Arizona Rubber Magazine - November 2017

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After a lengthy career that included stops at NCAA powerhouse Boston College and pro teams across the U.S. and Europe, Mesa native Dave Spina has called it a career, but vows to stay involved in the game while becoming a role-model father and husband



FROM THE EDITOR I believe there is so much to be thankful for this time of year


ith Thanksgiving and the annual food coma right around the corner, I’d like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on what we have to be thankful for as November will soon morph into December. First off, nothing tops family. Nothing. While this time of year generally brings about time spent with loved ones, perhaps more than normal, try and live that up and embrace those moments. Soon, you’ll be looking back and asking yourself, “Wow, was that really 10 years ago? Seems like yesterday.” Yes, time flies. Especially when you are having fun and more so, I think, as you get older. Be thankful for this great country and all Matt Mackinder the positive that it stands for. Sure, it seems at times that society as a whole can be negative and gloomy, but be the difference. There is plenty to be proud of and plenty to be joyous and happy about. And lastly, yes, I’ll say it, let’s be thankful for hockey. And not just the game itself, which goes without saying. We’re thankful for the parents that lug their kids to early-morning, weekend practices, tournaments that mean road trips, hotel stays and restaurants, and everyone at your local rink that keeps things running smoothly each and every day, from rink and team managers, to coaches, to concession stand workers, to Zamboni drivers, to custodians, to office workers. To all of our loyal Rubber readers, THANK YOU! There may be no stopping Clayton Keller. Keller, a bright spot thus far for the Arizona Coyotes, is emerging as an early-season favorite for the NHL’s Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year. And his play in October didn’t hurt his cause as he led all rookies with nine goals and 15 points in 13 games, garnering NHL’s Rookie of the Month award. Keller became the first Coyotes/Jets rookie to post nine goals in one calendar month since Teemu Selanne (20) in March 1993. He also became the first Coyotes/Jets rookie to collect 15 points in one calendar month since Selanne and Keith Tkachuk each accomplished the feat in March 1993. The St. Louis-area native also rang up a seven-game point streak to close the month – the longest by any Coyotes/Jets rookie since Jan. 10-21, 2008 (Peter Mueller). In junior circles, Gilbert native Keaton Caplis was tabbed the North American 3 Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Month after a stellar month with the La Crosse Freeze. The Arizona Bobcats graduate was a plus-16 in the month with a pair of power-play goals and four multi-point games to help the Freeze to first place in the Central Division. “Keaton has great hockey IQ and is an extremely driven player,” said Freeze head coach Jon Vaillancourt. “Our program’s model of player development has been very beneficial for him, and I am really proud in the strides he is making as an offensive defenseman. I am very proud to see his hard work and dedication be recognized as we move forward in his development.” On the NCAA side of things, not only did Arizona State University head coach Greg Powers recently sign a contract extension through the 2021-22 season, but the start of the Sun Devils’ 2018-19 freshman class looks superb. The fall recruiting class is comprised of three forwards, including Jr. Coyotes graduate Demetrios Koumontzis, Jordan Sandhu (BCHL’s Vernon Vipers) and Derek Brown (AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs) and defenseman Josh Maniscalso (USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints). “This class literally meets the immediate roster needs we have as we continue to build out our roster,” said Powers. “We’ll likely add to it in the spring after further evaluating where we are in our second full season of NCAA play. The class is incredibly high on character and talent, and we can’t wait to get all of them to Tempe.”

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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Wes Fry, a highly-decorated player at the national level, returns to lead Arizona State University’s inline hockey fortunes in 2017-18. More inline coverage on Page 19. Photo/ASU Inline Hockey

ON THE COVER Mesa native Dave Spina, one of the first high-end players to come out of Arizona more than 15 years ago, recently retired from professional hockey and is now a full-time husband, parent and realtor in the Boston area. Pictured with Spina are his wife, Megan, and children, Evelyn and Harvey. Photo/Erin Sweatt

Coyotes an optimistic bunch with rebuild in full swing way to get out of this is hard work. You have to stay positive and find ways to get it done. When a team s if the transition from assistant coach to the ulti- goes through what we did, you have to find some way mate decision-maker on the ice was not difficult to stay positive and then build on those steps.” enough, the opening weeks of the NHL season for ArWith definite steps comes confidence, and that’s izona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet had to be one element of player’s game that needs to be sharp. excruciating. Perhaps the most difficult consequence is to acDitto for his players. cept losing. This earWhile the Coyotes ly-season free fall cost were the last team to goalie Louis Domingue win a game this season, his place on the roster. In their 2-12-1 start through the middle of the late-Octhe opening 15 games tober road trip, the Coyseverely challenged the otes placed Domingue players’ ability to stay on waivers, and that was positive and work through after they acquired netadversity. That’s probably minder Scott Wedgeeasier said than done, wood from the New Jerand through the opening sey Devils. weeks of despair and All of which pushed disappointment, players, the Coyotes into the in general, and Tocchet, NHL record book, and in particular, managed to they dropped their initial remain optimistic. 11 games of the seaGreat teams rise son. That tied Arizona through overcoming diffiwith the 1943-44 New culties, and the Coyotes’ York Rangers as the only first month of the season clubs in league history to represented the height of lose their first 11 games their perseverance. Just 21, Brendan Perlini is part of a strong youth movement as to start a season. Though “We can’t feel sorry the Arizona Coyotes continue to build the roster with young talent. they managed only one for ourselves,” said de- Photo/Norm Hall win for their initial seven fenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who won three Stan- home games, the key is to remain upbeat and develop ley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. “We just have good habits. to work hard, and good things will happen. The only That said, coaches at any level clearly hold players

By Mark Brown


accountable. That may be on the ice, in training, communication among their peers and taking ownership. “Once we coach and explain what players need to do, then what?” asked Tocchet. “To the players, what are you going to do about it? It’s up to you, and how you accept accountability.” At the start of their hockey lives, players are presented with a set of options and perhaps foremost is the development of good habits. That takes the form of accepting coaching, cultivating elements of teamwork and developing a high creed of sportsmanship.. Above all, players need to stay positive and work through adverse conditions. That’s especially true these days for the Coyotes, who not only need to find ways to win, but also combat the NHL’s brutal schedule. For the first 2 ½ months of the season, the Coyotes play just eight of 36 games at Gila River Arena. That clearly conceded Tocchet’s ability to hold practices and implement teaching. When a coach’s ability to teach is taken or comprised, especially for a young team like the Coyotes, disaster is bound to occur. This could be an important reason for the Coyotes early-season slide. At the same time, it’s up to the players to take responsibility and develop strong play on the ice to help overcome these obstacles. At the youth level, and where coaching may not be as sophisticated as in the NHL, the advice is simply to keep it simple. “Just make sure you have fun with it,” said Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers. “That’s the main thing when you’re young. You have to love the game, and have fun with it. You can’t get stressed. Just enjoy the game because it is a game.”


‘I Wouldn’t Change A Thing’ The pioneer of Arizona hockey stars, Mesa native Spina hangs up the skates, calls it a career sure I was always welcome to get ice and had a place to hone my skills. It was really amazing how much support and help I received from countless people. I’m ong before Auston Matthews was getting picked No. 1 in the NHL Draft, probably leaving a bunch of people off this list, but I was really lucky to have just or even before players like Zac Larraza and Dusty Collins, there was Dave the best people looking out for me and providing a platform to have success.” Spina. At 16, Spina left home to play for the Texas Tornado, a longtime powerhouse Spina was the initial high-profile hockey player from Arizona that “made it” in franchise in the North American Hockey League, for the 1999-2000 season. He the game, spurring a growth in hockey that later saw Collins, Larraza and Mat- then made the NTDP the following year before going to play for legendary coach thews play for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) and Jerry York at BC. Matthews ply his trade in the NHL. Spina also spent a season with Team USA. He noted that through juniors and college, eyebrows were raised when peoThis past offseason, after a 12-year professional career, the 34-year-old ple found out he was from Arizona. Mesa native decided to retire from hockey due to concussions. Prior to the pro “I think the hardest thing was it really impacted my career, even though I game, Spina played four years at NCAA Division I powerhouse Boston College was as good if not better than a lot of players,” said Spina. “The skepticism and also signed NHL contracts with never left, even when I was signed with the then-Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louthe Coyotes and led the AHL team in is Blues and played preseason games points. I literally had NHL GMs and staff with each club. tell me it was an issue. You’d think that Not too shabby for a kid from the after that much success and years playdesert. ing at high levels, people would judge Still, Spina said it hasn’t hit home you more on your results and the type yet that he’ll have free weekends movof person you are, but it was a reason, ing forward. He played the last six seamaybe not a good one, but it was a reasons overseas and the previous six in son to either send me down or try to the American Hockey League (AHL) push me aside. and ECHL. “But all that did was motivate me “Now that I’m a parent, and it’s still to deal with the constant doubt. I love weird saying that, do you really have the fact that many players I’ve played free weekends?” asked Spina. “It’s rewith that had tremendous NHL careers ally more awkward to wake up every have said, ‘How did you not play in the day and not ache or hurt. My workouts NHL for most of your career?’ Guys like are intense still because I truly enjoy Henrik Tallinder, Eric Perrin, Laworking out, but nothing like what they dislav Nagy, Petteri Nummelin, Jeff used to be. I enjoy running with my wife Giuliano, and more. Those guys gave and trying new ways to stay active, not me the confidence as great teammates just hockey-focused training 24/7. It’s and people that every player needs in an amazing feeling to plan around holtheir career when you’re playing in sitidays now and put down some roots. I uations wondering if this is all worth it. catch the occasional highlight here or It made me realize that the NHL is the there that makes me want to hop off best league in the world with most of the couch and put my equipment on, the best players in the world, but not all but that’s the beauty of a young family of them, and you can have a successful – they keep you busy and fulfilled.” career in many ways.” Spina’s family moved from Seattle Now working in real estate in the to Arizona when he was eight and back Boston area and married to his wife, then, Oceanside was the only travel Megan, and raising their children, Evprogram in town and was one of two elyn, 3, and Harvey, 15 months, Spina rinks in the entire area. noted that it never really struck him that “My parents picked our home in he would play such a prominent role in Mesa because it fell under the 20-minArizona hockey. ute circle of commute time to the rink,” After two seasons of junior hockey, four seasons of NCAA D-I hockey and 12 years on the pro “The funny thing is I was so consaid Spina. “My team of 14 Mite play- circuit, Mesa native Dave Spina has retired to the Boston area, where he enjoys life with his wife, sumed with being as good as I could be Megan, and their two children, Evelyn and Harvey. Photo/Erin Sweatt ers had the best group of parents and every day, even up until the last game I parent coaches you could ever imagine. Eleven of us went on to get NCAA D-I played, I never really worried about that sort of thing,” Spina said. “I’m honored scholarships and I’m still close with some of those guys today. Hockey was my that people see me in that light and I hope I have made other players’ paths a first love and nothing compared. As I progressed skill-wise, all I wanted was little easier than mine was. I was lucky to have the Coyotes move into town at the hockey anything. I wanted to be outside playing street hockey if I wasn’t at the right time and Mike Gartner tell my parents, ‘Your son needs to leave soon and rink. I used to play an old boombox in my backyard and roller blade on my sport play better hockey.’ My parents are such good people and making them proud court for countless hours stick handling and shooting pucks. Hockey was what was a huge priority, and still is. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I seemed to was taken from me when I misbehaved or got a bad grade. get the velocity of my situation at a young age and stayed focused to achieve “That feeling of skating was pure freedom and speed. It was as close to flying goals I had in mind. I think social media has closed the gap on where you are as I could imagine and that feeling has never left me, even now with retirement.” from and opportunity now. I’m proud to be from Arizona and have forged my way In fine-tuning his game in Arizona, Spina said the list of positive influences through when it wasn’t common, but I’m also happy to see Arizona get its rightful and coaches is lengthy. respect, in large in part from Auston Mathews being a phenom. I think Arizona “Honestly, all of them played a role, but if I had to name a few, Terry Flais- rivals anywhere in the world with hockey development with so many great NHL hans, Lindsay Thompson, Brad Bayer, Kurt Goar and Todd Collins were and pro players calling it home base now and I’m sure there will be some great direct coaches that I can pinpoint things they said or helped me move forward players coming through in years to come. that I look back on and say, ‘That directly and positively impacted my mindset “I love the game of hockey and it provided so many things in life. I wouldn’t or skillset at those young ages,’” said Spina. “There are countless other people change a thing and I will find a way to fill the space that hockey leaves, but also that helped from Adam Mims, Sean Whyte, Jim Buyer – these guys made find a way to stay involved to some extent the rest of my life.” By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

OneHockey arrives in California with four holiday events By OneHockey Staff


t’s taken 14 years, but the hockey tournament industry’s undisputed international leader is finally going to introduce its home state of California to what the highly-acclaimed OneHockey experience is all about. OneHockey CEO Sebastien Fortier, a Laguna Hills resident, is excited to announce that OneHockey will bring four OneHockey holiday weekend spectaculars to the Golden State during the 201718 season. These three-day hockey festivals will take place at Icetown Arenas in Carlsbad and LA Kings Icetown Riverside during the Thanksgiving, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July weekends.

Both arenas are owned and operated by the Dunaev family and the Riverside location is a community partner with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings franchise. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to break into California, and now we got one,” said Fortier, who founded OneHockey in 2003 and operates the 25-plus year-round tournament organization from his home office. A OneHockey event is anything but your everyday tournament at your neighborhood ice rink. From its festive music and playful mascot streaming throughout each venue to its bus-

tling lobby featuring a multitude of hockey vendors as well as its popular red-carpet social media interviews, all culminating with its trademark championship ceremony – complete with a OneHockey Cup raising and non-alcoholic champagne celebration – the OneHockey experience cannot be equaled. For more information on the new OneHockey California events as well as the rest of the 201718 in-season OneHockey schedule across North America, visit

ONEHOCKEY CALIFORNIA EVENTS: Thanksgiving - NOVEMBER 2017 Dates: November 24-26 Category: Boys - 4 Games Div/Level: Mite A, Mite B, Squirt B, Peewee AA LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Presidents’ Day - FEBRUARY 2018 Dates: February16-19, 2018 Category: Boys - 5 Games Div/Level: Peewee A, Peewee B, Squirt B LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Memorial Day - MAY 2018 Dates: May 25-28, 2018 Category: Boys - 5 Games Div/Level: Bantam A, Bantam AA, Peewee AA LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Fourth of July - July 2018 Dates: July 5-8, 2018 Category: Boys - 5 Games Div/Level: 2008 AAA, 2008 AA, 2007 AA LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Div/Level: Peewee A, Peewee B, Bantam AA, 16AA/JV High School, 18AA/Varsity LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Div/Level: Squirt A, Bantam B, Bantam A, Bantam AA, U16 AA/JV High School U18AA/Varsity High School LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Div/Level: Mite A and B (half ice), Squirt A, Squirt B, Peewee A, Peewee B, U16 AA/HS JV, U18 AA/HS Varsity LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Div/Level: 2002 AAA, 2002 AA, 2004 AAA, 2004 AA, 2005 AAA, 2006 AAA, 2006 AAA, 2007 AAA LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Roadrunners retire Cunningham’s iconic No. 14 jersey By Phillip Brents


raig Cunningham, the Tucson Roadrunners first-ever team captain, doesn’t remember anything that transpired on the ice at Tucson Arena last Nov. 19, 2016 — nor events immediately thereafter — after suffering an acute cardiac arrest following warm-ups prior to an American Hockey League (AHL) game against the visiting Manitoba Moose. If it wasn’t for emergency aid on the ice, it’s likely that Cunningham would have died there. As it was, he barely survived additional emergency treatment at a nearby hospital to which he was whisked, and it was there that he underwent a still largely experimental procedure that ultimately saved his life. Cunningham survived the life-saving procedure but subsequently lost the lower part of his left leg due to an infection. The amputation ended his hockey-playing career. But life didn’t end for him there – he wouldn’t let it. It still isn’t known why Cunningham, an apparently healthy 26-year old man, suffered the sudden heart attack. But his miraculous recovery has become celebrated in Tucson, and throughout the entire hockey world. The AHL team presented Cunningham with the ultimate honor by retiring his No. 14 jersey during ceremonies prior to the team’s Oct. 27 game against the Iowa Wild. The emotional pregame event concluded with the unveiling of a banner emblazoned with “14” hanging from the rafters of the Tucson Arena. “Everyone goes through different challenges and any time when you think that you got it bad, someone else has it worse,” Cunningham said in an interview with Tucson television station KGUN on the eve of the retirement cer-

emony. “The jersey retirement is a great honor, but it’s not just for me, (but) my doctors; it shines a little light on everyone in my family, everyone that supported me through the situation. Obviously, the number is going up in my name, but there’s a ton of people who are going to be here that made it happen.” During the jersey retirement ceremony, which featured

Former Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham is presented with a certificate by Roadrunners GM Steve Sullivan during his jersey retirement ceremony at the Tucson Arena on Oct. 27. Cunningham’s mother, Heather, is in the background. Photo/Chris Hook/Tucson Roadrunners

a video tribute to his hockey career, Cunningham was presented with a customized plaque from Tucson general manager Steve Sullivan that included the puck from the team’s first-ever goal that he scored in a game in San Diego on Oct.14, 2016. He also received a custom engraved Tissot watch from the team.

His former teammates presented him with something perhaps even more memorable: a 4-1 victory cheered on by the 4,471 fans in attendance. Cunningham’s extraordinary story is told in the TSN original film “All Heart” that premiered on the Canadian sports network on Oct. 25. Produced and directed by Josh Shiaman, the compelling 11-minute documentary paints a full picture of the Cunningham saga, including the impact it had on the Tucson hockey community. Shiaman said the film’s title has an obvious double meaning as it relates to the medical side, as well as Cunningham’s trademark steadfastness in pursuit for excellence. His whole world revolved around hockey. It was Cunningham’s perseverance and willingness to never give up that impressed Shiaman the most during filming. To coaches and teammates, Cunningham was the personification of hard work. It was that work ethic and incredible drive to succeed that allowed Cunningham to reach his goal of playing in the NHL. While his NHL career was brief — 63 games, including 10 with the Arizona Coyotes, the Roadrunners’ parent club — he did fulfill a boyhood dream. Dr. Zain Khalpey, one of the world’s leading cardiothoracic surgeons who played a leading role in saving Cunningham’s life, believes Cunningham’s recovery will allow him to leave a legacy for others. “He’s inspiring,” Khalpey said in the film. “He’s inspiring to people who’ve not just been survivors of some kind of death. I think he’s going to leave a legacy in terms what he wants to do. He’s going to be somebody iconic.” The banner hanging inside the Tucson Arena is proof of that.



Pair of AHU squads show well at CCM World Invite events breezed to an 11-0 win. They played as a team, garnering seven different goal scorers and hat tricks from Nguyen and Kye Friend and Logan Gibbs also earned a 14-save shutout. Brody Kafora came away with the game-winning goal. Game 3 had Purple face off against the Riverside Rangers out of Ontario. The Rangers came out strong, leading 5-3 after two periods. Penalty trouble in the third prevented the Knights from gaining

In the semifinals, AHU’s opponent was once again the Riverside Rangers. A chance at redemphe first weekend in November saw two Arizona tion was all the Knights wanted. Hockey Union teams attend the CCM World InAn early first-period power play saw the Rangers vitational tournaments – the 16U AA Silver group quickly go up 1-0. With a minute to go in the first, went to Chicago, while 10U Squirt Purple headed to Conner Brown set up Friend with a picture-perfect Port Huron, Mich./Sarnia, Ont., Canada. pass to tie the game up at 1-all. The Rangers came The 16U AA Silver team entered the AAA division out fast, netting two goals in 90 seconds to take the knowing they would be facing some of the top teams lead 3-1 heading into the third. in the nation, and they were not disappointed. Unbelievable goaltending from Gibbs held off “We started off the tournament 3-0 and the the Rangers onslaught in the third and a big goal fourth game, we played one of the best teams in late in the period by Brown, assisted by Jake Gathe country,” said AHU 16U AAA Silver coach Jabrick, brought the Knights to within one. That is son Evahnenko. “The first period, we got down where it would stay – there would be no come4-1 and with no scoring in the second or third, back. Purple left it all on the ice, but came up just the game ended that way. As a coach, you always short. must evaluate where your team came from and Nguyen, Brown and Friend led the team with where it is going. A few years ago at the same eight points each and Gibbs posted two shutouts tournament, we went 0-4. This year, we went 3-1. throughout the weekend. We couldn’t be prouder of their growth, developThese nearly 2,000-mile journeys are a small ment and commitment to the game.” The Arizona Hockey Union’s 10U Squirt Purple team traveled to Port Hu- price to pay when it comes to the growth of youth The 10U Purple team has been to many tourna- ron, Mich., and Sarnia, Ont., Canada, the first weekend in November for hockey players. The physical and mental challengments in recent years, but has never headed north the CCM World Invitational and made a stellar run to the semifinals. es these players go up against with new and inof the border – until now. creased competition only add to their development any momentum and they fell 9-4. Their initial game pitted them against the Sting Just like great teams do, AHU rebounded quick- as players and teammates. out of Sarnia. There is a saying in sports that you ly against the Indy Racers, winning Game 4 by a The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend will either win or you learn. Let’s just say the Knights score of 4-0 in a penalty-filled affair, placing third see 16U AA Silver playing at the International Silver learned this game. Sarnia controlled the game from in round-robin play. The flawless shutdown defense Stick qualifying tournament in Las Vegas, while 11 start to finish and Purple fell 5-1 with a late third-pe- of Ben Elarth and Maddux Hoover proved too AHU teams – and 41 teams total – will battle it out riod goal by Austin Nguyen to spoil the shutout. much for the Racers offense. Gibbs was stellar once at the 16th Annual AHU Thanksgiving Shootout in The Knights put it together in Game 2 and again, turning aside all 18 shots he faced. Phoenix. ​​ By Bryan O’Sullivan



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION Is your coaching staff equipped IceJacks finding rookies, to handle basic first aid, CPR? veterans ‘meshing extremely well’ By Matt Mackinder

By Scott Robinson


s your team prepared? A player has been injured and is lying on the ice motionless. Someone from the coaching staff exits the bench to assess the extent of the player’s injuries, only to realize upon exam that the player has suffered a skate laceration to the back of his leg. The Arizona High School Hockey Association issues first aid bags to all high school teams in order to treat cuts and various injuries, and also recommends that coaching staffs review a basic first aid video. I have noted, however, that it appeared only high school was providing bags to their teams, but not all club travel teams carry first aid bags. I brought the recommendation to our association (Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association) that we need to provide a first aid bag for each team. I also suggested that our coaching staff (if not already trained) should take a basic first aid/CPR class in order to be better prepared. In September of this year, FYHA issued basic first aid bags to each of its travel teams. After the first week of issue, a player received a serious deep laceration from a skate blade to the top of her foot while changing in the locker room. The bandaging from the team’s first aid bag came in handy to control the bleeding and dress the wound properly until seen by emergency room staff. Having been a Los Angeles County paramedic for over 25 years and the manager of our 16U AA team, I assembled an extensive first aid/trauma bag for our team, which includes an AED (automatic external defibrillator). Most rinks have an AED located somewhere in their lobby, but as with a major bleed, a sudden cardiac event, time is critical, and I feel an AED should be close to the player’s bench. Some high school teams are carrying AEDs in their own personal first aid packs. Bottom line – your team needs to be prepared for a medical event on the ice.


he Northern Arizona University ACHA Division 2 team is off to a fast start, and while much of the success can be attributed to the talent on the ice, coach Travis Johanson said it’s also due to the “unbelievable chemistry” the IceJacks have shown between the returning players and nine newcomers this season. With a 10-1-0 start, NAU was ranked No. 1 in the West Region as of mid-November. Not all nine are freshmen, though. They all came from different backgrounds prior to this season, from NCAA Division III hockey to Midget AAA hockey. “When you add nine new guys into the mix, you really never know what you’ll get at first,” said Johanson. “But these guys have come right in, established themselves, and really have given us an added dimension of depth. They are all top-end guys who are meshing extremely well with our returning guys.” “One added element to this team, due to the talent level, is that every time they are on the ice, they have to compete to be there,” added NAU assistant coach Kris Walsh. “It’s definitely a good thing, from a coaching standpoint, to have players pushing each other to be better every day.” Junior defenseman Beau Browning grew up playing for the Phoenix Firebirds and Jr. Coyotes programs and played NCAA D-III hockey for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Freshman forwards Malachi Bushey (Tucson), Brendan Jester and Tegan Harrington skated in the North American 3 Hockey League for Great Falls. Freshman defenseman Jordan Nolan (Phoenix) is a Jr. Coyotes and Arizona Bobcats graduate, junior Kristjan Toivola has previous ACHA experience at Central Oklahoma and McKendree and junior forward Desmond Conley has played well, as has freshman forward Davis Holmes. Freshman defenseman Michael Emson (Phoenix) is another Bobcats alum and NAU’s youngest player.


What it means to truly call yourself a hockey player B

St. Clair

eing a hockey player doesn’t mean just showing up to the rink. It takes preparation, dedication, hard work, and a good attitude. A lot of parents ask me what it takes for their kid to get to the next level and I tell them all these

things. But in the end, it’s up to the kid. You can’t force a kid to get up every morning for a lesson and want to get better – that’s on the kid. When a kid is having fun and getting better every day, then you know they want it. That takes dedication and a drive to be better than the kid next to you. The ones that are getting better are the ones that show dedication and love doing it every single day. At a younger age, preparation isn’t as important

because you can’t force an eight-year-old to eat right and work out to maintain endurance. However, they can stick handle off the ice to prepare for a game. When you are older, you can prepare differently. You can make sure you are eating right and getting your eight hours of sleep every night.. You can also get in the gym and make sure you are staying in shape so that way when the season goes into a grind, you can outlast your opponent. Hard work is not for everyone, but it helps you become the best that you can be. Not every kid is going to be good with the puck every single game – that is something you can’t necessarily control. That said, a kid can control how hard they work every single time they are on the ice. To me, this is the most underrated skill out there because it’s more of a mindset that not every kid learns about.

Talent can only get you so far. The hardest workers make it the farthest, which is how they become great hockey players. The hard work reflects your attitude. If you do not have a good attitude on and off the ice, there is a chance that you will not work hard. Having a good attitude helps you when you are getting scouted and recruited as well. A lot of coaches can sense when a player has a bad attitude and most of the time, they won’t even bother. Coaches look for kids with a good attitude so that way when they move them forward, they are sending another coach at a higher level a good character kid. In the end, most of this can be taught, but the kid has to want to better themselves in order to have these attributes in their game. Once a kid works on these items, the hard work and preparation will become a fun part of the game and it won’t seem as if it is hard work at all.

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.



DYHA 16U squad steps up with solid performance in Sarnia By Jack Harris


rms-crossed and speaking matter-of-factly, John Damyanovich’s typically tough expression loosened as the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) 16U coach let out a deep-toned chuckle. It had been just days since his Jr. Sun Devils team had returned from a runner-up finish Nov. 5 at the CCM World Invitational in Sarnia, Ont., Canada. He needed a quick pause before answering if he had expected his team to reach the tournament’s championship game. “Not really,” he admitted. He wasn’t alone. After all – despite being in his third season with this core group of continually improving and maturing players – Damyanovich’s group was still an Arizona team, a distinction that rarely translates to success north of the border. They would’ve been forgiven for not making it out of a testing group stage schedule. Instead, they became the first Arizona team to ever make it to the prestigious event’s title game. “We were expecting to go up there and show well,” Damyanovich said. “We had been preaching to our defense to get the puck out quickly and they did that well. We know what we have in this team. We have a lot of blue-collar hard-workers.” Just as Damyanovich had hoped, his team’s hardworking style surprised the traditional blue-blood Canadian hockey programs they faced in the Sarnia Jr. Sting and London Jr. Knights.

The weeks of preparation the Jr. Sun Devils spent “We knew that it was going to be tough – the teams were a lot better than what we play [normally],” DYHA cap- leading up to the tournament paid off. tain Carter Newlin said. “We had to mentally prepare our“The drills and the explanation of what we are trying to selves to play tough and play physical because we know tell them the last two weeks, they did it in these games,” assistant coach Ernie Hicke said. that Canadian teams don’t like to be hit.” “We had been preaching to our defense to get It wasn’t smooth sailing from the start for DYHA, however. The Jr. Sun Devils found themselves trailing Sarnia 2-0 the puck out quickly and they did that well,” added Damyanovich. going into the third period of their Aungst noticed that “one of the tournament opener. But in the final things that had hurt us this year frame, everything clicked and the Jr. was positional hockey, and we did Sun Devils rallied to earn a 2-2 tie a much better job of that as well.” and found a rhythm that would carry them to a silver medal. Again, the hard-working “For these boys to come from blue-collar style outweighed the Canadian teams’ obvious talent. behind like that, we dominated the That and great goaltending. third period,” assistant coach Gary “When we can rely on the goalAungst said of the Sarnia game. Added Damyanovich: “It gave The Jr. Sun Devils’ 16U team went 3-1-1 at the re- ies in the back, that really builds cent CCM World Invitational tournament in Sarnia, confidence for the team as well,” us a shot of confidence.” That shot of confidence turned Ont., toppling tough Canadian teams along the way. said Damyanovich. The Jr. Sun Devils finished the group stage undefeatinto a wave of momentum. After a 3-2 win over the Geneva (Ill.) Cyclones, DYHA pulled off the upset of the weekend. ed with a 4-2 win over the West Kent (Mich.) Hawks beLondon is ranked No. 9 in the Ontario ’02 AA myhock- fore falling in a title-game rematch with London – a loss poll, and had lost just three games of its DYHA’s coaches blamed on their team spending too first 25 of the season. much time on the penalty kill. But there were only two numbers that mattered after its But with a 3-1-1 record and runner-up finish in a talmeeting with DYHA: ent-rich event, DYHA did more than build self-confidence. Final score: Jr. Sun Devils 3, Jr. Knights 2 They took another transformative step forward as a team. “When we beat them, they were mad,” Newlin said. “At Said Damyanovich: “We can go to the next step and the end, they were pretty surprised that we made it that far.” it hopefully snowballs.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Coyotes infusing $2.1 million into state youth hockey programs By Matt Mackinder


ast month, the Arizona Coyotes announced a $2.1 million investment into youth hockey in the state. The Coyotes’ four new programs that will introduce the sport of hockey to over 100,000 boys and girls include a street hockey PE curriculum, a three-step introduction to hockey program for girls, financial support to local ice rinks and the sponsorship of the Valley’s local high school hockey league. “The Coyotes are committed to the Valley and to growing the great game of hockey in our state,” said Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway. “The Valley has given us great support over the years and it is our core philosophy that we give back to the community and help make this a great place to live. These programs will have an incredible impact on our youth hockey community.” “The Coyotes are grateful for our partnership with the NHL and the NHLPA to help grow hockey in the Valley,” added Coyotes president-CEO Steve Patterson. “We are excited to launch these four new programs this season and get more sticks in kids’ hands as we grow our great sport.” Of note, the Small Fry’s Girls Hockey Development Program will help introduce girls to hockey and properly develop them so that they are ready to compete in leagues. The program will be led by former U.S. Olympian and Chandler native Lyndsey Fry. Each program will be 6-10 weeks in duration and include a beginners’ program, a second step program to focus more on team structure and development and a third step, a 3-on-3 cross-ice program to help prepare girls for structured hockey leagues. This program is for girls ages 7-12 years old. These four new programs, in addition to the current Little Howlers Learn to Play Hockey program that introduces the game of hockey to kids 5-9 years of age, will increase hockey participation in Arizona to more than 10,000 players within three years.

IN A DEVILISH MOOD Is the NHL making our job tougher at the youth level? A s a coach of youth hockey players for the past eight years, I have found myself wondering this exact question. Our kids watch and idolize the professional player, which is exactly how it should McCaughey be. We want our kids to have hockey role models and to aspire to play at the highest level. So why would I wonder if the NHL game is making my job tougher? Let me start my laying out some of my coaching philosophies. One of the reasons I love hockey so much is that there is so much more to the game of hockey than talent. Yes, talent is an important asset, but hockey games at the highest levels are won by teams, not talent. Hockey is a true team sport. Having said that, there are basic core principles that you have to excel at for you to win games. These core principles include work ethic,

communication, puck support and defensive hockey. The game is actually very complex and the average viewer has no idea how much actual thinking goes on during a game. A lot of people refer to this aspect of hockey with terms like hockey sense, coachabilty, being a good team player, putting the team first, etc. This is why we, as coaches, must do more than just work on players’ skills at practice. It is our job to teach them the complicated game of hockey, keeping it as simple as possible, while also making it fun at the same time. In trying to accomplish this miracle, I like to focus on a few simple hockey concepts that I believe are true at every level. One of these concepts is to let the puck do the work and to move the puck before you have to. Letting the puck do the work requires good puck support creating short, simple passes with open passing lanes and moving the puck before you have to means to move the puck before you are in the defensive reach of your opponent, ideally then moving to an open space on the ice to create an opportunity to get the puck back. It drives me crazy when one of my 10-year-old budding superstars continually tries to beat the opponent by slipping the puck through his legs or constantly tries to make the impossible pass through and over bodies, legs and sticks to the

open man way over on the other side of the ice. This brings me to my original question. Could this player simply be imitating what he sees his favorite NHL player doing on television or on the highlight reels? The fact is that these incredible passes happen in the NHL and it is not because the NHL player does not adhere to moving the puck quickly and letting the puck do the work. It is because often times, the NHL player has no other choice. You see, the NHL player today is bigger, faster, stronger and more talented than ever before, and while the NHL players have gotten bigger, the ice has not. It is so hard to find open space on NHL ice and today’s players are so skilled on skates that they are forced to try these tricky plays and passes to create scoring opportunities. They are also skilled enough to pull them off. In conclusion, and to try to answer my original question, while our youth players are not nearly as talented and definitely have more room on the ice, I do not want to hinder our young players’ creativity, as these skills are clearly needed at the higher levels. We, as coaches, just need to find a way to let our players know that there are times and places during a game to attempt these plays and that our main job is to help them to get better.

Brad McCaughey is the director of hockey and coach-in-chief for the Desert Youth Hockey Association.



Arizona duo thriving in Tahoe Hockey Academy environment didn’t know that much about it, but I decided to take a chance to try to improve my skills as much as possible. “It wasn’t that difficult of a decision for me. I didn’t think moving away from home would be too hard, and it hasn’t been too bad for me. It’s been a really positive experience for me. The first year was great, and I’m hoping

and said he appreciates how well the student-athletes’ time is managed. pair of Arizona natives have taken their skills from Lewis, the head coach of Tahoe’s prep team, said the desert to the mountains and are establishing Birecki has a great feel for the effort needed to continuthemselves as cornerstones of the prep team at Tahoe ally improve. Hockey Academy. “He understands the hard work that needs to be put Defenseman Jack Birecki and center Jared in to reach the next level,” Lewis said. “Whether in Shuter are in their second year as student-athletes the weight room or on the ice, he pushes his limits at California’s first prep boarding school for hockey and has that desire to want to be the best. He’s a players, and the two juniors are thriving in their new player that you can count on to give you everything environment. because he expects nothing less from himself.” “It’s really great that we are able to get so much Lewis said Shuter is the type of player who wants ice time at Tahoe Hockey Academy,” Birecki said. to win no matter what it takes. “The elevation training is a big thing, too. I’m defi“His attitude toward wanting to be better is what nitely in really good shape, and my skills have imdrives him to compete every shift,” Lewis said. “His proved - and I’ve made a lot of great memories with work ethic is second to none, and you can tell he my teammates.” has his sights set on higher levels of hockey. I never Birecki grew up playing hockey in Flagstaff until question whether or not Jared is ready to go. He’s a he was nine and when his family moved to Phoenix, player you want to do well because he deserves it.” he began skating with the Jr. Coyotes’ AAA teams. Leaving home at 15 might seem like a daunting After three seasons, he moved over to the Arizona prospect for a lot of teenagers and their parents, esBobcats and played for their 14U AAA squad, and pecially to attend school and play hockey for a prothen took the big leap of moving away from home The desert pair of Jack Birecki (left) and Jared Shuter are excelling in their gram just getting off the ground. Birecki said that to attend Tahoe Hockey Academy prior to last year. junior seasons at Tahoe Hockey Academy. having a familiar face in Shuter by his side has made Shuter, a Phoenix native, played three seasons the experience that much easier. to build on that in my second year.” for the Jr. Coyotes and another year for the Bobcats be“We played on the same team for the first time when Shuter said the opportunity to be on the ice every day fore deciding to leave home last year to join the Tahoe with head coach Mike Lewis has made a big difference, we were 10 and one more season after that, so I’ve program. as their ice time isn’t limited like it is in so many other known Jared for a while,” Birecki said. “Our parents are “It just seemed like a really good opportunity to get places and they’re not wasting time driving to and from friends, too, so it’s been a big help having a friend alongon the ice a lot and get in great shape,” Shuter said. “I the rink. He described the training facilities as top notch side me when I moved to Tahoe.” By Greg Ball




Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

17-18 season.


CDP continues strong growth at both Ice Den facilities By Matt Mackinder


s the manager of youth hockey development for the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) at the Ice Den Chandler, Gary Ihling obviously has a serious and critical role not only within the organization, but in all of Arizona. Ihling works closely with Ice Den Scottsdale’s director of youth hockey development Scott Gruber and together, the duo helps mold area youth into knowledgeable hockey players in the Coyotes Development Program (CDP). “There are a number of things that make our roles worthwhile, but I would have to say the No. 1 reason is development,” said Ihling. “Our players come from having little or no hockey experience, but hard work and determination turn many of these inexperienced players into extremely good hockey players. Instilling fun into our programs cultivates a love for our game and increases our players’ engagement, which helps development grow tremendously. “Our travel teams get a large number of their players from our CDP program and that is a gratifying part of our work, watching these players grow and accomplish the goals they set out to attain as well as have success at the next level.” The CDP features multi-faceted programming, including a full 44-session fall/winter season, 3-on-3 and 4-on-4

sessions in the spring and summer, and the important entry point, the Initiation Program. It focuses on basic skill development with an introduction to team play concepts, in a fun environment for learning. Players are given an equal opportunity to participate and are encouraged to play all positions. And the CDP keeps growing. Registrations at the Ice Den Chandler have almost doubled in the last two years alone – from 155 during the 2015-16 season to nearly 300 players this season. The Ice Den Scottsdale has been able to increase the number of teams within its program as well. The program in Chandler is partnering with its on-site training center to offer professional off-ice training to the house players, which has not been offered in the past. The Center for Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy, located inside the Ice Den Chandler, will be hosting an open house on Saturday, Dec. 2, to promote the center and help the house players understand how off-ice training is crucial to not only their success as hockey players, but how good health is a lifelong habit. Shane Harvey, manager of off-ice training for CAHA’s AA and AAA teams, will be designing an off-ice regimen specifically for the CDP players, “another example of our growth and how we feel we offer a program that sets the bar for developmental hockey in Arizona,” according to Ihling. That said, finding ways to get better is always on Ihling’s mind.

“We are extremely proud of our results, but we are always looking for ways to improve,” said Ihling. “We just recently hosted a goalie clinic, run by CAHA director of goaltending Mike Nepsa, that was a huge success. I spoke with Mike to get his thoughts on our clinic and he said, ‘The first CDP goalie clinic was a great opportunity for my staff and myself to see what talent we have in our youth program that one day will translate into our travel programs. As long as the goalies are learning and falling in love with the sport, we are all doing our part to grow the game.’”

Scott Gruber

Gary Ihling

The CDP also offers the City All Stars program, a collection of local rinks’ (Ice Den Scottsdale, Ice Den Chandler, AZ Ice Gilbert and AZ Ice Peoria) top players at each division. Once each team is selected, they play a series of games against each rink’s teams. This results in two semifinal playoff series and ultimately, the City All Star Championship.

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Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Knighthawks feeling ‘Proud’ to host first IHAAZ festival By Brian Lester


xcitement is building for the Knighthawks with a new season on the horizon, in part because the program will host its first IHAAZ festival. It’s a big step forward for a young program as the Knighthawks will host the festival Dec. 15-17 in Peoria. “Since establishing the Knighthawks three years ago, we have really grown as a club, going from four teams to five, to now six, with the help of our friends and staff at the Peoria Sportsplex,” said Stephanie Proud, the festival community head. “Having the opportunity to host a festival makes our presence official and gives our program more credibility in the hockey world in an effort to grow this great game.” Knighthawks president Brent Proud said having a festival at your own arena can serve as an inspiration to those currently in the program’s rec league. “We have been actively working as a team with the staff at the Peoria Sportsplex to grow the game through the ‘Learn To Love’ hockey program and Saturday morning rec leagues,” Brent said. “By having this festival, it is great for us in helping to grow the game as kids who are learning can come out and see the level of play that IHAAZ shows and it gives them a sense of something to work for and they can witness the excitement of the IHAAZ festivals for themselves at our home rink.” The effort put forth to put the festival can’t be downplayed. A lot goes into it, from rounding up volunteers

memorable, and unfortunately, since we are the first to simply finding the time to do it. “The largest and most important part of planning a festival, time is of the essence. We are definitely feelfestival is the schedule, which is handled by the IHAAZ ing the pressure.” board,” Stephanie said. “Other items of focus are volFestivals are always special and the Knighthawks unteers to run the scoreboard, ensuring refs are in are looking forward to making their festival as memoraplace for the games, scheduling parent volunteers to ble as others in the past. Festivals provide a sense of man fundraising stations, and most importantly, ensur- unity among the IHAAZ community. “We love seeing various citing that we have delicious food.” ies in Arizona come together for Clearly, it isn’t a one-person hockey,” Stephanie said. “The job. It takes a team to work torelationships developed begether to make it all happen. tween clubs, players, coaches “Just like the teams on the rink, teamwork is what is going and parents are the best part of to make a festival successful,” the festivals. It’s amazing to see the teams develop from the first Stephanie said. “We are gratefestival to the last and to see the ful to have some pretty good players grow both in skill and relationships with members of maturity.” other clubs that have provided Ultimately, the great thing us with some good advice and about the festivals is having fun, guidance.” and Stephanie said the KnightFinding something unique to hawks do a good job of promotoffer at the festival is a big deal ing that aspect of the game. as well. And Stephanie will tell “The No. 1 rule of the Knightyou that isn’t an easy thing to do. All of the Knighthawks teams are gearing up to host “Every club tends to have the upcoming IHAAZ festival Dec. 15-17 at the Peoria hawks Hockey Club is to have Sportsplex. Photos/Tosh Photography something that is unique to their fun, however, in that process, festival,” Stephanie said. “Yuma has their delicious tri- the players are learning to gracefully lose, humbly win tip, Prescott has their yummy breakfast burritos and and learn about overall respect of the game and its Tucson has a bar. We are currently searching for that players,” Stephanie said. “IHAAZ and the festivals alone thing that is going to make our festival unique and low players to experience these life lessons.”



Bobcats, Hensdell succeeding in Mite development realm By Greg Ball


t’s no secret that the process of developing great hockey players starts when they’re young, and the Arizona Bobcats have fully embraced the effort to build a solid foundation at the Mite level. The Bobcats held their annual Mite Jamboree on Nov. 4, featuring cross-ice games for the youngest players, half-ice contests for the more advanced Mites and plenty of fun for kids who are just starting to develop a love for hockey. Ten teams participated, coming from all corners of the Phoenix area. Bobcats hockey director Ron Filion said the Jamborees have been excellent events over the years, and his coaching staff places an extra emphasis on developing players’ skills at the Mite level. “This is our third year hosting a Jamboree, and it has been a phenomenal success,” FIlion said. “Our seven coaches responsible for developing the next generation of Bobcats players have done a terrific job following the game plan, and our young goalies have the chance to work with Brad Donaldson and Pat Conacher almost every practice.” Filion credits his coaching staff for their dedication to developing mites, and said Mike Hensdell, in particular, has been a key to that effort. Hensdell is the Bobcats’ power skating and skills coach, as well as an assistant coach with the 11U, 12U and 16U teams while also running the Mite program. He spends seven days a week at the rink.

Hensdell said the Bobcats’ Mite program is mainly skills early and build on them, because as hockey players focused on skill development - working on everything reach the higher levels, it becomes harder to break bad from skating to stick handling, passing and shooting. habits and teach them the right way to do things. More advanced players work on things like how to attack “When we first started the program and had just a the net in a three-on-three situation versus a four-on-four couple teams of older players who had come from other programs, it was pretty evident that the skill development scenario. “It’s amazing what these little guys are able to do,” hadn’t been there at an early age,” Hensdell said. “They knew systems, but they were so far besaid Hensdell, who played junior hockhind on skill development. Every pracey in Alaska and ACHA college hocktice for our teams, especially for the ey. “It still surprises me every day. If I Mites, is 90 percent skill development.” would have had this skill development Hensdell believes that hockey available when I was a kid, I probably would have made it further.” players, especially ones just learning Starting as a skating coach with FIlthe game at the Mite level, have the chance to improve every time they’re ion seven years ago, Hensdell worked on the ice. That’s why he never lets up on power skating with guys like Auswith his focus on developing skills. ton Matthews - who would later be“Some of our Mites skate better come the first pick in the 2016 NHL than some of our older players because Draft - as well as current NCAA Divithey get my attention at every pracsion I players Christian Cakebread tice,” Hensdell. “We work on forward and Jake Durflinger. He has taken on stride, tight turns, going backwards to more and more responsibility each year forwards, keeping your shoulders over and now works with each of the proMike Hensdell your knees, improving transition time gram’s teams, pulling kids aside during practices and working on specific skills that could use and more. improvement. “We’re not all about winning, but the long-term re“I’m always trying to watch and tweak how kids do sult of a focus on skill development and coaching is that things just a little bit, so it helps the players out and in you get those wins. At the end of the day, almost all our turn, helps the teams,” Hensdell said. players move on to the next levels, and that’s really what He knows how important it is to develop the basic it’s all about.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Brill a perfect fit behind the bench for Mission AZ By Greg Ball


t’s not difficult to see the passion that Adam Brill has for youth hockey. Just watching him working kids through a practice, or behind the bench during games, his love for the game shines through. He dedicates endless hours to the Mission AZ program nearly year-round, and wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t something truly fulfilling for him. “Mission is a family in the true sense of the word,” Brill said. “I think the coaching philosophy is old-school, and the messaging we use throughout the program is consistent, which is really important. I’ve really had a terrific experience coaching in this program.” Brill is in his fifth season coaching with Mission, and this year is serving as the head coach of the program’s Squirt 10U Red team and its Pee Wee 12U White squad as well as assisting with the Bantam AA group. He started as an in-house coach at the Peoria rink when his son, Mason - now a second-year Bantam - first got into hockey. When Mason tried out to play for Mission, Brill was introduced to Mission director of hockey operations Jeremy Goltz and began assisting with a few teams and with the summer programs. “’Briller’ has really taken on the challenge this season and is doing a great job developing squirts and our developmental Pee Wee group,” said Goltz. “He takes a lot of pride as a coach, and his passion speaks for itself.” Brill realizes the importance of developing a foundation of skills in younger players, knowing how it pays off

when they reach higher levels. That’s why he so invested players,” Brill said. “First, I want to make sure they’re dein working with Squirts and Pee Wees to build that set of veloping a love and excitement for the game - we want tools that will help them as they get older. them to not be able to wait to get back to the rink. The “I get to work with a pretty good cross section of age other part is to make sure we’re preparing them for the groups,” Brill said. “I think my favorite age groups are next level of hockey. “I want to make sure that my Squirt players underSquirts and Pee Wees. They’re coachable - they’re like little sponges. They’re absorbing information and learn- stand what the jump will be like to Pee Wees, particularly ing, and their growth and development is at such a rapid the second-year players. Jeremy and I share the belief that ‘true hockey’ starts at the Bantam level when you pace at that age level that it’s really fun to see. start to introduce con“They just pick stuff up tact and it’s a faster pace quickly, and it seems like with bigger kids, so we every practice they get a little bit better.. You can have to prepare our Pee really coach them and get Wees properly so it’s a seamless transition into them excited about the that level for them.” game.” Brill couldn’t be hapBrill knows that pier coaching with Miscoaching Squirts and Pee sion, and that has more Wees is vastly different to do with how things are than coaching Bantams. done there than it does Younger kids are different with winning games and physically and mentally championship banners. than older kids, and thus “I think the two things the approach has to be different. While he focus- Adam Brill coaches the Mission AZ Squirt 10U Red team, the Pee Wee that really drew me to the es on fundamentals, he 12U White squad and assists with the Bantam AA team this year. program were the family does so within the structure that Goltz has developed atmosphere along with the old-school hockey tradition, for the Mission program, so that his players are prepared and the consistency from age group to age group,” he when they move up a level. said. “I think that’s in the best interests of the players “I have two main jobs as a coach with the younger and the program.”

MISSION STATEMENT Is no contact in Pee Wees best for growing the game? I

want to talk about the decision of USA Hockey a few years back to take contact out of Pee Wee hockey and move it to the Bantam age group. I have coached Bantams for the past 16 years Goltz and to be honest, all I see is more and more injuries as a result of this decision. This age group – 13- and 14-year-old kids – are right at that point where some are maturing and growing, where others have not. It is not uncommon to see a 6-foot-3 player competing against a 5-foot-4 player in this age group. It is truly a recipe for disaster encountering contact for the first time. I was coaching Pee Wee when they made the decision and I still have no clear-cut idea on why this decision was made. Pee Wees, for the most part, are balanced in

size and have not started to develop or mature yet. Their bodies are like gummy bears, and can handle the impact and essential understanding of how to protect themselves in a level-size playing field. The concussion rate has gone through the roof with this age group and I see almost an injury a game. Most of the time, it is just a bigger kid running into a smaller one. It just sets them up to players scared and timid, which creates more injuries. I also see all 13-year-old teams year after year lose players to high school or not playing at all due to this entry level of contact. I thought we were trying to grow the sport, not set our kids up to fail? I talk with coach after coach who feels exactly the same way, yet the guys in the trenches are all confused to why this move was made. Pee Wee was a great level to introduce body contact with less chance of injury. The pace is slower, kids are smaller, and you just don’t see the range of sizes you see in a typical Bantam game.

I would ask that USA Hockey revisit this decision and do a study of how many more injuries are occurring at these levels before the decision. It made no sense to me when they did it and less and less every season I see the results of this decision. I think this is something that truly needs to be considered. As a staple in the Bantam division for years, I feel nothing has been gained from this decision and it is truly putting some kids in very bad situations on the ice. I would suggest that coaches start to introduce contact in their Pee Wee practices so players start to get a comfort level and learn how to protect themselves along the boards and in open ice. We are forced to take as many preventive steps as possible as they walk into the faster pace of Bantam and now we have to deal with huge size and strength ranges. I hope this something that will gain some traction as I see so many players not playing any more as a result of this decision. I am sure there was some logic behind the decision at the time, but in my opinion, they need to take a closer look at the actual results.

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


NEW MEXICO REPORT With recent wins, Warriors putting Mustangs continuing to hit on New Mexico hockey on the map all cylinders for ’17-18 season

By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



he New Mexico Warriors youth hockey program is not only turning heads in its home state, but in regional hockey circles as well. Last month, Warriors teams collected three tournament championships in out-ofstate events, with the Pee Wee team winning in Las Vegas and the Bantam squad earning back-to-back banners in Las Vegas and Colorado. At the eighth annual Las Vegas Challenge Cup event Oct. 20-22, the Pee Wee team came out on top in an intense tournament. “We did not know what to really expect going to this tournament in Las Vegas,” said Pee Wee coach Vladimir Hartinger. “Typically, we would sign up to play in the ‘B’ level, but this tournament only offered ‘A,’ but either way, I felt our team was up to the challenge. We played four very solid games and our performance was consistent throughout the tournament. All the kids played very hard and every player contributed to winning the championship. “It was our first real tournament of the season and I hope we can continue to feed from this success. There is definitely room for improvement being in the early part of our season. These past games really showed me what we need to focus on going forward.” New Mexico goalie Sean Terrell posted a shutout in the championship game, a 7-0 win at City National Arena. The Pee Wees’ next big tournament is the International Silver Stick event in the Denver area over Thanksgiving and according to Hartinger, “I’m looking forward to the challenge this tournament will bring.” The winner of Denver’s Silver Stick tournament will qualify to go to Canada to compete in the Silver Stick Finals. “We have had success in the past with this tournament I’m hoping to continue our goal to play well in Denver and hopefully, qualify for Canada,” Hartinger said. Brian Barnes’ Bantam team also captured the championship in Las Vegas and then the following weekend, brought home the Fright Fest Tournament title in the suburban Denver town of Littleton. ”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

s the years go by, the New Mexico Mustangs girls program continues to make strides and leave its mark on the state’s hockey imprint. This season is no different as association president Jeff Schultz sees major components of improvement taking shape within the Mustangs. “One of our objectives with the Mustangs organization is to host competitive teams and work towards that, with an eye eventually to have our own Tier II teams to declare for USA Hockey Youth Nationals,” said Schultz. “We’re kind of taking intermediate steps towards that goal and obviously, recruiting at the younger ages is what supports that in the end. We’re getting there and we think we’re doing a better job of recruiting at the younger end. With the older players, Schultz said the wheels are in motion to see the girls play higher levels of competition. “We have started to take some teams to some AA-level tournaments, which we did last year with our 19U team,” explained Schultz. “This year, our 14U AA team is playing in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League (MSGHL) in Colorado with three other Colorado teams (in the 16U division). This is kind of a feeling-out year for us.” The MSGHL season started earlier this month and concludes with league playoffs in February. The Mustangs also have teams at the 12U and 19U teams in the MSGHL this year. The 2017-18 season is also the fourth straight year the Mustangs have had representation in all MSGHL divisions. Schultz said the organization is attempting to improve the Mustangs’ 19U squad as well. “We don’t have the numbers we want just yet, so we’re not in a league, but we’re going to go play in some tournaments on an ad hoc basis,” Schultz said. “That has a lot more structure than just saying, ‘Hey, who wants to go play in a tournament?’ We have practices and we’ve done a little of this before, but we’re formalizing it a little more.”

Sun Devils start ‘17-18 inline season on promising note bara and Cal Poly, but I think with the roster we have this year, and the goaltending of Aaron Gittings, we rizona State University sent its Division I and Di- can work on adjustments going forward to turn those vision III teams to compete at the Western Colle- games in our favor as the season progresses,” Bogiate Roller Hockey League’s yarsky said. (WCRHL) annual Kick-Off Wes Fry led the Division event Oct. 28-29 in San Jose, I team in scoring with seven Calif. points (three goals, four asThe Sun Devils’ Division sists). Scoring was spread I team finished 2-2 at the out with nine players sniping season-opening tournament, goals. Jake Romo led ASU while ASU’s Division III team with four goals and chipped in faced off the 2017-18 season with two assists for six points with a promising 3-1 record. to rank second in team scor“New seasons are always ing. a bit of a dice roll as far as Aaron Bland contributknowing how your new lineup ed three goals, while Aryeh will match up against the othRichter collected two goals er teams’ new rosters,” ASU and two assists. head coach Nick Boyarsky Gittings played in all four explained. “Overall, this was a games, posting a 3.50 goalsgood weekend for us, missing against average and an .825 a key player like Ryan Cotton save percentage. and still faring as well as we The division looks to be did speaks volumes for what a battle among elite goaltenthis year’s team can accomders this season. Ron Best, plish.” coming off a Division II naThe Sun Devils Division I Arizona State University inline coach Nick Boyarsky tional championship in 2017 team tipped West Valley Col- sees a great deal of potential for this season’s Division with CSU Fullerton, leads the lege 4-3 in overtime and also I and Division II Sun Devils teams. Photo/ASU Inline Hockey division with an .887 save defeated Chico State by a score of 6-1 while dropping percentage, while Cal Poly SLO’s Nic Leacox, a twomatchups against defending regional champion UC time member of Team USA junior men’s national team, Santa Barbara (by one goal) and Cal Poly San Luis ranks second with an .882 save percentage. Obispo (by three goals). Gittings, a NARCh travel team veteran, ranked third “We ran into familiar struggles with UC Santa Bar- in save percentage through the opening tournament. By Phillip Brents


ASU’s Division III team started the San Jose event with an 11-0 win over UC Santa Barbara, followed by a 10-1 loss to Cal Poly Gold, a 15-0 win over Cal Poly Pomona and a 7-5 win over West Valley College. “We are a very young team with six out of our 11 Division III players being true freshman, and three more being sophomores,” Boyarsky said. “We have to learn quickly how to adjust our game speed and defense to compete against older, stronger and faster teams like Cal Poly, which will be in our sights all season long in the WCRHL.” Four Sun Devils finished in double-figure scoring. Paxton Parker led ASU in tourney scoring with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), followed by John Henze with 12 points (five goals, seven assists), Jordan Behm with 11 points (five goals, six assists) and Shaun MacDonald with 10 points (five goals, five assists). Parker, Henze and MacDonald each recorded game-winning goals. Clay Heinze matched Henze, Behm, MacDonald with five goals while Joey Chimienti paced the team with seven assists. Garrett Ruby handled the goaltending duties with a 3.75 GAA, two shutouts and a .810 save percentage. Cal Poly Gold (4-0) topped the Division III standings with eight points, followed by ASU and West Valley College, both two points back with 3-1 records, after the opening weekend. Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona did not compete at the San Jose event, but were set to make their season debuts at the Nov. 11-12 regular-season event at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline in Huntington Beach, Calif.

All-NCRHA players ready to return to national spotlight By Phillip Brents


hat do Arizona State University’s Wes Fry, Ryan Cotton and Jayme Haveman all have in common along with Northern Arizona University’s Trevor Riffey and Anders Hultgren? And, for that matter, what do they have in common with the University of Arizona’s David Santos? All six players received recognition on the 2017 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship all-tournament team. Fry, a forward, earned selection to the Division I Second Team, while Cotton and Haveman, both defensemen, received honorable mention honors. Riffey, a forward, and Hultgren, a goaltender, both earned honorable mention recognition on the NCRHA Division II all-tournament team as did U of A’s Santos. All return in 2017-18 as they attempt to steer their respective teams back to the national championship spotlight. The 2018 NCRHA national championship tournament is scheduled April 11-15 in Fargo, N.D.

Honor roll

Arizona State made it to the Division I quarterfinals at last April’s nationals in Fort Myers, Fla., while NAU and the University of Arizona both advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round. Fry (15 points) and Cotton (13 points) finished first and second, respectively, in pool round scoring. Fry finished the 2017 NCRHA national championship tournament with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in five games. He tallied 24 goals and 44 points

in 27 games for the Sun Devils during the 2016-17 NCRHA nationals is to have a well-balanced roster,” Boyarsky explained. “Having some goal scorers, or a season. Cotton ranked second in team scoring in 2016-17 good defensive core, even an elite-level goaltender, with 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) while collecting is important. But just one or two of those things is not enough. Our defensive group, led by Cotton and nine power-play goals and five game-winning goals. Haveman finished with 33 points (17 goals, 16 as- Haveman was one of the strongest and deepest in sists) in 26 games last season with nine power-play the event. The pair also played a huge role in the success of our power play, which goals. was strong the entire event.” “From the first game he Riffey, who played for played with ASU, I knew Wes Team USA’s junior men’s could be one of the top playteam at the 2013 FIRS world ers in this league and in Fort inline hockey championships, Myers last spring, he finally turned in a monster season proved me right,” ASU coach in 2016-17 with 58 goals, 75 Nick Boyarsky said. “When points, 11 power-play goals, we looked at the stats at the two short-handed goals and end of the division pool play five game-winning goals. and realized Wes was leading Hultgren finished 12-13in points, it finally sunk in that 0 with a 4.75 GAA and .821 he had done this. save percentage. “Most of our competition “Being named to the didn’t know what to make of all-tournament team was an Wes. He doesn’t approach honor and I’m glad to repreroller hockey the same way the other top scoring for- Northern Arizona University’s Trevor Riffey finished as sent NAU at the national levwards did at this event. He at- one of the top scorers in the nation during his first el,” Riffey explained. “Nationtacks with speed. He doesn’t season with the Lumberjacks in 2016-17. Photo/NCRHA als is such a fun experience slow his momentum to stick handle, yet his hands are and we had a great time representing our school. “I was able to go to nationals when I was at Long still really effective. “He scored some very important goals for us, both Beach a few years ago and I didn’t think I was going to be playing college roller again, so I was proud of full strength and on power plays.” Cotton and Haveman’s contributions did not go our team for making it in our first year. Not every team gets a bid to nationals, so it’s an honor to play there, unnoticed. “The only way to advance at an event like the for sure.”


2017-18 ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO ALUMNI Email all additions, deletions and corrections to


Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Arizona State University



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Winnipeg Jets Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs

COLLEGE HOCKEY AMERICA Taylor Curtis (Peoria) – Syracuse University Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University Victoria Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Penn State University

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Stockton Heat Trevor Cheek – Tucson Roadrunners * Jeremy Langlois (Tempe) – Hershey Bears Zac Larraza (Scottsdale) – Tucson Roadrunners Gage Quinney – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins * Philip Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Charlotte Checkers ECHL Mike Krieg (Phoenix) – South Carolina Stingrays Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Idaho Steelheads Joey Sides (Tucson) – Tulsa Oilers SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Castro (Peoria) – Pensacola Ice Flyers Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Mississippi RiverKings Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – Birmingham Bulls Ben Oskroba (Tempe) – Peoria Rivermen Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – Pensacola Ice Flyers EUROPE Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – United Kingdom NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Boston Pride

HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire WCHA Amanda Martin (Peoria) – Minnesota State University NCAA DIVISION III – MEN

NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Michael Boyle (Phoenix) – Bentley University Derek Brown (Peoria) – Niagara University Christian Cakebread (Gilbert) – Niagara University ECAC Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NCHC Jake Durflinger – University of Denver & Phil Knies (Phoenix) – Miami University Carson Vance (Tempe) – Western Michigan University

MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St.. Olaf College NEHC Natasha Hawkins (Scottsdale) – New England College NEWHL Bri Carroll (Peoria) – Buffalo State University Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Hannah Kiraly (Glendale) – Plattsburgh State University UCHC Raeann Clancy (Surprise) – King’s College Gabrielle Igo (Phoenix) – Utica College JUNIOR HOCKEY

CCC Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Alec Mono – Curry College & MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Mass.-Dartmouth Erik Pritchard (Cave Creek) – Worcester State University MIAC Nick Nast – St. Mary’s University & NCHA Ashton Amaya (Gilbert) – Aurora University Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – College of St. Scholastica NEHC Bryan McFarlane (Scottsdale) – New England College


MacKenzie Lyons (Scottsdale) – Nichols College Sarah McSweeney (Chandler) – Becker College

NESCAC Andy Chugg (Mesa) – Trinity College SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – Cortland State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University UCHC Jeremy Briscoe (Phoenix) – Lebanon Valley College WIAC Adam Kleven (Phoenix) – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

WCHA Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Alaska-Fairbanks


D-I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University

COLONIAL HOCKEY Alex Bloom (Scottsdale) – Canton State University

BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Luke Ormsby – Wenatchee Wild * CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Ethan Osburn (Dewey) – Navan Grads EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Colten Egge (Chandler) – New England Wolves Joshua George (Chandler) – New England Wolves Jacob Kerns (Peoria) – Connecticut RoughRiders Drew Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Dimitri Thorsen (Peoria) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Cole Golden (Phoenix) – Revelstoke Grizzlies Hayden Hirsch (Phoenix) – Kamloops Storm Ryan Radke (Cave Creek) – Princeton Posse NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Tempe) – Aberdeen Wings James Brown III (Phoenix) – Texas Brahmas Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) – Bismarck Bobcats Clayton Lackey (Scottsdale) – Coulee Region Chill Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – Bismarck Bobcats Reid Miller (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Rebels Keenan Spillum (Paradise Valley) – Aberdeen Wings Joe Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Lone Star Brahmas Cole Tiedemann (Flagstaff) – Texas Brahmas Mason Vukonich (Phoenix) – Fairbanks Ice Dogs NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Blake Bjella (Mesa) – St. Louis Jr. Blues Eddie Cannon (Glendale) – Oswego Stampede Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – La Crosse Freeze

Hunter Feagins (Surprise) – Gillette Wild Kevin Hamilton (Phoenix) – Louisiana Drillers Gabriel Lepper (Glendale) – Gillette Wild Dylan Mattfeldt (Glendale) – Missoula Jr. Bruins Hayden Seitz (Phoenix) – Helena Bighorns Austin Wilks (Avondale) – Point Mallard Ducks QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Landon Quinney – Saint John Sea Dogs & UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Jaxon Castor (Phoenix) – Dubuque Fighting Saints Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Sioux Falls Stampede D.J. King – U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team * Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team Adam Samuelsson – U..S. NTDP Under-18 Team * Ryan Savage (Scottsdale) – Fargo Force UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Adam Bricker (Scottsdale) – PAL Jr. Islanders (NCDC) Zach Canaan (Tempe) – Tampa Bay Juniors (Premier) Daniel Chambers (Phoenix) – PAL Jr. Islanders (Premier) Henry Dennee (Chandler) – Skipjacks Hockey Club (Premier) Sean Dickson – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) & Joe DiGiulio (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Brett Dillon (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Jonas Edwards (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Sage Englund (Scottsdale) – Northern Cyclones (NCDC) Dakota Gottlieb (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Justin Jiang (Chandler) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (Elite) Alec Miller (Peoria) – New Jersey Rockets (Elite) Fraizer Mohler (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (Elite) Barrett Rosser (Scottsdale) – Atlanta Knights (Premier) Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) Jared Sanchez (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Cameron Sniffin (Scottsdale) – Syracuse Stars (Premier) WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Mark Kastelic (Phoenix) – Calgary Hitmen Jeremy Masella (Phoenix) – Victoria Royals Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals & WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Bessee (Globe) – Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers Michael Caravella (Chandler) – Phoenix Knights Caleb Cavazos (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Noah Duke (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Chase Gillaspie (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Justin Gusso (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Kohl Hedquist (Tempe) – Phoenix Knights Anthony Masanotti – Phoenix Knights @ Ozzy Mason (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Joe Platt (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Christian Reh – Phoenix Knights @ Colton Seeman (Phoenix) – Phoenix Knights

Brennan Smith (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Jeffrey Solomon (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Ivan Vilcauskas (Phoenix) – Fresno Monsters Ryan Weick (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Malcolm Williams (Gilbert) – 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 UCHC Cory King (Albuquerque) – Chatham University NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN NESCAC Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Josh Martinez (Las Cruces) – Roc City Royals ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE Marcus Gretz (Albuquerque) - Flint Firebirds UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Nick Darrow (Rio Rancho) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Quinn Martin (Santa Fe) – Idaho IceCats

* former Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat % former Mission AZ @ former DYHA Jr. Sun Devil


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he custom skate market has long been a small portion of skate sales at Behind The Mask and the retail industry in general. Precise measurements, custom parts, and confusing sizing had made it difficult to ensure that the best fit would come built in to Exelby the final product. Recent technology has changed the outlook on selling custom built skates, and a small rapidly-growing Canadian-based company has revolutionized how custom skates are made. They are taking the NHL and AHL by storm. True Hockey, known for its true-temper, one-piece stick, merged with a Canadian company formally known as VH (short-form initials for the creator Scott Van Horne). It’s a truly custom skate precision crafted for your feet, and made from a 3D foot scan. BTM Scottsdale is the exclusive Fit Center in Arizona to offer the scan. It’s a quick process, typically taking 15-

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The New Mexico Warriors continued their winning ways as the Bantam team claimed the Bantam A championship at the Foothills Fright Fest tournament Oct. 29 in Colorado.

The AZ Lady Coyotes captured the 14U A division championship at the International Silver Stick regional on Oct. 29 in Westminster, Colo., defeating the Rocky Mountain Lady RoughRiders 2-1 in the title game.

The Jr. Coyotes Chandler 12U team went undefeated, winning six straight games and winning their division crown at the Pioneer Classic in Denver on Oct. 29.

The New Mexico Warriors Pee Wee team came together and captured the championship in their division at the Las Vegas Challenge Cup back on Oct. 22.

The Jr. Coyotes 11U team out of Scottsdale played two games in Las Vegas last month and to show gratitude for first responders, organized donations of water, Gatorade and grocery gift cards, and made a monetary contribution to the Clark County 26 Fire Station.

Dylan Strome, the top pick of the Arizona Coyotes from the 2015 NHL Draft, scored his first pro goal with the American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners on Oct. 25 in a 3-1 win over the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.

When the Arizona Hockey Union’s Squirt Black team traveled to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Challenge Cup tournament last month, the team’s mothers got together to show off their matching shirts prior to game starting on Oct. 20

The Jr. Coyotes Scottsdale 9U AA team took third place at the Las Vegas Challenge Cup event that concluded Oct. 29, defeating the Utah Grizzlies 5-3 to wrap the tournament.

The 2017-18 edition of the Arizona State University ACHA women’s team gathered recently at Oceanside Ice Arena to take the annual team picture.

Submit your favorite hockey photos to!



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Palos, Ill. Acquired: Coyotes’ second-round selection (58th overall) in 2014 NHL Draft Last Amateur Team: London Knights (Ontario Hockey League) Age: 21 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Christian Dvorak: I would say winning the Memorial Cup (with the OHL’s London Knights in 2016). That was pretty special moment there, so I remember that pretty good. Then growing up as a kid watching the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. That was pretty cool, especially being from Illinois. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? CD: That’s tough. I would probably say getting my first NHL goal, I guess. That’s always a pretty special moment. The goal was against Nashville and Pekka Rinne. It was pretty cool to get it against a top-tier goalie. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? CD: I would say my dad. He has always been great for me, always on me and giving me positives and negatives. He’s always there to help me out, so he’s been great. Obviously, I wouldn’t be here without him. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? CD: Just have fun and work hard. I mean, having fun out there is important and if you do that, you also have to work hard to be successful. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? CD: Played baseball as a kid and played golf for fun. Those would probably be the other two sports that I like. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? CD: No, nothing too crazy. I try not to get into superstitions or anything like that. You can go crazy trying to remember all that stuff, and I try and stay away from all that. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? CD: I’ll go to the rink for a pre-game skate. After that, I go and grab some lunch and then take an hour-and-a-half nap. Then come to the rink about three hours before the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? CD: There are a couple good restaurants. There’s Mastro’s Ocean Club (in Scottsdale) and that’s one of my favorites. And a few good steak houses. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? CD: Just the standard stuff, nothing too crazy. Obviously, all the clothes you need, and a few pairs of shoes. Nothing too out of the norm. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? CD: From Illinois, I was a big Blackhawks fan. Jonathan Toews was my favorite player growing up. He’s great player to watch, and I try to pattern my game after him. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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


September 1 - 4, 2017

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND November 23 - 26, 2017

PRESIDENTS’ DAY WEEKEND February 16-19, 2018

Application Deadline: January 19, 2018

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


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

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

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