Arizona Rubber Magazine - February 2019

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Five AHSHA state champions were crowned earlier this month as Pinnacle (D1 three-peat, JV), Notre Dame Prep (D2A), Campo Verde (D2B) and Desert Vista (D3) earned titles and brought home hardware in front of passionate crowds at the Ice Den Scottsdale



FROM THE EDITOR Even though it’s the February grind, still plenty of hockey left


ere we are – well into February. The holiday break has long been gone and for teams at all levels, it’s either time for the playoffs or time to start gearing up for the playoffs. What a great time of year, yes? Teams are leaving it all on the ice, players are finding that extra gear to make a play for the good of the team and coaches are preparing teams for the grind that can lead to new banners being raised to the rafters in their home rink. Yes, what a great time of the year! It’s hard to believe, but it seems like it was Matt Mackinder just late August and teams were starting to come together. Now, it’s February and teams are more like families at this point. Enjoy the rest of the ride! In NHL news, Auston Matthews is getting paid. The Toronto Maple Leafs announced earlier this month that the club agreed to terms with the Scottsdale native on a five-year contract extension with average annual value of the contract set at $11.634 million. The former Arizona Bobcat had registered 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points through 38 games. In 2016-17, Matthews captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team after establishing Maple Leaf rookie records for goals (40) and points (69) in a season, which led all NHL rookies in both categories. Matthews was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the first round (1st overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. “In the end, you’re measured on championships and that’s what I want to do,” Matthews told reporters. “We want to accomplish our ultimate goal, which is the Stanley Cup, and make this city proud. We’re working toward that every day. “We always feel the pressure from fans here. They want a championship team, and we want to give it to them. This city deserves it.” Three players with Arizona ties will represent the United States at the upcoming World University Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from March 1-12. University of Arizona forward Anthony Cusanelli will play for Team USA and will be joined by Arizona State NCAA Division I players Jack Rowe and Gage Mackie. The World University Games occur every two years, in both winter and summer. Cusanelli is the first Wildcats player ever selected to Team USA, which for these games is made up of NCAA college players and players from the ACHA, the governing body that includes the Arizona Wildcats. “The thought of wearing our nation’s jersey is almost overwhelming,” said Cusanelli. “I will do everything in my power to make Tucson and the University of Arizona proud. I am thankful for this incredible opportunity.” “It is an ultimate compliment to any hockey player to earn the opportunity to represent the United States for Team USA,” added Wildcats coach Chad Berman. “Anthony’s hockey skills are obvious, but it is the kind of person that he is that will also shine on the world stage. He will represent the University of Arizona in the best way possible. To say we are proud of him is not enough. Words cannot describe how excited we are at Arizona Hockey.” Cusanelli earned the 2018-2019 ACHA Rookie of the Year award, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year award, a WCHL All-Star berth, the Arizona Rookie Award and Wildcats MVP award. This season, he is second in team scoring and is the team captain. In junior hockey news, Buckeye native Trey Bagwell and former Arizona Bobcat Dante Zapata have been selected to play in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held from Feb. 18-19 in Attleboro, Mass. As well, Prescott native and former Jr. Coyotes standout Jared Shuter has signed an NAHL tender with the Amarillo Bulls.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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Albuquerque native and Flint Firebirds defenseman Marcus Gretz has been sidelined since November with a shoulder injury, but has kept busy with off-ice activities surrounding the OHL team. More on Page 18. Photo/Luke Durda/OHL Images

ON THE COVER Pinnacle High School celebrates the 2019 AHSHA Division 1 state championship after defeating O’Connor High School by a tight 4-2 score on Feb. 9 at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Photo/Kenneth McGinley

Coyotes playing with sense of urgency in home stretch By Mark Brown


iven the timing and schedule at this point of the hockey season, there’s an acceleration by teams to rush into postseason contention. Heading down the stretch and into the final weeks of the NHL campaign, the sprint to determinate playoff teams is underway in earnest. While players and coaches eschew any dialogue about the prospect of postseason play, that’s a topic on the front burners of fans and the media. Going forward, the discussion usually centers around one shift at a time and one save at a time. Collectively, these tenets of play form the core of a team’s approach. Equally important is the thinking and mindset of the schedule itself. With less than two months remaining in the season, nine teams are battling for the two final playoff spots in the Western Conference. Among teams in the Eastern Conference, Montreal and Columbus are trying to create separation from seven other teams within striking difference for the final postseason spots. Add the Arizona Coyotes to this mix. For a club that has not qualified for the playoffs since the spring of 2012, the task ahead seems challenging at best. That’s when goalie Mike Smith led the Coyotes into the Western Conference Finals against the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles Kings. At the NHL All-Star break and through their mandatory bye week in late January, the Coyotes were but four points out of a final Western Conference playoff spot. Following a 4-2 defeat to Columbus at Gila River Arena in early February, the Coyotes experienced a losing streak that sent the club tumbling down the

standings. we’re one of them.” With teams like Minnesota, Vancouver, St. Louis, If the Coyotes qualify for postseason play, those in Colorado, Edmonton, Chicago and Los Angeles all the trainer’s room could make an all-star team. Beginclawing for playoff positions, ning with goalie Antti Raanta, the need for the Coyotes to who went down with a searight their ship becomes parason-ending knee injury on Nov. mount. 27, the list expanded. “We have fewer than 30 Last summer, Christian games left and need every Dvorak signed a six-year expoint we can get,” Arizona detension and remains sidelined fenseman Jordan Oesterle with a torn pectoral muscle. said. “Yeah, there’s a big sense There is no date for his return of urgency around here right to the ice. Then there’s Nick now.” Schmaltz, brought over earIf the Coyotes are to leaplier this season from Chicago. frog over teams and into conSchmaltz appeared in just 17 tention, the club will have to games for the Coyotes and continue without key compopicked up five goals and nine nents. Hit with major injuries assists for 14 points but has since training camp, those who been sidelined since Dec. 30 did not start the season with with his return also uncertain. Arizona continue as major conIn all, the Coyotes lost 241 tributors. man-games to injuries through Forward Conor Garland, their first 54 games on the ice. a fifth-round selection in the With the attempt to over2015 draft, was called up afcome injuries and face formiter leading the AHL’s Tucson dable opponents, coach Rick Roadrunners in scoring over Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson recent- Tocchet understands the mothe first quarter of the season. ly became the Coyotes’ all-time leading goal-scorer ment at hand. Since arriving, he has pumped among defensemen. Photo/Norm Hall “There’s urgency in Dallas in 11 goals in his first 27 games. Along the way, Gar- and in San Jose, and with us,” Tocchet said. “Look, land became the first rookie in Coyotes history to score guys are working hard, and we’ll come back and pracgoals in four consecutive games (Jan. 4-12). tice hard. That’s our go-to approach. Tomorrow is an“There is always an urgency,” Garland said. “There other day, and we need to figure out how out how to are many teams playing with an urgency here, and get some wins.”


Winning It All Five teams capture AHSHA state titles in action-packed weekend at the Ice Den Scottsdale the team started to take shape, we played hard against good competition and spent quality time together with players and their families over Thanksgiving. he second weekend in February brought the top high school teams in Arizona to “Second, we had a weekend in which many of our players were out of town with the Ice Den Scottsdale for the AHSHA state championships. travel hockey games and with a very short bench, the Basha Perry team took it to Teams in five divisions claimed state championships, including Pinnacle, which us, beating us 16-0. We played them a few weeks later and were not at full strength won the Division 1 state title for the third straight but fought back from a three-goal deficit to win year. 5-4. At the time it was Basha’s first loss of the Pinnacle will now gear up to head to the USA season and they looked to be unstoppable. We Hockey National High School Championships, were able to forget the bad loss and came out which will be held March 28-April 1 in Cleveland, and won a game that proved we could match up Ohio. with anyone in the league.” The Pioneers defeated O’Connor 4-2 on the For Pinnacle, Nicholas Slayton scored, and strength of goals from Justin Sturm, Logan Nick Layman made 16 saves in goal. Hawley, Braxton Nohr and Connor Ziegler. “The NDP program has grown over the past Goaltender Austin Schwab made 22 stops befive years,” noted Fryer. “Ultimately, it is the playtween the pipes. ers that are passionate about representing their Bryce Marcil stopped 44 shots for the Easchool and the ever-growing tradition at NDP. gles and was named the game’s MVP. The hockey program has evolved, and we have Nicolas Coppola and Kyle Dodson scored put the program out there beyond just playing for O’Connor. in Arizona. The program offers a great brand of “We have been very fortunate these past hockey and ties into the players’ preparation for three years,” said Pinnacle head coach Glenn life after high school. It is special to be a part of Karlson. “In addition to that, the size of our prothe program and the hockey tradition continues AHSHA Division 2A state champion Notre Dame Prep gram helps us develop younger players at the to evolve and strengthen.” right levels so they have success when they are The D2B game was another tight game, with ready to fill in for the outgoing players. So far, Campo Verde edging Mesquite 2-1. it seems to be working. To show our depth, afGavin Saydyk and Austin Campbell talter the first championship, we graduated 12 selied goals for the Coyotes, and Jakob Membriniors, last year 11 seniors and this year will be la turned aside 24 shots. 14 seniors from D1 alone. Game MVP honors went to Mesquite’s “This year’s team had to deal with living Zackary Klennert. up to the level of expectations of the past two Matthew Patterson scored for the Wildteams, which added more outside pressure. As cats, while Matthew Diamond made 30 stops a coaching staff, we had to be aware of this and between the pipes. worked on minimizing the noise.” “This was my first year coaching the Campo Karlson noted that the Pinnacle depth was Verde team,” said Coyotes coach Chris Rees. the ultimate difference-maker in winning the “I have been fortunate enough to coach teams championship. that won championships from house to travel, “We had four lines this season and every but this high school season was something speplayer brought something special at crucial cial. I could tell after a few practices that we had times of the season,” Karlson said. “In the past, a great team. However, it only took one game to AHSHA Division 2B state champion Campo Verde we had to lean on more of our individual skill know this team was going to make a run for the versus this year where we were deeper at every state championship. Watching the camaraderie position and saw goal production from many difoff the ice and the chemistry on the ice was my ferent players. Throughout the season, we had favorite part of this season. We are losing amazinjuries or players missing but we were able to ing seniors this year that were a huge part of the keep pushing forward. Best example of this was championship. Taking their place is a talented in the semifinals, after almost three weeks withyoung group of kids I can’t wait to help condition out playing a game, we faced Desert Vista withinto the next state champions.” out our starting senior goalie and a top forward. Like the others, the D3 game was close as With one of our sophomore goalies in net, we well, with Desert Vista taking a 3-2 win over the scored seven goals from seven different players Tucson High School Roadrunners. and only let one in on 14 shots.” Nathaniel Lamp scored twice and captured Next up, Cleveland. the game MVP award for the Thunder. Cole Far“We will take a few weeks off, then we will rell added a goal and Desert Vista also got 26 start practicing late February and ramping up unsaves from goaltender Christopher Walgren. til we go,” said Karlson. “We will focus on team Koryn Kaczynski and Alexander Pergplay and line chemistry. The trick is keeping the er scored for Tucson, while Maxwell Edlund boys game-ready and practicing at game-level made 15 saves. effort.” Desert Vista head coach Chris Sehring said AHSHA Division 3 state champion Desert Vista In the Division 2A final, Notre Dame Prep he was elated to win a championship in his first edged Pinnacle 2-1. season behind the bench. Game MVP Jonah Geiger scored both goals for the champs, while George “It became clear to me almost immediately what a special program this is,” said Serbin finished with 26 saves in goal. Sehring. “The level of knowledge and commitment of our coaches and staff, the “Two moments gave me a feeling that this team had the resolve to make a run character, talent and dedication of our players and the support of our families made in the playoffs,” said Notre Dame Prep head coach Zac Fryer. “First, we traveled this an unforgettable season for me. About mid-season I think was when I first saw to Anaheim as a team to play in a Thanksgiving tournament. Although we lost in overtime in the semifinal game, the trip seemed to bring us closer together. Roles on Continued on Page 12

By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


New Mexico’s Payson finding scoring touch with Aviators By Joshua Boyd/


t took some time to get the wind under their wings, but the New York Aviators could be taking off at just the right time. The team, located in Brooklyn, N.Y., had a huge turnaround in what has been a sub-.500 season, going 8-2-0-1 since the start of the new year. The Aviators are propelled by leading scorer Seth Payson, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., who skated in his home state through last season. Payson has posted 37 points in 30 games for the Aviators of the USPHL Elite, the developmental division for the higher junior leagues of the USPHL. He also saw six games up with the USPHL Premier’s Aviators this year. “We’ve really been picking it up,” said Payson, a 2001-born forward. “We started winning games and guys have started to get some drive. We can beat anyone in the league on any given day.” Payson grew up on the west side of Albuquerque, surrounded on all sides by new construction in the growing city. “Where I was there, the west side was just starting to grow,” said Payson. “The Outpost rink is all the way on the east side, so it was about as far away from where I lived to still be in Albuquerque. It’s not bad, though, only about a 20-minute drive max. “Albuquerque was never a big hockey town, but

there were guys who you could tell loved the game talent available at the 16U level.” Last summer, Payson wanted to test the waters of and would not quit. I made a solid friend group around getting out to the larger hockey world. some of these guys.” “I went to a couple showcases, and (Aviators He started as a Mite with what used to be known as New Mexico Ice, and is now the New Mexico Ice coach) Mike Stanaway saw me at a Global Hockey Wolves program. When he was a Squirt, he became Showcase in Chicago,” said Payson. “He introduced himself there and said he was inserious about hockey. terested. I had a few different de“I had been into baseball and cisions to make, and this would that came before hockey, but then be the best. My original plan was I lost a couple teeth playing baseto graduate high school in New ball, and quit after that season,” Mexico and then move, but I desaid Payson. “That same season, cided to go with online schooling I broke my arm, and I thought I’d and make the move.” be out of hockey. However, I went Payson is excited that he’s to a Russian doctor in the city. He had the chance to practice with was a hockey fan and made me both teams and see the games an arm cast that allowed me to up with the Premier squad this still be able to grip a stick.” year. He stuck with the Ice Wolves, “I wasn’t one of the better and also played one year with the guys on the Premier team when New Mexico Warriors. Once he I started, but now I can keep was old enough, he played high Albuquerque native and New York Aviators forschool hockey at La Cueva. ward Seth Payson played in his home state up up with them every single day,” Payson’s next stop in 2017- until this season, when he made the jump to the said Payson. “Coach John Sacco has helped me a lot with my 18 was with the Taos Road Run- USPHL. Photo/Stephen Spencer/Action Photography skating. I went back for Thanksgiving and Christmas ners at the 16U AA level. “It was super fun – a good team for New Mexico,” breaks and skated with friends, just shooting pucks said Payson. “Even though this state doesn’t have a around, and they were all saying, ‘When did you get lot of depth, the Road Runners found some of the best so good?’”



AHU Pee Wee Black team volunteers time to Humane Society By Sean Phillips


ast month, the Arizona Hockey Union Pee Wee Black team went to the dogs. And cats. Literally. The team volunteered on Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Arizona Humane Society – Campus for Compassion. Prior to that date, the team made 45 homemade dog toys during the MLK Tournament as a team-building activity to bring to the shelter. The toys are then scented, and the players were able to give them to dogs in need. The team and their families purchased and donated dry and canned dog and cat food, paper towels, blankets, toys and various items requested that were on the Arizona Humane Society’s “pets wish list.” Once at the facility, the team received a tour and was educated on the importance of animal care, how to become a volunteer, and how they socialize their animals so

they get adopted. After the tour, the team and families then had the opportunity visit all the animals and then sit with the animals and read books. This soothes the animals, as well as socializes them with different people. This visit also taught the team and families how important it is to spay and neuter animals to eliminate the population growth and eliminate animal cruelty, euthanasia and homelessness within the animal community. At the end of the day, the team felt emotional, compassionate and humble for the opportunity to give back to such a rewarding organization. Many found it hard to leave the facility as they wanted to continue to spend time with the animals. This was a great way for 16 players and their families to be impacted by such a worthy organization and help animals in need and the facility. This was a great way for 16 players and their families to be impacted by such a worthy organization and help animals in need and the facility.


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

The AHU Pee Wee Black team members are Barrett Becker, Brandon Brown, Lucas Cerneka, Charlie Coughlin, Ryan Grant, Luke Kampman, Chase Kane, Reid Karcher, Karsten Kunert, Andrew Larys, Marissa Morris, Jaden Norris, Connor Ouellette, Alexander Shaffer, Dallan Thruston and Owen Weekly. What is the Arizona Humane Society – Campus for Compassion? This foundation is a no-kill shelter housing - they maintain animals until they are adopted in their seven Arizona facilities. Their mission is “Every pet deserves a good life. With a vision to end animal suffering, we rescue, heal, adopt and advocate for sick, injured and abused animals.” More than 60,000 more pets have been saved in the last four years and the organization runs solely off monetary donations and volunteers. They can use a lot more donations from anyone that can donate. It can be food, toys, dog beds, or individual’s time. ​​

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks D-II captains ‘a huge part of keeping the guys together’ By Matt Mackinder


s Northern Arizona University’s ACHA Division II team eyes the upcoming national tournament, an early-season slump actually invigorated that hunger to get back to the national stage. After a sluggish 1-4-1 start, the IceJacks have lost just twice since then. NAU coach Travis Johanson credits the team’s leadership group of Lucas Lomax, Max Mahood, Jordan Nolan and Steven Thompson for the resounding turnaround. “As a group, how they have all stepped up to lead the team together,” said Johanson. “They are a huge part of keeping the guys together and their chins up after that start. It shows now at the end of the season when we are in a position for a bye at the national tournament.” Mahood said Nolan was a major factor in the team’s improvement. “Jordan put a lot of work in with the defensemen and their positioning and systems,” said Mahood. “The team has a huge buy in factor and wanted to get better and better. We have a team that wants to win and who wants to sacrifice and work hard for the squad, so it’s in the realm of possibilities.” “Lomax and Thompson became motivators in the locker room while Mahood kind of took a more in-your-face approach towards guys that needed to pick up their play,” added Nolan. “I think our leadership had a big impact in a positive way.” Thompson said the turnaround was due to more than just the captains. “There are a lot of older veterans on the team that helped hold the group together after that tough start and since then, we’ve been rolling,” he said. “I think losing that many games that early in the season was kind of a wake-up call because the past two seasons, we had such strong starts where we went undefeated for a while,” Lomax added. “We had to look ourselves in the mirror and reevaluate what our team’s identity was going to be.”


Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association presents the

7th Annual Mite Jamboree Track 1 & Track 2 Divisions

Sat. & Sun., March 23-24, 2019 Jay Lively Arena . Flagstaff, AZ


TOURNAMENT STYLE Sat: 6 game seeding Sun: Tournament Bracket $400 per team

Contact for more information


Looking at six keys to improve skating speed, efficiency


very year, some players dominate in the regular season, but not in the playoffs when the pace is faster. The difference is efficient high-end speed, and it’s highly trainable. 1. Longer skating strides = wider strides. At high speeds, you cannot lengthen your stride straight backward because your feet would have to be impossibly quick. Instead, push hard to the side (hip abduction). This is the major source of skating power and efficiency at high speed, yet it is ignored in most weight rooms. Because your skate blade is not perpendicular to the angle of force, this propels you forward, in the same way a sailboat tacks crosswind much faster than the wind. At the end of each stride, you are pushing backward (hip extension) because you’re moving past the ice. You also rotate your hips to prepare for the next stride. Off-ice exercises for hip abduction-rotation-extension include side-to-side jumps, Russian box jumps, resisted lunge walks and slide board. 2. For acceleration, nothing compares to short off-ice sprints. Explode as fast as you can for 5-30 meters, then walk back to the starting line for recovery. Lean forward to 45 degrees like Usain Bolt. Extend your body in a straight line so your leg force passes through your center of mass efficiently. On the other hand, bending forward (pike position) is an inefficient use of force, whether sprinting or skating. Efficiency must be part of your speed training, not just

strength, strength and more strength. 3. Less equipment means faster skating practice. Today’s shoulder pads are so heavy they look like they’re designed for football. Hockey pants (breezers) have too much padding and restrict the width and length of the stride. Speedskating coaches would never burden skaters with restrictive pants. Keep in mind that all repetitions result in permanent changes to the brain and spinal cord, so don’t practice slow, restricted strides every day at a young age when learning is greatest. Get a pair of scissors to remove unnecessary padding. Slit the inseam to allow great- e r range of motion. Keep in mind that manufacturers are protecting their company from lawsuits, not just protecting your body. Include some “skating improvement days” without breezers and shoulder pads. Your feet will move faster and stride width-length will increase. 4. Strength workouts must incorporate explosive movement of your body, not just slow strength alone. Sprints plus weighted and unweighted jumps (one- and two-legged) should be inserted into each workout. Traditional weight training is part of the process at older ages, but if you don’t add explosive movement to train the Central Nervous System for speed, weight training is too limited by it-

self. Why? The heavier the lift, the slower your body moves. Every lift includes deceleration in the last part of the movement, at precisely the point where the skating stride requires maximum acceleration. Traditional weight training ignores the key to skating power: hip abduction-rotation-extension. The range of motion in all barbell lifts is restricted to one plane; yet no sport – certainly not skating – is restricted to one plane. 5. Practice skating on your own. Whether you take lessons or not, you must get thousands of repetitions on your own, just as golfers practice by the hour after each lesson. Add dryland skating workouts when you come off the ice. There is no speedskating coach in the world who would teach skating without dryland training. 6. On the ice, every repetition must be done with 100 percent quality, so rest intervals are critical. Even endurance training must be fast, with perfect execution to build speed and efficient mechanics. Never skate with poor mechanics and slow feet, which is inevitable if you do endurance skating drills past the point of lactic acid buildup and temporary fatigue (about 6-10 seconds depending on the intensity).

Jack Blatherwick is a columnist for Let’s Play Hockey (



DYHA’s Lil’ Devils youth program showing immense growth By Matt Mackinder


ockey continues to explode at the youth level in Arizona and a major part of that growth can be seen with the DYHA’s Lil’ Devils program. Designed for players that are Mite-aged and older who have completed the Little Howlers curriculum, the Lil’ Devils is picking up steam in Tempe, and parents could not be happier. One parent, Duncan Hardy, said his son Callum is having an “incredible time” with the Lil’ Devils. “I did not grow up with hockey and have never played, so we were flying blind a little bit, but through the information provided by Matt Shott with the Coyotes following Little Howlers, we were able to find out about Lil’ Devils,” Hardy said. “At first, I was concerned that my son would be a bit young and it might be too much for him to handle, but that has never been the case. Chris Sehring at DYHA described the program and how it is not competitive, but they really work with the kids based on their ability.” Hardy went on to say that seeing Callum’s face every time he’s on the ice makes him realize he made the right decision coming to the Lil’ Devils. “In terms of what makes it enjoyable for Callum and I, it is just great knowing that he is having fun,” said Hardy. “He always asks me, ‘Is there hockey tonight?’ We get to spend time together, I can see him improving a little bit

every day, he is never bored, and the coaches work so well with the kids. I know that it is a program that we will continue to be involved with until the coaches tell us that our son is ready to move on to the next level. That being said, we are not in a rush to move on. “Really, the whole program is about learning the basics and having fun with a great group of kids from all different levels, with an excellent group of coaches.”

The Lil’ Devils program is led by coaches Kayman Wong, Shon Hata and Sehring, while Adam Keefe, George Bellas, Rob MacGregor, Mike Beery and Alan Lee also help out during the on-ice sessions. Sehring said being involved with the Lil’ Devils is very uplifting. “The kids are what really makes the program special,” he said. “As coaches, we get to be involved with a player starting to learn to love the game and to me, that is the

most gratifying part. We try to make sure all our players come off the ice with big smiles and wet heads. “Every time I see a player be able to do something that they have been trying to do for some time, I smile. It’s that life lesson that you keep trying until you succeed that I love seeing happen.” Wong noted that the Lil’ Devils program is more than hockey, too. “I think the program continues to grow due to the sense of community that the program brings,” Wong said. “What makes me smile is definitely seeing the kids laugh on the ice. When they score a goal or make a great pass or complete a new skill, that smile and sometimes laugh is contagious.” For Hata, like Sehring and Wong, seeing the kids enjoy getting on the ice with a yearning to get better is what it’s all about. “Player are provided an outlet where they can comfortably and continually work on their individual skills and have opportunities to interact with each other and learn to compete with those of similar skill set,” Hata said. “These Lil’ Devils players are constantly moving and never stop. This is what makes the Lil’ Devils program exciting for our players. “At the end of the day, above all, it is the parents who help our program grow by entrusting us with their players to becoming a good citizen and great hockey players.”

IN A DEVILISH MOOD What are the benefits to letting our kids play hockey? A s a father of three boys who all play hockey, I often find myself wondering, “why hockey?” Before I can even answer that question, I need to contemplate, “why not hockey?” I would have to say that the two main reaMcCaughey sons against letting your child play this wonderful sport are cost and the violent nature of the sport. The costs of getting your child into hockey differ from region to region and the reasons for this are plenty but to keep it simple, hockey is played on a specialized surface and every time you want to work on your craft, you have to go to an ice rink and pay for that ice. The required equipment you need to play this sport can also have you contemplating taking out a second loan on your house. Equipment prices have skyrocketed since I was a kid, but quality and durability have improved as well. That is great for us adults who don’t have to buy new

skates every year or so because our feet are getting bigger. Personally, I purchased two of these new one-piece hockey sticks six years ago and am still using them. They are 100 flex and I am just flat-out not strong enough to break one. The bottom line is that with the costs of the ice, equipment, travel, league overhead, hockey is an expensive sport! While there are debates as to which sport is more violent – hockey or football – let’s just concede that the risk of getting injured playing hockey is up there. This is, of course, due to the fact that hockey is a full-contact sport that involves the players skating at high speeds on an extremely hard surface enclosed on all sides by walls. It is like a giant cage match with completely different rules. I have been saying for years that as our athletes have only been getting bigger, faster, and stronger, the rink dimensions have not changed. This has changed the game at the higher levels of hockey and is not that big of a deal for our children. USA Hockey is doing its best at trying to make the game as safe as possible, too. So then, why do we let our children play this sport? I am not going to speak for every parent out there, I will just give you two of my many reasons. 1. Exercise. Another thing I have been saying for years is that our kids these days are growing up in

the video game era. They do not want to go out and play anymore. Hockey is one of the best cardiovascular games you can play. In this sport, you alternate between exercise and rest and pushes them to their limits. Let’s face it – our kids don’t have the best diets and this form of interval training burns a ton of calories to help offset their food choices. Regularly playing hockey can develop a child’s gross motor skills and improve eye-hand coordination. It also requires strength, something that can benefit a child in whatever activity he or she pursues. 2. Character. Hockey is a team sport, and children who play learn the value of working with others. They figure out how to rely on teammates and understand that cooperation is key to success. These are valuable life lessons that children take with them into adulthood and help them with whatever career path they choose. Hockey also helps children learn how to deal with the ups and downs that they will inevitably face in their adult world. While talent is important, hockey, in my opinion, is the sport in which teamwork can outdo talent, more so than any other sport. Those lessons are invaluable and hard to put a price tag on. Why hockey? Because hockey is the best life lesson-teaching sport on the planet, in my opinion.

Brad McCaughey is the hockey director and coach-in-chief for DYHA. 10

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


On The Rise Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy student-athletes continuing to produce on the ice, in the classroom By Greg Ball


ith the Christmas break well in the rear-view mirror and the 2018-19 hockey season and academic year more than halfway complete, the prep and varsity teams at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy have settled in nicely and are doing exactly what they have always intended - playing great hockey while developing players’ skills. Tahoe’s prep squad is 6-2 in the NAHL’s Prep division, and the varsity team owns a 14-12 record. Here is a look at six student-athletes who have made the transition to Tahoe seamlessly and how the experience has helped them improve already. Anthony LoRe A goalie on Tahoe’s prep team, LoRe came to Lake Tahoe for his junior season after having played for the Northern Cyclones of the United States Premier Hockey League in Hudson, N.H., the last two years. The 16-year-old is a native of Franklin Square, N.Y., and his time with the Cyclones gave him the experience of living with billet families, but he said his move to Tahoe Prep Academy’s dorms in the Sierra Nevada was on a different level. “I love the mountains, and the scenery and the dorms and facility are amazing,” LoRe said. “This year has been the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey. Living here, I feel we’re like a real family.” id the Tahoe Prep’s formula of five days a week on the ice and strength conditioning at Barton’s Center for Excellence is moving him forward toward his goal to play Division I college hockey, and his number one choice is Boston College. LoRe also credited Tahoe Prep goaltender coach Ed Fritz with improving his mental game. “The coaches, staff, and the trainers at the Center for Excellence are amazing,” LoRe said. “I’ve become a lot stronger and more focused player. When I decided to come to Tahoe, I just wanted to get better, to develop as a player, and develop as a person, and this has allowed me to do that.” LoRe started playing hockey at age 10 and has always been a goalie. His other sports passion was baseball, where he played third base. In nine games with the prep team this season, LoRe has a .875 save percentage. Cade Schiefelbein Schiefelbein is a 17-year-old junior who plays center for the academy’s prep team and is in his first year as a student-athlete at the academy after most recently having played for the Mis-

sion AZ 16U AA team last season. He committed to attend Tahoe Prep Academy right away without

Anthony LoRe

Cade Schiefelbein

Ryan Meaney

Liam Sutton

Zane Parker

Pablo Honda

even visiting Tahoe, and he said he’s glad he did. “It’s been such an amazing change - I’ve made lifetime friends here,” he said. “You’re playing at the

highest level against some of the best, and in front of scouts and coaches, and you have to bring it every time you are on the ice.” In 16 games with the prep team, Schiefelbein has scored six goals and recorded four assists. He’s hoping his time at Tahoe Prep prepares him for the next step of his hockey career. “I want to play Division I college hockey more than anything,” Schiefelbein admitted. “I’m focused on getting to college hockey, and Arizona State is my top pick right now. Sometimes the load can get a little mentally challenging, but you have to get better every day, and you have to grow up a lot and learn to take on basic adult things like having responsibility for yourself academically and socially.” Ryan Meaney A 16-year-old sophomore from Valencia, Calif., Meaney came to Tahoe from West Ranch High School, where he played for the school’s team in the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League. His goal is to become the best hockey player he can be and play as long as he can, and he said Tahoe Prep’s focus on skill and development aligned with his aspirations. “I want to play hockey at the highest level that I can, so when I’m done, I can look back and be happy with what I accomplished,” said Meaney, who has learned a lot from his father’s experience as a water polo player in college. “My dad taught me that. “It was hard the first month, living away from all of my friends and family, but after a while being here, everyone becomes your friends and family. And the part of the program that has helped me the most is the amount of time we have focused on hockey - how many times I’m on the ice every week.” Meaney said the competition he has faced playing with the prep team has opened his eyes to the next level of hockey, and it hit home at the CCM World Invite tournament in Chicago this past November. “It’s so different,” Meaney said. “The players are older, more skilled and they are working just as hard as I am. We were playing against 19-year-olds. It just showed me how much quicker and bigger the game is, and I was a little nervous at the beginning of the season, but that went away as we got more into it. “This year for me is about getting into the game better, learning the game, and working on my shot. I have gotten very close to my goals. It’s constantly being surrounded by the game of hockey and shooting every day.” Continued on Page 18



Pinnacle three-peats as AHSHA Division 1 state champs Continued from Page 6 the makings of a championship team. “As the season progressed, we really showed our resilience as we had several players out on injury. Because the group came together, rather than give up, the team persisted and kept on succeeding. That is just the character of this group as we still had several players out in the finals and we still prevailed. I attribute that to the team understanding that we are more than just one player and that we all have to work together to succeed.” The JV final saw Pinnacle win its second championship of the weekend, knocking off Desert Vista 4-2. Patrick Marsiglia was the game MVP with his hat trick for the Pioneers. Carter Diaz also scored and Kade Burchowycz posted 21 saves in net. “We end our summer sessions with a grueling twoday tryout session in Flagstaff each year,” said Pinnacle coach Mark Murawski. “At the end, I knew who would be on the team and felt we had our work cut out for us. We had two juniors, four sophomores, and the rest freshmen. Then after four games, we outscored our opponents 21-6. Players like Patrick Marsiglia, Vince Atwell and Luke Brodsky started clicking and playing better than we had seen in tryouts. Alyssa Ihling, Aly Norling and Emily Marcolini weren’t afraid to battle the bigger boys on the other teams and our goaltenders, Kade Burchowycz and Andre Hammonds, were keeping us in games and giving the team confidence. “But that wasn’t when I got the feeling we’d win the

state title. We got overconfident and suffered a 3-2 loss

AHSHA JV state champion Pinnacle

to Brophy. That’s when I knew this team was special


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because they didn’t like that at all. It had nothing to do with us coaches. They joined together and decided to win and win together.” Ryan Ensley and Ajay Mahant scored for Desert Vista, and Dane Clark finished with 17 saves in goal. “What do I like most about this team? I can sum that up with what happened in the locker room before the third period in the championship game,” said Murawski. “After I spoke about how to work in the final period, Patrick (Marsiglia) got the group together and said, ‘Family, on three! 1, 2, 3, family!’ They shouted, but not the typical Pinnacle shout. This group came together after the Brophy loss and held the rope for each other, striving to make their teammates better. Guys like Preston Frost, who started playing only a year before, was contributing. Cale Aronoff, Kyle Thompson, Tyler Murawski and Jax Almodovar toughened up on defense. Guys like Jacob Parrott, Carter Diaz and Aaron Payne were unexpectedly putting pucks in the net. All led by our captain Dillon Scheur. The sense of doing this together, building friendships, and having fun were the staple of our success this year.” - Photos/Kenneth McGinley


CAHA proving to be ‘truly amazing’ family, community By Matt Mackinder


ver the course of the long hockey season, teams become more than coaches and players. They become families. The Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) is the perfect example of this. More than a game, these teammates and families help each other cope with hard times, both on and off the ice – through job losses, family crisis, illness and even death. The Coyotes Development Program is grieving the death of a longtime player who died in a car accident in January and the Jr. Coyotes are uniting to support a member who is currently battling cancer. “We continue to build a strong culture of respect and teamwork and continue building a hockey community that players and families want to be a part of,” said CAHA director of AA travel hockey Kenny Corupe. “In our program currently, we have a player battling cancer. Our teams are doing their part to help their Jr. Coyotes teammate – from Facebook posts, to GoFundMe campaigns, to players writing personal get-well letters, to team photo collages with player wishes, moments of silence. We even had a 7U player asking for donations in lieu of birthday presents because ‘there is a Jr. Coyote who is hurt, and we help our teammates.’ “This community really comes together when one of their own is in need.”

“Last month, we lost a house player to a tragic car accident and our program has again done all we can to honor his memory,” added CAHA executive director Kristy Aguirre. “At the request of this player’s family, a special fund has been set up where people can donate to honor his memory through donations to the sport he loved. Many supporting letters have come in to the program, mostly from where this player’s grandparents live. Truly amazing to see people coming together to support a family through a difficult time.” And while wins and losses on the ice are

part of the CAHA experience, developing as young individuals off the ice is a major component of the organization as well. “Activities to come together are naturally happening at the team level through service projects like volunteering at food kitchens, and hosting food and blanket drives,” said Aguirre. “CAHA is implementing more and more opportu-

nities for teams to get more involved in the community.” All of CAHA’s teams and families support one another through the season. “We do many group exercises involving the kids and parents - teaching the importance of what it means to respect your team and your teammates,” said Corupe. “We did an activity where the players were asked to write down what they liked about their team and what makes them happy to be a part of the team. Answers ranged from how great it is when someone says, ‘nice job’ or ‘thank you for helping me’ or ‘working hard together in a drill to become better.’ “I think the parents realized how positive reinforcement is what makes a child feel confident and showing support even if it’s not your child goes a long way – all lifelong lessons for our kids and parents. At the end of the day, hockey is a game and always will be, but being part of the hockey community is a special thing to experience.” CAHA families share a unique bond created during early-morning practices, unlikely victories and tough losses. “It is as a team that the support structure is formed,” said Aguirre. “It begins with the program, the hockey directors and the coach. The team does the work and comes together to be whatever they set out to be. It takes effort, attitude and a common goal and vision to make it a successful season. Priority No. 1 is coming together, working together, and creating the best path of success for every participant, on and off the ice.”




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Barkov, Barber Put HockeyShot Synthetic Ice to the Test


uesday, January 29. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. For the first time in history, a pro hockey shootout happened on a beach! The sun was out, temperatures reached 70 degrees and HockeyShot put on a historic match between an NHL superstar and a stickhandling YouTube star. Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov took to the Extreme Glide Synthetic Ice to go toe to toe with Pavel Barber after the two engaged in a war of words on social media all week. With a crowd watching on, a panel of judges and one sweaty goalie – trying his best to not be intimidated – the two stars took turns making smooth moves on the Synthetic Ice panels to showcase you can truly play ICE hockey anywhere! Watching Barkov and Barber go head to head in this shootout shows why more players, coaches and trainers choose HockeyShot Synthetic Ice panels for all their training needs. There are a few different synthetic ice surfaces on the market, but we are confident that after trying out the HockeyShot Synthetic Ice – Extreme Glide panels you will agree with the many different players and coaches that have given us their No. 1 recommendation. The Synthetic Ice is the absolute best way to train off the ice because you can practice any time. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, the sun is shining, or the lights need to be turned on, HockeyShot has you covered for all your training needs. HockeyShot Synthetic Ice will last 7-10 years per side! That means, with proper care, you can have at least 14-20 years of home training and play time with these

panels. That is sure to take a load off your mind in terms of durability, longevity and bang for your buck. Another reason the Synthetic Ice is a step above the rest is the self-lubricating polymer. This means that you aren’t spending a lot of time or effort in trying to push and get that natural feel and no need f o r any waxes or add-on liquids.

HockeyShot Synthetic Ice is also super easy to install. They come in 4’x4’ or 4’x8’ sheets which are lightweight enough for most people to carry on their own. In fact, our team was spotted carrying up to three at a time when they installed the surface on the beach in Florida. Our Interlocking Dovetail panels significantly outperform traditional spline and square-edge styles and require no extra tools or equipment. You can take the customization one step further by sawing one tile in half to fill in the extra corners and

nooks of your home basement hockey training setup. Another great way to maximize your at-home hockey training setup is to add some shooting tarps and aids to help get you in the scoring zone. The Crowd Goes Wild Shooting Tarp is one of our favorites to help transform your basement into the stadium of your dreams. It’s every players’ dream to have an efficient and durable at-home training area. With HockeyShot Synthetic Ice, this dream can be a reality. Perfect for any garage, basement or backyard, the Synthetic Ice is the absolute best way to help make sure your game stays in top shape. Have no doubts that HockeyShot products are the best on the market with players such as pro ambassador Aleksander Barkov and stickhandling specialist Pavel Barber recommending them as well as our other testimonials from renowned coaches, players and trainers. When it comes to HockeyShot, you are getting the highest quality product and best athome hockey training aids out there. Enjoy this article? Then be sure to visit and sign up for their newsletter to get updated on the latest sales, tips, tricks and the best hockey training products on the market! Don’t forget to email to save 10% on your first quote.



Yuma festival cops rave reviews; Prescott event up next By Brian Lester


HAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky calls the festival in Yuma a finely-tuned machine because of how well everything is run. The Blaze has a unique system where every player and family in the program must pitch in for various roles at their home-hosted event. “From that, you see a pride taken in their festival that is second to none,” Boyarsky said. The hockey played over the second weekend in February in Yuma wasn’t bad either. In the 8U division, it was the Wildcats that remained unbeaten in tournament play. The Royals showed that they have made more strides as the Wildcats only won 6-0 – the closest game between the two teams up to this point. Prescott prevailed in the 10U division, which like 8U, features a tournament format. The Storm won 6-5 over Knighthawks Blue. Rylee Hobson scored with 3:44 left in the second to secure the win. “This championship game has gotten tighter and tighter,” Boyarsky said. “It’s just a matter of time before the ever-improving Knighthawks Blue find a way to get those couple of goals they need to win one. I imagine this will be one of the more exciting games come the state finals.” The Yuma Blaze and AZ Royals battled in the consolation game, with Nicholas Lopez scoring with a second remaining to lift Yuma to a victory.

Over in the 12U Division, Yuma is the lone unbeaten. The Blaze battled the Wildcats in the final and rolled to a 4-0 win. The Royals and Renegades had quite a battle over the weekend, Kelzi Olson scored a game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Renegades to a 5-4 victory. Jayden Parea tallied the assist. The Renegades won despite playing up a division -- they are a 10U team -- and despite playing back-to-back games at the end of the festival.

Yuma is in great shape in the 14U division, sitting atop the standings with a six-point lead. But that doesn’t mean a championship is a guarantee. The Wildcats have beaten Yuma once, winning 4-3 in January, but the Blaze owned the matchup this time, rolling to a 9-2 win. The Wildcats, though, were missing a key player or two. The AZ Royals are the most improved team in 14U. Daniel Diaz has guided his team to a point where it could be a dark horse for the title.


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In the Midget division, the AZ Royals White team remains the team to beat. Head coach Marvin Simmons led his team through another perfect festival. The Royals White played the Royals Blue and Northern AZ Yeti at the festival and both games were close. Royals White won 4-1 over Royals Blue and 3-1 over the Yeti. Nic Coppola led the offensive attack and goalie Nathan tePas rose to the occasion as well. “The Yuma festival always creates some interesting results when you accompany home-court advantage for the Blaze teams,” Boyarsky said. “The Yuma floor is painted concrete, which takes some getting used to as far as skating and puck movement. Many times, the dominant team in a division will find the floor to be a challenge in Yuma, causing some normally not-close games to be a lot closer.” The next festival is set for March 15-17 in Prescott. Team board member Freedom Nolan is looking forward to playing host to it. She said preparations include a rink cleanup day and working with sponsors and vendors to create a great menu for the weekend. As far as the actual game play goes, he enjoys having the chance to see different teams play. “My favorite part of hosting would be seeing all our divisions play,” Nolan said. “While traveling, it’s not always possible to see everyone, but here at home, I can catch all of the games from Midget to 8U.”


Mission AZ 16U White squad doing ‘pretty cool things’ By Greg Ball


he 2018-19 season has been a special one for the 16U White team with Mission AZ’s youth hockey program. Hockey director Jeremy Goltz has made a concerted effort to prioritize the squad to ensure that its players got the opportunity to play some high-level hockey. Mission has offered a 16U White team since the program started 13 years ago, but in recent years they were finding less and less local competition because so few programs in the greater Phoenix area were able to ice two teams at the 16U level and would focus their efforts on their AA teams. Knowing how important it was to players’ development to compete at a high level during their time in high school, he wanted to ensure these kids had somewhere to play and further their development. “I was committed to taking on the 16U White team like we had always done, but I wanted to put them through a AA schedule,” Goltz explained. “What has happened is they have taken their lumps in some games, and they have beaten some AA teams too - all in all, it has been a win-win for everyone involved. “We’ve got four girls on the team playing 16U hockey, which is unheard of, and we have pulled up some of the top players from our Bantam Red team. They’re doing double duty, so their development is really progressing. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of kids who were kind of between levels and needed a good year of

Mission’s overriding goal has never been focused experience.” Mission AZ’s 16U White team’s roster includes for- on winning games and hoisting championship trophies wards John Bomberg, Mason Brill, Madelyn Guer- while those are often byproducts of their work, the truly tin, Tanner Heitz-Ellis, Jack Huegler, Gabe Lopez, important thing is player development. That’s why this project has been so fulfilling for Goltz. Nicolas Miller, Erich Norris, Dillon Scheur, Tyler “The White team was really attached to the red team Singpradith, Spencer Stenholm, Nick Thurman; defensemen Payton Goltz, Tony Kiroff, Reese Mid- this year, whereas in the past they have been sort of dendorf, Johnny Montoya, Joe Storms; and goalies separate,” Goltz explained. “That’s important - these Hannah Schneidmiller and Caden Thurston. Goltz kids have to be around and exposed to higher levels. This is an important step coaches the squad, assistin their development as ed by Doug Cannon and they are exposed to the Chris Carouchi. “I appreciate the supintensity and the compeport of the town in helping tition of AA hockey, as well as the commitment it these kids develop,” Goltz requires. We have seen said. “They’ve had a good so many kids take great season and had plenty of leaps in their development games. The growth that we as hockey players, which have seen with them is very is what it’s all about in the clear. I feel like we have end.” broken through some barriLooking back at the ers with this team and done The Mission AZ 16U White team gets instruction from the season, Goltz said he’s some pretty cool things. It coaching staff during a recent game in Flagstaff. really has been a community effort to make this a quality pleased with how things turned out and feels validated experience for these kids.” in the decision he made. The 16U White squad closed their season with a “It was really sort of an outside-the-box idea, and Presidents Day tournament in Florida. Putting the squad it has worked out,” Goltz said. “There have been protogether required a commitment from the players, their grams like the Bobcats, Flagstaff and the Titans who families and many others within the Mission AZ circle to have been very supportive of what we’re trying to do try something a little out of the ordinary. with this team.”


NEW MEXICO REPORT Lobos ‘so ready to play,’ hoping to New Mexico native Gretz finding make ACHA national tournament positives in Flint’s OHL season By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



he University of New Mexico has played stellar hockey through much of the current season, but is that enough for the Lobos to make the ACHA Division III national tournament? Time will tell. “We are a bit out of the top ten and we had a couple losses that were preventable and really brought us down in the rankings,” said UNM coach Grant Harvey. “We have really strong games and occasionally, we just abandon our game and lose unexpectedly. We are definitely running from behind compared to last year.” Harvey said keeping the team focused this time of year is key. “We are running into that time of year where we have played 30 games and the players are almost zoning out, but once it’s game time, they are focusing and having fun and realizing what all the practices and drills are for,” Harvey said. “I’ve been running them hard for hours already and they are so ready to play.” One major highlight this season was the Nuclear Shootout, an outdoor tournament held Jan. 11-13 at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink that included the Lobos, Dallas Baptist, Nebraska and Northern Arizona. “​The tournament was a huge success,” said Harvey. “There was snowfall in almost every game but not enough to ruin any of them. It was the perfect amount and every team had a blast. The only negative was the championship game couldn’t be played due to the snowfall. There was a high quality of hockey there.” What are Harvey’s expectations the rest of the way? ​ “I expect to win the next two and see how this algorithm shapes up,” Harvey said. “We have never played so many games in a season, so this all new to us. I thought we fared well, but sometimes just when I think I have this ranking algorithm figured out, some of our rankings, good or bad, has me scratching my head. I have no idea any more, but I can say for certain winning and winning big helps.”

ven though a shoulder injury has him sidelined him for the remainder of current 2018-19 season, Marcus Gretz is still working. A second-year defenseman for the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds, the 17-year-old Albuquerque native has been out since late November, but is still finding ways to be involved with the club. “Being at home to recover was very hard,” said Gretz. “Just being around the guys and my roommates and my billet family have all made it much easier to deal with. We all know this year has been crazy. At times, we showed we can keep up with the big dogs and I think that has us excited for what’s coming. This season being injured has really given me time to step back, watch lots of film and highlights to really help give an extra push for the mental side and even Marcus Gretz continue building my lower body.” The Firebirds got out to a slow start and entering February, had won all of nine games to that point. Even so, Gretz was never deterred. “The best advice I can give is stay humble, keep your head down and work as hard as you can,” Gretz said. “It’s not easy to control what happens around you in a game, but you can control how hard you work and be positive. I think, as a team, we have really just started coming together. We started to have more fun and we enjoy coming to the rink regardless of what happened the night before, which is a great foundation moving forward.” And it also helps to have a strong fan base at the Dort Federal Event Center. “The fans in Flint are so loyal and supportive,” said Gretz. “With us having such a young team, it’s really exciting and we enjoy every bit of it.” During his youth days back home, Gretz played for the New Mexico Scorpions, New Mexico Renegades and Team New Mexico.

Tahoe Prep players improving athletically, academically Continued from Page 11 As for the rest of the Tahoe experience, as a Southern California native, Meaney said he just can’t quite get over having evergreen trees on a beach. Liam Sutton Moving from his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico to Tahoe could have been a shock to the system for Sutton, but the 16-year-old sophomore has adjusted nicely to his new surroundings. For the right winger on Tahoe’s varsity squad, the ability to succeed academically while advancing his hockey skills made Tahoe Prep the right fit. He said his experience this year is a big change from his freshman year at home, and it shows in his current 3.8-grade point average and on the ice. “School never met with hockey,” he explained of his previous experience trying to mesh athletics and academics. “Being able to go out and make these trips for games and still stay caught up at school is a privileged-but-earned experience. You have to be disciplined and stay on top of your classes, but the support is also here. Our academic supervisor does a really good job. I like to picture her as the reality check.” Sutton said his hockey goal this year is to make the prep team, and all the time he is spending on the ice is paying off. He said he noticed the changes in his game when he practiced with his old team during Christmas 18

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break. “The level of play is extremely different from what I was used to - picture NASCAR compared to Formula One racing,” he joked. “I appreciate the experiences I’m getting from hockey and the travel, getting to see so much of the country.” Sutton said he is especially appreciative of his parents for making Tahoe Prep possible for him. “I want to get a scholarship for college and pay them back for how hard they worked to get me here,” he said. Zane Parker Having played hockey since he was just six, Parker - now a 15-yearold sophomore - knew how much he loved the game. When his coach with the California Heat knew he was looking to advance, he connected him with coach Leo Fenn at Tahoe Prep, and after trying out with the academy during a school break, Parker was in. “My main goal was to focus on getting better and to grow up as a person,” said Parker, a defenseman on the varsity team from Inglewood. “In the beginning, it was rough being away from my family, but the team has turned into family and I love it. And you do grow up quicker - we each have our own jobs every day around the dorm, cleaning tables, drying the dishes and doing our own laundry.” Parker said he is focused on trying to get as far as he can in the sport, and the five-day-a-week schedule of on-ice and strength training is helping him achieve that.

“I’ve noticed it in my speed and preparation for games,” he said. Parker said it’s also about the atmosphere created by his teammates. “If someone asked me if they should consider attending THA, I’d 100 percent say go and do it,” he raved. “You become a better, as a player and a person.” Pablo Honda Making the decision to attend Tahoe Prep was a relatively easy one for Honda and his family. The 15-year-old freshman who plays for the varsity team is from the remote mountain town of Bishop, Calif. With no local year-round rink, he and his parents commuted two and a half hours each way along the Eastern Sierra, often through snowstorms, for a couple years to allow Honda and his brother to play with the Tahoe Grizzlies. With high school on the horizon and no other teams to consider nearby, it seemed like hockey wasn’t going to work. “The more I played the more I wanted to advance and having this opportunity to come to Tahoe Prep made me feel like I could have a bigger goal with hockey,” Honda said. Making the jump from B-level hockey to the varsity team was tough, but it has been made easier by Tahoe Prep’s coaches and players, Honda said. “It was hard at first - the speed is so different, but you are constantly improving and the coaches care, and the whole team was super welcoming,” he said. “They didn’t hold it against me. With this program, you are practicing every day for like 10 months out of the year. You can’t get that development anywhere else.”

Sun Devils inline team peaking at right time of season By Phillip Brents


he National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) will hold its 21st national championship tournament April 10-14 in Rochester, N.Y. The Arizona State Sun Devils have already started to prepare for the trip by competing in two regular-season inter-regional events. ASU met Lindenwood University and Florida Gulf Coast University at November’s inter-regional event in Huntington Beach, Calif. The Sun Devils’ Division I and Division IV teams finished 0-3 against Lindenwood, last year’s Division I national championship runners-up and eight-time defending Division III (now Division IV) national champions, and 1-1 against Florida Gulf Coast. ASU travelled to frigid Palatine, Ill., the weekend of Jan. 26-27 to compete in four more inter-regional games. The Sun Devils earned a 2-2 split after recording a 4-3 win over Bethel University and a 7-2 victory against Slippery Rock while losing 7-2 to Lindenwood and 2-0 to Michigan State. ASU co-coach Nick Boyarsky said the team’s inter-regional games have been “a great chance” to see where it stands against other Division I teams in the country. “Our goal is to be in the top four by April’s nationals event, and this (latest) event showed us we’ve got some work to do to reach that goal,” Boyarsky said. “We knew Lindenwood would be a game we had to play perfectly in to have a chance of winning, and we were not perfect. “Our Michigan State game was one we feel was winnable had we been better at adjusting to them, which we will next go around. Our other two games

were wins we feel we deserved but could also have ing 13 goals and 30 assists since joining the team been played better. Basically, our takeaway is that in January. we need to play with shift-by-shift consistency to MacDonald and Fry earned first and second star compete in the top of the Division I NCRHA level. game awards in their first game together at the IlThat’s our goal by April.” linois inter-regional event. Fry racked up 10 points More tests are on the way. Arizona State will in February’s tournament in Queen Creek while meet UC Santa Barbara in a MacDonald collected three best-of-three Division I champoints (one goal, two assists) pionship series at the WCRHL in the win over Santa Barbara, regional tournament March 2-3 for which he earned first star in Corona, Calif. The Sun Devhonors. ils are 10-1 against WCRHL The Sun Devils’ supportopponents in 2018-19. ing cast includes newcomASU won all six of its er Chase Steele, who has games at the Feb. 2-3 regumoved into the team scoring lar-season event at the Barlead with 27 points (13 goals, ney Family Sports Complex in 14 assists) in 16 games, along Queen Creek, including a 5-2 with returners Ian Bast (20 win over division rival Santa points in 16 games), Trevor Barbara, to highlight the tourWeinstock (18 points in 16 nament. games) and Aryeh Richter Boyarsky said two sec(18 points in 11 games). ond-semester additions – juGoaltender Aaron Gitnior Alex MacDonald and tings has played every minute returning fifth-year player Wes between the pipes this season. Fry – definitely should help ASU’s Division IV squad the team’s quest. is 10-1 in WCRHL play. Col“We’re going to be putting Trevor Weinstock ranks as one of the team leaders in McHugh (33 points in 12 a lot on those two players, on this season’s Arizona State University inline games), John Henze (28 who are arguably the most im- team. Photo/Nick Boyarsky points in 12 games), Shaun pactful of our 2019 season roster,” Boyarsky said. MacDonald (27 points in 12 games) and Miguel “They’ll need to figure out their roles and get com- Cazares (27 points in 12 games) pace the team fortable in them over the remaining games we have offensively. left in the regular WCRHL season.” Goaltender Scott Keohane is 10-2 overall with The pair has already paid dividends by collect- a 2.50 GAA and one shutout.

NAU battling adversity in bid to return to WCRHL playoffs Sports Complex in Queen Creek, the Lumberjacks haven’t given up hope of returning to the playoffs. The top four of six finishers in the WCRHL Division II standings qualify for the regional championship tournament March 2-3 in Corona, Calif. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (11-3-0-1), Chico State (9-6-0-0) and CSU Fullerton (8-3-0-1) have clinched

cluding two games against San Jose State. Arizona plays three games in the final regular-season event, inhe Northern Arizona Lumberjacks recorded a mecluding one against San Jose State. teoric season in 2017-18 by winning the Division II There is still time for movement in the standings for championship at the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey both Arizona teams. League (WCRHL) regional tournament en route to an “For the second half of the season, you can expect impressive semifinal showing at the National Collegiate us to give it 110 percent and give a fighting chance to Roller Hockey Championships in North Dakota. regain our spot back on top,” Hultgren said. “The But the 2018-19 season brought new chalroad to nattys isn’t over yet.” lenges with the loss to graduation of scoring star Growth in the NAU program has allowed for Trevor Riffey (57 goals and 80 points in 25 the formation of a secondary development team. games). Through 10 regular-season games, the fledgling The return of playmakers Trevor Scott and NAU squad had posted a respectable 4-6 record Joshua Roof, plus the addition of forwards and sat just two standings points out of qualifying Brayden Kohler and Max Reeves from the for the regional playoffs. United States junior men’s team that won the Hultgren said the success of the program’s gold medal at last summer’s International Federfirst-year Division IV squad has helped bolster the ation of Roller Sports (FIRS) world championship program’s future footprint on campus. tournament in Italy, did inject a newfound sense “As for Division IV, we couldn’t have asked of optimism into the program. for a better start out of our new team,” he said. That enthusiasm, however, was dampened “Winning our first ever game (6-2 over resident somewhat by a 1-4 start to the first semester. division power Cal Poly Gold) was a huge accom“The first part of the season did not go as plishment for us and we hope to keep that moplanned for our Division II team,” NAU club pres- The NAU Lumberjacks and the intra-state rival Arizona Wildcats are battling for mentum going throughout the rest of the season.” ident Anders Hultgren admitted. “We had a the final berth in this year’s Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League Division II The Lumberjacks close out regular-season rocky start due to the loss of our goaltender due regional playoffs. Photo/Nick Boyarsky play with six games at the Huntington Beach to a concussion in the second game of the season and the top three playoff berths in the division, with three event. we didn’t have veteran leader Trevor Scott for our first teams – San Jose State University, University of Arizona Jordy Maugeri leads the team scoring with 17 weekend. We were very short-benched.” points in 10 games, followed by Jeremy Mills with 15 and NAU – battling for the final qualifying berth. Kohler did impress by racking up 16 goals and three San Jose State (2-8-0-1), Arizona (2-10) and NAU points in seven games. Mills scored 12 goals in his first assists in the team’s opening five games at the Nov. all play one another at the final regular-season event six games to draw rave reviews 17-18 regular season event in Huntington Beach, Calif. Feb. 16-17 in Huntington Beach, with each team dic“The rest of the year, you can expect to see a full Despite slipping to 1-10 following a 0-6 showing at tating its own fate. bench on both teams and a better push than the first the Feb. 2-3 regular-season event at the Barney Family NAU has five regular-season games remaining, in- part of the season,” Hultgren summed up.

By Phillip Brents



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

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

ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Ethan Osburn (Prescott) – Kingston Voyageurs SASKATCHEWAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Cole Golden (Phoenix) – Notre Dame Hounds Grant Ziegler (Scottsdale) – Kindersley Klippers UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Sean Bunting (Phoenix) – Sioux City Musketeers Ryan Savage (Scottsdale) - Muskegon Lumberjacks 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) 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


BTM team sales staff sets standard for quality service T

eam branding is very important. How you look on and off the ice can be a big factor in the unity of the players, coaches on the ice and parents in the stands. Behind The Mask’s team sales division has worked with Exelby numerous associations across the state and U.S. with a focus on meeting the needs of each of their individual views on the look of their brand and hockey needs. Finding the right look can be difficult with so many different companies offering a wide variety of custom options. We have focused on simplifying the process and offering the best products available each season. Your team needs are important, and we offer a wide range of products to meet them. Jerseys, socks, gloves, helmets, pants, apparel and supplies are just a few of the offerings available to BTM team sales customers. As many of you (sometimes painfully) know, the

best laid-out planning and designing are sometimes for naught when unforeseen issues arise in production, customs, or delivery. Through it all, we have always fought for our customers and their needs and have always felt that our customers are more important than our bottom line. We work with brands like Bauer, CCM, Warrior and many others to get the best pricing and programs available. With the team category being a very difficult

area to work in, team sales manager Nick Boyarsky has been able to provide exceptional service to our customer for the past eight years. Now in a new role with roller hockey wheel brand Konixx, Nick is passing on the team sales category to a longtime member of the Behind The Mask family. Behind The Mask is excited to announce Beau Saugling as its newest U.S. team sales manager. Beau, as many of you may know, has worked for

Behind The Mask for the past 19 years. Currently the manager of BTM Peoria, he has also overseen several associations in the state and is coming into this role with the full expertise of the team category. His exceptional customer service and organizational skills make him the perfect fit in his new role. We hope to grow our team sales business by not only focusing on the larger associations but also the house and men’s league teams by providing a new catalogue and ordering system. There is a need outside of Arizona for experienced team sales providers to help grow programs in the Southwest United States and we hope to grow the game in our neighboring states and beyond. Providing a price-based option along with high-quality options, we are excited about the future. We would like to take a moment to thank Nick for his dedication to Behind The Mask and the exceptional service he has provided to all of or customers over the years. It has been a memorable journey and we are confident that he is leaving the business in the right hands with Beau for the coming season. We wish Nick the best of luck in his new role with Konixx. To outfit your team with the best jerseys, apparel, equipment and supplies, contact Beau Saugling via email at

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes/Tucson Roadrunners Hometown: Scarborough, Ont., Canada NHL Draft: Selected by Coyotes in fourth round (117th overall) of 2014 NHL Draft Last Amateur Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) Age: 23 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Michael Bunting: It was when we won the city championship in high school with all my buddies from back home. That was a pretty cool experience. I had a lot of fun experiences, but that was one of the top ones. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? MB: It was getting called up the NHL for the first time. That was the coolest thing, for sure. I was pretty excited and also scoring my first goal was definitely cool. I had all my friends and family there in Boston. Scored on Tuukka Rask. Really special. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? MB: Probably my parents. My parents did everything for me. Growing up, they drove me everywhere. You name it in Toronto, any rink, every game, and no matter what time it was. Whether it was 6 a.m. or 10 at night, they were there. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? MB: Everyone takes a different route to get to where they are. I didn’t take the normal route. Be patient and don’t worry if you get passed up on the first time. Anything is possible. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? MB: I like basketball and volleyball. I usually play those two sports in the summer with my buddies. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? MB: If I have a good game, and wear a certain suit to the game, I’ll wear that suit to the next game. That’s about it. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? MB: Chicken parm, wherever I can get it. Pre-game meal usually around noon and then I’ll take a nap for probably two hours. Then get ready for the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? MB: I like Maggiano’s Little Italy (in Scottsdale) for the pre-game meal there. Good chicken parm there. True Food Kitchen is pretty good, too. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? MB: My phone charger and a few suits. That’s pretty much all you need. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? MB: Easy one for me – Joe Sakic.

Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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