defending national champion Delco Demons, both from the Northeast Division, joined the Outcasts and Aces in the tournament field. The Outcasts completed a sweep of their three round-robin opponents despite fielding just a four-man team. The Arizona squad, bolstered by two more players the next day, swept the Demons by scores of 6-1 and 7-1 in the semifinals to enact a measure of revenge from last year’s Champions Cup Finals. But the Outcasts could not get past the Alliance, which came out on top in a best-of-three championship series that went the distance. The Alliance prevailed 2-1 in Game 1, but the Outcasts pulled out a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 to even the series. The New Jersey team, braced by the addition of star goaltender Mike Maczynski, won Game 3 by a score of 4-1. “The finals were our toughest games,” Mooney said. “Game 3 three was alright, but we couldn’t find the back of the net and they got a couple early squeakers.” Paul Linder led the Outcasts in scoring at the AIHL nationals with 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in eight games. Kevin Mooney (nine goals, five assists) and Kyle Mooney (six goals, eight assists) each followed with 14 points.


INLINE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION OF ARIZONA

AZ Royals White, Knighthawks roll to IHAAZ state crowns By Brian Lester

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ll season the AZ Royals White had never won an IHAAZ festival and finished no better than second place only once. So the odds of the team winning a title in the Midget division at the state finals in May seemed unlikely. At least to outsiders. “It amazed me we weren’t the dominant team all season,” said AZ Royals White coach Nick Boyarsky. “The skills were there the whole time. They just weren’t using them. I made a prediction prior to the first game, in their locker room, that they could win the tournament if they mentally decided to.” Boyarsky’s prediction rang true. The AZ Royals White went unbeaten in the tournament and knocked off the reigning state champion Yuma Blaze in the finals. Focus and playing to its strengths were the keys to success for the AZ Royals White. “Just focusing prior to the first game, talking about what we know works and doesn’t work against each team we’d play and then adjusting our play style for each team we played,” said Boyarsky. The 10U Knighthawks also turned in an exceptional performance in the state finals, rallying to win their championship. They trailed by two goals against the Jr. Wildcats with 90 seconds left in the final. They tied the game in regulation and scored the game-winning goal in overtime. “Even though we were down 4-1 with eight minutes

left, I never got the sense the team was giving up,” head coach Dustin Jans said. “Every kid wanted to get on the rink to start chipping away at the lead. I felt like there was this sense of never say die among the group in that game.” Jans was beyond elated to see his team battle back the way it did with the odds stacked against it. “It meant so much to me to see this team pull out a comeback win, and the way we won with the hard-fought

Though not as dominant team as it had hoped, the AZ Royals White team rose to the occasion and captured the IHAAZ Midget division state championship this past May.

comeback win just says so much about these kids,” Jans said. Both the AZ Royals White and the Knighthawks made significant strides throughout their seasons and their improvements paid off in the long run.

“The big change came once ice hockey wrapped up and they were able to focus on roller hockey again and remember how to play the game,” Boyarsky said. “By the IHAAZ state finals, they had a few other spring roller tournaments under their belts and had gotten their roller legs and brains working again.” Jans said his team’s ability to play together was the Knightawks’ biggest improvement. “I thought our biggest improvement was learning how to play as a team versus playing as individuals,” Jans said. “When we started trusting each other is when we started to open the gap between our competition.” As for their seasons as a whole, both the Knighthawks and the AZ Royals White are pleased with the way things went. “This Royals team was in each game during the festival season and had a lot of ties - it just couldn’t quite get a festival first place this year,” Boyarsky said. “A combination of manpower and the differences in each rink’s surface were also a bit to blame for the team’s lack of early success.” Jans was most impressed with the way his team came together when it mattered most and can’t wait to see what the 2018 season has in store for the Knighthawks. “I thought our season was interesting,” Jans said. “We had a team built of half roller players and half ice players. Even though we were winning games early on, we really did not play as a team until later in the season. I look forward to more fun next season with this group. These kids all know each other now, so that should make for another special season.”

IHAAZ.com

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VOSHA BOBCATS

Bobcats alumni skates more than casual pick-up games By Greg Ball

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hat started a series of informal summertime pickup games for top-level alumni of the Arizona Bobcats program has now become an organized effort involving the program’s coaches and a significant number of its former players that’s aimed at helping those players improve during their offseasons. The Bobcats alumni summer skates have become a popular and effective way for players to come home to the Phoenix area between seasons and use the downtime to work on their games with similarly skilled players. Run by Bobcats director of hockey Ron Filion and coaches Jason Oliver and Brent Gough, it brings together some of the program’s most promising junior, college and professional alumni. This summer’s alumni skates started in May with a small handful of players whose teams’ seasons were shorter because they didn’t make the playoffs, and the group has steadily grown in size as other players’ seasons have ended. Filion and his staff will continue to run them right up until players leave to return to their junior or college teams at the end of summer. “These guys get to compete amongst their peers in the hockey world and see how other guys are training and progressing,” Oliver said. “It sort of started as some scrimmages with Auston Matthews, Christian Cakebread and that group, and since then it has evolved to become a little more instructional.” Players originally from Phoenix will come back to

visit their families, and others will fly in and stay with workout schedule. With three top coaches involved, players can break their old billet families to participate in the summer skate. They represent colleges all over North America off into groups or get some individual attention to work as well as the United States Hockey League (USHL), on a specific skill. Filion and Gough were both forwards North American Hockey League (NAHL) and a number in their playing days, and Oliver played defense, so they can each help young players on different aspects of the of other junior leagues. game. The skates can help them “Guys from all over who have a fine-tune their games in prepatie to the Bobcats or just to the local ration for mid-summer agency area come in for the summer, and camps and junior league prospect we get together three days a week camps. for an hour or so at a time,” Oliver Oliver’s 17-year-old son, Kaid, said. “We’ll do 30 minutes of individual skill work, 15-minutes of onewho spent two seasons with the on-ones and two-on-twos, and then Bobcats and played forward last year for the Victoria Royals in the for the last 15 minutes, we kind of Western Hockey League (WHL), have some fun and fool around. is a regular participant in the alum“This time of year, they’re not ni summer skates. Other alumni training as hard as other times, so who have skated with the group they’re not going full tilt on the ice. have included Jeremy MaselThey’ve taken their 2-3 weeks off la (WHL), Keenan Spillum from being on the ice to recover, and Kaid Oliver played two seasons with the Arizona now they’re into working pretty hard Bobcats and completed his rookie season with the (NAHL), Phil Knies (USHL, in dryland training. This helps keeps WHL’s Victoria Royals in 2016-17 with two goals NCAA D-I Miami University) and their legs going, but also gives them and seven points in 61 games. Photo/Victoria Royals Matt Jones (QMJHL). They also the opportunity to work on some skills without the pres- welcome players from the Bobcats’ 18U and 16U AAA sures of having to perform in game situations.” teams that have a good shot at playing juniors to join in. Alumni participating in the summer skate are mostly “We want kids who are of a like skill level,” Oliver 20 years old and under. Typically, there are 8-10 play- said. “We try to keep it from being watered down talers at each session, and players will attend anywhere ent-wise. We’re not just running it for the sake of runfrom one to three days a week, depending on their ning it.”

AZBobcats.org

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MISSION ARIZONA

Goltz credits bond with rink for strength of Mission AZ By Greg Ball

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ach summer, once the frenetic pace of the hockey season has wound down and tryouts for the upcoming season have been completed, Jeremy Goltz takes a few moments to catch his breath and reflect on not only where his program has been, but where it’s going. The director of hockey operations for Mission AZ, Goltz feels it’s important to step back and analyze some things that he believes have been the keys to building a successful and sustainable youth hockey program. “Once tryouts are over, I sit down and look over the rosters to see where kids are coming from,” Goltz said. “To me, that’s a huge i n d i cator of what you’re doing right and what you maybe need to work on within specific age groups. “The most important thing for me as I look at the numbers is our percentage of players returning to the program from one year to the next. Once again, we’re sitting at right about 90 percent. Of our 150 kids, almost all of those are returning to the program.” Mission AZ just finished its 12th season, and the

program has been based at Mission AZ Ice in Peoria for 10 of those 12 winters. Goltz said the relationship between his program and the people running the rink and its programs couldn’t be better. He credits much of Mission AZ’s success to the steady pipeline of players moving from in-house teams to Mission teams, emphasizing that continuity is key in the process of player development. While other programs may bring in new kids from other associations at the start of each year, Goltz puts a particular emphasis on home-grown players, and he takes pride in having players come up from the rink’s learn-to-skate and inhouse programs and continuing to play for Mission AZ through their Bantam or Midget years. “We have a huge influx of kids from the in-house program heading into the 2017-18 season,” Goltz said. “Obviously, the Mite level is where you see it most, but we also had about 14 players who were new Bantams for us and who had come from the inhouse program at our rink. That’s pretty significant for a program our size.” Mission AZ’s model is similar to other well-established youth programs, though not every association has the luxury of doing it the way Goltz and his colleagues do. The in-house side and the travel hockey

side work hand in hand. There’s even a selects program for players who are in between levels - those who are too advanced for in-house hockey but may need some more skill development before they’re ready to join a travel squad. “Basically, our model is working,” Goltz said. “A ton of our kids started in house, worked their way through the select teams and have now moved up to the higher-level travel program. I’m pretty proud of our relationship with the rink and how it’s helped us really provide a path for development for a lot of kids.” Larry Gibson is the youth hockey director at Mission AZ Ice, overseeing the in-house program. Goltz can’t say enough good things about his dedication to teaching the game to young players and preparing them for the next levels of hockey. Crystal Roe is the program’s power skating coach and puts in countless hours working with in-house players as well. Jim Curley, the general manager of AZ Ice Peoria, is extremely supportive of Goltz and his fellow coaches, and does everything he can to put the Mission AZ program in a position to succeed. “For me, looking at how we’re moving players through the system and developing kids from within our own rink really gives me a good idea of how we’re doing and some of the areas where we need to improve,” Goltz said. “It’s a good gauge for us to break down those statistics at this time of year.”

MissionArizonaIce.org

Mission AZ Hockey Club MissionArizonaIce.org

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Coyotes youngsters defy obstacles, hope for NHL success By Mark Brown

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n the path to the NHL, players can incur several roadblocks. Some spend several years in the minors, others overcome physical liabilities, some are caught in “a numbers game” for a roster spot and others simply have difficulty implementing coaching instruction. Driven by the desire and lure of donning an NHL sweater, skating into an arena filled with 18,000 screaming fans and enjoying the perks playing at the major-league level, these dimensions of the game remain enticing. Most often, physical size becomes a significant reason why a player could be destined to spend years in the minors. It’s those kinds of players who reject any notion they are not capable of playing at the NHL level, and then succeed. The Arizona Coyotes’ Max Domi discovered, in his early teens, he contracted Type 2 diabetes, but gained inspiration from Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke, and Clarke’s two Stanley Cup championships with the Philadelphia Flyers, as a malady to overcome. As a diabetic, Clarke was similarly diagnosed, but overcame to forge a brilliant hockey career. In Domi’s case, he responded with a terrific rookie season for the Coyotes and produced an initial campaign of 18 goals and 52 points in 81 games. That production was good enough for third in rookie scoring among all NHL rookies for the 2015-16 season. Though Clarke is listed at 5-foot-10, his size was never a deterrent to success. If Domi took courage to succeed from Clarke, then Clayton Keller,

the Coyotes’ first pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, disPlayers in the Coyotes development camp in late played a like character. At 5-foot-10 and barely 160 June represent the future. At the same time, almost pounds, Keller’s size could be viewed a restriction every player was 20 or younger and recognize that to fulfilling his desire to play in the NHL. NHL teams draft for development and not immediate Not a chance, Keller said. impact. That’s where learning and understanding Instead, he went out and put up serious num- become paramount to eventually gaining the attenbers. Playing for the U.S. tion of decision-makers. National Team DevelopThat was clear in the ment Program (NTDP) in approach native taken 2015-16, he pumped in by goalie Jaxon Cas37 goals and recorded tor, a Phoenix native, 107 points in 62 games. Jr. Coyotes grad and As well, Keller picked up Arizona State Univer84 career assists – the sity commit. Last seamost in NTDP history. son with the Dubuque That combination of Fighting Saints of the determination and charUnited States Hockey acter should serve Keller League, Castor turned well as he prepares for in a strong season with his first full NHL season a 30-11-1 record with this fall. four shutouts and a 2.35 “This year, I’m taking goals against average. on more of leadership As realistic as a role,” he said during the 20-year-old can be, Coyotes development Clayton Keller was the Arizona Coyotes’ top pick in the 2016 NHL Castor said his goal in camp in late June. “Last Draft and though listed under six feet tall and just 160 pounds, he has the development camp year, I was a little bit ner- a shot at sticking in the NHL for the 2017-18 season. Photo/Norm Hall was to soak in the envivous. This year, I know what’s expected and know ronment. how to prepare. I’ll just be there for the younger “I’m here to learn and get better every day,” he guys and the guys who have never been here be- said. “This is such a fun environment and a great fore. Just play my game and do everything that has group of guys. Plus, being here is really cool. I rebeen successful.” member going to Coyotes games as a kid.” If Keller is ready to overcome physical stature Within the development camp roster, Castor that might be an obstacle to others, there is also the was one of two players from Arizona on the roster, educational aspect. joined by forward Matt Jones from Glendale.

NEW MEXICO REPORT Albuquerque’s Gretz makes it Former Mustangs NAHL coach official, signs with OHL’s Firebirds Muckalt returns to NCAA D-I

By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder

A

B

fter saying in April that he would be committing to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the Flint Firebirds, Albuquerque native Marcus Gretz put ink to paper last month and signed his OHL contract. Gretz, who has lived in Michigan the last couple seasons after skating for the Scorpions, Renegades and Team New Mexico back home, was a second-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection back on April 8. “This is a significant signing for our club,” said Firebirds GM Barclay Branch. “Marcus is a big, elite, mobile defenseman that has an excellent mind for the game. He is a solid hockey player on the defensive side of the play that also moves the puck well and can contribute offensively. This will enhance our growing young nucleus to provide an exciting brand of hockey to watch for our fans. He is an excellent human being and a great person off the ice that fits everything we’re looking for.” Gretz recorded 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 32 games last season while playing in Detroit with the Belle Tire 16U AAA team. “We’re very proud that Marcus and his family have committed to the Firebirds,” added Branch. “We’re confident that through our coaching staff and the first-class environment we are establishing in Flint, combined with the academic opportunities available through the OHL’s scholarship program, we can provide Marcus the best of both worlds as he continues to develop on and off the ice.” Following the OHL Cup in March, Marcus was among 46 of the top American hockey players born in 2001 invited to USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) Evaluation Camp in Plymouth, Mich. “This has been an unbelievable feeling,” said Gretz. “I know we have a bright future as a team and I cannot wait to get started. Flint has what it takes to get players to the next level, I trust everybody in the organization and believe this is the best path to get to the NHL, which is the ultimate goal.” 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

ill Muckalt was far from home when he coached the North American Hockey League’s New Mexico Mustangs in 2010-11. A British Columbia native, Muckalt played NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Michigan from 1994-98, garnering two national titles in 1996 and 1998 with the Wolverines. After his time in Rio Rancho, Muckalt coached at the collegiate level at Michigan Tech University before leading the Tri-City Storm to a United States Hockey League (USHL) title in 2016. Now, he’s going back to Michigan as the team’s new associate head coach. “Billy has had great success everywhere he has coached,” Michigan head coach Mel Pearson said. “Having won two national championships, he is familiar with the winning tradition of Michigan hockey. Billy will be a great addition to our staff, and I’m extremely excited to be bringing him back to Ann Arbor. Our players will really benefit from his experience and knowledge of the game.” “I am humbled and privileged to be back at Michigan -- it’s a special place,” added Muckalt. “I’m excited to work with Mel again (the two worked together at MTU) and looking forward to working with the rest of the staff. I look forward to embracing the tradition and enriching the future of Michigan hockey.” In his two seasons with Tri-City, Muckalt’s team recorded a 49-46-16-9 record and captured its first Clark Cup in franchise history during the 2015-16 season. During that 2015-16 season, he became the fifth coach in the Tier I history of the USHL to win a championship in the first season as head coach, joining current Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. Muckalt, who had a five-year NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild, guided the Mustangs to a 19-35-1-3 mark in their expansion season seven years ago. The Mustangs then went 18-39-1-2 the next season before relocating to Minnesota in 2013.


2016-17 ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO ALUMNI Email all additions, deletions and corrections to alumni@rubberhockey.com

ARIZONA

Drew Newmeyer (Scottsdale) – Arizona State University

PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY

NCAA DIVISION I – WOMEN

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) – Tucson Roadrunners 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 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

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 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

His pro career a wrap, Cunningham finds silver lining signed a two-year contract to be a pro scout with the parent Arizona Coyotes. ast Nov. 19 was a day Craig Cunningham will nev“I think it was something that happened fairly quicker forget – if he could remember it. ly,” said Cunningham. “It’s been something that’s been That night, the Tucson Roadrunners captain col- in the back of our minds for a couple of months now. lapsed on the Tucson The end of the season Convention Center ice came and the meetduring pregame warmings started, and we ups prior to an Ameridecided that it was can Hockey League best to do it now. game against the There’s a little bit of Manitoba Moose. He familiarity (with scoutwas motionless and as ing), I’d say. I was up it later turned out, near at the meetings [with death as emergenthe Coyotes in May), cy personnel jumped kind of learning the into action and quickropes and stuff like ly transported him to that. I think it’s going two local hospitals for to be a bit of a learntreatment. ing process for me to In attendance were start. I think everyone about 4,000 stunned kind of has their own fans, including Cunphilosophy for ways of ningham’s mother, Former Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham nearly died last doing things, and you Heather, who had season, but with his on-ice career over prematurely, he has been hired as a kind of have to figure flown in from British pro scout with the Arizona Coyotes. Photo/Phillip Brents it out yourself as you Columbia to watch her son play. go.” It was later diagnosed that Cunningham had sufCunningham said that he had a very eye-opening, fered a heart attack. It took an experimental treatment yet comfortable experience at the Coyotes’ Hockey Deto bring him back, but the miracle treatment was not velopment meetings. without its complications and part of Cunningham’s left “It was cool,” Cunningham said. “They went exactleg later had to be amputated because of an infection. ly as I figured they went when I was playing – a big His hockey playing career over, Cunningham stayed conference room, talk about players and ways you can positive and earlier this offseason, the 26-year-old grow your organization and make it better. It was a cool By Matt Mackinder

L

experience.” He’d obviously prefer to still be lacing up the skates, but Cunningham sees the scouting gig as his way to stay in the game. “I always kind of wondered about what I would do when eventually, you know, everyone’s career comes to an end,” said Cunningham said. “You never know exactly what you’re going to do, especially for us Major Junior guys that didn’t go to college and don’t have degrees to fall back on. It’s obviously always a great way to stay employed in the organization and in the game. “I think, basically, I’ll be scouting the Pacific Division, as well as the American League teams that go with the Pacific Division teams, and then I think a little bit here in Tucson with the young guys, and a little bit of player development as well.” Does Cunningham’s age see him on the younger side of other scouts? “I think so,” Cunningham said. “I have one buddy that’s scouting in Boston that’s the same age as me, but most guys are still playing at this age. I know most of the guys in the league and not only as players, but as people, too, and I think that goes a long way when you’re trying to scout guys and find the right mesh of players.” Cunningham also has all the confidence in the world to perform his job to its fullest potential. “I think I’m ready for it,” said Cunningham. “I’ve been around pro hockey now for six years playing, and I think you learn a lot about, while you’re playing, how the business side of it works. I’m excited about the opportunity ahead. It’s a great way for me to stay involved in hockey, and it’s something else for me to strive and push forward for.” AZRubberHockey.com

19


SHOP TALK

Hockey growing in Arizona due to very passionate people R

Exelby

ecently, after one of the Arizona Coyotes prospect camps at AZ Ice Peoria, I met with Matt Shott, the director of amateur hockey development for the Coyotes, and Sean Whyte, who is the Southwest regional director of the “Learn

to Play” program with the NHL. Matt has been working to grow hockey statewide since he took the job with the Coyotes five years ago and has definitely gone above and beyond his duties. Matt will be helping to coach the DYHA 8U and the Jr. Coyotes 2002 Tier I teams this upcoming season. The Coyotes have started school street hockey clinics and donation of street hockey gear, to having NHL players drop in unannounced to local rinks to skate on ice with the local house and travel teams. It is what a hockey team in a non-tradi-

tional hockey market needs to do and Matt and the Coyotes do it well. Matt and the Coyotes have also partnered with the Arizona High School Hockey Association and the One Step Bobcats. Sean is a Valley hockey icon, having played for the Phoenix Roadrunners and Phoenix Mustangs ice hockey teams and the Phoenix Cobras inline team. After his playing career, Sean was the hockey director at Ozzie Ice and at Oceanside with the DYHA. Sean has positively influenced many hockey players, from house to travel to men’s leagues – one of the truly good guys we have in the state. If you haven’t met Sean, he is a big, burly man with the roar of a lion and the heart of a saint. It is apparent that the NHL is really putting resources into growing the sport of hockey. Sean is in charge of seven Western USA NHL markets and boy, did the NHL pick the right person for the job! In our meeting, I listened to what Sean, Matt and the Coyotes had planned to grow hockey. It put a big smile on my face. Finally, on a large scale, we have the right people and resources in place to grow the sport. A big push will be placed on the Little Howlers program, which gets kids on the ice for the first time. The Little Howlers program had been in place for several years and introduced hundreds of new kids to the sport, but with Sean and the NHL involvement, it is now going to be a program run nationwide under the

same guidelines. I liked what I was hearing on the ice hockey level as they were also including Flagstaff and Tucson in the program. I suggested they look at implementing a similar program to inline hockey programs in Lake Havasu, Prescott and Yuma. They had not really thought of that at the time. It might not be immediately, but I do think down the line they will feel as passionately as me about those inline markets. All three of us agreed that hockey is hockey whether it be street, ice or inline. After our meeting, which included many great hockey stories from Sean about players we both played with or know – and if you know Sean, you know he has some great stories – I walked away feeling renewed and refreshed about the direction of hockey statewide. Not once did we talk about any travel program. We spent the entire time on how to get new players involved and Sean and Matt stressed their goals on the retention rate that they wanted to achieve with the Little Howler program. High goals were set, but having known both of them for years, I think they are attainable. It’s truly amazing what you can accomplish working with such outstanding people. I am proud to work with both in helping to grow the sport and proud to call both Matt and Sean my friends.

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


PICTURE PERFECT Stud defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph, the Arizona Coyotes’ first-round selection at the 2017 NHL Draft on June 23 in Chicago, jokes with the assembled media moments after getting drafted 23rd overall. Photo//Matt Mackinder

Former Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham (middle), now a scout for the Arizona Coyotes, presented EMS Excellence Awards to Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose medical and training staff members Deven Alves, Matt Harder, Scott MacLeod and Jake Wolf at the annual awards dinner for the PHATS/SPHEM Society on June 16 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.

The trio of Arizona Coyotes third-round draft picks - (from left) Cameron Crotty, Mackenzie Entwistle and Nate Schnarr - pose together at the 2017 NHL Draft, which was conducted June 23-24 in Chicago at the United Center. Photo//Matt Mackinder

Players from the AZ Lady Coyotes’ 14U and 19U teams got together earlier this offseason for a fitting and team bonding session with the 2017-18 season rapidly approaching.

Defenseman Michael Karow from the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms was selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft back on June 24 at the United Center in Chicago. Photo/Matt Mackinder

Swedish defenseman Filip Westerlund was the Arizona Coyotes’ second-round pick (44th overall) at the 2017 NHL Draft on June 24 in Chicago at the United Center. Photo//Matt Mackinder

Arizona Bobcats graduate Jake Durflinger, who skated the past four seasons in the NAHL and USHL, officially signed his NCAA letter of intent recently to play hockey for the defending national champions from the University of Denver, starting with the 2017-18 season.

Daniel Ramsey, who skated for the Arizona Bobcats 18U AAA team during the 2016-17 season, signed an NAHL tender agreement recently with the Alaska-based Kenai River Brown Bears, giving himself a chance to return to his home state for the upcoming season.

The Ray Whitney-coached Athletes Resource Jr. Coyotes 2004 Elite team secured first place in its division at the Carmen Starr Classic, which was held in Los Angeles over Memorial Day Weekend.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Mite team, coached by Bruce Willis, took home top honors in the Mite Open division at this year’s Carmen Starr Classic, which was held in Los Angeles over Memorial Day Weekend.

Submit your favorite hockey photos to pictureperfect@rubberhockey.com! AZRubberHockey.com

21


JAKOB CHYCHRUN

Position: Defenseman, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla. Acquired: Selected by Coyotes in first round (16th overall) of 2016 NHL Draft Age: 19 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Jakob Chychrun: There are so many memories. One of my best memories is watching the gold medal game in the Vancouver (2010) Olympics, and watching (Sidney) Crosby score the winning goal. I was the biggest Sidney Crosby fan growing up. He was the guy I looked up to and idolized. I grew up playing center, and so he was my guy. I remember that was really an exciting moment for me and that’s one that probably sticks out. AZR: How did you feel playing against Crosby this past season? JC: Pretty cool. I can really admire him and see how strong he is and that makes you want to work that much harder to be able to compete with him. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? JC: Just this whole year, my rookie year with the Coyotes. This year has been a great learning experience. I was able to accomplish something that I wanted to do for a really long time. By just playing here this year, I grew a lot as a person and as a player. I have a lot of work to do now. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? JC: My father (Jeff). He coached me my whole life growing up and taught me a lot about the game. That translated not only on the ice, but off the ice as well. He always taught me lessons of working hard and things that translate into everyday things, like my school work and just being a good human being. I got a lot of that from my dad. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? JC: Probably that same thing that my dad passed on to me. I like to give that to the kids as well. Actually, there are two things. One of the biggest things is knowing that only you can control how hard you work. Don’t be outworked by your peers, and always be the hardest working guy on and off the ice. The other thing is have fun. If you don’t enjoy what you do, then you won’t have that drive to get better every single day. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? JC: Yeah, baseball and golf. Baseball is something that I miss. I grew up playing baseball and that’s probably what I would have done with my life is it was not for hockey. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? JC: It’s the same for each game. We have the morning skate, and then try and get good food in me. (Max Domi) and me have a guy who comes over to the house and make us a pre-game meal. I have a nap and usually range my nap from a half-hour to about 90 minutes and then show up at the rink. Get my sticks ready, my mind right and get ready for the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? JC: Yes, I like True Foods and Mastro’s Ocean Club (in Kierland Commons, Scottsdale). Those are my two favorites. When my family is in town, I like to take them to those two spots. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? JC: Suits – I feel like we live in our suits on the road. Usually bring a couple of suits and tie and shirt combinations. Other than that, just some supplements and vitamins and protein stuff. Plus, my toiletries, my toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving kit, stuff like that. Photo/Norm Hall

22

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown


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Arizona Rubber Magazine - Summer 2017  

The Summer 2017 Issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, Arizona's & New Mexico's Authoritative Voice of Ice & Inline Hockey!

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