Arizona Rubber Magazine - January 2019

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The Arizona Hockey Union prides itself on not only being one of the most successful and sustainable youth hockey associations in the Valley, but by using high-quality coaches - such as AHU head power skating instructor Holly Harrington - to help grow the game one skater at a time



FROM THE EDITOR Another new year means more memories to be made with hockey


s we put all the holiday decorations into storage for another 11 months or so, we’re all reminded that it’s now January – the start of 2019. What a great time of year! The next couple months are when we see teams at all levels take their games to another level as they make their way to league and state playoffs, and for a select few, national tournaments. Just remember the legendary Herb Brooks quote: “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” More important than that, though, is when Matt Mackinder we get to look at players and teams and see how much they have improved since late August. For so many kids, this is night and day. It’s that sense of pride and accomplishment that has parents and coaches beaming. Let’s face it – hockey is a difficult sport. Players skate on ice on knives, essentially, and need to start, stop, turn, go backwards, all while lugging around a stick and attempting to make plays, even shooting the puck. Look at goalies – they do the same, but have to wear all that extra equipment and have to sacrifice their body to stop the rubber. Yeah, not the easiest game to play. But it’s fun. And it’s worth all those long car rides, those weekends at the rink or hotel, those early-morning practices, those days practicing in the driveway and getting a chance to play on a frozen pond. And it’s only January. It might be the second half of the season, but there is still a lot more hockey to come! Scottsdale native Makenna Newkirk was selected in the second round (seventh overall) by the Connecticut Whale in NWHL Draft, which was held Dec. 19-20. A former Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Newkirk has racked up 170 points so far in her career at NCAA Division I Boston College. “Makenna is a premier player on one of the premier teams in the country,” said Whale coach Ryan Equale. “A consistent offensive performer throughout her high school and collegiate career, Makenna plays the style of hockey we look for from our players.” This season for the Eagles, Newkirk has compiled seven goals and 21 points in 20 games as a senior captain. Earlier this season, Newkirk became the fifth player in BC program history to reach 150 career points. Entering the 2018-19 season, Newkirk was also the lone NCAA Division I player that had finished each of the previous three seasons in the top 25 in scoring. Can’t wait to see Makenna playing pro hockey next season! The Arizona Coyotes will be moving to the NHL’s Central Division in 2021-22 when the new Seattle franchise joins the NHL. Coyotes president-CEO Ahron Cohen said he’s excited with the change. “We are happy to welcome Seattle as the NHL’s 32nd franchise as the NHL continues to grow the game of hockey throughout North America,” said Cohen. “We will work with the league to ensure a smooth transition into the Central Division in time for the 2021-22 season, and we appreciate the league’s willingness to assist with logistics and scheduling to make travel as easy as possible between our home in Phoenix and the other Central destinations. “Our fans should take comfort in knowing they will continue to see us play our Pacific Division rivals multiple times a year, including squaring off with Vegas for desert bragging rights, while also getting to see new rivalries with some legacy franchises. Regardless of what division we are in, our goals remain the same – win on the ice against whomever they put in front of us on the schedule, build Coyotes fandom throughout the entire state of Arizona, and positively impact our Arizona community.”

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Arizona Rubber Magazine is published by: Mackinder Media, LLC, P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438, 10 times a year, once monthly September through May and once in the summer. Postmaster: send address changes to: P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438 Ph. (248) 890-3944 Email: Subscription Rates: $49.95 USD * Single Copy: $3.95 USD Mail subscriptions to: P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438 Subscriptions are non-refundable REPORT AN ERROR IMMEDIATELY Arizona Rubber Magazine will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion Visit our Web site at: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: @AZRubberHockey

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The Flagstaff 10U travel team started off the new year volunteering for a day at the Flagstaff Family Food Center. More on this heartwarming experience on Page 9.

ON THE COVER The Arizona Hockey Union is led by a slew of knowledgeable coaches, including head power skating instructor Holly Harrington, who works with the players to learn to skate and enjoy the game. Photo/Conrad Straube

Canada trip yields first-place hardware for Jr. Coyotes By Matt Mackinder


here is an old saying that goes, “To be good, you have to be lucky and to be lucky, you have to be good.” The Jr. Coyotes’ 13U team had a little of both on their recent trip to Toronto, playing in the Aurora Bantam Hockey Tournament in the hockey hotbed of Southern Ontario. Going a perfect 6-0 against all Canadian teams, the Jr. Coyotes brought home the championship during the first weekend in January. The win was the team’s third tournament championship of the season. “There were 14 teams in our division, and we knew we’d probably have to run the table and win every game – that’s exactly what these players did,” said Jr. Coyotes coach Bill Mosienko. “We talked a lot about heart, grit, and earning respect over the weekend. They played every game with a commitment to win by digging deep, and it was evident by the end of the weekend the players earned a lot of respect from their Canadian opponents. “Playing in their country, on their turf, and against their teams was a daunting challenge, but to go 6-0 is truly a statement of how these players have come together over the season, and especially in these three days in which the coaching staff saw a new

level of heart and grit.” The Jr. Coyotes won their first game handily over the Copper Cliff Redmen, 5-1. In the second game, the team went down 2-0 early but came back to win 3-2 versus the TNT Tornadoes. Game 3 was against the reputable Whitby Wildcats where the team played flawlessly, winning 2-0. The final round-robin game was against the physical Aurora Tigers, but the Jr. Coyotes

weathered the storm, winning 4-2. In the semifinal, the Jr. Coyotes matched up with Nickel City and the Jr. Coyotes won 2-1 with a late goal in the third period. During the championship game against the Newmarket Redmen, the Jr. Coyotes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but the Redmen did not

give up, ultimately tying the game late in the third period, leading to a 3-on-3 sudden-death overtime period. “Between the third period and sudden death, we talked about the same messages we had stressed all weekend – puck possession and getting pucks on net while not overhandling,” said Mosienko. Ultimately, one quick shot off a faceoff, deflecting off a Newmarket defenseman, led to the winning goal that captured the championship. “The team played their hearts out,” Mosienko said. “There was a tremendous amount of pride among all players and families as this was a momentous event in their lives. It’s not every day you go to a hockey hotbed and play undefeated against some highly-skilled teams.” Clearly, the Jr. Coyotes were good and lucky this weekend. The Jr. Coyotes’ 13U roster includes skaters Mavric Boese, Cal Butler, Carson Curry, Finn Fitzgerald, Nolan Gentry, Shane Iralson, Derek Jenk, Trevor Kaminski, Colin Leeds, Luke Millington, Garren Narvaez, Tyler Posch, Parker Stepien, Drake Sullivan, Connor White and Ben Woolaver. Goalies are Matthew Gahan and Abby Locke. Joining Mosienko as assistant coaches are John Curry, Chris Gentry, Alan Narvaez and Rick Stepien. The team manager is Chris Woolaver.


If You Can’t Skate, You Can’t Play AHU helping grow the game one skater at a time, thanks to skating coach Holly Harrington By Sean Phillips


here is an ice rink in the desert that is building hockey players. Nestled off the Santan Village Parkway in Gilbert, tucked away in a sleepy, manicured neighborhood between baseball fields and a dog park, you’ll find a fairly unassuming ice skating rink simply named AZ Ice. Inside this rink, they are quite literally building hockey players from the ground up with one of Arizona hockey’s best-kept “not-so-secret” secrets – Scottsdale’s very own Holly Harrington. If you play, or better yet, if you have a child that is involved in Arizona hockey or figure skating, you know her – or you have at least heard of her. Get close enough to the rink and you should be able to actually hear her. Go to one of her lessons (especially the ever-growing Power Skate class) and you will really hear her and her message. Her message is simple: “IF YOU CAN’T SKATE, YOU CAN’T PLAY.” You don’t have to be a hockey expert to understand this message is right on the money. Don’t let her blonde locks and pink helmet trick you into thinking she is just there for the girls. Holly is there for all ages, sizes and skill levels. Her oldest player was 78 and she is currently coaching three 16-month-old children. Her youngest student ever was 14 months old. She is now 15 years old and plays AAA for the St. Louis Blues girls hockey program. If you are willing to try, she will, too. Coach Holly is not your average figure skater-turned skating coach. Her 23 years of skating experience (10 competitive, 13 professional) combined with her 20-plus years of coaching has made her a master of harnessing the science of skating and has also aided her to effectively download that information to players, especially the younger ones. Thursday nights at AZ Ice Gilbert hosts her power skating class. This is where the assortment of these differences are plentiful – from beer leaguers to juniors to Mites all the way down to the little, little ones – the cubs! Holly’s mastery in motivation shines on these nights. AHU Squirt Silver assistant coach Randy Butler has seen Harrington in action leading the power skating class. “She can single handedly get 50 kids under the age of eight to stop and pay attention to her instruction,” said Butler. Harrington also holds the distinction of being Arizona Hockey Union’s head power skating instructor and AZ Ice’s on-ice director of program development. “We are extremely lucky to have Holly Harrington in our program,” said AHU president Stacy Shupe. “Her passion for the sport, coupled with her proven success of teaching kids, is truly her winning combination. She also understands the business end



of things and her vision and goals are always with long-term growth and program sustainability in mind.” Harrington, along with her husband, Kurt Goar, have been at AZ Ice since before the doors opened. They were hired to create and build the program that remains today. Her endurance is justification about her passion for the long-term growth of hockey and skating. Her passion for the sport comes through in her booming words and enthusiasm to not only the players but to the players’ families as well. She continually educates on and off the ice to give truthful expectations as to what to anticipate now and in the future. The great coach Tom Landry was once quoted as saying, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has to see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you always known you could be.” Coach Holly embodies this in every word she roars along with every hug she gives. Is she tough? “Tough” might be the wrong word. “Fanatical” might be a better one. She is 100 percent dedicated to see her kids (hockey or figure skating) succeed and that is outwardly obvious when she is around them or speaking of them. Her tough-love expertise and attention to detail stem from her rigorous requirements of her years traveling with Disney. “I have four boys that have all been coached by Holly and all are where they are because of her teachings, patience, passion and love for helping kids learn to skate,” said AHU Pee Wee Black head coach Scott Gusso. “While they all skate very differently, she has greatly impacted all of them. Best of all, she has been in my family life as a friend for over 20 years. Skating is just the icing on the cake.” James Gusso is 21 and has played two years of ACHA hockey at Arizona State University, Justin Gusso is 18 and in his first year playing in the EHL for the Philadelphia Revolution, Jarred Gusso is also 18, was an AHU goalie from 12U through 18U and is now the AHU Pee Wee Black goalie coach, and Ryan Kim is 11 and plays 12U White for the Knights. No coach can take credit for just one player but if you do a quick search or ask around about Harrington, you’ll find players at all levels that will credit her for not only teaching them how to skate but also for being there throughout their whole “building” process. Coach Holly is truly an oasis in the Arizona desert hockey scene.


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Photos/Conrad Straube



Coyotes’ new hire Fry remains fan of inline hockey By Phillip Brents


handler’s Lyndsey Fry is perhaps best known as a member of the USA women’s ice hockey team that captured the silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. In November, she landed an NHL front-office job as a special advisor to Arizona Coyotes president Ahron Cohen as well as becoming a brand ambassador for the team. But she also boasts a highly-successful inline hockey component to her game after winning a silver medal with the USA senior women’s team at the International Federation of Roller Sports (FIRS) inline hockey world championships in 2016 and a gold medal in 2018. “I love inline,” the former Harvard University standout said. “I can’t say enough great things about it, to be honest. I think I like that the game and culture are a little less structured than ice hockey. Ice hockey is a very systematic, positional game. Inline is more of a creative, possession and flow game.” Fry, who also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Canada, said she prepares the same for both ice and inline. “As far as my approach to the game, I mentally prepare exactly the same,” she said. “I focus on working hard every shift and having fun. I will say that from a tactical point of view that I often have to remind myself that if I don’t like my options entering the zone in inline, I can always turn back and regroup with my teammates. Ice is different because we have rules like offsides and icing that prevent us from doing that

sometimes.” is “a completely different experience than the OlymThe United States defeated the Czech Republic pics,” but she said it still ranks very high on her list of 3-2 to win the gold medal at last July’s FIRS world accomplishments. championships in Italy. “Of course, the Olympics is something special Fry, the first Arizonan of either gender to play in that I will cherish forever,” Fry said. “However, I take the Olympics, was among a lot of pride in my inline three Arizonans on the U.S. medals because my role is roster, joining Allison Era different for that team. I am (Youngstown) and Kathermuch more of an impact ine McGovern (Tempe). player for the inline team The USA senior womthan I was for the Olympic en finished 5-1 overall at ice team, so I loved winning the tournament, including a gold this past summer with 3-0 showing in the playoffs sweat covering my face and in which every game was smiling with my teammates.” fiercely fought. Fry, who served as an asThe Americans were resistant coach for Team USA quired to win a nerve-rackjunior women’s team at last ing 2-1 shootout over New summer’s FIRS world chamZealand in the quarterfinals pionships, said she would to begin their gold medal like to continue to represent odyssey. her country on the internaThe championship game tional inline hockey stage. victory made amends for a “I would love to play for 5-1 loss in pool play to the Team USA Inline as long Czechs. as my body will let me,” “I think our key to sucshe said. “The competition cess this year in particular USA Olympic ice hockey medalist Lyndsey Fry maintains a continues to get better and though was to let go of the winning tradition on the inline hockey court as part of her better though so I will have idea that we were defending resume, which now includes a full-time job with the NHL’s to continue to train hard Arizona Coyotes. world champs and accept if I want that to happen. It that we had to work just as hard as any other team sounds crazy, but if inline gets into the Olympics in throughout the entire tournament,” she said. 10 years, I would love the opportunity to play on that Fry admitted winning a world inline championship team.”

Coyotes looking for consistency during second-half play men and creative passes are not part of Tocchet’s blueprint for the second half. Should the Coyotes ike most of us, Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Toc- employ his instructions, they could have an opportuchet formulated his new year’s list of resolutions. nity to sneak into the postseason. For that to happen, Of course, all coaches want wins, success for there needs to be a clear focus. players and joy for the fans. This is easier said than “We have battled many injuries as a team and had done. some inconsistency,” said Arizona forward Alex GalAt this time last chenyuk. “That has year, the Coyotes to be the difference were in the throes for us going through of dire straits and the next half of the showed only 10 season. We need wins in their initial to find a consisten42 games. Now uncy in our game and der Tocchet’s secstick with it. That’s ond year behind the the most important bench, the Coyotes thing.” nearly doubled their With 12 players win production, but either done for this there could be red season or remainflags on the horizon. ing injured, Tocchet For one, Tocwants his players on chet orchestrated a the same page. If a strong second-half player is recalled from turnaround last seathe AHL’s Tucson son, and goalie AntRoadrunners to fill in ti Raanta lead the Heading into late January, Clayton Keller led the Arizona Coyotes in for an injured player, charge, Now, Raanta scoring and was named to the NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Tocchet wants that later this month in San Jose. Photo/Norm Hall is out for the remainplayer to immediately der of the season with a knee injury and Tocchet’s step into the role of the player he replaced. list of resolutions now include a basic desire that That may not be easy to achieve. Given the style coaches have for all players. and role for each player, Tocchet told reporters after Over the final half of the season, Tocchet wants an early January practice there needs to be a commithis players to be aggressive to the net and take direct ment to consistency. That commitment must extend shots on goal. The stickwork moves around defense- for a full 60-minutes and the length of the 200-foot By Mark Brown


rink. “I’m still figuring out from last year which guys can play under this pressure and which guys work hard every night,” Tocchet said. “I like the fact that we don’t give in and are trying to get some consistency in the way we’re playing. We need 21 guys every night. You can’t be good every night, but you can’t play less than average.” Over the first half of the season, the consistency which players and Tocchet hope for in the coming weeks was absent. In the first 42 games of the season, the Coyotes had only three winning streaks, and these resulted in a five-game winning streak (Oct. 23-Nov. 5), a threegame streak (Nov. 27-Dec. 4) and back-to-back wins on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. During a 14-game span, from Dec. 6-Jan. 4, the Coyotes went 3-10-1 and at their halfway mark, only Philadelphia, Ottawa, St. Louis and Los Angeles had fewer standings points. If the Coyotes are to leapfrog over teams and strive for a playoff spot, Galchenyuk could be an important factor. Brought over from Montreal in a celebrated trade for Max Domi, Galchenyuk was expected to carry a significant offensive responsibility. “Galchenyuk scored in front of the net (on Jan 6 against the Rangers) and that’s something he has to do consistently, not every once in a while,” Tocchet said. “When Alex is playing well, he’s going north. He was in front of the net and that’s where he has to go.” Through the first 42 games, Galchenyuk scored but seven goals and compared to a 30-goal season with the Habs (2014-15) and a 20-goal season the year before, Tocchet hopes that the former first-round pick will provide the consistency and production this team needs over the final half of the season.



Q & A: AHU Head Power Skating Instructor Holly Harrington By Sean Phillips


etting to know Arizona Hockey Union head power skating instructor Holly Harrington:

Q: How long have you been skating? Coaching? A: I started skating as a young kid. I’ve been coaching for over 20 years.

kids in town. I am still so very thankful to Kurt, Jim Beyer, the Bermans, Stacy Shupe and Arizona Hockey Union, Jim Rogers and many, many more Arizona Hockey people and families for seeing something in me that I didn’t always know was there and allowing me to build on that. I was just an Arizona kid who knew how to skate a little and they were there

Q: What are your titles/roles with Arizona Hockey Union Knights? What do you teach/coach at AZ Ice Gilbert? A: AHU head power skating instructor for all AHU teams. Role for Gilbert AZ Ice is on-ice director of program development and head of power skating. I run all the on-ice development programs, which are Learn 2 Play Mini Knights, Initiation, Cubs, Mini Mites, Power Skate and Adult Skills, as well as private lessons.

gling to compete with other traditional markets where ice is easy to come by and there’s a pond in their neighborhood to skate on. You’re skating the whole game. Not only skating, but moving, pushing, falling, jumping, spinning, turning, talking, yelling, etcetera. This is all happening while stickhandling and shooting a tiny piece of rubber no bigger than the palm of your hand. So yeah, you have to be pretty agile and sturdy on your edges. Coach John Wold, one of the most important people in Arizona Hockey, I feel, worked with one of my old coaches, Dianna Cook. I believe he was what inspired Kurt to ask me to come out to try and teach players some skating skills. Dianna was a superb coach and many players were good because of her pushing you super hard. You worked hard for her and if you didn’t, then the next time you saw her, you worked harder than before. Dianna was the original power skating instructor here in Arizona and was my coach as a kid. She moved to Montana to run a junior team with her husband long before I moved back to Arizona. Dianna was an amazing skater and built some of the best skaters I have ever seen. She never messed around with semantics. Didn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy, you’re going to work exactly the same. I have only met one other power skating instructor like her – Carrie Kiel. She coaches the U.S. National Development Team in Plymouth, Mich. I had a great opportunity to work with her and see how she did things. She was amazing. She, too, was very much like Dianna. I use things I learned from Dianna and her every day. That’s when you know a coach was good, when just a tiny technique works and lasts decades.

Q: How did you get to where you are now? A: During my youth, my mom passed away, which was devastating, and my skating couldn’t go any further, so I quite literally joined the circus. I toured with Disney and Fuentes Gasca Ice and other professional show tours for five years. It was 1999, I was awaiting a new show to start, and a hurricane hit Florida. My family asked that I wait until the cleanup was over to move there. In the meantime, I took a job teaching figure skating at Oceanside. Kurt Goar asked me to help with a “Holly truly loves what she does. She gives so much dedication to camp as a volunteer. I’ve been volunteering ever her students to make them the best they can be. With her background in figure skating, her knowledge of edge control and power since. Needless to say, I missed the first day of is the best in the business. Our kids are so lucky to have her.” – rehearsals for the new show in Florida because I Special Olympics Arizona skating instructor/figure skating director was at Goar Camp. Thanks, Kurt Goar! I stayed Cassandra Streit on at Oceanside and started working for DYHA as their power skate instrucQ: What are some of your professional tor, later taking on the role of director accomplishments? of youth development program and beA: I was a competitive figure skater coming the director of figure skating at for many years. I have a gold in freestyle. Oceanside. I was blessed and was able to work with Back in 2007 is when Terri and Brad some of the best coaches in the world Berman at Polar Ice offered me the opfrom Tommy Allen and Roy Waglien portunity to help build the programs at here in Arizona to international coaches Gilbert. They were preparing the build like Carlo Fassi. I competed at Southin Gilbert and Gilbert opened in 2009. west Regionals, Pacific Coast SectionI had just had my son and wasn’t sure als and was an alternate to Nationals in how I would do it. Terri bluntly said, the Senior Ladies Division, but my true “Bring your kids to work with you.” With passion was left untapped, I suppose, that offer, I was running all Power Skate which was hockey. I’m grateful to those sessions at all three Polar Ice facilities. figure skating coaches who taught me Soon, I was leading all Intro Hockey discipline as I was a bit of a wild card as classes at both Chandler and Gilbert a young kid. Polar Ice, Kids First (now Little Howlers) for 10 years, as well as running Power Q: What’s the difference in teaching Skate sessions for Prescott Valley and Holly is one of the most passionate coaches I’ve seen. She has a great way of teaching very difficult hockey skating vs. figure skating? Flagstaff for the following three years skating techniques to kids. Having her at my practices and watching her coaching style has defiA: Everything. I don’t really see any after that. This was a weekly schedule nitely made me a better coach.” – AHU Mite Silver head coach Mike Russo similarities in the sports except they with my babies in tow. My feet were very busy back to push me forward and help me along the way. I both use edges to skate on. Both hockey and figthen. All of this while also growing Gilbert’s hockey am a lucky girl. ure skating have become so complex and moved in program and working for all of the Arizona Hockey such different directions that kids today are doing Union teams, which is my passion. I love growing Q: You’ve been quoted as saying, “If you can’t things that just 10 years ago didn’t even exist for programs at AZ Ice Gilbert. That is the most fun skate, you can’t play.” Does that mean that skating younger age groups. You saw these things being thing to do. The programs at AZ Ice Gilbert and is more important than the actual game? done at Bantam and Midget and now I’m teaching Arizona Hockey Union are just filled with awesome A: Actually, Kurt Goar and Jim Beyer said that, these same things to Mites and Squirts. They are people, families and players. I am humbled every and said it a lot. So it just stuck as the slogan for day that I get to do the coolest job with the coolest Goar Hockey. Back then, kids here were strugContinued on Page 9 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks enter second half with FYHA 10U program gives back few games, but lofty expectations at Flagstaff Family Food Center By Matt Mackinder

By Heather Gearhart



orthern Arizona University’s ACHA Division II team plays just six games the rest of the regular season. Right now, the IceJacks sit in a bye position for the upcoming national tournament, a spot they intend to hold onto even with a limited schedule the rest of January. “We need to have a super strong second half here,” said NAU head coach Travis Johanson. “We had a slow start with a few hiccups here and there, lots of injuries, but we found our groove and had a lot of guys step up during the first half. The rest of the way, we need to play six complete games. If that happens, the result and position will be in our favor.” Northern Arizona played just two games in December, sweeping Arizona State University Dec. 7-8 at Oceanside Ice Arena. “Our starts are always tough as we only come together as a squad two weeks prior to our first games,” noted IceJacks assistant coach Kris Walsh. “This year’s roadie to North Dakota really brought the group together. It was a long, tough trip that tested our dedication. That helped us form a team identity that we were able to carry forward. Games began to go in our favor, and we were winning.” The schedule for January starts with four games in Colorado (at Dakota College at Bottineau – Jan. 18, at University of Colorado – Jan. 19, at Metro State University – Jan. 20 and then at University of Washington – Jan. 21) before hosting Grand Canyon University at Jay Lively Arena on Jan. 25 before going back on the road to play GCU the following night. “The games won’t be easy, but we match up good against the competition,” Walsh said. “Success for this season means returning to the national tournament. It’s something that we work really hard to accomplish but each year has its challenges with injuries and eligibility requirements.”

he Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association’s 10U travel program kicked off 2019 with a day spent volunteering at the Flagstaff Family Food Center. Founded in 1991, the Flagstaff Family Food Center feeds an estimated 1,500 individuals every day through a myriad of programs, including its Kitchen Door Sack Lunch Program, Mobile Sack Lunch Program and Free Hot Meal served daily from 4-5:30 p.m. FYHA volunteers spent two hours at the center with the goal of assembling 200 sandwiches and cutting fresh vegetables for the evening’s dinner. The team Tarah Crane (back) supervises FYHA 10U players as went above and beyond, assem- they chop vegetables for meals that will be served bling 340 lunch-meat sandwich at the Flagstaff Family Food Center. sack lunches and chopping not only all the vegetables, but also cases of fresh fruit for meal preparation. “It was incredible to see these kids work together and choose to spend an off Saturday dedicated to helping members of our community most in need,” said Kyle Palmer, 10U coach and FYHA board member. Tarah Crane, parent of FYHA 10U Major player Treston Crane, organized the volunteer day on behalf of the team. Everyone who attended enjoyed giving back, and several players asked to do it again later this season.

Passionate coach Harrington gives all to Arizona youth Continued from Page 8 so fun to work with because they want to have fun and it is fun because the foundation has been laid from the start of their process. The same goes for figure skating. The bar is being raised for ice sports more than ever. Yes, they are skating and using the same edges but at a higher level you see such complexity in both sports. Q: What does it take to build a hockey player? A: A stick and an army. We put a stick right in their hand the first day when teaching them how to skate. That stick is a part of their body on the ice. We have done this for over 20 years. That is a very important thing for a young player. They feel like a real player. It takes each player to get from the first day on the ice to the first day of a Mites game about 150 hours of work from various outlets. That’s classes, camps, private skating, shooting, stickhandling, power skating, etcetera. We want a stick in their hand while learning skating and stickhandling. We want the player, stick and the ice to be a whole package moving and working together. That’s 150 hours of hard work being put in here. That’s why when a player leaves a program, it’s hard to see them go because that’s 150 hours lost to someplace else that may or may not put in that much

time. I was just down in Tucson and ran a power clinic with Ryan DeJoe and Austin Miller. Those guys are the real deal. It takes individuals like that to make players stay with hockey.

rink and they are still creating players. So one has to ask, “Is it just having the right people in the right positions to create good players?” They’re the right people by the way. Building a player takes a lot. It’s not just one thing. There is no magic pill. Q: How many hours a day are you on the ice teaching? A: It varies, but usually 10-14 hours a day, depending on the day or week. Q: What’s your advice to parents getting their kids into hockey or figure skating? A: Buyer beware. Lots of people say, “Ya gotta get to the next level if you wanna make it.” Make it where? I hope they are talking about high school graduation, college or becoming a good human in life. Your kid is seven or 10 years old. Promises being made by a coach, manager or organization today can change in the blink of an eye, as both hockey and figure skating are a revolving door of circumstances. If your child is good at hockey, they will be found by those who can do good by them. Let your kids have fun on the ice. All kids want out on the ice is to love to skate and play. Let them do that because it’s gone in the blink of an eye, so enjoy the process. It’s a process, not a journey, by the way. ​​

Those guys are amazing and are true heroes to Arizona hockey. They have no

Photos/Conrad Straube



DYHA 18U team ventures to Canada, brings home title By Matt Mackinder


he DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ 18U team traveled north of the border to wrap up 2018, winning the Richmond International Bantam Midget Hockey Tournament just outside of Vancouver on New Year’s Eve. What made this tournament win impressive is that the squad had a depleted lineup, and still went undefeated with a 7-0 mark at the event, defeating the Alaska-based Valley Thunder 5-2 in the championship final on Dec. 31. “The players that did play that weekend really had a great work ethic and positive attitude,” said DYHA 18U coach Sean Whyte. “We were given a difficult schedule and flagged in our first game as a team that takes a bunch of penalties. This was due to a referee that called 62 minutes on our team and 67 minutes on our opponent. I think the next three games we didn’t have more than 14 minutes total. They stayed very disciplined and focused on our objectives. “We had a few key players out of the lineup due to injuries, and the rest of the team really stepped up their game. Many were completely exhausted, especially considering we played 20-minute periods. Every player showed grit and determination.” A native Canadian (Sudbury, Ont.), Whyte said capturing a tournament championship on his home soil just added the icing on the cake. “I’m proud of my teams whenever they win a championship but winning one in Canada does add a little

sweeter taste to it,” said Whyte. “It is more special for me that they won in Canada, proving they can compete at that level and that hockey in Arizona is good quality. Most importantly, it’s a matter of winning with respect and integrity.” In assessing the season so far, Whyte said one word comes to mind when he thinks of the 18U team: brotherhood.

The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ 18U team went north of the border to the Vancouver area last month and came home champions in their division of the Richmond International Bantam Midget Hockey Tournament.

“This team has really bonded, and they all have each other’s backs,” Whyte said. “They have bought into the team concept and know that each one of them must do their part in order for the team to succeed. The chemistry on this team is very solid. We have had some down times where we weren’t completely gelling, but when they realize this and refocus their energy, they are a re-


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ally fun team to coach and watch.” The Jr. Sun Devils’ 18U team is comprised of forwards Kyle Avila, Ethan Briggs, Tristan Cortesi, Kole Goldberg, Carson Masten, Tyler McCaughey, Derek Nelson (also plays defense), Mason Parker, Josh Plunkett, Donny Poulios, Skyler Sanchez and Jacob “Buzzy” Schneider; defensemen Anthony Harrison, Mitchell Karpes, Evan Lastine. Jack Merrill, Tyler Nagy and Justin Sturm; and goaltenders Antoine Pare and Jarrod Wolfert. Whyte is joined by assistant coaches Mike Goldberg, Brad McCaughey, Wes Parker, Jimmy Poulios and Will Owens. The team manager is Kim Goldberg. Overall, Whyte said his team is a balanced unit that could see several players move up the hockey ladder next season. “Of the 2000 birth year players on our team, I think any of them could go play ACHA or juniors next year if they really wanted to,” said Whyte. “The ‘01s on the team are equally capable, but some still have another year of high school. Every player on our team scored at least one goal in British Columbia this past tournament. They all contributed and worked hard.” Now back home in Tempe, what’s next for the Jr. Sun Devils? “Their expectations will be to win states and represent Arizona at nationals again this year,” Whyte said. “The coaches are merely working on the preparation for them to accomplish this goal.”


Climbing the Mountain Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy student-athletes finding daily improvement on ice, in classroom By Greg Ball


he snow has been falling in Tahoe for quite some time, and while skiers and snowboarders are enjoying a spectacular season at the area’s countless winter resorts, the student-athletes at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy have kept their focus squarely on achieving success on the ice and in the classroom. Tahoe’s prep team found itself entering January in second place in the NAHL’s Prep League with a 6-2 record, and the varsity squad sat comfortably in third place in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League’s top division at 4-2-1-2. Here is a half-dozen players who have made special impacts to the program: Cobi Lennex A 15-year-old freshman defenseman on the varsity team, Lennex is settling in nicely in his first season on the campus of Tahoe Prep. He has previously played for the Valencia Flyers AA team in the northern Los Angeles suburbs, but was seeking something more for his hockey development. “At the end of last year, I was looking for a team - I knew this was a newer school, but it looked like I could get a better experience and improve my skills,” Lennex said, adding that a bonus is the location. “I love it up in Tahoe. You notice the elevation and the cleaner air, and you just see all of this wildlife.” Lennex, who started skating at the age of three, said he is working hard on improving his fundamentals like speed and becoming more of a scoring threat, and has aspirations to play junior hockey and use that as a springboard to a college program. The formula seems to be working. Lennex said his father, who makes the drive to attend the majority of his son’s games, has told him he’s become a completely different player in his time with Tahoe Prep. “He said he sees it in the way I move the puck and my confidence,” Lennex said, adding that the experience at Tahoe Prep has been first-class in all aspects. “We have great coaching. The dorms are amazing and I’m ready to be back with the team.” Jaxon Call One of a growing number of players from out of state at Tahoe Prep, Call has only been playing hockey four years, but picked the game up quickly. The native of Bountiful, Utah, is a 15-year-old sophomore defenseman for the school’s varsity team, and channeled his love for rollerblading into playing ice hockey.

Before making the decision to move to Tahoe, Call played for the Utah Golden Eagles in Salt

ing the right opportunity. “I think it was hard for my mom,” admitted Call, who has five siblings. “But I have found dorm life very fun because everyone is there for the same reason and everyone is your friend. It’s like having actual brothers.” Call’s goal for the season is to score 30 points or more and having logged 32 penalty minutes in his team’s first 16 games, he’ll have some catching up to do. “I don’t want to take any more penalties, and now I’ve gone five straight games without one,” Call said. “The play is a lot different from what I was used to. It is faster paced and more physical. Our coaches are fantastic, and Coach (Mike) Lewis has helped put us in a mindset that we can’t be undisciplined.”

Cobi Lennex

Jaxon Call

Chase Sechrist

Cameron “Bryce” Dunnigan

Austin Chesworth

Tyler Pierce

Lake City. When he and his family started looking at prep schools, they visited Tahoe Prep’s stunning campus, met the coaches and were sold on it be-

Chase Sechrist One of the original student-athletes at Tahoe Prep, Sechrist has been enrolled at the school since it first opened its doors in the fall of 2016. A 16-yearold junior center on Tahoe Prep’s varsity team, he had skated for the Santa Rosa Flyers in his Bay Area hometown and moved on to the Vacaville Jets when he reached the Pee Wee level. After winning a CAHA state title with the Jets in 2015, he jumped at the chance to attend Tahoe Prep, which his parents, Mike and Kelley Sechrist, helped found. Sechrist said he has seen a rapid transformation among his teammates at the academy. “A lot of kids have gotten a lot better, and this is our best year yet,” Sechrist said. “Our coaches are great. They are not too harsh on us. They’re supportive. The dorms are fun and everyone on the team is nice.” Sechrist is focused on improving his speed and is looking forward to traveling with the prep team for upcoming NAHL Prep games in Detroit. He has already played three games with the prep squad this year, contributing a goal and two assists. In 11 games with varsity this season, Sechrist has two goals and six assists. As for his future, Sechrist is focused on furthering his education and getting a chance to continue playing hockey. “I’m hoping to be able to play at a college somewhere,” Sechrist said. “Juniors would be nice, but I feel college would be best.”

Cameron “Bryce” Dunnigan Having grown up playing for the Valencia Flyers near his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., Dunnigan knew that he’d have to Continued on Page 18



Defending AHSHA champions gearing up for state playoffs By Matt Mackinder


ast season, four AHSHA state champions were crowned. This season, there will be five. One major change to the 2018-19 season saw AHSHA revise Division 2 into A and B divisions. All stayed the same with Division 1, Division 3 and the JV Division. Quarterfinal games will be played on Jan. 26-27, while the semifinal round will be held on Feb. 2 and Feb. 8. The state champions for D-1 and D-2 will be crowned on Feb. 9 with the D-3 and JV titlists being crowned on Feb. 10. All playoff games will be at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Pinnacle won the Division 1 title a year ago and coach Glenn Karlson knows the road is tough to repeat. “It is a good group of boys,” Karlson said. “We added a few new faces from last year’s team and the injection of the new blood has helped the team come together quicker. We just want to stay hungry to repeat. This has been a bit easier since we lost twothirds of last year’s team, but the new players are driving the team’s desire to do it again. It won’t be an easy task with the talent on the other teams this year being much deeper.” Greg Vaughn led Centennial to the D-2 championship in 2017 and 2018. He expects another long run in 2019. “We lost 10 seniors last year, which has left us in

a rebuilding mode after winning back-to-back championships,” Vaughn said. “Most of our team is comprised of players from our D-3 team last year and I feel we have made positive strides in the right direction. We currently sit in the middle of the pack but if we can get good goaltending and produce some offense, we might surprise some people and find ourselves with another opportunity to go far in the playoffs.” At Division 3, Ray Reed’s Corona team is also rebuilding. “We have a relatively young team that we are developing this season,” Reed

said. “They have made great progress and I can see this team being a top contender in its division for the next 3-4 years. This has been a challenging year faced with injuries to key players and not having a full squad in place for half of the season. Heading into the playoffs, our team is healthy, and our full squad is ready to go.


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“If we can stick to the systems we have put in place, we will most definitely be in contention for the championship.” Flagstaff captured the JV title a year ago and is now competing in the D-3 ranks. “Our entire team has heart,” said Flagstaff coach Daniel Carrick. “They put in work day in and day out regardless of the outcome. They put forward tremendous effort knowing they are growing as individuals as well as a team. We have had an injury-plagued season and they have fought through adversity. We elected to move up to D-3 to give the kids a different perspective. The keys for the team to do well at the D-3 level are teamwork, creativity and executing our plan of attack.” How can Flagstaff excel in the playoffs later this month? “I expect them to take it one step at a time and focus on the small details of the game that they can control,” Carrick said. “I need them to win the individual battles to give us a competitive edge over our opponents. They know the systems and what is expected of them from the coaches at this point in the season and it is up to them to execute. If we play our game, I expect us to thrive in the playoff atmosphere.” For the full playoff schedule, visit qtr_final_playoff_schedule.pdf


USA Hockey finds CAHA has ‘everything the players need’ By Matt Mackinder


ast month, USA Hockey American Development Model regional manager Joe Bonnett visited the Ice Den Scottsdale and the Jr. Coyotes/Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association program. The nature of Bonnett’s job duties is to help youth hockey clubs that want help in his region. “I have known the (Jr. Coyotes) Elite Hockey program director Marc Fritsche for many years and he asked me to come down and observe their youth hockey program,” said Bonnett, who coached at the NCAA Division I level for 18 seasons. “Marc is very proud of the Jr. Coyotes club and what it stands for locally and nationally. He understands that he has taken over a prestigious club in Phoenix and he has a strong desire to build on that reputation. “Marc is in search of new and modern youth hockey programming ideas to integrate in his association and wants to improve the Jr. Coyote experience for the players, parents and coaches though continual improvement and self-examination.” During his venture to Scottsdale, Bonnett toured the Ice Den, skated with nearly all the Jr. Coyotes teams and interacted with many of the program’s coaches. “I was extremely impressed with the cooperation among coaches and players to create a high-performance training atmosphere at the rink,” Bonnett said. “The facilities are outstanding – clean, bright and cold. With the

addition of the video room, training center and third sheet of ice, the Jr. Coyotes are now equipped to deliver worldclass training every day in this facility. When an association can provide the proper amount of on-ice training, off-ice training, video work and coaching, true hockey development can occur. “After leaving the Ice Den, I was convinced that young Phoenix players will receive the proper training to reach their fullest potential as a hockey player. I have not seen many facilities nicer than the

Ice Den. As soon as you walk into the building, there seems to be a positive vibe and great culture. The players seem to enjoy coming to the rink.” Bonnett went on to say that the Jr. Coyotes are doing things right to grow the game in Arizona, and it all starts with the leadership at the top. “Mike DeAngelis laid the foundation with proper youth hockey programming and is considered a leader

among hockey directors,” said Bonnett. “He handed off a strong club to Marc and all successful hockey clubs have a strong hockey director – I see this in Marc. The former NHL players that are giving back to this program is awesome as well. Marc does a great job of blending these guys into the program and have them help or mentor other coaches that have passion for the game. It is a great layer of coaching and perhaps some of the best that I have seen around the country. Having a layer of NHL experience, professional youth coaches and parent coaches is a strong combination for success.” Overall, the future is bright – and getting brighter by the day – for the Ice Den and the Jr. Coyotes. “Sustainability in youth hockey in any region of the country is directly dependent on the strength of the bottom of the youth ice hockey pyramid,” Bonnett said. “Your 8U program needs to be the strongest, largest and most exciting and organized age group of your state and club. “Looking at the Jr. Coyote program, they have everything the players need to reach their full potential. Encourage your player to take advantage of these resources and stay home to train to reach their goals and make Phoenix the best hockey community in the country. “As a side note, remember how Auston Matthews reached his fullest potential. He stayed home, was a rink rat, trained, had great coaching and skating coaches. Obviously, his story is awesome for the growth of the game and this provides a reality to the dream of every Arizona hockey player.”





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HockeyShot Tip of the Month: Advanced Pass & Shot Drills By HockeyShot Bench Boss Coach Jeremy


ou can find a lot of hockey passing tips and shooting advice on, though the only way to really get good at them is to practice in an environment where you can concentrate. You want to practice receiving the pass with your back to the net so you get some practice taking a pass, moving and shooting. If you find yourself without a friend or teammate to practice with, HockeyShot’s Passers & Passing Kits are good tools for rebounding the puck back to yourself so you can keep your practice going, without damaging walls, garage doors or your mom’s rose bushes!

Drill #3 – The Pass, Receive and Move to the Power Backhand Shot This drill involves taking the pass with your back to the goal net on your forehand. You quickly push the puck away from your body and flip the blade of your stick over the puck. Finally, you make a quick flick of your wrist with a backhander, hopefully over the goalie’s blocker and into the net for a goal.

Drill #1 - The Pass, Receive and Shoot Forehand Shot Drill Just like it sounds, this drill involves passing the puck to your partner, receiving a pass back, a quick stickhandling move while spinning around 180 degrees before taking a shot from the backhand on net. Drill #2 - The Pass, Receive and Shoot Forehand Shot Drill This drill seems to be pretty much the same. Imagine you want to out-maneuver a defensive player. When you get the return pass, you will want to either sweep the puck with your stick as you pivot the 180 degrees, or you keep the puck still while you skate around the puck to the other side to face the net. Then you take your shot.

Drill #4 – The Pass, Receive and Through the Legs Spin and Shoot Drill For this drill, pass to your buddy, or the recommended HockeyShot Passer. When you receive the puck back, tap it between your skates, and then pivot around so you catch the puck from yourself, and then make a snap shot into the right corner of the net. You might want to practice this drill many times before you put it into use in a game.

Drill #5 – The Pass, Full-Spin and Receive Before Shooting Drill This drill can be done with either a forehand or backhand shot. First pass and receive the puck after you spin around towards the net. Then shoot the puck while the goalie’s jaw is still resting on his chest from your graceful techniques. Drill #6 – The Pass between Legs, Receive from Between Legs and Shoot Drill Here’s another cool drill you can have some fun with. Pass the puck to your partner or recommended HockeyShot Passer. Have the puck come back between your legs, and then take a forehand or backhand shot, depending on what you feel like doing. Practicing all these drills will be a lot of fun and will greatly improve your passing and shooting skills. Have fun, work hard, and you’ll find you’re racking up more goals and impressing the fans with your fancy stick work. The two products I personally recommend for these drills are the 4-Way Elite Passer and Crowd Goes Wild Shooting Tarp. Enjoy this article? Then be sure to visit HockeyShot. com for the latest tips and tricks! Remember these are great tools to help any player step up their game and are the most-used products by hockey players around the world.



Latest IHAAZ event shines spotlight on Royals’ progress By Brian Lester


nother IHAAZ festival is in the books. And as usual, it was a success. This time it was the AZ Royals who played host. It provided a stage for the Royals to showcase their program, which has come to be known as Royals 2.0. It is essentially a new program from the 8U division all the way up to the 14U division. Nick and Dez Paris head up the program and are proud of what it has become. The couple, along with a handful of other East Valley Phoenix roller hockey enthusiasts, took the reins from the first Royals group and have continued to build it. Not only did the festival feature plenty of competitive and exciting roller hockey games, but the Royals brought in great vendors and food and coffee trucks to make the festival as special of an experience as possible. Nick Paris, who is the president of the AZ Royals Hockey Club, was thrilled with the way the festival played out. “The AZ Royals were honored to host the festival,” Paris said. “It went smooth and as planned. We saw teams develop with each game. It was exciting to see the progression from the Tucson tournament.” The progress of the Royals, along with the progress of teams in other divisions, showed through in the festival in Queen Creek. It was evident that the teams had put in the time in practice since the first festival in order

to compete at a higher level this time. In the 8U division, the Tucson Jr. Wildcats proved once again to be the dominant team, although the AZ Royals were competitive at the festival. The Jr. Wildcats are undefeated in the six games they have played. The AZ Royals are 4-4 on the season. The 10U format featured a championship game that pitted the Prescott Storm against the Knighthawks Blue. The Storm prevailed 6-5 in a tightly-contested

The AZ Royals’ 14U team showed well at the Queen Creek festival and has been led this season by Jackson Lukrofka (with puck) and goalie Blaise Becker. Photo/IHAAZ

game and there is no question the division will be competitive all the way up the state finals. The Storm comes out of the weekend with its record now at 7-0 on the year. The Knighthawks Blue is 5-2 on the season. Seven teams competed in the 12U division.


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The Jr. Wildcats are 8-0 on the year while the Yuma Blaze is 7-0 on the season. In the 14U Division, the top three teams all went 3-1 at the festival. Yuma is the top team in the division with a 7-1 record. The AZ Royals White reminded everyone why they are the team to beat in the Midget division. They are now unbeaten through seven games and show no signs of slowing down. The Royals Blue and the Northern Arizona Yetis are in the hunt for the division crown as well. AZ Royals White is unbeaten through seven games and has given up just five goals on the season while scoring 47. The AZ Royals Blue is 5-2 and Northern Arizona is 4-1, showing they are alive and well in the battle for the division crown. The next IHAAZ festival is set for Feb. 8-10 at Kennedy Park in Yuma. The venue is unique as its outdoors and the surface will test the dominant teams. Matt DiCori of the Yuma Blaze is looking forward to seeing his program host the next festival. “We are proud to host the next IHAAZ event,” DiCori said. “We look forward to showing off our great weather, new scoreboard and down-home cooking with our famous Tri-tip lunches.” DiCori expects the competition to be at a high level as well. “This group of teams has been playing hard and we hope for tight, competitive games, and the sportsmanship that makes IHAAZ a great place to show off your hockey skills,” he said.


Mission Special Edition program going strong in Year 2 By Greg Ball


little more than a year ago, when the Mission Special Edition program was first getting off the ground, director Brandi Goltz and head coach Rod Rihela had no idea what to expect. Goltz had spent years thinking about starting a hockey program for kids with special needs, and after many months planning, still had no idea what the response would be. Now the program is well into its second season, and it couldn’t be going any better. Mission Special Edition has approximately 25 players on its roster, ranging in age from 6-16, with kids of all skill levels. Each Monday, players from Mission AZ’s Bantam and Midget teams – along with Rihela and other coaches from Mission’s other teams – work with the special needs players in 30-minute sessions that focus on everything from the basics to advanced skills. “Since we’ve been at this more than a year, our kids from the Mission program are starting to develop relationships with the special needs players, and that’s really cool to see,” said Jeremy Goltz, Mission’s director of hockey operations. “They’re even more part of our family than they were last year. They’re coming to our games, holiday parties and other events, and they know our kids by name. It’s really cool to see how it has taken off.” Some kids spend most of their time on the ice in

chairs, and others are just getting their feet under them learning to skate, but all the players get a boost of confidence and a sense of belonging by being able to participate in a sport that previously hadn’t been accessible to them. “It has been so cool to see the progression these kids

have experienced,” Goltz said. “Kids who started in chairs a year ago are starting to stand up on their skates. They’re all taking big steps and making great progress.” Goltz said he understands the importance of giving back and helping people of different abilities, and he knows how important it is to instill those same values in kids at the high-school age. Along with teaching the special needs players skating and stick-handling skills, Mission’s Bantam and Midget players are learning

compassion and empathy while experiencing the joy of helping others. He said the kids who serve as mentors often get as much out of the experience as the special needs players, and he has beamed with pride as he has witnessed the kids from each group developing true friendships. Goltz credits his wife, Brandi, and Rihela for putting in the time and effort to make this program so impactful for so many kids. “It’s Brandi’s passion, and she’s put in the legwork and the hours to get it going – it’s her passion,” Goltz said. “Rod has done a terrific job as well, and the two of them have really gotten to know the kids and their families on a personal level.” Goltz said the experiences that the special needs players get from participating in hockey go far beyond the hockey skills they are learning. He’s proud of the fact that so many people from within the Mission program have jumped on board with the idea and supported what it’s all about. After all, Mission players and coaches will tell you their program is one big family. “We wanted to give these kids a chance to play hockey,” Goltz explained. “For them to get out there and exercise, and to go through the process of getting dressed in their gear, it gives them a sense of inclusion that they may not get elsewhere. We’ve heard plenty of stories about kids working on their skills at home. They feel like hockey players, and to us, that’s very important.”

MISSION STATEMENT Do young hockey players still have a team-first mindset? This column originally ran in the Dec. 2017 issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine.



recently saw an article in USA Hockey Magazine that got me thinking about how we are losing sight of the purity and reasons why

so many play this great game. It was an article that talked about how 14- and 16-year-old kids can promote themselves to get on the USA Hockey Development Camp radar. I see articles like this contributing to the lack of focus on hockey as a team game, and more and more parents and players are focused on the wrong things and what this sport is truly about. I have played, coached and currently scout for college hockey and junior programs, and can tell you the No. 1 thing coaches are looking for are good, coachable kids who will be an asset to the college or junior program. They want kids who un-

derstand the humble nature of being a piece to a bigger puzzle. They look for kids who are coachable, and are willing to learn and take on roles in order to make teams and players around them more successful. Kids should have individual goals and aspirations beyond youth hockey, but it can’t come at the expense of their team goals and other teammates’ aspirations to be successful. In the last few years, with all the marketing, showcases and money-making adventures, hockey is becoming a breeding ground for individual focus rather than the intended focus of the team first. Players jump jersey to jersey, leave town early, and could care less about team success. It has more and more become about who can climb the ladder and do it no matter what the expense may be. I managed to do some great things in the game of hockey, and can tell you there wasn’t a day in that process where I focused on my individual

agenda. Team success was always a priority, and through that mindset, individuals would be recognized individually. This is a battle I fight every day, not only with my older kids, but now younger kids who are being pushed with the promise of “being seen” or as players that you have to “market.” It is destroying the essence of the game and in reality, is creating less and less of what coaches are truly looking for – players who are coachable, humble and are willing to be a small piece of a bigger puzzle. I had the opportunity to go to Tucson on a recent weekend and hang out with some of my teammates from my college playing days. We had great teams back then and it was a reminder to all of us how special we were as we focused on a common goal and common purpose. Youth hockey should be the very definition of what “putting the team first” is all about and all the lessons that come with that process. It should be magical, and about the common jersey. These days, sadly, I see a change as the name on the back is indeed more important than the name on the front.

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


NEW MEXICO REPORT Revamped RGHSHL helping high While ‘doing things the right way,’ school game grow in New Mexico Mustangs added to Jr. NWHL By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



hen the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League was renamed the Rio Grande High School Hockey League (RGHSHL) this season to also include teams from Colorado and Texas, it was but another step in growing the game of hockey in a non-traditional area. RGHSHL commissioner Kevin Brake said the league is immensely underrated. “We certainly do not live in a hockey hotbed as compared to other areas of the country, but I think we have a lot more talent in our league than most would expect,” Brake said. “We routinely send players to AAA programs and junior programs. “I would imagine that it may come as a surprise to most hockey fans that a league centered in New Mexico, Texas and Colorado has three teams that play out of outdoor rinks and two of them are in New Mexico.” Brake also explained how the high school game can keep growing in New Mexico at the boys and girls levels. “The key to a great high school league is understanding that you can only produce minor effects when you are addressing issues at that age group,” said Brake. “The quality of a high school program is more of a symptom of how well a program has recruited and retained players at the younger levels. Across our programs, there has been a big focus on coming up with creative ways to get younger players involved and doing what we can to instill a love of the game so that the players will continue playing through high school and into adulthood. Our programs have been working on a litany of ideas such as bringing the high school players and coaches to the elementary schools to show kids, that may not be exposed to hockey otherwise, what a great game we play or coming up with cost-saving measures that will make hockey financially competitive with other sports that are available to kids in our area. “We all love this sport and finding new ways to pass that love along to the next generation is the most important thing we can do as coaches.”

ockey just keeps growing in New Mexico. And now, it’s going national. Earlier this month, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced that the Albuquerque-based New Mexico Mustangs have been added to the Jr. NWHL. The Mustangs are the 88th program to join the Jr. NWHL’s ranks. “It is always an honor any time someone outside of your market wants to help promote your organization,” said Mustangs organization head coach and 15U MSGHL team head coach Floyd Braaten. “With the support of the NWHL, it helps get our name out there for recruiting and anyone who might be moving to New Mexico from other markets.” Benefits of the Jr. NWHL include a free Jr. NWHL jersey patch for all female players within the organization, exclusive opportunities to skate pre-game, post-game and during intermission of NWHL games, having the organization honored at the local NWHL venue where the team’s jersey will hang, having the organization’s name, logo and a link to their website on the official NWHL website, exclusive ability to nominate an honorary captain, the opportunity to be recognized as the “Club of the Month” and have a picture of the team/organization on the NWHL website, a free 90-day Club Recruiting Management Platform Trial with SportsRecruits - “The Anti-Recruiting Service,” as well as discounted access for youth hockey administrators to utilize LeagueApps software for registration, payment collection and communication tools. “I would like to think that with our organization being accepted as a Jr. NWHL affiliate, that means that we are doing things the right way,” said Braaten. “It has always been a struggle to grow girls hockey in New Mexico, but the Mustangs have a good reputation as a place where our players learn to play the game the right way with good sportsmanship and always seem to be having fun. “And thanks to people like the NWHL and others, it is making the job of growing the Mustangs in a non-traditional market a little easier.”

TPHA specializing in developing players for next level Continued from Page 11 move on if he wanted to advance his hockey career. A 16-year-old junior who plays goalie for Tahoe’s prep team, he has been playing the sport since he was six years old and has lofty aspirations. Dunnigan said at the end of last year he came to the realization that the time on the road associated with travel hockey became too much. He learned about Tahoe Prep during a summer camp. “I knew I was good enough to play at the higher level, but I didn’t want to drive three hours just to practice,” he said. “I thought it would be cool to move away but still be not that far from home, and at Tahoe Prep I could play out of my comfort zone. My first game, I was extremely nervous. The speed and pace of the game was impressive, but after that first game I settled in. I’ve been getting a lot more shots and that’s good.” That comfort level shows in Dunnigan’s .916 save percentage in the eight games he has played with the prep team this season. He’s hoping the improvement he is making will help him further his hockey career. Dunnigan said he is happy with the exposure he is getting playing for Tahoe and the help from the coaches to make it to the next level. “My end goal is to be pro, but not everyone can make it, so right now I’m focused on making it to a Division I college,” he said. 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Austin Chesworth A 17-year-old senior left-winger playing on the academy’s prep team, Chesworth is off to a strong start. In 16 games, he has tallied six goals and nine assists. An Arizona native (Gilbert), he played for the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils before making the transition to Tahoe this season. Even though he sometimes misses the Arizona warmth, Chesworth said living away from home for the first time has been good. “I haven’t really been homesick at all, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Chesworth. “All the guys are great. We’re like one big family.” Chesworth’s mother, Renee, said letting her son leave home a year early to pursue his passion was hard, but she knew it was the right choice. “Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy pitched the whole package, and they have delivered,” she said. “From the academic support to the hockey development, they truly care about these boys. Just seeing Austin’s skill level and his improvement, the finesse and the speed, it’s been so much fun to watch, and he’s happy. It’s quite the life experience. He’s getting to do what he loves every day, and that’s what we wish for our children - for them to get the chance to work at what they love.” Austin Chesworth said not only is the level of play different but so is the team atmosphere. “The game is faster and the skill level is higher, but everyone on my team is going 100 percent, and our coaches are the best I’ve ever had,” Chesworth said. “I

also love working out with the trainers. That aspect has been great.” Tyler Pierce Spending his first year with TPHA after moving from Arvada, Colo., and the Hyland Hills Jaguars AA team, Pierce is thriving. The 16-year-old sophomore left wing has been a significant contributor to the prep team. The academic support, weight training, time on the ice, and personal development model offered at Tahoe Prep were all strong selling points for him. “My biggest goal is to play Division I college hockey and keep moving up the ranks as high as I can go,” Pierce said. “That requires a strong grade-point average as well as hockey skills. I feel that now, with the support I’m getting, I can keep moving up the ranks.” Beyond the improvement that can be measured on the ice and in the training center, the academy has also given Pierce some noticeable maturity lessons. “The dorms are super nice and really comfortable, and the resident assistants are awesome,” he said. “Living away from home, it’s helped me a ton. I did things at home before, but now I realize that I need to take responsibility and do my job – pick up after myself, wash my clothes.” Pierce said he is settling into this next level of hockey as well. “The speed, the size, the passing and hitting were all up a level,” he explained. “It’s been a different environment. You know you have to perform. The Tahoe coaches all have something to bring, our practices are so skilled, and it’s about each player’s personal development. I can see the hard work paying off.”


Mesa’s Bjella winning big with USPHL Premier’s Whalers By Joshua Boyd/


here are a lot of benefits to being in Arizona around the holidays, and Mesa native Blake Bjella takes advantage of all of them. “It’s not snowy, not white, but I’ve gotten used to it not being so cold,” Bjella said. “It’s nice to have Christmas dinner outside and enjoy it with the family.” He also got in some rounds of golf during the holiday break, with Las Sendas Golf Club being a hometown favorite. The rest and recreation were well-deserved, because prior to the Dec. 17 start of the two-week break, Bjella was a workhorse in goal for the Hampton Roads (Va.) Whalers, a top team in the Tier III junior USPHL Premier Division. In the 2018 portion of the season, the 1998-born Bjella went 13-0 for the Whalers. He had three shutouts during that time, and then added one more when he returned to action in the Boston area for the USPHL Winter Showcase. The Whalers had a start that few in the 51-team Florida-to-Minnesota USPHL Premier Division enjoyed, as they stand at 30-2-1-0. The defending Premier champion Whalers went undefeated between last Feb. 17 through last year’s playoffs and into Nov. 4 of this year. “I knew Hampton Roads had a good winning tradition, and it’s obviously fun to win,” said Bjella. “I have a lot of good things to say about playing for Hampton Roads, especially their will to make you better. They

He had played goal a little bit before that season want to make you a better player and a better person.” In terms of making Bjella a better goaltender, but became serious about it in Arizona. he feels like he has an edge on other goalies in the “Even after I started playing goal, I still switched off league because of the offensive talent on his team. He and skated out sometimes,” said Bjella. He joined the Phoenix Firebirds youth program is facing hard shots every day from players such as the league’s leading scorer and Utica College commit and remained there until he turned 17. From there, he played two 18U seasons with Brandon Osmundson, who had the Arizona Bobcats organiza27 goals and 74 points in 37 tion, which gave the world Ausgames this season. ton Matthews. “We have such a talented “I grew up in the house team and we push each other,” league and worked my way up Bjella said. “They don’t take any breaks on me at all, which makes to AAA,” said Bjella. “With the our games easier, for sure.” Firebirds, it was good for me as a goalie because I saw a ton of USPHL Premier playoffs will shots. The Bobcats run a great begin for most divisions in Janorganization. It’s just run the uary, and the Whalers hope to right way, and everyone wants pull off the repeat championship to play.” and make it their third title in four After his 19-year-old year years. playing in a different Tier III juBjella first started playing nior league, Bjella found a home goal when he was 13 years old, back with the Williston (N.D.) Mesa native Blake Bjella has seen his game go to in Hampton Roads this season. Coyotes in the state of his birth. a new level this season with the USPHL’s Hampton He saw some of the teams he It was shortly after that 13-year- Roads Whalers. Photo/Stephen Spencer/Action Photography hadn’t seen before at the USold year that the Bjella family relocated to Arizona. PHL Winter Showcase and took his first loss there. “It was just a change for the family,” Bjella said. That was a preview of what the USPHL Premier Na“You obviously can’t beat the weather, and there are a tionals back in Massachusetts March 8-10 might be lot of things to do. I love being outside, and you can’t like, but the Whalers must keep winning like they have beat that.” this season to get there.

Bobcats’ new Tier II teams finding immediate success Their biggest success so far has been bringing home a championship banner from the Pittsburgh Winter Classic tournament in early December. In four games, 10 of the team’s 15 skaters scored goals, with 12 players recording points. Gloyd and Carter Newlin each totaled three goals in the tournament, while Ihling and Steinman each tallied two

playdowns in February and March. That’s the top of the hill that we’re trying to reach.” he Arizona Bobcats have been a program under The 14U Tier II team is coached by Dillon Shafconstruction this season, but it’s not only their fer, Jeff Alexander and Cameron Corley. Its roster new home at Ice Den Chandler that has changed. includes Erich Florence, Hudson Wernle, BrenThe Bobcats have also added Tier II teams at the don Wingler, Marcello Lane, Kelly Carroll, Isaac 16U and 14U levels, and they’re off to a strong start Yurkanin, Micahlind Pelletier, Hayden Stott, representing the program at the Tier II level. Ethan Jim, Preston Farr, Logan Tinney, Tim Newlin, the head coach of the BobConnor Perdue, Jackson Dow, Ajay Schilcats’ new 16U Tier II team, said the program ler, Jackson Binazeski, Matthew Duffy, was able to add teams at that level this seaRyan Jim and Ryan Caputo. The squad was son for the first time because interest has injust 2-8 as the calendar flipped to 2019 but creased and there were finally enough players was seeing some marked improvement. to field full squads. While the 14U team didn’t get off to as “Both teams are a work in progress, and strong a start as the program’s older Tier II with the Bobcats the focus has always been squad, it has made the types of strides in playon development first, but it has been nice to er development that portend positive things to see them be successful to start the season,” come. Newlin said. “If the development is coming, “That’s what it’s all about – developing then success in the form of winning games these kids’ skills at this age,” Shaffer said. “It’s usually follows.” all about building that foundation to build on. The Bobcats’ 16U team entered January That’s where we have placed our emphasis. It’s with a 15-7-2 record with an 8-2-1 mark and more of a long-term mindset – the focus is on a third-place standing in the Arizona Amateur The Arizona Bobcats’ 16U AA team celebrates its division championship at the preparing them for playing 16U hockey. We try recent Pittsburgh Winter Classic. Hockey Association. Coached by Newlin and to stay away from the cliché ‘peak by Saturday’ assistant Brett Manning, the squad includes for- lamp-lighters. approach that puts so much importance on winning wards Quentin Kennicker, Austin Gloyd, Kellen “A lot of these kids on the two teams knew each games. Nickel, Nicolas DelliBovi, Christopher Vo, Jon- other, but had never really played together before,” “Each drill we do in practice is selected based athan Gualtiere, NJ Warshaw, Noah Steinman, Newlin said. “So it took us some time as coaches to on the skills we want these kids to be learning, and Chase Keating, Carter Newlin and Tyler Ihling; evaluate strengths and weakness and for the kids to we’re always looking 2-3 years down the road. Bedefensemen Spencer Craig, Samuel Stipe, Ben learn about each other and slowly become a team. cause of that, the ultimate gauge of success is not Warshaw, Dylan DeLisle, Jonathan Ellwanger, “Winning the tournament in Pittsburgh has defi- necessarily wins and losses. It can seem a little Brad Hughes and Connor Manning; and goalies nitely been a highlight of our season so far, but our thankless at times because you really don’t see the Hayden Manning and Tristan Konieczny. main goal is to really be playing at our best for the fruits of your labor until years down the road.” By Greg Ball



2018-19 ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO ALUMNI E-mail all additions, deletions and corrections to

ARIZONA PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Winnipeg Jets Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Utah Grizzlies Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Rapid City Rush Joey Sides (Tucson) – Kansas City Mavericks SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – Macon Mayhem Ben Oskroba (Tempe) – Peoria Rivermen Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – Peoria Rivermen

Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Arizona State University NCAA DIVISION I – WOMEN

HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Kiki Roust (Queen Creek) – Merrimack College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire NCAA DIVISION III – MEN

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Boston Pride Katie McGovern (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Whitecaps

MIAC Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – St. John’s University Nick Nast – St. Mary’s University &


NCHA Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – College of St. Scholastica

HOCKEY EAST Adam Samuelsson – Boston College * NCHC Jake Durflinger – University of Denver & Phil Knies (Phoenix) – Miami University Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – Colorado College Keenan Spillum (Phoenix) – Colorado College Carson Vance (Tempe) – Western Michigan University D-I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Demetrios Koumontzis – Arizona State University *

PREP SCHOOL Austin Chesworth (Gilbert) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy Kenadie Cooper (Gilbert) – North American Hockey Academy Cade Schiefelbein (Phoenix) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy

UCHC Raeann Clancy (King’s College) Gabrielle Igo (Phoenix) – Utica College

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Patrick Murphy (Gilbert) – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Jack Strauss (Phoenix) – Soo Eagles


ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE D.J. King – Hamilton Bulldogs *

NESCAC Lori Berger (Scottsdale) – Trinity College Alexis Ryan (Mesa) – Middlebury College

MASCAC Erik Pritchard (Cave Creek) – Worcester State University James Stiles (Tucson) – Framingham State University

ECAC HOCKEY Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – St. Lawrence University

NEWHL Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Hannah Kiraly (Glendale) – Plattsburgh State University Ky Lackey (Phoenix) – Buffalo State University

NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Alejandro Apud (Scottsdale) – Louisiana Drillers Robby Beck (Cave Creek) – Northeast Generals Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – Coulee Region Chill Alexander Kelsall (Gilbert) – Milwaukee Power Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Maine Wild Chase McLaughlin (Scottsdale) – Coulee Region Chill Hayden Seitz (Phoenix) – Helena Bighorns

ECAC HOCKEY Taylor Stadeli (Scottsdale) – Dartmouth College

OVERSEAS Broc Little (Phoenix) – Sweden Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – United Kingdom

BIG TEN Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) – University of Minnesota

Luke Ormsby – Moose Jaw Warriors * Garrett Wright (Mesa) – Regina Pats

NEHC Natasha Hawkins (Scottsdale) – New England College Belle Lacombe (Surprise) – Norwich University

CCC Sage Englund (Cave Creek) – Salve Regina University

ATLANTIC HOCKEY Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Bentley University

Henry Dennee (Chandler) – Topeka Pilots Clayton Lackey (Scottsdale) – Lone Star Brahmas Reid Miller (Gilbert) – Odessa Jackalopes Ryan Reid (Phoenix) – Springfield Jr. Blues Joe Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Mason Vukonich (Gilbert) – Topeka Pilots Dante Zapata – Austin Bruins &

CHA Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University

FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Seth Gustin (Phoenix) – Carolina Thunderbirds


MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St. Olaf College Taylor Curtis (Peoria) – Hamline University

NESCAC Andy Chugg (Mesa) – Trinity College Alex Heinritz (Fountain Hills) – Middlebury College Samuel Kany (Phoenix) – Trinity College SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Derek Brown (Peoria) – Oswego State University Alex Storjohann (Phoenix) – Cortland State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University

ALBERTA JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Adam Bricker (Scottsdale) – Whitecourt Wolverines BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Trevor Griebel (Glendale) – Wenatchee Wild Hunter Hastings (Scottsdale) – Wenatchee Wild Rowan Miller (Scottsdale) – Powell River Kings

ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Ethan Osburn (Prescott) – Kingston Voyageurs SASKATCHEWAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Cole Golden (Phoenix) – Notre Dame Hounds Grant Ziegler (Scottsdale) – Kindersley Klippers

CANADIAN PREMIER JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Xavier Zuba (Scottsdale) – Scarborough Wexford Raiders

UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Sean Bunting (Phoenix) – Sioux City Musketeers

EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Chris Crowley (Fountain Hills) – Boston Jr. Rangers Justin Gusso (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Revolution (Premier) Carson Holliday (Gilbert) – Walpole Express (Premier) John Olguin (Chandler) – New England Wolves (Premier) Tanner Paterno (Surprise) – Connecticut RoughRiders Joe Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers

UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Blake Bjella (Mesa) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Arun Cibrario (Phoenix) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Harrison Corse (Scottsdale) – Kasson Vipers (Premier) Brett Dillon (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Joe DiGiulio (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) – Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) Kohl Hedquist (Tempe) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Stephen Kennedy (Scottsdale) – Northern Cyclones (Elite) Skylar Miller (Chandler) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Joey Petruzzella (Phoenix) – Boston Bandits (NCDC) Hayden Ripley (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Mullets (Premier) Ian Rogers (Phoenix) – Dells Ducks (Premier) Barrett Rosser (Scottsdale) – Atlanta Jr. Kings (Elite) Jared Sanchez (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Keshawn Scott (Gilbert) – Motor City Hockey Club (Premier)

UCHC Sean Dickson – Utica College &

GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Connor Hanson (Cave Creek) – South Muskoka Shield Sam Hinnant (Cave Creek) – South Muskoka Shield Alec Miller (Peoria) – Bradford Rattlers

WIAC Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Gavyn Entzminger (Surprise) – Castlegar Rebels


MANITOBA JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Riley Morgan (Scottsdale) – Winkler Flyers

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

MARITIME HOCKEY LEAGUE Landon Quinney – Valley Wildcats & NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Buckeye) – Amarillo Bulls

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Erik Atchison – Spokane Chiefs & Mark Kastelic (Phoenix) – Calgary Hitmen Jeremy Masella (Phoenix) – Prince Albert Raiders Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals &

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Jacob Elik (Phoenix) – Northern Colorado Eagles Anthony Masanotti (Gilbert) – Utah Outliers Ryan Radke (Cave Creek) – El Paso Rhinos

NEW MEXICO PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY OVERSEES Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Finland 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 JUNIOR HOCKEY EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Matt Orlando (Rio Rancho) – Boston Jr. Rangers (Premier) Nick Weaver (Rio Rancho) – Boston Jr. Rangers (Premier) ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE Marcus Gretz (Albuquerque) – Flint Firebirds UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Jason Knoll (Albuquerque) – Florida Jr. Blades (Elite) Seth Payson (Albuquerque) – New York Aviators (Elite) PREP SCHOOL Liam Sutton (Santa Fe) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy

* former Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat


Top-quality customer service: Meet the BTM managers


ehind The Mask prides itself in its exceptional customer service provided by a staff of knowledgeable hockey players who go above and beyond to ensure each customer feels like they are part of a bigger hockey community. At the core of our fantastic staff is our hard-working and devoted management team. If you have not had the chance to meet our managers before, here is a brief insight into their hockey background and what motivates them to be the best. Beau Saugling, Behind The Mask Peoria The longest-serving member of the crew, Beau has worked at BTM for the past 19 years – longer if you count the endless hours spent running around the shop as a kid. A proven hockey shop veteran, Beau is regarded to be at the top of the class. Each of the BTM managers served under him to begin their careers and the information and techniques he passed on to them is priceless. “I really enjoy the interaction with the customers and working as long as I have, seeing customers grow up and even some now bringing their kids in to get sized up is pretty awesome,” Beau said. Beau spent his youth hockey career playing for the DYHA Firebirds out of Oceanside. When asked about his favorite memories playing hockey he said, “I loved being a shooter at the (BTM) Goalie School back in

the day, I still think I’m the highest scorer in the history of the camp. Just saying.” Kevin Mooney, Behind The Mask Gilbert Contact Beau at The newest member to the BTM management Henry-Mychal Moore, Behind The Mask Scottsdale team, Kevin has worked at Behind The Mask for the The second-longest serving member, Mychal has past seven years. worked for 16 years at BTM. Kevin played youth hockey Managing BTM Scottsdale for the Arizona Hockey Union, for the past eight years, he is wining a state title during his known to be a jack of all trades time there under coach Mychal with strong knowledge of player Moore. and goalie equipment. “I loved being able to travel to places where they weren’t “I like working with my hands, expecting to play a team from so fixing skates and pads is just Arizona,” said Kevin. relaxing and feels natural to me,” Becoming the manager of Mychal said. the Gilbert location in 2018, Mychal grew up in Alaska, he has quickly proven himplaying his youth hockey for the Alaska All Stars before moving Kevin Mooney (Gilbert), Henry-Mychal Moore self to be a detail-oriented and team-driven leader. to Arizona and joining the DYHA (Scottsdale) and Beau Saugling (Peoria) Firebirds and the former P.F. Chang’s AAA hockey “I love managing this store,” Kevin said. “I get a club as team captain. He has coached with legend- lot of freedom and everyone works as a team to get ary Arizona coach Sean Babin for the past 12 years, things done. Also, I never feel pressure to push prodcurrently at AHU. ucts that I feel customers don’t need, and that helps “I really enjoy the close relationships I made play- me grow a relationship with my customers.” Contact Kevin at ing and now seeing them come back into the store We thank each of our managers for their support with their family is a great experience,” said Mychal. “Just shows how close the hockey community stays and belief in the vision we have as a company. In all honesty, 25 years of excellence has proven to be the together, which is pretty cool.” Contact Mychal at result of an exceptional and dedicated staff.

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis. NHL Draft: Selected by Montreal Canadiens in first round (third overall) of 2012 NHL Draft Acquired: Traded to Coyotes from Montreal for forward Max Domi on June 15, 2018 Last Amateur Team: Sarnia Sting (OHL) Age: 24 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Alex Galchenyuk: There were so many. It’s hard to bring out just one. Just remember growing up, playing hockey and having the dream of playing in the NHL. That’s my favorite memory still going strong, playing in the NHL. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? AG: Scoring my first NHL goal. That was against Florida (on Jan. 22, 2013) and (Scott) Clemmensen was the goalie. Just the first NHL goal and my first goal for the Coyotes (Oct. 30, 2018, against Ottawa and goalie Mike Condon). These are pretty special memories. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? AG: My whole family has been the biggest influence. It was my dad who put me on skates and spent so much time teaching me how to play the game. Just the whole family overall has been tremendous. They have been so supportive helping my career so far. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? AG: Be yourself. Create your identity. Figure out what works for you as a hockey player and stick to it. Just be you. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? AG: I watch some football and basketball, but no, no favorite. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? AG: Not really. Just a lot of routines, but nothing special. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? AG: Depends on what time the game is and whether the game is part of a back-to-back schedule. Things change with the schedule and I don’t try to have anything that’s crazy. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? AG: I like Roka Akor (Japanese) and also like Mastro’s. I found a couple good restaurants here. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? AG: Have to have my cell phone and iPad. Some clothes, of course, but nothing crazy. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? AG: No, no favorite player playing growing up. My dad always told me to be yourself, and I try to be my own player. Obviously, there are a couple players I like watching but never tried to mold my game after another player. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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