AHSHA CROWNS FOUR STATE CHAMPIONS AT ICE DEN SCOTTSDALE JR. COYOTES POST SWEEP, CAPTURE QUARTET OF TIER I STATE TITLES AHU INDUCTS TWO MORE PLAYERS INTO MITE TO MIDGET LOYALTY CLUB NEW MEXICO WARRIORS YOUTH PROGRAM TASTES RECENT SUCCESS
The Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association is on an upward trend and Northern Arizona University has emerged as a national ACHA powerhouse, making the relationship the two programs have forged in the City of Seven Wonders one that will continue to grow and benefit the Northstars and IceJacks alike
FROM THE EDITOR Don’t look now, but we’re coming up on the season’s home stretch
t’s hard to believe, but the time of year is fast approaching when wins mean playing into the spring and losses mean going home and getting ready for next season. We’ve already had the Tier I state playoffs crown four champions (see Page 5) with more tournament play forthcoming. Truth be told, seeing the passion these kids – at all levels – exhibit throughout the season and especially when it matters most, continues to amaze me. Then at the pro level, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes and AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners continue to leave their marks on the Arizona hockey community as a whole, both on and off the ice. Matt Mackinder We can all read about games and who scored how many goals, but when we see the Coyotes helping build playground equipment and the Roadrunners making school appearances, that’s what it’s all about right there. In college news, it looks like Arizona State will finally get that on-campus rink after all. The Arizona Board of Regents recently approved a plan to build a brand-new, 5000-seat arena that will be ready for the 2020-21 season. Now, we just have to get the Sun Devils into one of the six NCAA Division I conferences. Stay tuned there. All season long, we’ve enjoyed the ride and we plan on that exciting journey continuing. Best of luck to all the players, coaches, staff and fans the rest of the way! The Roadrunners will hold their first ever Celebrity Waiters Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Playground Bar & Lounge, located at 278 E. Congress St. in Tucson. Roadrunners players will be serving gourmet food and drinks throughout the evening to attendees with proceeds benefitting the community through Roadrunners Give Back, a branch of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation. Additionally, there will be a silent auction with items from around the Tucson community, sports world and more. For more information on the event, contact Chandler Atkins at chandler. firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (520) 393-8150. Kudos to two Arizona natives on garnering college hockey monthly awards for January as Phoenix native and Arizona Bobcats graduate Phil Knies was named the NCHC Rookie of the Month, while Scottsdale native Makenna Newkirk took home Hockey East Co-Player of the Month honors. Knies doubled his season point total and tripled his goal total in the month of January, recording eight points in six games, which tied for the NCHC lead among rookies and tied for fifth nationally among freshmen. His six goals in the month led all NCHC players and all rookies nationally, as did his 1.00 goals per game. His 1.33 points per game led all NCAA freshmen in January, as well. Newkirk claimed HEA Player of the Month honors for January for the second straight year. In 10 games last month, she tied for the national lead in points with 22 and also led all players in the country in assists (16). Newkirk netted three game-winning goals in January while posting points in eight of 10 games, including six multiple-point efforts. Newkirk also recorded a .646 faceoff winning percentage with 135 draw wins – most in the country – while her 17 blocked shots were the most among Hockey East forwards in January. Sticking in the college realm, Scottsdale native Erik Middendorf has committed to play for NCAA D-I Colorado College, starting in the fall of 2018. Currently a forward in his second season with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and a Jr. Coyotes alum, Middendorf originally committed to the University of Denver last season before switching NCHC Colorado-based schools and going with Colorado College earlier this month. In NHL Central Scouting’s midseason rankings, Middendorf was ranked No. 206. We’ll be keeping an eye on him as the 2018 NHL Draft, staged this June in Dallas, starts to unfold.
Contact Matt Mackinder at email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: www.AZRubberHockey.com Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/arizonarubber Follow us on Twitter: @AZRubberHockey
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A TRUE STUDENT-ATHLETE
Flagstaff High School Division 1 player Tyler Billingsly is a standout on the ice and was also the recipient of both the Scott Gower Memorial Scholarship and the Stephen Demchik Scholarship during the AHSHA state tournament the first weekend of February. More on the state championships on Page 14.
ON THE COVER Youth players from the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association and college players from Northern Arizona University have grown their hockey partnership tremendously over recent times and took time to hang out earlier this month outside Jay Lively Arena in Flagstaff. Photo/Wyatt Rutt Photography
ARIZONA AMATEUR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
Jr. Coyotes sweep to four Tier I state championships
By Matt Mackinder
arly February kicked off the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association state championships and the Jr. Coyotes brought home all four Tier I titles this year. 18U: The Jr. Coyotes swept this series in two straight over the Bobcats, culminating in a 4-2 win on Feb. 3 at AZ Ice Arcadia. In the clinching game, Dylan Berg scored twice, while Jacob Lester and Dimitri Karnavkh notched goals to back Tristan Hadley’s 28 saves in net. For the Bobcats, Tito Moreno went for a goal and an assist, Michael Bloom added a goal and Riley Morgan stopped 53 shots. The opening game of the series saw the Jr. Coyotes take a 5-4 win as Jack Strauss’ goal at 19:09 was the game-winning tally in the third period. Kyle DeCoster, Dylan Zucker, Aldyn Sullivan and Dante Bagnasco also scored, and goaltender Michael Magnuson turned aside 21 shots. Moreno and Patrick Murphy each had a goal and an assist for the Bobcats, with Daniel Ramsey and Spencer Berkley adding single goals and Morgan making 14 saves. 16U: The Bobcats won the opening game 4-3 in overtime on a Carson Kuche goal, but the Jr. Coyotes won the next two.
Anthony Bonaldi stopped 24 shots for the win in the first game. The second game saw the Jr. Coyotes win 4-1 as Kyan Lakin, Brett Morich, Trevor Griebel all had a goal and an assist and Cavanaugh Holbrook made 23 saves. In the rubber game on Feb. 10 at the Ice Den Scott-
sdale, Noah Vance and Jacob Poteet each had a goal and an assist and Holbrook made 16 saves in a 3-2 win. Oliver Chase and Andrew Ramsey registered goals for the Bobcats and Bonaldi turned aside 21. 15U: At the 15U level, the Jr. Coyotes swept the
Bobcats by scores of 8-1 and 7-2, wrapping up Feb. 2 at AZ Ice Arcadia. Josh Doan scored a pair of goals in the clincher, while Riley Stuart, Jake Alcaraz, Jake Norling, Nick Smith and Coleton Panowyk scored and goalie Jake Hall made 14 stops. Deven Wang and Aidan Coupe scored for the Bobcats and Luke Fundator recorded 55 saves. Opening the series, Alcaraz had three goals and two assists, Smith a goal and three assists, Norling two goals and Sam Deckhut three assists as Jackson Dylla stopped 14 shots in goal. Stuart and Doan also scored. Presley Morris tallied the Bobcats’ lone goal and Fundator and Caleb Wall combined on a 51-save effort. 14U: The Jr. Coyotes took both contests against the Bobcats by identical 3-2 scores. In the opening game, Josef Nermyr had two goals and Dalton Berg a goal and an assist to back Hunter Hein’s 11 saves. Ty Nash recorded two goals for the Bobcats and Trevor Gilson posted 24 saves. In the clincher Feb. 10 at Arcadia, Berg, Max Potvin and Caden Butler tallied goals and Thomas Pientka stopped 21 shots. Nash and Alec Geddes scored for the Bobcats, while Gilson and Dylan Sharkey combined to make 40 saves.
Assistant coaches a vital element to Coyotes operations By Mark Brown
uring in a game in late January, the Arizona Coyotes trailed the Columbus Blue Jackets by one goal. With 39 seconds left in the contest, the Coyotes called a time out and plotted strategy. After goalie Antti Raanta was pulled, the six attackers skated over the bench for instructions. Head coach Rick Tocchet positioned himself to the far-right side of the bench and the six attackers drew closer to the dasher board. Here, assistant coach John MacLean gathered the players and pulled out a white-board. That’s when he outlined an approach and directed the players. Though the Coyotes failed to gain the equalizer in this situation, MacLean’s instructions in front of the team could signal a change in the way coaching is handled. As an assistant coach, MacLean, along with Scott Allen, form the core of Tocchet’s staff. There is also Jon Elkin and Corey Schwab, both goalie coaches, who split their time between the Coyotes and the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate. There’s also Steve Peters, the video coach and Dawn Braid, the skating coach. “The role of an assistant completely depends on the head coach,” said Allen. “It’s about what the head coach wants, what he is looking for and he sets the tone. It’s his foundation that we have to work under, but each coach is different.” The role and responsibilities of assistant coaches have evolved and have developed with greater importance. At the same time, it’s necessary for an assistant to be flexible and recognize the coach’s personality and direction.
“I pride myself on the ability to adopt to any kind of personality,” Allen added. “It’s whatever that guy wants and that’s what I will give.” With a greater emphasis now on video and analytics comes more areas. That would include tendencies, trends, matchups and how players fare in certain situa-
tions, as well as key locations about the rink. Previously, assistant coaches usually directed practices and had marginal input into game planning. Within recent years, assistant coaches could be found directing special teams and organizations usually have an assistant working with defensemen, while another assistant directs forwards and the power play. For Tocchet, the role of the assistant is more mental, a greater emphasis on the physiological aspect of the game and building relationships. “You have to get closer to players these days,“ Tocchet said. “You have to be in a position that they trust you and be honest with you. Younger players today can accept the honesty and to them, it’s why. This is
the ‘why’ millennials, and they want to know why. You just can’t tell them what to do. They want to know why.” For a game that moves as fast as hockey and several moves on the ice tend to be instinctual, instructions and “X’s” and “O’s” can be difficult to implement. Through experiences, coaches will develop a game plan, but now, assistants take on a greater role in implementation. The result tends to be a division of labor and a fine line between strategy employed by the head coach, execution of that direction by the assistant and acceptance by the players. The latest trend is to delegate more authority to the assistants. When MacLean took over with his instructions, that was demonstrated at the end of that Columbus game. “I think that’s important,” Tocchet said of giving assistants more authority. “If you’re a dominant coach and always speaking and being involved, players get tired of hearing you all the time. I think it’s a little bit of flavor thing. It’s no different than I was in Pittsburgh and I did that stuff. It’s important to give your assistant coaches autonomy.” To arm assistants with the decision-making process, Allen notes that coaching and game preparation has changed dramatically. Technology, the most pronounced feature of the game, has pushed hockey clearly into the 21st century. “The psychology, for sure, has changed, but also technology,” Allen said. “Everything we do now is on computers. We have so much access to not only video, but to information in general. If you want to do the job of an assistant the right way, you better have a handle on the guys as individuals and embrace the technology.” AZRubberHockey.com
Flagstaff Family FYHA, NAU continue to develop, grow partnership on numerous levels in Northern Arizona with hockey sense, a kid with great hands, a kid that protects the puck better, and someone that never misses a pass. There are reasons some kids are really good at certain aspects of the game. It’s important to show players that they are more than capable of being a goal scorer, or a playmaker – it’s little things and hard work that make players the way they are and having high-level players help coach will definitely make a difference.” FYHA 12U White goalie Nick Gingold shared his experiences with the Icejacks coaches. “I feel like an NHL goalie,” said Gingold. “Why? Well, I have free gear and nice-looking suits and hats. I also have an incredible goalie coach from NAU, Jaxson Gosnell, that teaches me new things every time he’s out on the ice with me. I only make $100 per year from birthday money, but who cares? It’s money. I hope NAU will continue helping all of us at FYHA to evolve into better hockey players. Thank you, coaches.” Lengyel responded to his younger counterpart. “We have had their dreams, and we know exactly what it’s like going through the journey as a kid from Flagstaff,” said Lengyel. “The three of us (Lengyel, Auston Gooch, Rayce Miller) helping out with 16U, we all moved thousands of miles away from home to play the sport we love. I was their age when I went to boarding school in Minnesota to play, so I know the dream is still very much alive in these guys. “We know what’s next for these kids if they choose to follow hockey past high school and I wish I had someone with firsthand experience to help me understand the next stage when I was their age.” Johanson, a former FYHA youth player, enjoys the camaraderie with the Northstars. “FYHA has always had a big place in my heart,” he said. “I started my hockey career over 30 years ago playing for FYHA, so it brings back good memories when I’m on the ice with the FYHA kids and starting to travel with my sons and seeing them doing the things we did as kids.”
By Matt Mackinder
lagstaff is roughly 140 miles from the Phoenix hockey hub, but that doesn’t mean that the Northern Arizona town is a budding hockey hotbed in its own right. With a growing youth hockey association in the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association and a nationally-ranked ACHA college hockey program at Northern Arizona University, the town is on the fast track to being on par with Valley and Valley-area associations. And a new rink on the NAU campus in the immediate future will help, too. “FYHA has seen an increased interest in competitive hockey and has added a second AZYHL team at the 10U and 12U ages,” said Northstars president Jamie Miele. “The kids of our organization are what makes this fun. Watching them improve on and off the ice is a pleasure. The way they hold each other accountable, encourage each other and teach each other is awesome to watch. We are helping to grow some great humans. “NAU helps FYHA with coaching and gives our young players some great role models. Seeing collegiate hockey players, some of which are graduates of FYHA, is encouragement to keep up the dedication needed to be excellent hockey players. We are also fortunate to have NAU coaches Kris Walsh and Travis Johanson be part of the core coaching staff of our 6U/8U program. We look forward to many years of their involvement.” FYHA also provides scholarship support to NAU players each year. The Flagstaff Avalanche high school program is also trending upward. The JV team captured a state championship earlier this month to further show that the county seat of Coconino County has a hockey-rich environment. Miles Lengyel, a Flagstaff native and FYHA graduate now playing at NAU, has helped coach the FYHA 16U team this year and has found the experience “extremely rewarding.” “I grew up playing in Flagstaff, so I know what it’s like playing on a team with 12 players and having only a couple lines of ‘D’ and forwards,” said Lengyel. “I was very excited Players from Northern Arizona University’s hockey team have become coaches and to help coach these kids, and many of them I mentors to Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association players, much to the excitement of COLLEGE LIFE both programs. Photo/Wyatt Rutt Photography knew beforehand from volunteering back when Northern Arizona has emerged as a peI was playing Bantams and high school here in Flagstaff. It was hard to juggle be- rennial force in ACHA circles each season and that looks to be the same this year ing a college student, playing for the college team, working and then volunteering as the IceJacks have been at or near the top of the Division II rankings all season. the time I did have coaching the U16s. I would have liked to make it out to more “At NAU, we have been able to add a Division III team and become one of the practices but like I said, it’s not all rest and relaxation being a student. top teams in the West year after year,” said Johanson. “Now, we are getting recog“It was a great experience to be working with some talented kids. They always nized by the school, which may have help in the decision to have a rink on campus take what you say to heart and try their best to correct themselves and ultimately, that we can hopefully use in the near future.” become better hockey players. It was clear they looked up to us NAU guys and Johanson added that the philosophy at NAU is two-fold. wanted to learn from us. I think having NAU players help out these teams is some“For me, development on the NAU team results in winning and we are trying thing that needs to happen at all levels.” to be a national contender each year,” he said. “But you can’t make it to Nationals Lengyel added that coaching the Northstars is not a chore and is something he without winning.” genuinely does with a purpose. Walsh noted how he first became involved at NAU and said it was a chance “The coaching is great at FYHA and all of the head coaches genuinely care that paid off. about the development of these players,” said Lengyel. “Adding current college “It was in 2009 when A.J. Fairchild and Keith Johanson approached me to be players into that mix will only increase the development of these players year by the next head coach of the Division III program,” Walsh remembered. “They had an year. We know the current game of hockey and how it’s being played. The little idea to split into two teams and needed someone to take over the D-III squad. I was things that go unnoticed to parents watching a game can make a huge impact on players themselves. Every team has a goal-scorer, a big hitter, a speed guy, a kid Continued to Page 9 6
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
California events unveil secret behind OneHockey success By Kevin Conway
ou only get one chance to make a memorable first impression, and OneHockey California’s debut last Thanksgiving weekend certainly passed the test. During the first holiday extravaganza in its home state for the world’s No. 1 hockey tournament organizer, 34 West Coast teams descended on the L.A. Kings IceTown rinks in Riverside for their introduction to the acclaimed OneHockey Experience, forever changing those players’ and coaches’ expectations of what a youth hockey tournament should deliver on and off the ice. “Nobody around here has ever seen anything like us before,” said Sebastien Fortier, the Laguna Hills resident who founded OneHockey in 2003. “They loved the tournament, and there’s going to be more to come. We’re going to hold tournaments in California pretty much every holiday weekend.” The next one took place this month back in Riverside for the OneHockey California-Presidents Day Weekend tourney, which ran Feb. 16-19. This festival-like spectacle was a five-game-guaranteed event that featured competition for the Pee Wee through Midget/high school age groups at the B, A and AA levels. “We impressed tons people during Thanksgiving weekend with nearly 40 teams for a first-time tournament,” said Fortier. “And we impressed a whole bunch more Presidents Day weekend. We are definitely impressing them at the IceTown rinks in Carlsbad and Riverside and soon, around more arenas around California.” The Icetown rinks in both communities are year-round facilities owned and operated by the NHL franchise that of-
fer everything from youth and adult hockey to figure skating, be/9NtZfsyj21c) that recaps the 2017 event for a brief initiasled hockey and broomball. Players from Southern California tion to what the OneHockey Experience is all about. as well as the Southwest corner of the country are certainly “If they watch this video, they’ll say, ‘Whoa, this is crafamiliar with the Riverside and Carlsbad twin-sheet locations. zy! We have to play in this!’” he insists. But these same players could soon be shut out from these A OneHockey event is anything but your everyday tourevents in their own backyards due to the popularity of the nament at your neighborhood rink. The experience starts recently that added stops on the OneHockey calendar. by transforming each venue into a OneHockey Arena with “It’s going to become more difficult for Southern Cali- hundreds of feet of banners, posters and flags. That’s folfornia, Arizona and even Colorado teams to play in our lowed with the amusing mascot and festive music streamtournaments here because we ing throughout each rink as expect soon that more than 50 well as a mini-expo of vendors percent of the teams playing in and red carpet social media these new events will be from interviews taking place in the outside this area,” said Fortier, lobby. And, of course, there’s whose group organizes and the trademark championship celebrations complete with hosts more than 25 tournathe OneHockey Cup raising ments year-round around the and non-alcoholic champagne world, including a once-in-ashowers. lifetime opportunity to play in Besides providing the most Moscow this August thanks to a partnership with legendary The Ontario Jr. Reign celebrates a Pee Wee A division entertaining events the indusRussian goaltender Vladislav championship during this past Thanksgiving week- try has to offer, OneHockey will also be making history in Tretiak. “Teams from across end’s OneHockey tournament in Riverside. the U.S. and Canada follow OneHockey wherever we go, December as Fortier’s group embarks on setting a Guinand we’re already receiving a lot of interest in our Califor- ness World Record for hosting the largest tournament ever. OneHockey is partnering with the Michigan Amateur nia tournaments for next season.” Later in 2018, OneHockey will return to the IceTown Hockey Association to put on the largest tourney the sport locations for Memorial Day and Fourth of July tourneys as has ever seen during the Holiday Invite 2018 across the well as the second Thanksgiving weekend extravaganza. Great Lakes State. California and Southwest U.S. youth Fortier urges the West Coast youth hockey community to hockey programs interested in being part of a world-record take a moment to view the YouTube video (https://youtu. hockey festival can register at www.OneHockey.com.
ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION
Olson, Tenboer join AHU’s Mite to Midget Loyalty Club By Bryan O’Sullivan
n hockey, there is one thing that is certain – teams will change. Whether it be players changing teams, organizations or just losing the passion for the game, it is becoming a rare occurrence that a player sticks with an organization throughout their youth hockey career. Because of this, the Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) recognized the need to highlight their players for their loyalty and trust. Started in 2011, the Mite to Midget Loyalty club showcases players that have been with the AHU organization from Mites to Midgets, without any changes in travel association throughout their entire youth hockey career. This year, AHU honors two players, Nate Olson and Chloe Tenboer, who are currently teammates on AHU’s 16U Black team under coach Scott Gusso, and will induct them into the Mite to Midget Loyalty Club as the Class of 2017.
Nate’s interest in hockey came from his oldest brother, Zach, who is eight years older than Nate, but that did not deter the two from spending hours in the driveway working on stickhandling and passing. Today, when Zach is home visiting, they always return to the driveway and attend as many stick time sessions as they can at AZ Ice. Nate first started playing hockey as a Mite in the
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
initiation program run by Holly Harrington and Kurt Goar, with brother Zach and his dad helping out when they could. To this day, Holly still calls Nate by the name on his first helmet, “Zach,” or whatever name she thinks of at the time. Nate then moved to the Gilbert house league with his dad coaching and Zach helping out. Eventually, Nate moved on to play for Nathan Saydyk and Scott Wallis on the Gilbert Haymakers Pee Wee Select team. Nate still takes pride in
the “Mr. Bo Dangles” nickname given to him by Wallis. Nate first played travel hockey when he was a Bantam playing for AHU and Brian May.
Chloe first started skating when she was 18 months old with her sister’s figure skating coach, Holly Harrington. When she was five, she was put in hockey skates to correct some bad skating habits.
She started playing ice hockey at AZ Ice Gilbert in 2009 with the Kid’s First hockey program and then on to Mini-Mites. Her tenacity was quickly realized and she moved up to Mites. Over the next two years, Chloe really begin to develop, being chosen for the coveted Selects program at both the Mite and Squirt level multiple times. As a second-year Squirt, she was selected to play on the AHU Pee Wee White team under Wade Kelsall. She has continued to play for AHU each season, including Pee Wee White with Bob Platt and Chris Rees, Pee Wee Black with Rees and Wallis, Bantam Black with Rees, Matt Esaena and Wallis, and now as a second-year Bantam under Gusso, Esaena, Nick Beatty and Jim Olson. She has also benefited greatly from private coaching over the years, including Platt, Harrington and Colten St. Clair. Some of Chole’s favorite memories are winning the 2012 Scottsdale Turkey Shoot with the Gilbert Squirt Selects, receiving the team MVP award from AHU Pee Wee White, coaches Platt and Rees, going to Disneyland with her AHU Pee Wee Black team and winning the state championship with AHU Bantam Black. Chloe attended the USA Hockey State Development Camp for the first time last year and was one of only two girls selected from her birth year to advance to the Multi District Camp in Colorado Springs, where she had the opportunity to play hockey with other girls her age from 19 different states. She is excited about the opportunity to be selected to attend the Multi District Camp again this year.
Northstars, IceJacks relationships growing on, off ice Continued from Page 6 honored at the opportunity as I am an alum of NAU and very involved in the hockey community. In my eight seasons, I was able to attend the regional tournament four times, attend the national tournament three times and was runner-up for 2013 Pacific Region Coach of the Year. Now, I am helping coach the D-II team and working with the team officers to help the organization grow to the next level.” As Lengyel alluded to, the NAU hockey college lifestyle includes assisting the Northstars, something Johanson calls a situation that is beneficial to both organizations. Gosnell works with the goalies, Max Mahood has run a series of power skating clinics and Lengyel, Miller and Gooch have helped with power skating. “It is good to get the NAU guys out to help the kids,” Johanson said. “The kids idolize the NAU guys and look up to them, so when they tell the kids something, it might go a little further and give them the idea or something to watch and try that they see at an NAU game.” “One of my personal goals, now that I am involved with FYHA, is to help every kid get to their greatest potential,” added Walsh. “It’s super exciting when they start grasping new concepts and are excelling on their skates. Having the two programs work together is essential to the growth of both programs. The FYHA kids really look up to the NAU players and it’s great to have the NAU players teach what they have learned over the years to the kids. “Both groups really benefit from it.” YOUTH DEVELOPMENT In college, the NAU players are past the develop-
mental phase and are now working to fine-tune their skills to play for national titles. The Northstars players are still learning fundamentals, grasping game strategy and adjusting to game play. Johanson coaches the FYHA 8U team and sees the development taking place daily. “Having coached 6U and currently coaching 8U for FYHA, it’s all about development and passing knowledge and building skills with the kids, but you can’t go out and get beat all year and keep the kids interested,” said Johanson. “Our 8U team lost the first six games this
As hockey at the youth and college levels continues to blossom in Flagstaff, so, too, do the opportunities for the Northstars and IceJacks associations to work together. Photo/Wyatt Rutt Photography
year. When we won five out of six in our last Mite Jamboree, there was a new interest and attitude to strive, work and learn more at practice on Monday after a few wins.” Walsh is in agreement with Johanson. “When I’m coaching the 8U kids, I am strictly focused on the elements of the game, not really worried about the scoring outcome,” Walsh said. “I want them
to develop good habits at an early age. With the NAU program, we are focused on execution and winning. Quite different, but we also don’t want the NAU players developing bad habits, so we work on consistency as well.” Kevin Tye is a past president of FYHA and a current Board of Directors member. He said knowing how to think the game and how to react on the ice goes a long way. “Skill development is our philosophy,” Tye said. “Winning is great, but a skilled team can play less skilled teams and win any time. We want to develop skill at 8U and 10U and have those players continue to improve and play at a higher skill level every year so that by the time they are 14U and 16U, they are playing a very competitive level of hockey.” MOVING FORWARD With more ice down the line, the potential exists to expand FYHA even more. “FYHA has reached its program capacity with our current ice availability,” explained Tye. “To continue to grow, we need another sheet of ice so that we can have more sessions of our 6U/8U program and engage more younger players. Additionally, more ice would mean more availability for skills sessions development of our older players.” At the end of the day, hockey means family, especially in Flagstaff, and that’s what carries the most weight. “Being part of the hockey community is something very special,” said Walsh. “Everyone treats everyone like family and sticks together through the ups and downs of the season. The hockey season is very long and can be challenging mentally and physically, so having a family-like culture is huge when you have bad days.”
ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION COACH'S CORNER
This is what makes a good playoff hockey team A
team is a group of individuals that work TOGETHER for a common goal – to win. In order to win, you have to do it together because no one is better than the team. Winning is not easy, and that’s St. Clair why not everyone can win every time they do something. That’s why the group that does it together – who wants it more – usually wins. Making it to the playoffs is every team’s goal. That’s the first step of a good season. Step two is to make it all the way after making the playoffs. Playoffs are a different breed. The intensity is ramped up and the drive to win is increased. That’s why playing as a team to sacrifice is the one goal everyone should have.
Play like a warrior. The term “play like it’s your last The team willing to do whatever it takes to win is the team that usually comes out on top. You have to game” is a real thing. Especially for that season, play like it’s your last game because in the playoffs, you buy in, be confident, and play like a warrior. Buying in is the hardest thing for a coach to get never know when it really is going to be your last game. through to his players. Every kid wants to score goals, but will that kid block a shot or be on the fourth line for energy to better the team? Not every kid will, but if you get everyone to do what they are supposed to do, then your team will be successful after the game and as a whole. Be confident, and don’t change your games. You were successful throughout the seaPlay 100 percent all the son, so don’t change anything up. time and play like you want to Strive in the moment – playmake a difference. The end offs are the most fun part of the result of you giving your best season because all the hard work effort will feel like a sense of is starting to pay off. Have fun Gilbert native Colten St. Clair was part of the with it and be a team player and NCAA Division I championship team at the Uni- accomplishment. Enjoy the moment and evstay within your role. versity of North Dakota back in 2016. Photo/Ruseryone, have fun with playoffs. I To be honest, I would rather sell Hons Photography/UND Athletics win a championship by being a team player than lose guarantee you it will be some of your best experiences you may ever go through. in the first round by being selfish.
Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union. AZRubberHockey.com
JR. SUN DEVILS
Jr. Sun Devils teams looking to shine in AZYHL playoffs By Jack Harris
s the temperatures begin to warm around the Valley, so, too, does the intensity of Arizona’s youth hockey season. The Arizona Amateur Hockey Association has completed the Tier I state playoffs, with the Tier II games fast approaching. Both decide state champions and award USA Hockey Youth Nationals tournament berths. But postseason glory doesn’t end there. Once again this year, the Arizona Youth Hockey League (AZYHL) will stage postseason league playoffs to decide de facto state champions for Arizona’s younger levels of competition. For the more than a half dozen Desert Youth Hockey Association teams in the AZYHL, it provides a golden opportunity to create a memorable postseason moment. Without the AZYHL playoffs, Jr. Sun Devils teams like Jon Koshiol’s 10U Major Squirts might have ended their year with a more low-key regular season tournament against unfamiliar out-of-state competition. But as they wind down the final weeks of the year, Koshiol’s group has set their sights on winning their league championship. It is an opportunity that his group will be focused on in their last practices and during an upcoming trip to Fargo, N.D., for a challenging weekend tournament.
“That’s pretty much our goal,” Koshiol said. “Our main goal for the kids is that we want to try and win the end-of-the-season championships.” Even his young group of players is anxiously awaiting the chance to stake a claim as the top team in the region. “That’s something that gives them a goal to shoot for,” Koshiol said. “To have something to look forward to at the end of the season is important.” Founded a few years ago, the AZYHL brought together teams in Arizona and from other southwest markets (this year, for example, Koshiol’s division includes teams from Phoenix, Flagstaff, Las Vegas and El Paso) to try and structure a more consistent schedule for younger age levels. Koshiol admitted the results have been both positive and negative. On the one hand, he acknowledged the simplified scheduling work his team manager has had to do this year, but also noted that it has become tougher for his group to schedule non-league scrimmages against opponents playing in a different AZYHL division. “There’s pros and cons to doing that, having a league
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that is more structured versus just making it optional and setting up scrimmages,” Koshiol said. For example, this year, Koshiol’s Jr. Sun Devils have played each of their six division foes twice, compiling a 9-3-0 record in the 12 games, good enough for a second-place regular-season finish. “(The league) determined who would be in each division based off a seeding tournament (at the beginning of the season),” Koshiol said. “(That decided) how many games it would be and then our managers just worked together to put up the schedule.” They can turn that into a first-place championship bid in the playoffs next month. Years ago, the old Sonoran Youth Hockey League and Grand Canyon State Games gave now-AZYHL teams the chance for a state playoff run. The new league has brought that exhilaration back. It also provides the opportunity for another learning experience for the young Jr. Sun Devils bunch. “We’ve got to come together as a team, will be supporting one another and will be passing as a team and competing as a team,” Koshiol said of how his group will prepare for the season-concluding event, lessons that will pay dividends for his players throughout their youth hockey careers. “You can have great talent on your team and a few talented individuals that can control a game, but when everybody is working together and the machine is working together, you are going to have a lot more success.”
IN A DEVILISH MOOD Here’s why I always want the shot blocker on my team I have been around many rinks and engaged in hundreds of conversations about what it takes to be a really good hockey player. Talent is obviously a no-brainer, but being a truly gifted hockey McCaughey player takes a lot more than just talent. If I am picking from a group of young players to start my team and I see a player out there who is blocking shots like crazy, I have probably found my first pick. This player’s willingness to block shots tells me more about his/her attitude than anything else, and here’s why: 1. This player is not selfish and has a teamfirst attitude. He/she is willing to do what’s best for the team and is putting the team’s needs ahead of their own. 2. This player is coachable. Blocking shots is a skill that needs to be taught in order to be done
correctly and thereby reducing your chances for injury. Players get hurt blocking shots when they expose parts of their body that do not have protective padding on it i.e. the “flamingo” shot blocker that raises one leg and turns his/her back to the shooter. Some coach spent some time with this player showing him/her the correct way to block shots and this player was not only able to perform the feat correctly, but also sees the importance of making it a part of his/her game. 3. This player is a defensive-minded player and understands that if the other team does not score, they cannot win. Everyone likes to boast about the goal-scorers, but I am one who believes that defense wins hockey. I tell all my players that “100 percent of the shots that miss the net don’t go in.” The same can be said about the defensive zone with “every shot you prevent from hitting your net eliminates a goal scoring opportunity against you.” I love players that understand this and let’s face it, if your little goal-scorer scores three goals a game, but is on the ice for four goals a game against, is he/she really helping the team win? After all, hockey is the ultimate team sport where the only points that matter are the two points for the win. When you move up to higher levels, players who cannot be trusted defensively find themselves on the bench in the third period
when their team is enjoying a small lead. 4. This player is a leader. That does not mean that this player is the vocal leader on the team and may or may not be a captain or assistant captain but rather that he/she leads by example and lets their play do the talking. Leaders make everybody around them better and you can bet that everyone on the team appreciates this player when they make a big shot block and inspires other team members to do the same. The majority of hockey is played without the puck and therefore, what you do without the puck is the most important aspect of any players’ game. 5. This player is tough and plays with guts. Coaches like these types of players. This player is not afraid to get hit by the puck and knows that blocking that shot is important to the team. In my opinion, us coaches need to make sure we are pointing out these players’ heroics to the team, especially at the younger levels. The star of the game is always the player who scored multiple points or the goalie who stopped all the shots, not that they don’t deserve it, but we also need to let the shot blocker know that they played a major role in the team’s victory as well. In order to become a good hockey player, you need to become very good at doing the “little things” – and shot blocking is a BIG little thing!
Brad McCaughey is the director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief for DYHA. AZRubberHockey.com
TAHOE HOCKEY ACADEMY
As Year 3 on tap, THA attracting players from across U.S. By Greg Ball
t may only be February, but while the focus of the student-athletes at Tahoe Hockey Academy is solely on academics and their teams’ performance on the ice, administrators are already deep into their planning for next year. After nearly two full academic years and hockey seasons, THA has established itself as a known quantity among high school-aged hockey players and their parents. Families know that the academy has delivered on its promise to provide a top-notch educational environment and to give young hockey players the tools to improve their skills and prepare for the next level. In turn, that has made generating interest in attending the academy significantly easier than it was two years ago or even after the academy’s first year. Open enrollment started in early February, and already Tahoe has had three new players commit – one from Alaska, one from Texas and another from New Jersey. The academy has even hosted a player from New Zealand who is interested in attending. “It’s been a crazy road that we’ve been on as the buzz has built around us,” said Tahoe prep team coach Mike Lewis. “To think that people are coming to us from everywhere from Alaska to New Zealand is maybe not something we would have expected would happen so quickly. It has been great.” Tahoe has iced a high school team and a prep team the last two seasons, and if interest continues on its cur-
rent path, the academy may add a junior varsity squad next year in conjunction with the local high school. THA has put itself in position to be an attractive place to play and develop hockey skills by building brand new dormitories, adding a fully renovated, college-style locker room to their rink, signing an affiliation agreement with the USPHL’s Potomac Patriots and pursuing entry next season into the new and highly competitive NAHL Prep league. “During that first year, the hardest thing was just getting your name out there, because nobody had ever heard of us,” Lewis said. “We were trying to sell people on the idea of what we were trying to do. Now, we have had the exposure of playing outside of California and the success we have had. Where it used to be us knocking on peoples’ doors, now they’re knocking on our doors saying ‘I’ve heard about you guys and everything you’re doing. I’d like to see if you can help my son.’ It makes the conversations a lot easier when people already know who we are.” Lewis and varsity coach Leo Fenn, along with the rest of the academy’s coaches and administrators, will find themselves on the road plenty in upcoming months, continuing to spread the word about Tahoe Hockey
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Academy and educating those who may already be interested. At the end of March, they will have a presence at a showcase in Burbank, Calif., featuring many of the top teams from East Coast prep schools. Run by Peter Torsson, the director of hockey with the California Golden Bears, it’s an event that Tahoe Hockey Academy expressed in attending last year. Torsson suggested they take a year to prove themselves, and because they’ve done that so well, he welcomed them with open arms this year. They’ll also travel to Colorado for the CCM Hockey Showcase in May, as well as the Global Las Vegas Hockey Camp and Clinic in Las Vegas in June. “Having the academic and athletic arms synced together and having it where kids aren’t traveling hours each day to practices is huge,” Lewis said. “When we talk to parents, they understand that our kids are like-minded in their pursuit of hockey development and strong academics. It really resonates with a lot of parents because so many of them are interested not only in their kids becoming the best hockey players they can be, but focusing on their schoolwork and preparing themselves for higher education.”
COYOTES AMATEUR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
Olympic Fever putting ice skating events at forefront and 2016. With Gold’s addition, the Ice Den continues to ence skating is taking center stage at both the Ice Den hance its nationally-recognized programs by offering Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler this month as the facili- Valley skaters the opportunity to train and perform under ties showcase their Olympic Fever program. the guidance of world-class athletes who understand the And they’re doing it in style with the conditioning, commitment and drive rerecent announcement that two-time Unitquired to compete at the highest level. ed States champion and 2014 Olympian “We are honored that Gracie chose Gracie Gold has joined the professional the Ice Dens to launch her coaching cafigure skating coaching staff. reer,” said Ice Den vice president of skatGold will now work alongside two ing and programming Julie Patterson. Olympians already on staff in Steven “We have no doubt that her ideas and expertise will Cousins and Naomi Lang, while Lyndhave an immesey Fry – a Gilbert native and former diate and posOlympian in hockey in 2014 – is hosting a itive impact youth skills development clinic on Feb. 25 on our pro(in addition to her annual summer camp) at grams. She is a role model for many of the Ice Den Chandler and the Ice Den will our skaters and we are thrilled that she also host a free “Learn to Speed Skate” will play a role in their development.” class as well. Cousins was the 1993 Skate CanJust 22, Gold first started skating at Gracie Gold, a two-time United States the age of eight and will teach advanced national champion and 2014 Olympi- ada International bronze medalist and skaters of all ages at both the Ice Den an, has joined the Ice Den’s profes- an eight-time British national champion. sional figure skating coaching staff. Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler. He finished as high as sixth at the 1998 She was the 2012 World Junior silver medalist and a Olympics, seventh at the 1998 World Championships and two-time U.S. national champion (2014 and 2016). At the fourth at the 1996 European Championships. With skating partner Peter Tchernyshev, Lang was a 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Gold received a bronze medal in the team event and placed fourth in the ladies’ two-time Four Continents champion (2000, 2002), a fivesingle skating competition. Her highest place at a World time U.S. national champion (1999-2003) and competed Championship is fourth, achieved consecutively in 2015 at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Lang was also the By Matt Mackinder
first Native American female athlete to participate in the Winter Olympics. “Similar to our hockey programs, our ‘Learn to Skate’ and figure skating programs continue to see tremendous growth each season,” said Ice Den vice president of marketing and communications Marcy Fileccia. “Our ‘Learn to Skate’ program consistently ranks in the top 10 in the country for participant numbers. By offering such a strong entry-level program, we build a foundation and pipeline of future hockey skaters and figure skaters who then transition into those sports.” Fileccia added that it is quite a bonus to have Olympians on staff to teach and instruct. “Having experienced coaches who have competed at the highest level in our sport provides unmeasurable value to our program,” Fileccia said. “Much like having a former NHL player coach a hockey team, the Olympians know the commitment and dedication that it takes to achieve that goal. For our skaters to have access to their insight, experiences, successes and struggles is a huge benefit.” And as the interest and participation in ice skating continues to boom in Arizona as a whole, Fileccia noted that handling that growth can be challenging, but in a good way. “Recognizing that ice is at a premium in the state, it is sometimes a challenge to balance the growth,” said Fileccia. “Our goal is to continue to provide the highest quality programming for all of our participants.”
Offering men’s and women’s league play, skills clinics, open hockey and stick time sessions. Whether you are a beginner new to the sport, an experienced player or somewhere in between, the CAHL is your home for adult hockey in Arizona.
9375 E Bell Road Scottsdale, AZ 85260
7225 W Harrison Street Chandler, AZ 85226
April - August
ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
Quartet of state champions crowned at Ice Den Scottsdale By Matt Mackinder
he first weekend in February saw four state championship games contested at the Ice Den Scottsdale and four teams skate away with Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) hardware as the best in the state in their division. Pinnacle (Division 1), Centennial (Division 2), Corona (Division 3) and Flagstaff (JV) were crowned champions, while Pinnacle will now represent the state at USA Hockey Youth Nationals next month in Plymouth, Minn. “Winning never gets old – there couldn’t be a truer statement when it comes to winning, especially if the win comes along with the title of state champions,” said Pinnacle coach Glenn Karlson, whose team defeated Notre Dame 1-0. “Our expectations for Nationals are to win. The boys are capable of competing on that stage and it is the coaches’ opinion this team is built to compete at that level. We are fully aware that we will be competing against the best other states have to offer, but we have the utmost confidence in our team. Expectations and the bar are set high for us.”
Centennial downed Horizon 4-3, while Corona topped Campo Verde 6-5 in overtime and Flagstaff beat Mountain Ridge 2-1 with the D-1 game played in front of YouTube sensation Pavel Barber. “It’s difficult to win a championship, but to do it back to back is a great reflection of the kids’ hard
team was destined to accomplish.” “The feeling is amazing,” added Corona coach Ryan Sell. “We saw that smart team play and good goaltending goes a long way in the playoffs.” Flagstaff co-coach Brian Petersen said his team’s goal was to win states from Day 1. “Winning this year is especially sweet,” Petersen said. “We, as a team, set the goal after our first game and we achieved this goal. As a coach, it is always fun to see kids progress in their hockey ability and also in their character, but also come to realize that (as Herb Brooks said in ‘Miracle’) the letters on the front of the jersey are much more important than the letters on the back of the jersey.” From an administrative standpoint, Kenny McGinley, an AHSHA Board member and one of the tournament’s organizers, said he came away with a sense of pride that weekend in Scottsdale. “This year’s event was a tremendous success,” said McGinley. “Throughout the entire playoffs, we experienced rePhotos/GarrenTee Photograph cord attendance and the crowds were work and dedication to the team,” Centennial coach treated to great action. The Ice Den Scottsdale proGreg Vaughn said. “We had what it takes to get to vided a fantastic atmosphere and experience for our the championship game and win it, something this players and fans.”
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INLINE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION OF ARIZONA
IHAAZ season rolling on as second half of season on tap By Brian Lester
he IHAAZ season has reached the midway point of the season and each division has its share of interesting storylines. The 8U division is owned by the Knighthawks, at least for the time being. They have won all three festivals to date, but the Prescott Storm has used the festivals as learning experiences. At the festival in Yuma over the Feb. 9-11 weekend at Kennedy Memorial Park, the Storm got as close to beating the Knighthawks as anyone, falling 7-5 in their head-to-head showdown. It’s possible the two teams will battle it out again in tightly contested games during the second half of the season. Sam Koch and was the division leader heading into Yuma, having tallied 31 points. Hunter Matthews and Landon Jans are also having solid seasons. Declan Yates of the Knighthawks and Zach Turner of the Storm have been impressive in goal during the first half. The Knighthawks Green team has dominated the 10U division, having not lost a game all year. The Knighthawks have won most of their games via the 8-0 mercy rule. The Wildcats sit in second place and won’t go down without a fight in the battle for the division title. They’ve been competitive against the Knighthawks thanks to the play of Eli Shulman and could be in a position to win a state title in May. The Knighthawks Green team is led by Brandon Gorzynski, who has tallied 58 points in
three festivals. Reece Curry has dominated in goal for the Knighthawks Green, stopping more than 82 percent of the shots he has faced. The Knighthawks and Wildcats have battled it out for the top spot in the 12U division and as of mid-February, the Wildcats lead the division. The two teams will meet two more times during the festival season and those
The most recent IHAAZ festival, held in Yuma over the Feb. 9-11 weekend at Kennedy Memorial Park, earned more rave reviews as the teams all thrived in competition. Photo/IHAAZ
matchups will help determine how the division race plays out. Dominik Barber has been a key to the Wildcats’ success, tallying more than 40 points on the season. In the 14U Division, the Royals have emerged as the team to beat, remaining perfect through three festivals. Their depth has been key to their success as they feature
a roster with 12 players, although only 4-7 players show up for each festival due to various conflicts with the ice hockey teams that their players are on. Despite who shows up, though, they are ready to go for the Royals and that has kept the team at the top of the standings. The Tucson Wildcats have played the Royals close in all three of their meetings but haven’t quite been able to knock the off. Oren Strohm is one of the reasons why. He has been the Royals’ most impressive scorer in the two festivals he has played in this season. The Midget Division is the largest in IHAAZ this season and no doubt, the most competitive as well. The Royals Blue and White teams are among the contenders, as is the Yuma Black team. Yuma Black came out of the most recent festival as owners of the top spot in the division with 26 points. The Royals White have 19 points and the Royals Blue has 18 as a lot is still left to be decided. The Northern Arizona Yeti, along with the Yuma Red and Knighthawks, have been competitive at times, never going down without a fight. The Yeti actually jumped into fourth place after the most recent festival. From an offensive standpoint, Logan Estes of the Yuma Black has been the standout. He has come through with more than 35 points on the year, and no other player is even close to catching him. Yuma Black also has great goaltending with Rhett Teeter between the pipes. He has saved nearly 90 percent of the shots he has faced this season.
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Bird-Coppola-Steele line thriving for Mission 18U squad By Greg Ball
eremy Goltz described it as some of the most fun he’s ever had in a hockey rink. The players make it sound just as electric. A new first-line offense has emerged for Mission AZ’s 18U team this season and according to Goltz, the director of hockey operations for Mission AZ, it has quickly become of the most successful trios he has ever coached. “We’ve had some pretty good lines in our history, and this one is right up there, if not the best,” Goltz said. “They complement each other, they’re all very skilled, and they can really open up the ice.” When Goltz calls out “Bird line intact,” center Kevin Bird, right wing Nicolas Coppola and left wing Chase Steele jump over the boards and light up the ice. “We sort of just click,” Steele explained. “All of us have played or currently play roller hockey, which helps with our vision and our transition game. We see the ice well and have improved on our down-low skills and quick puck movement on a lot of drills we do in practice, which helps with our muscle memory. “We have a couple big hitting defenseman on our team, so within the first week or so we learned we had better move the puck quickly and hard, or we would pay the price. We talk a lot on the ice, which is where the communication part comes in, and we like to keep things light and joke around even after wide-open net
misses. The line for me has been the most fun I’ve had playing unselfish hockey and trying to complete our on a line in my life and definitely the most successful. I team goal, which is winning the state championship. think it’s just three smart players coming together and This line has definitely been the best and most sucbeing unselfish hockey players. We’ve achieved this cessful line I have been on.” The three have all come from despite the fact that I haven’t different backgrounds in hockey, played with Kevin since I was yet they quickly latched on to the eight, and I have never played Mission model of hockey. on a team with Nick, just against “I have never had so much him. Our similar backgrounds fun playing on a line as I have have helped us thrive.” this year,” Bird said. “At Mission, The trio is all among the top we are taught to walk into the six scorers in the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association, helprink with a purpose and to strive ing Mission to a 7-2-1 record for perfection every single time we touch the ice. It’s an electric through mid-February. Coppola feeling knowing I play on a line leads the league with 12 goals with two guys who are commitand 11 assists in 10 games, ted to the jersey and do whatevwhile Bird has tallied 11 goals er it takes to win. and 11 assists, and Steele’s “We have found that playing stat line shows six scores and the Mission style of game and 14 helpers. letting our own personal skills “Ever since Coach Goltz put us on the same line, all three of The Mission AZ 18U first line of Chase Steele, Kevin show at the right time clearly us have just seemed to click,” Bird and Nicolas Coppola has made a major impact works. Not to mention, we have Coppola said. “We all have for the organization this season. three other lines and a defense amazing chemistry and always seem to know where that push us on a daily basis, so that definitely plays we all are on the ice. a huge role in keeping our level up consistently. As “We like to keep it light, and I think that just helps playdowns come closer every day, expectations are with our success. We all have mutual respect for each growing, and we are excited to meet the challenge other. I just think it’s a group of three hockey players that awaits us.”
TRYOUTS INFO COMING SOON!
Mission AZ Hockey Club MissionArizonaIce.org
NEW MEXICO REPORT From Albuquerque to the OHL: Warriors’ 12U team firing on all Gretz on developmental fast track cylinders with two tourney wins
By Matt Mackinder
By Matt Mackinder
arcus Gretz is a person and a hockey player that is clearly mature beyond his 16 years. And the Albuquerque native only turned 16 this past November. Entering the home stretch of his rookie junior hockey campaign with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Flint Firebirds, Gretz hasn’t seen a lot of team success, but that doesn’t deter the young defenseman. “I think I have improved a lot,” said Gretz. “And a lot of that is learning from older guys like Jalen Smereck, Fedor Gordeev and Nick Mattinen. They always help with the on-ice skills. My (former) roommate Ryan Moore was also a huge help to me teaching me how to be a pro on and off the ice (Moore was traded to the Hamilton Bulldogs in November).” The Firebirds currently sit last in the OHL’s Western Conference, out of the realm for a playoff berth. Again, Gretz finds the silver lining. “The boys have all stayed positive,” Gretz said. “We just keep working and believing in each other and we all trust that we will be just fine.” A second-round pick of the Firebirds in last April’s OHL Priority Selection draft, Gretz is elated at the fact that he’s looked upon to be a building block for Flint’s future. “It’s very exciting,” said Gretz. “We have an unbelievable young core and the sky will be the limit. We just want to finish strong this year and definitely playing our hardest until the last buzzer of the year is the goal so we don’t look back and say. ‘We could have done this or could have done that.’” During his youth days back home, Gretz played for the New Mexico Scorpions, New Mexico Renegades and Team New Mexico. He left New Mexico at the age of nine to play AAA hockey in Colorado for the Colorado Evolution and then the Colorado Thunderbirds, where he skated in the prestigious Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament in 2013-14. Gretz then moved to the Detroit suburbs to play AAA puck for Belle Tire before getting drafted by Flint.
he New Mexico Warriors’ 12U team has found success in two recent out-of-state tournaments. With wins at the Colorado Cup in Colorado and the Grizz Cup in Utah last month, the Pee Wee squad is brimming with confidence, showing that New Mexico hockey is definitely on the rise. “I feel the key for winning each tournament was that the team played very well together as one team,” said Warriors coach Vladimir Hartinger. “There was no room for individual play, especially when we played faster and more experienced teams.” Hartinger added that all season long, his Pee Wees have been consistently improving in all facets of the game. “I like how competitive our team is,” Hartinger said. “They never give up even if the game is not going well for us. I also like that all our players contribute to our success. It really was apparent when we played in Utah at the Grizz Cup. That was a tough tournament with a triple-overtime championship game (a 2-1 win over California’s Tri-Valley Blue Devils). They earned every win and we left as champions.” The Warriors’ 12U team is comprised of Emily Archuleta, Travis Arguello, Stryder Ball, Cashton Barnes, Ry Crozier, Aiden Garner, Taylor Hartinger, Max Kofchur, William Rahn, Digamo Richards, Gavin Richards, Aaron Thomas and Matthew Young and goaltenders Harrison Coe and Sean Terrell. Moving forward into the stretch run of the season, Hartinger is banking on the team’s success and improvement continuing. “Some my expectations for our team are for us to continue to get stronger and hopefully, continue being successful in our last two tournaments,” said Hartinger. “For our last two tournaments, we will continue to play A-level teams and challenge our team with some tough competition. I believe the CAN/AM Nashville and Arvada Winterfest tournaments will be our biggest challenges of the season. I hope we continue our success and our winning streak. “Being a coach, it’s always rewarding to see your team grow and develop their game throughout the season.”
OneHockey inviting Western clubs to help make history By Kevin Conway
he numbers are staggering. The logistics are astonishing. But what actually might be most remarkable about the Guinness World Records-validated OneHockey Holiday Invite 2018 this December is what inspired the notion of hosting the largest hockey tournament the sport has ever seen. “This idea came to me while I was sleeping – true story,” said OneHockey founder and COO Sebastien Fortier. “It was 2:48 in the morning in March of last year. I woke up with this idea, a clear, clear idea of what I wanted to do. So later, I contacted George Atkinson, Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) president, and he loved the idea, which is why they are supporting us.” Fortier’s concept is as simple as it is unnerving to orchestrate – organize the biggest hockey tournament the world has ever seen while giving the sport a boost in the state with the second largest membership in the nation. OneHockey selected the Great Lakes State as the site to attempt the world record-setting event as a way to support MAHA. Fortier said several thousand dollars in proceeds will be donated to the association. “Michigan has been going through hard economic times over the past few years, and we are so glad to give back to the state’s youth,” said Fortier, amazed by the response youth hockey programs from across the globe have shown since receiving a OneHockey invitation to make hockey history. The Records Management Team from Guinness World Records has officially recognized this extrava18
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ganza in its attempt to top the current tournament record, which was set at the 37th Annual Minor Hockey Week Tournament from Jan. 5-13, 2007, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. That tourney featured 664 teams, comprised of 10,992 players competing in 957 games on 42 sheets of ice. The OneHockey Holiday Invite 2018 is expected to shatter all those marks. “This is so exciting – hockey people are eating this up,” Fortier said. “Rarely do we talk to someone who is not interested. And the only reason why it’s not full right now is not everybody has heard about it yet.” The Ontario Jr. Reign, as well as other associations from Arizona and Colorado, are sending their entire programs to Michigan for the Christmas holiday vacation this year just to be part of this record-setting spectacular. “We can take one or two more full programs from California, Arizona, Colorado or another Western state,” Fortier said. “But these teams need to contact us now or they’re going to miss the boat. We already have several teams from Arizona, Colorado and California committed to this event, so why wait? You will be part of history.” Not including Michigan teams, which could number as many as four in each of the tourney’s 58 divisions, the Holiday Invite 2018 already has more than 450 teams
ready to invade 58 sheets of ice from Grand Rapids to Livonia. To boost both the number of entrants and talent level, Fortier is spending much of February scouting teams throughout Quebec, including those elite clubs attending the world-renowned Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. “If you’ve ever played in a OneHockey tournament and liked what you saw, you’re going to see a lot more in the Guinness tournament,” said Fortier, who began OneHockey in 2003 as a spring/summer tournament series but has expanded the organization to more than 25 worldwide events year-round. “It’s going to really come down to a bunch of 12-team tournaments. Even though we’ll have 700-plus teams, we’re considering each division as its own tournament.” For customer convenience, each division will play at one dedicated ice facility for the entire tournament, avoiding having to trek across the state for each game. Prospective teams are encouraged to view the Holiday Invite 2018 YouTube video at www.OneHockey.com to get a clearer understanding on how OneHockey will earn its place in the Guinness World Records book. “We expect to turn away hundreds, if not thousands of teams,” Fortier said. “I know we’ll have to decline a spot to so many teams, so I urge teams and programs not to wait. Make your commitment now.”
Divisional races heating up on eve of WCRHL regionals two guys and played a good man-on-man defense to come out with the win. “The other games were good wins for us to put us in third in the division and in a good spot to jump up even more. We are looking forward to the Huntington Beach tourney (the final WCRHL regular season event Feb. 17-18 in California) and want to go 6-0 in that one and think we can with the team we have.” Riffey tops NAU with 19 goals and 27 points on the season.
Arizona’s lone losses during the weekend were to NAU and 3-1 to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Divihe Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League sion I) in a non-divisional contest. (WCRHL) faced off its second semester with a “Our Division II team lost to Cal Poly’s D-I proregular-season event Jan. 20-21 at the Barney Famgram, but played well, keeping up with them the enily Sports Complex in Queen Creek. tire game,” incoming Wildcats club president Alex All three of the league’s Arizona-based programs Parrish explained. “We did have one loss to NAU, participated in the two-day event. The Arizona State our rival, but was a great matchup that I’m sure will University Sun Devils fielded teams in Division I and be a big game in the playoffs. Division III, while the University of Arizona Wildcats “The team has a lot of confidence coming into fielded teams in Division II and Division III. the playoffs after a great weekend and we are Northern Arizona University’s Division II hoping to win regionals for a third time. We team also participated. are expecting to get a nationals bid and are NAU stole the spotlight by finishing 4-0. looking forward to competing against some The Lumberjacks rolled up victories against amazing programs.” UC Irvine (9-1), University of Arizona (5-4), David Santos leads the Wildcats in scorLong Beach State (5-2) and UC San Diego ing with 17 goals and 35 points. (5-1) – all Division II opponents. Arizona State University’s Division I team The string of wins raised NAU’s season refinished 3-0-0-1 at the Queen Creek event and cord to 7-2-0-2 and a third-place berth in the 4-0-0 at the ensuing UC Santa Barbara event eight-team division standings. (Jan. 27-28) to cement its first place standing The addition of defenseman Trevor Scott in the division with a 12-2-0-1 record. proved to be a boon to the Lumberjacks, acThe Sun Devils did exchange wins, howevcording to forward Trevor Riffey. er, with Cal Poly SLO, their nearest challenger “He has already made a big impact,” Riffey in the division standings, at the Queen Creek noted. “He has been playing roller hockey at a The University of Arizona Wildcats inline hockey team takes a 9-2-0-0 record event. ASU slipped past SLO 2-1 in a regulahigh level for a while now and it was good to into its last regular season tournament Feb. 17-18 in Huntington Beach, Ca- tion game, but dropped a 5-4 overtime decilif., as the team prepares to defend its regional championship in the upcoming sion to the Mustangs. add him to the roster.” NAU’s biggest prize that weekend was its WCRHL playoffs in March. Two of the Sun Devils’ three losses this win over the defending regional champion Wildcats. The Wildcats had a good tournament showing season have been to Cal Poly SLO. “Our goal was to go 4-0 and we really wanted as well with a 4-2 mark that included three wins The upcoming regional playoffs from March 3-4 to focus on the game against Arizona,” said Riffey, over Division II opponents -- Cal Poly Pomona (6-2), at The Rinks-Corona Inline in California should prove who picked up three points in the game. “We were UC-Irvine (13-0) and UC San Diego (8-3) -- and a particularly interesting for teams in all divisions. able to build a good lead and held onto it throughout 10-3 victory against the University of Denver in an Wes Fry leads ASU with 13 goals and 24 the game. We were able to match up against their inter-regional matchup. points. By Phillip Brents
2017-18 ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO ALUMNI Email all additions, deletions and corrections to email@example.com
ARIZONA PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Winnipeg Jets Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Stockton Heat Trevor Cheek – Tucson Roadrunners * Jeremy Langlois (Tempe) – Hershey Bears Zac Larraza (Scottsdale) – Tucson Roadrunners Gage Quinney – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins * Philip Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Charlotte Checkers ECHL Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Idaho Steelheads Joey Sides (Tucson) – Tulsa Oilers SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Castro (Peoria) – Pensacola Ice Flyers Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Mississippi RiverKings Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – Birmingham Bulls Ben Oskroba (Tempe) – Peoria Rivermen Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – Pensacola Ice Flyers EUROPE J.T. Barnett (Scottsdale) – France Anthony Caruso (Queen Creek) – Sweden Nikolai Knyzhov – Russia * ! Mike Krieg (Phoenix) – United Kingdom Broc Little (Phoenix) – Switzerland Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – United Kingdom NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Boston Pride COLLEGE HOCKEY
D-I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Arizona State University NCAA DIVISION I – WOMEN COLLEGE HOCKEY AMERICA Taylor Curtis (Peoria) – Syracuse University Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University Victoria Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Penn State University HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire
MacKenzie Lyons (Scottsdale) – Nichols College Sarah McSweeney (Chandler) – Becker College MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St.. Olaf College NEHC Natasha Hawkins (Scottsdale) – New England College NEWHL Bri Carroll (Peoria) – Buffalo State University Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Hannah Kiraly (Glendale) – Plattsburgh State University
WCHA Amanda Martin (Peoria) – Minnesota State University
UCHC Raeann Clancy (Surprise) – King’s College Gabrielle Igo (Phoenix) – Utica College
NCAA DIVISION III – MEN
CCC Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Alec Mono – Curry College &
BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Luke Ormsby – Wenatchee Wild *
MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Mass.-Dartmouth Erik Pritchard (Cave Creek) – Worcester State University MIAC Nick Nast – St. Mary’s University & NCHA Ashton Amaya (Gilbert) – Aurora University Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – College of St. Scholastica NEHC Bryan McFarlane (Scottsdale) – New England College
NCAA DIVISION I – MEN
NESCAC Andy Chugg (Mesa) – Trinity College
ATLANTIC HOCKEY Michael Boyle (Phoenix) – Bentley University Derek Brown (Peoria) – Niagara University Christian Cakebread (Gilbert) – Niagara University
SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – Cortland State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University
ECAC Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
UCHC Jeremy Briscoe (Phoenix) – Lebanon Valley College
NCHC Jake Durflinger – University of Denver & Phil Knies (Phoenix) – Miami University Carson Vance (Tempe) – Western Michigan University
WIAC Adam Kleven (Phoenix) – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
WCHA Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Alaska-Fairbanks
COLONIAL HOCKEY Alex Bloom (Scottsdale) – Canton State University
NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN
CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Ethan Osburn (Dewey) – Navan Grads EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Colten Egge (Chandler) – New England Wolves Joshua George (Chandler) – New England Wolves Jacob Kerns (Peoria) – Connecticut RoughRiders Drew Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Dimitri Thorsen (Peoria) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Cole Golden (Phoenix) – Revelstoke Grizzlies Hayden Hirsch (Phoenix) – Kamloops Storm Ryan Radke (Cave Creek) – Princeton Posse NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Tempe) – Aberdeen Wings James Brown III (Phoenix) – Texas Brahmas Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Jaxon Castor (Phoenix) – Shreveport Mudbug Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) – Topeka RoadRunners Clayton Lackey (Scottsdale) – Coulee Region Chill Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – Bismarck Bobcats Reid Miller (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Rebels Keenan Spillum (Paradise Valley) – Aberdeen Wings Joe Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Lone Star Brahmas Cole Tiedemann (Flagstaff) – Texas Brahmas Mason Vukonich (Phoenix) – Fairbanks Ice Dogs NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Blake Bjella (Mesa) – St. Louis Jr. Blues Nic Bragg (Prescott) – College Station Spirit
Eddie Cannon (Glendale) – Oswego Stampede Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – La Crosse Freeze Hunter Feagins (Surprise) – Gillette Wild Jacob Garman – La Crosse Freeze & Kevin Hamilton (Phoenix) – Louisiana Drillers Gabriel Lepper (Glendale) – Gillette Wild Dylan Mattfeldt (Glendale) – Missoula Jr. Bruins Hayden Seitz (Phoenix) – Helena Bighorns Austin Wilks (Avondale) – Point Mallard Ducks QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Landon Quinney – Saint John Sea Dogs & UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Sioux Falls Stampede D.J. King – U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team * Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team Adam Samuelsson – U..S. NTDP Under-18 Team * Ryan Savage (Scottsdale) – Fargo Force UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Adam Bricker (Scottsdale) – PAL Jr. Islanders (NCDC) Zach Canaan (Tempe) – Tampa Bay Juniors (Premier) Daniel Chambers (Phoenix) – PAL Jr. Islanders (Premier) Henry Dennee (Chandler) – Skipjacks Hockey Club (Premier) Sean Dickson – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) & Joe DiGiulio (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Brett Dillon (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Jonas Edwards (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Sage Englund (Scottsdale) – Northern Cyclones (NCDC) Dakota Gottlieb (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Justin Jiang (Chandler) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (Elite) Alec Miller (Peoria) – New Jersey Rockets (Elite) Fraizer Mohler (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (Elite) Barrett Rosser (Scottsdale) – Atlanta Knights (Premier) Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) Jared Sanchez (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Cameron Sniffin (Scottsdale) – Syracuse Stars (Premier) WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Mark Kastelic (Phoenix) – Calgary Hitmen Jeremy Masella (Phoenix) – Victoria Royals Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals & WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Bessee (Globe) – Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers Michael Caravella (Chandler) – Phoenix Knights Caleb Cavazos (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Noah Duke (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Chase Gillaspie (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Justin Gusso (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Kohl Hedquist (Tempe) – Phoenix Knights Anthony Masanotti – Phoenix Knights @ Ozzy Mason (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Joe Platt (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Christian Reh – Phoenix Knights @
Colton Seeman (Phoenix) – Phoenix Knights Brennan Smith (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Jeffrey Solomon (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Ivan Vilcauskas (Phoenix) – Fresno Monsters Ryan Weick (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Malcolm Williams (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights PREP SCHOOL Jackson Birecki (Phoenix) – Tahoe Hockey Academy Alexis Ryan (Mesa) – Williston Northampton Jared Shuter (Prescott) – Tahoe Hockey Academy
NEW MEXICO COLLEGE HOCKEY NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Jackson Barliant (Santa Fe) – Sacred Heart University NCAA DIVISION III – MEN NESCAC Nicholas Faturos (Albuquerque) – Amherst College UCHC Cory King (Albuquerque) – Chatham University NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN NESCAC Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Josh Martinez (Las Cruces) – Roc City Royals ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE Marcus Gretz (Albuquerque) - Flint Firebirds UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Nick Darrow (Rio Rancho) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Quinn Martin (Santa Fe) – Idaho IceCats
* former Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat % former Mission AZ @ former DYHA Jr. Sun Devil ! former Phoenix Firebird
Behind The Mask will soon be expanding with The Vault I
f you follow us on social media, you have probably seen our posts about “The Vault” and might be curious as to what we are talking about. At BTM each day, we strive to better service our customers, enhance the retail Exelby shopping experience at our stores and to help promote and grow hockey throughout Arizona. We look at it as a three-tier approach. Our Scottsdale Superstore is the flagship store of the company. It is centrally located just off the 101 and Shea, along a busy freeway corridor that many of our customers frequent throughout the week. When we moved to this location in the summer of 2010, this space was perfect, much larger than the Phoenix store that we closed to move to Scottsdale, and much more accessible. We decided to make it our goalie superstore.
Over the past seven years, the store has become jam packed with hockey equipment, sticks, skates, supplies and apparel, and we have literally run out of room. Right now, it is cluttered. About a year ago, the H&R Block tax store beside us went out of business. At this time, we started to think of how we could use the space and tie it in to our store. Would we make it just a goalie store? The ceiling is lower, and the space would not have the “wow” factor for a goalie store that we were looking for. Would we get more hockey apparel and lifestyle apparel and make it an apparel store? We decided this would not work as well. Then out of the blue, it hit me – The Vault is what it would be! What is The Vault? The Vault will be a separate store within BTM Scottsdale – a 1400 squarefoot store dedicated to sticks. Yes, hockey sticks. Right now, we have over 1000 hockey sticks in the Scottsdale store on the retail floor. We expect this number to double or triple once we open The Vault. We will be carrying more models, patterns, flexes and brands – some exclusively sold just at BTM Scottsdale and The Vault.
The Vault will be a store inside a store. Part of the wall in our goalie section will be cut out and an opening from inside our Scottsdale store will take you into The Vault. Every hockey stick from youth, junior, intermediate and senior will be housed in The Vault, as well as over 500 goalie sticks. This will open up much-needed floor space in the store and with this extra space, we have plans for several upgrades. Our mini rink will be gone, and that section will get more shelves to display more goalie pads. We will dedicate more space to our goalie section, including a special youth goalie section. Our chest pad and pant wall will be much larger, and we will be bringing in more models and sizes. So our goalie superstore will get bigger and better. We will be making a BTM lounge with our leather couches and table where you can stay, hang out, use the Wi-Fi, or watch a game on the TVs while we take care of all your hockey needs. Look for a spring opening of The Vault and expansion of our goalie section. You might even see a familiar face on the outside store window wrap.
Randy Exelby is the owner of Behind The Mask Hockey Shops. 20
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
PICTURE PERFECT The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ 18U team captured the 18U AA division crown at the Arizona Cactus Cup tournament, which was held at Valley rinks over MLK weekend.
Scottsdale native and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews meets the media on the eve of the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, which was held Jan. 28 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Photo/Toronto Maple Leafs
The Arizona Hockey Union Mite Black team brought home their division’s championship banner after going undefeated at the MLK Tahoe Invitational on Jan. 15 in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
The Arizona Hockey Union won the Pee Wee B division title at the Arizona Cactus Cup, which wrapped up on Jan. 15 at Arcadia Ice Arena.
The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils’ Pee Wee squad won the Pee Wee A division title at the Arizona Cactus Cup tournament, held at Valley rinks over MLK weekend.
Scottsdale native and Jr. Coyotes alum Ryan Savage (pictured right) was named the Team West MVP at the annual USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, held last month in Kearney, Neb. Next to Savage is Team East MVP Tyler Madden. Photo/USHL
The Arizona Hockey Union captured the Squirt B division championship at the Squirt MLK Tournament on Jan. 15 in Arvada, Colo.
The New Mexico Warriors’ Pee Wee team captured the 12U A division banner at the annual Grizz Cup tournament, which was held last month in Utah.
The Arizona Hockey Union’s Bantam Black squad captured the Bantam division crown Jan. 15 in Lake Tahoe, Calif., at the MLK Tahoe Invitational.
Submit your favorite hockey photos to firstname.lastname@example.org! AZRubberHockey.com
Position: Defenseman, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada NHL Draft: Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round pick (fifth overall) in 2008 NHL Draft Acquired: Signed as free agent with Coyotes on July 23, 2016 Age: 28 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Luke Schenn: Probably playing for Team Canada at World Juniors. That would be the top one for me. That was the first time I represented Team Canada on that level. We won the gold medal in overtime against Sweden. That’s pretty special for me. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? LS: My first NHL game, and that was pretty special. I remember like it was yesterday. It was the first game of the season and Toronto was in Detroit. (Schenn was a member of the Maple Leafs). That was the night they lifted the Stanley Cup banner and I got to see the whole ceremony. I remember looking across and my first shift was against, I think, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom. I was pretty star-struck. That was my first game and my first memory was watching them raise their Stanley Cup banner. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? LS: I always go back to the fact that my dad helped me, especially in minor hockey. He coached my brother (Brayden, now with the St. Louis Blues) and I, and to this day, we still talk and he gives me advice. Obviously, he was the most important person in helping me get to where I am. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? LS: It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the surroundings around you. Have your mind set on a goal, put your head down and work as hard as you can to achieve that goal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? LS: I love watching football. I also like playing golf. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? LS: No, nothing crazy, and nothing that stands out. Same kind of warmup routine each time I get on the ice. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? LS: Nothing crazy. Usually when it’s a home game, I’ll go the rink and come back. I like eating breakfast as my pre-game meal, like bacon, eggs, pancakes, a smoothie, oatmeal, that kind of thing. Then hang out for a while with my son a little bit. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? LS: There are a couple places that I love. One is called The Mission. It’s a good Mexican spot. And another one I’ve been to a couple of times, Virtu (in Old Town Scottsdale). That’s a good spot. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? LS: Cell phone charger. Yeah, that’s really important. Shave kit, toothbrush. I take a rosary and cross from my grandfather. He passed away about a year ago and usually bring that with me when I travel. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? LS: Yeah, a few. I liked Rob Blake and Chris Pronger as D-men. For forwards, Peter Forsberg and Jarome Iginla. Photo/Norm Hall
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
- Compiled by Mark Brown
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The latest issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine features the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association and Northern Arizona University ACHA hockey on t...
Published on Feb 15, 2018
The latest issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine features the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association and Northern Arizona University ACHA hockey on t...