Arizona Rubber Magazine - March 2019

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MARCH 2019


The Desert Youth Hockey Association is approaching 45 years in the Valley, and a great deal of the program’s sustainability and success can be traced to Adam Mims, Brad McCaughey and Sean Whyte



FROM THE EDITOR Getting to that point when we can relax, recharge, refocus


s we enter the end of most teams’ seasons, I can’t help but get a bittersweet feeling. I mean, yeah, the hockey season is always a grind (even for us in the media business!) and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Getting the opportunity to work in hockey and converse with so many quality, genuine people is a treat that I certainly don’t take for granted. Like many hockey players, especially around this time of year, a break and time to relax is more than welcome. Just that time to recharge and get back at it is something I look forward to every spring. This job is far from the average 9-5 gig and Matt Mackinder most days, time with my family is limited. It’s just the nature of the business, and we all understand that. I’m blessed in that regard. I just can’t stress enough that this time of year - as many teams travel across the country for district and national tournaments - remember to take advantage of this time with the kids. Special moments will be created, and memories forever etched in your minds and on your phones. Seeing kids playing, experiencing and loving this great game is what makes me get up every morning and get to work. Hockey is the greatest game on the planet. Let’s keep enjoying it for the rest of the season, however long that may be. Live in the moment. And good luck to everyone the rest of the way! USA Hockey and the North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced recently an enhanced long-term partnership agreement that will further improve the junior hockey development program in the United States. “The North American Hockey League has been, and continues to be, an important part of the ladder of development in our country,” said USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher. “We’re excited about the future and look forward to continued collaboration with the league in all areas of the game.” As part of the enhanced partnership, USA Hockey will provide additional resources to the NAHL to continue to improve all facets of the league, including player development, coaching, officiating and overall visibility. “We’ve been extremely proud of our role within USA Hockey. This announcement continues to move our sport forward in a very positive way,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “The NAHL is where it is today because of our committed ownership and their focus on providing players top-quality coaching, skill development and community-supported teams in stable markets, and one-of-a-kind events that provide unparalleled exposure.” The NAHL will continue as the only Tier II junior league within the USA Hockey landscape. Back in November, the NAHL along with the Tier I USHL, reached a new and cooperative framework on player movement between the two leagues. A big congratulations to all the teams that won Arizona Youth Hockey League state titles in recent weeks! In AZYHL title games, the Arizona Hockey Union 10U Silver (10U Cactus), AHU 10U White (10U Mesquite), Mission AZ 10U Red (10U Canyon), Jr. Coyotes 12U Elite (12U Pinnacle), Jr. Coyotes 11U Elite (12U Cactus), Jr. Coyotes 10U Elite (12U Mesquite), Mission 12U Red (12U Canyon), Flagstaff Northstars 14U (14U Cactus) and DYHA Jr. Sun Devils 14U Gold (14U Mesquite) all captured championship banners. As well, DYHA (14U), the Jr. Coyotes (16U) and Mission (18U) won Tier II state titles. Congratulations to all on a job well done! It was quite a scene Feb. 24 as the Arizona Coyotes retired longtime captain Shane Doan’s No. 19 jersey with a 90-minute ceremony at Gila River Arena that featured career highlight videos, messages from Doan’s friends, and a heartfelt speech from Doan, who played 1,540 games for the franchise over 21 seasons. “It was amazing,” Doan said afterward. “Being able to do it with my kids on the ice and for them to be able to appreciate it and see it, it was so classy and so generous.”

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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

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Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Rippy


Robby Beck, a former standout at Cactus Shadows High School now playing for the NA3HL’s Northeast Generals, is one of several players that skated in AHSHA that are now playing junior hockey or college hockey. More on Page 12.

ON THE COVER The Desert Youth Hockey Association has had tremendous leadership and loyalty over the years, stemming from, left to right, Adam Mims, Brad McCaughey and Sean Whyte in their various roles with the Jr. Sun Devils. Photo/Gil Gabo Photography

Sun Devils looking to make noise in NCAA Tournament season), and the electric play in net of Mike Richter Award semifinalist Joey Daccord, whose seven shutouts tie him for best in the country. The team has also played a physical yet responsible game, and even when one gets the better of the other, the leadership group is sure to reign it back in. Co-captains Brinson Pasichnuk and Tyler Busch,

in the Pairwise Rankings despite not playing a game in almost a month. For much of the season, the Sun Devith conference tournaments underway across ils have hovered around the 10th spot in the rankings, the country in college hockey, the end of the which compares all 60 Division I teams in metrics such many teams’ seasons has come, while more play on as ratings percentage index, record versus common in hopes of increasing their odds of playing into April. opponents, and head-to-head record. The more comAnd one school must wait three long weeks to parisons a team wins, the higher it ends up in the ranksee if their accomplishments to date will be ings, and with six conference tournaments enough to earn its first-ever NCAA Tournaresulting in an automatic bid to the NCAA ment berth. Tournament, 10th is right around the sweet If it wasn’t already, buzz is building around spot for the lone independent team. the Arizona State men’s hockey team as the By most measurements, they’re in. ColNCAA gets ready to announce the 16 teams lege Hockey News’ Pairwise Probability Mathat will compete for a Division I collegiate trix lists them with a 99.9 percent chance of championship. Powered by nine weekend an at-large bid, while Jim Dahl of College sweeps and big road wins at Penn State and Hockey Ranked adds that it’s “very likely” Harvard, the monumental progress of the that the Devils are a lock. newest college hockey team has observers “We feel good about our chances,” said keen to hear ASU’s fate. ASU head coach Greg Powers following The fourth-year D-I program finished their their final regular-season game at Minnesostorybook season at 21-12-1. The Sun Devils ta. “We’re going to prepare like we’re in bedefended home ice well, posting an 11-2 recause we think we are. We’re going to give cord at Oceanside Ice Arena, and in both of our guys some rest, get healthy, get Johnny those losses, each to then-No. 1 Ohio State (Walker) healthy. Our guys will be ready.” in mid-October, the Sun Devils skated strideThey’ve made it their goal to turn threefor-stride with the Buckeyes. Despite scores The inaugural Arizona State senior class of 2019 is comprised of, left to right, Anthony Cros- plus weeks off (which includes ASU’s spring ton, Jack Rowe, Dylan Hollman, Jake Clifford and Jakob Stridsberg. Photo/Greg Cameron of 3-2 and 3-0, that weekend became a win break) into an advantage by gradually rampin its own way as it confirmed that they could expect along with assistant captains Anthony Croston and ing up practice intensity as that time goes on, and by to win big games and shake up the balance of power Dom Garcia as well as four other key seniors, have maintaining their off-ice regimens. along the way. kept the focus and energy in the locker room consisThe team will have a little bit of fun during this Among the many factors that contributed to their tent all year long. stretch, though. They practiced at the Ice Den Scottsuccess in the 2018-19 campaign was the penalty kill, The Sun Devils entered the top 20 of the USCHO. sdale on March 20 in front of fans, signed autographs which ranks among the top 10 units in the nation, the com poll on Nov. 12 for the first time in program histo- and hosted a seminar on college hockey afterward. mass goal scoring of Hobey Baker Award candidate ry, and haven’t surrendered their spot in it since. The NCAA Tournament bracket will be unveiled live and Phoenix native Johnny Walker (23 goals on the More importantly, ASU has stayed in great position on ESPNU on March 24 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. By Greg Cameron



Devils With A Cause

After nearly 45 years, DYHA still providing top-notch youth program, both on and off the ice By Matt Mackinder


or the Desert Youth Hockey Association, being a viable organization in Arizona has had its ups and downs over the last 40-plus years. Truth be told, there have been many more ups than downs, and with a slew of positive individuals working with the program as administrators and coaches, it’s easy to see why the organization continues to prosper and forge ahead. This season also saw the club bring in Hiroki Wakabayashi as a full-time goalie instructor, see their second girls NCAA Division I commitment in Kenadie Cooper (to St. Anselm College, following in the footsteps of Makenna Newkirk, now at Boston College), and see discussions start for the Jr. Sun Devils to potentially apply for Tier I status. To see how far the program has come over the years, it’s imperative to see things through those that have been there. Sherri Koshiol has been with DYHA for 10 years as a board member, including serving as vice president, treasurer and secretary, has been the events and fundraising coordinator, a delegate to the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association and most importantly, a hockey mom. What keeps her with DYHA year after year? “Hockey encompasses more than just what happens on the ice during practices and games,” said Koshiol. “With a season that goes more than eight months, what hockey and DYHA mean to me are relationships. Relationships between players, families, coaches and opportunities to experience the ups and downs with people who have become more than friends or acquaintances – they have become family. “That sense of community is what drew us to DYHA Firebirds in 2009 and why we are still involved today.” When asked what her fondest memories are of the organization, Koshiol said it was impossible to give an exact number or narrow it down. “There are literally too many to count,” she said. “As a parent, a couple things that come to mind - I have enjoyed seeing my kids experience state championships and the Fargo Squirt International championship, but aside from the victories and successes, some of the greatest memories have been watching my boys and their teammates mature and grow through adversity as well as bonding with other families on numerous road trips over the years.” Looking ahead, Koshiol is excited for what the future holds in Tempe. “DYHA has been around for nearly 45 years and with that longevity comes the ongoing opportunity for reinvention and adaptation,” Koshiol said. “I am proud of the ability of DYHA and Oceanside Ice Arena over the past decade to adapt to the changing youth hockey landscape and remain a leader in providing a quality hockey experience for hundreds of hockey players. “Adapting to the hockey community and customer needs are essential to ensuring a continual positive experience for our players and families. With the growth of Arizona hockey, DYHA is poised to continue delivering a high-quality program that will provide our players with experience, knowledge and memories to last a lifetime.” Brad McCaughey, DYHA’s current coach-in-chief and director of hockey operations, entered his role just prior to the 2017-18 season. It’s a role with an organization he has become enamored with in these past two years. 6

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“I am here because of the environment and the opportunity to leave a mark on a program that has already developed a good reputation,” said McCaughey, who played NCAA D-I hockey at the University of Michigan and pro hockey in the AHL, ECHL and IHL, ending his playing career in 1993 with the IHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners. “Our goal is to teach life lessons through the game of hockey. I am also passionate about teaching the game of hockey, the little things that are required, how to play away from the puck, etcetera. The game is very complex, and these kids need to learn a lot at a young age. I think the Valley has made tremendous strides in this department over the last several years.” In reflecting on the 2017-18 season, McCaughey noted seeing the Jr. Sun Devils’ 14U, 16U and 18U teams sweep the Tier II state championships was a very rewarding experience. “Not because it was great for us or even that I thought I had a lot to do with it, but as I have mentioned before, I inherited a good situation here with DYHA,” McCaughey said. “I just know how hard it is to win a championship and the amount of things that have to go your way and how easy it is for things to fall another team’s way, that to win all three was truly special and I felt incredible for our kids. “I appreciate how hard that was to do and that is not something that I am expecting from this organization year after year. There are just too many good organizations in town and the competition level is quite even.” McCaughey has also added talented, knowledgeable staff to DYHA to keep growing the program and allowing more opportunities for players and families. “It is hard to say how the program has improved since I have only been here two seasons and the program was in great shape when I got here,” said McCaughey. “One of the changes I made this season was to bring in Hiroki as our dedicated goalie instructor and, in my opinion, he did a fantastic job. He really took ownership of the goalies and we even configured our ‘Skills Night’ so that the goalies would get a 45-minute private session with him as well as the 45-minute session with their team. That idea was actually his and it was a good one. He also spent one-on-one time during weekly practices and so far, I am getting really good feedback from our goalie parents. I also brought in Brad Perry and Jason Wright to run my Skills Nights and I believe that they positively affected the program.” Now firmly immersed in his role after two seasons, McCaughey can’t see himself anywhere else other than the desert. “I am excited about the future and the direction DYHA is heading,” said McCaughey. “There are a lot of exciting things happening behind the scenes that give us great reasons for optimism. We see ourselves as a possible Tier I program down the road and we will just have to wait and see how all that shakes out. The bottom line is that this is youth hockey and it is all about the kids and their families. It is about teaching and creating memories, and it is about fun, above all else. “Once the kids stop having fun, you can lose your program. In my opinion, we are having lots of fun at DYHA and the future looks bright.” Continued on Page 10


Four ex-Bobcats win USPHL Premier title with Whalers “He wanted me to come out to Hampton Roads, and that was three years ago. The rest is history,” DiGiulio added. ho knew there would be such a fruitful player pipeSanchez and DiGiuilio often found themselves on line from Arizona to Hampton Roads, Va.? a line this year with fellow second-year Whaler John That is certainly the case, however, evidenced by the Moncovich, who posted 52 points in 40 regular-seaquartet of former Arizona Bobcats players who lifted the son games. He added six points in five USPHL Premier USPHL Premier championship trophy on March 12 with National Tournament games. the repeat champion Hampton Roads Whalers. “Joe and I work hard in the corners and we get the “We knew we had our work cut out for us, but there puck to ‘Monc,’ and hopefully he’ll get that shot in the were good veterans on the team that helped push us net,” said Sanchez. “I cannot believe how close through,” said Kohl Hedquist, a Tempe native, this team is. I have never experienced a team on winning his first title with the Whalers. “What so close.” we did this season is tough to do without good That closeness made it a seamless transileadership. It was easy to ask ‘What do I do tion for the newer players. here?’ They showed me the ropes.” “It’s nice because it was my first year here,” It was the first title for Hedquist and goalie added Hedquist. “They kind of showed me the Blake Bjella. It was title No. 2 for alternate capropes and took me into their house the first tain Jared Sanchez and veteran forward Joe week. Being a first-year guy, I knew we had our DiGiulio. Blake Bjella Joe DiGiulio Kohl Hedquist Jared Sanchez top scorers, so I just tried to go out and provide “I got the ‘A’ this year, so it was a big step for that,” said the ‘98-born Sanchez, a Scottsdale native “I started playing in some Mite A games to get going, some energy for the boys as a defensive forward. “If I can do something out there that gives the big currently living in Goodyear. “I thought us captains led and then I went to the Jr. Coyotes with Ron Filion, and well. I’m very proud of every single player on this team.” then to the Bobcats when that organization was formed,” scorers some energy, they’ll come out for their shift with some extra jump.” “I love this organization, I love everything about it - said Sanchez. “I was a first-year Bobcat.” It’s hard to argue with “extra jump” being associthe coaches, the players, the staff, everything about it DiGiulio made the move from San Jose, Calif., to is awesome,” said the ‘99-born DiGiulio, who lives in Phoenix when he was 14 years old. He and Hedquist ated with the Whalers. After all, with so many USPHL Scottsdale. He was teammates in the Bobcats organi- were at a summer camp in 2016 where Whalers owner titles, they have plenty of jump and are always looking zation with each of his fellow Whalers teammates from Pat Cavanagh spotted them both and talked to them for more - and Arizona is definitely in their sights as a pool of talent. Arizona. about the Whalers.

By Joshua Boyd/


“Everything just kind of fell into place, and it worked out great obviously,” said the ‘98-born Bjella, who lives in Mesa. “I’m speechless. Winning the championship is a dream come true. We came together and found a way to win. My former Bobcats teammates are great guys, and I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else. It was great to have them here.” Sanchez remembers originally trying skating and hockey at age four, but “I didn’t want to do it.” At age six, he gave it another shot and “suddenly loved the game.”



AHU Bantam Black team helps Feed My Starving Children By Sean Phillips


very season, the Arizona Hockey Union’s Bantam Black team picks up wins on the ice. Also every season, the Knights win off the ice by giving their time and volunteering with Feed My Starving Children. It has become a traditional event and it’s a given that the team will participate every year. Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children is

a Christian non-profit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. Recently, the Bantam Black team met at 9 a.m. on an off weekend and had over 30 players and family members help to pack food for the Philippines. Even an injured player, Beau Maher, who has a broken leg, was able to find work to do. The players like helping out, not only for the ob-


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

vious reason of helping children, but also because it promotes teamwork amongst them. On their own, they determine who is the best fit for each task and there is no slacking allowed. Players pictured are Zach Delsante, Cole Brown, Sydney Pinti, Kyra Mittendorf, Josh Sherman, Nathan Graybill, Nathan McClure, River Lewis, Sean Haggard, Jeremiah Girnt, Tyler Shin, Rocco Ferrara and Kai Hohoff. ​​

NAU Coaches and Staff will be hosting a




Pre-registration is required

SPRING PROSPECTS CAMP April 26-27th, 2019

You are invited to join other prospective players for three on-ice sessions. Sessions will be an hour and a half in length and each player will receive a NAU camp jersey. OPEN TO ALL JUNIOR OR COLLEGE ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

For more information and how to register, please visit


Why do youth hockey coaches go with a short bench? W

hen I coached Bantam teams, our opponents regularly shortened their bench early in the game. We beat a better team in the regional playoffs one year because our opponent only played Goar two of their three lines. We changed our three lines every 30 seconds in the third period and wore them out. When we went through the post-game handshake, there were five cold, dry hands. The last game of the season for them and the third line did not skate a shift. In another instance, the third line never played a shift against us in a scrimmage game in October. In high school games, I see opponents have left the third line sitting for entire games, not to mention the fourth line. In Pee Wee B, our opponents routinely shorted the bench, and in one instance, during the first period. Tournaments seem to bring

out the short-bench syndrome. So what is this all about? Is it about winning? Perhaps, or maybe it is about not losing. Perhaps the fear of losing is stronger than the joy of winning. I cannot actually understand what is so important that a coach needs to sit a third of the team down in the important games. The impact on those players is devastating. Winning cannot heal the damage. I am often told that the parents and players were told by the coach at the beginning of the season that this might occur and that everybody agreed to it. This is self-serving for the coach because when would a parent or player speak up against a policy like this? After all, every parent and player thinks it will be the other kids who sit out. It is not until it occurs to them that the reality sinks in. By the time it happens, it is too late to object. The parents of the players who are getting the extra ice time are suddenly in favor of the short bench and will not

speak up. I know that there are two schools of thought about this. The first is that winning is the salve that heals all wounds. A player relegated to the bench during the championship run should be happy to be along for the ride. The second is that we play all season together as a team and as a team we will finish by playing together. The reality is that the players relegated to the bench simply get bored and lose interest. Who would blame them? At the higher levels of hockey where it is a business and winning actually affects players and coach’s careers, player utilization is accepted by the participants. Players are delegated certain roles and they need to fulfill those expectations. In youth hockey, winning feels good but there are little other benefits other than adult ego gratification. I believe that in youth hockey there is no place for the short bench. (Check out Part 2 in the April 2019 issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine.)

Kurt Goar is the coach-in-chief for the Arizona Hockey Club.



Jr. Sun Devils still going strong after nearly 45 years

Continued from Page 6

Then there is Adam Mims. Having been with DYHA and Oceanside Ice Arena since 1998, Mims was hired by Kurt Goar to work in the pro shop and over the past 21 years, has worked as pro shop clerk, operations tech, pro shop manager, operations manager, adult league director, pro shop and adult league owner, general manager, executive director, and the goalie coach for DYHA and the adult hockey skills program. Needless to say, Mims has been around the block a time or two. “What’s kept me here over the years has evolved, but the over-arching reason I’ve stayed here is because I believe in the non-profit DYHA mission that provides affordable hockey opportunities to the hockey community through its subsidiary, Oceanside Ice Arena,” Mims said. “For the first few years, it was really the ability to play hockey almost every day that was most interesting to me. Then it evolved into learning operations, programming, budgeting, and management of all aspects of an ice arena. More recently, since 2015, the challenge of creating a suitable first home for the new NCAA D-I ASU Sun Devils hockey program has been my primary focus.” As for memories over the past handful of years, Mims said it comes down to the players.

“What sticks out to me is all the young hockey players who have learned to play here at DYHA and progressed into adulthood and played college hockey here and eventually landed in the adult leagues,” said Mims. “It’s amazing how many players have been playing hockey here regularly the entire time I’ve been here. I have several former DYHA players who work at Oceanside now and it’s rewarding to see these young men and women grow up in the

DYHA community and be great adults. “In my time here, there have been lots of changes at DYHA and Oceanside, but we’ve never lost sight of our mission, though, and that’s all that matters. More changes are on the way in the coming years and I’m confident that we’ll be true to our mission.”


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Sean Whyte, the former longtime director of hockey operations and current president of DYHA, helped boost the program to where it is now before stepping aside as director to take a role with the NHL in developing youth hockey in Southwest U.S. non-traditional markets, including Arizona. Whyte, another former Phoenix Roadrunners player who also skated for the Phoenix Mustangs in the old WCHL and played 21 games with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings (with Wayne Gretzky), has also coached numerous DYHA teams at all levels, including this year’s 18U squad. “The culture that we have grown here at DYHA is based on family, team, sportsmanship and community,” said Whyte. “My fondest memories of the organization are watching the program grow from 2008 to now, as well as taking my Pee Wee team to the Quebec tournament and having every player billeted with a family.” “Back in 2008, the program had just over 100 members. We have since grown to over 200 and focusing on not only skill development but the development of the player as a whole. DYHA is centrally located and pulls players from all over the Valley. As we continue building the best coaching staff and focusing on grassroots as well as high-tier hockey, the future of the DYHA program is looking extremely promising.”


Onward and Upward Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy student-athletes surging toward continued success By Greg Ball


aylight savings time has already begun, and temperatures are starting to warm up at the base of the mountains in Lake Tahoe. As the 2018-19 hockey season winds down and the final few months of the academic year are upon us, there’s plenty to be excited about at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy. Here are a half-dozen players who have made a significant impact with Tahoe Prep this season. Pavel Pustovoy Pustovoy’s journey to Tahoe Prep started in Russia, took him through Sacramento and eventually landed him along the emerald green shores of the lake bordering California and Nevada. He moved from his home country to California’s capital when he was four and played travel hockey with the Capital Thunder in nearby Roseville. The 18-yearold forward on Tahoe’s prep team is in his second year at the school. A postgraduate player, Pustovoy said his experience traveling around the United States and playing against top teams has helped not only his hockey skills, but also with preparation for his next move. He is in the process of choosing a college. “I’ve been accepted to Arizona State and Cal State Long Beach so far,” Pustovoy said. “It would be fun to go to a college with a club team so I can keep playing.” He said his travel hockey experience at home was nothing but positive. However, he reached a point where his coaches encouraged him to seek opportunities to play at a higher level. “Tahoe was close to home and offered the chance to travel around the U.S. and get experience playing against top teams,” Pustovoy said. “It was a great decision. It took a lot for my parents to send me here, but they’re happy that it opened up doors for me.” Pustovoy said there will be games from his time at Tahoe Prep that he will never forget, like when the squad beat International Hockey Academy 3-2 in overtime this season. Nikko Escobar A 16-year-old defenseman on Tahoe’s varsity team, Escobar is in his first year as a student-athlete in Tahoe after relocating from Ventura, Calif. He most recently played at the AA level for the Valencia Jr. Flyers, but his home rink was more than an hour’s drive each direction, and the time required was more than really made sense. “Playing AA hockey in Southern California be-

came so much you couldn’t make it work,” Escobar explained. “All the traveling to practice and

Pavel Pustovoy

Nikko Escobar

Caden Bennett

Tyler Kitchen

Kaden Krueger

Holt Schwarm

games, and you still had homework. At TPHA, you can make the hockey work and not be overwhelmed with homework. The blended academic schedule of

online learning and face-to-face classes is better, and I had a 3.8 grade point average last semester.” Escobar is also doing well on the ice, having totaled 11 points in the regular season in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL), with five goals and six assists. He said that after graduating from Tahoe Prep, he wants to play either junior or college hockey. “No one in my family had ever played hockey,” Escobar said. “I just did it once and I loved it. I want to play competitively as long as I can.” He said his time at Tahoe Prep has resulted in noticeable changes in his game. “I’m a better positional player, and my speed has increased,” he said. “I just want to keep developing – getting better as player, person, and as a student.” When his hockey career is over, Escobar said he would like to follow in his father’s footsteps and study fire science to become a firefighter. Caden Bennett A sophomore on Tahoe’s varsity team, Bennett comes to TPHA by way of Salt Lake City, Utah. The 15-year-old is in his first academic year and hockey season at Tahoe Prep, and made the decision to leave his hometown behind to help him pursue his dreams of playing college hockey. “I came to improve my skills and hockey IQ,” Bennett explained. “This first season has really been a breaking point for me. It’s shown me where I should be in my hockey career and where I could be. The game is a lot faster than what I was used to. It took me from one practice a week to five days on the ice. We have more time on the ice, and all the coaches bring certain skill sets. It’s nice to hear from different perspectives. The coaching staff is really supportive. When I came here it really felt like home.” Despite a tough 4-2 loss to the Santa Margarita Eagles in the playoffs, Bennett said he felt it was one of the varsity team’s better games of the season. “Even though it stinks losing, we kind of all stayed together as a family and worked until the final buzzer. We never let off the gas,” Bennett said, adding that he’s already thinking of next season. “Next year, I really want to step up my game and make my skills faster and better.” He said that he is also improving academically. “Moving away from home has made me more mature,” Bennett said. “School is now the No. 1 priority, and the online classes have been better for me in understanding the material.” Continued on Page 24



AHSHA advancing players to junior, college ranks By Matt Mackinder


ome consider high school the best times of their lives. Add in playing hockey for your high school and it’s the best of both worlds. As AHSHA has grown over the years, so, too, have advancement opportunities for its standout players. For the 2018-19 season, Robby Beck (Cactus Shadows, NA3HL’s Northeast Generals), Charlie James (Chaparral, ACHA University of Arizona), Stephen Kennedy (Horizon, USPHL’s Northern Cyclones) and Donovan Myers (Centennial, two WSHL teams, ACHA Arizona State) are four recent AHSHA graduates that are skating in junior or college hockey. All say that AHSHA is very underrated and that all four schools helped them hone their skills to be juniorand college hockey-ready. “I have very fond memories of playing Arizona high school hockey,” Myers said. “I enjoyed playing on the same team and under the same coach for all four years. My favorite part of playing high school hockey was meeting all the other players and the relationships that grew from being on that team. I also had the opportunity to play on Team Arizona my last two years of high school. Traveling to Pittsburgh and competing at a national level is something I’ll always cherish. “I am still in touch with several of my high school teammates and although some of us may not see each other often, when we do it’s like no time has passed and

the memories of good times flood back to us.” After high school, Myers played two seasons in the Western States Hockey League for the Springfield Express and Oklahoma City Blazers. A former senior captain at Chaparral, James said the postseason games for AHSHA are his highlights. “Hands down, there is no better or cooler feeling than

Stephen Kennedy played AHSHA hockey at Horizon High School and is currently continuing his development playing junior hockey in the USPHL with the Northern Cyclones.

getting to wear your school colors in front of a large student section battling for the next round,” James said. “Win or lose, having your high school behind you and supporting you is indescribable. High school hockey provided me a platform to make friends for life, and I did just that. Despite being in different cities or states, I still check in on my old teammates and how they are doing. One of my favorite


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games to play each year is our high school alumni game. Being on the ice with all my old teammates is something I cherish every time I get the opportunity.” Beck, playing this year in the Boston area, was part of the Cactus Shadows’ state title-winning team his freshman year, downing Notre Dame Prep in overtime. “Nothing can beat the feeling of winning a game like that,” said Beck. “During my high school career, I was able to experience the growth AHSHA was able to make in just three years, and all of it was positive. I believe everything they’re doing is making hockey in Arizona more competitive and fun for the players and soon, we will see more players moving on to the next level from AHSHA.” Kennedy also won a state championship as a freshman, helping Horizon defeat Hamilton. He’s playing juniors this season in New Hampshire. “The bonds I made with my teammates on and off the ice from Horizon are unforgettable,” Kennedy said. “I also had the privilege of playing with Joe Smith, a senior forward my freshman year who unfortunately passed away the following summer, but I will never forget him and will always carry his memory with me whenever I put my helmet on and see the ‘JS33’ sticker. “I believe that AHSHA hockey is both underrated and continuing to grow across the Valley. AHSHA offers great competition on the ice for players of every division. I know 100 percent that I have absolutely no regrets about joining AHSHA my freshman year and know that it helped me become a better hockey player over the years.”


Jr. Coyotes squads capture slew of state championships uite literally, it has been another banner year for the Jr. Coyotes. All four Tier I teams (14U, 15 Only, 16U, 18U) captured Arizona Amateur Hockey Association state championships last month, while three Elite teams (10U, 11U, 12U) did the same this month, in addition to the 16U Tier II team. 14U Tier I: After a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1, the Jr. Coyotes swept the Arizona Bobcats after a 7-1 win on

and two assists apiece to pace the offensive attack. 16U Tier I: With a 5-2 win on Feb. 10 at the Ice Den Scottsdale, the Jr. Coyotes took both games from the Bobcats. Logan Valkama’s hat trick led the way offensively and Josh Doan and Riley Stuart drew a pair of assists each. In goal, Jake Hall finished with nine saves to get the win. 18U Tier I: On Feb. 10 at the Ice Den Scottsdale, Grant Ziegler posted a goal and an assist as the Jr. Coyotes swept the Bobcats with a 3-1 win. Logan Bellar and Tyler Kiley-Ram also scored and Craig Perry turned aside 15 shots between the pipes to garner the victory.

Levi Shepard and Blake Ram each scored two goals and Joel Anderson made 26 saves in goal. 11U Elite: The Jr. Coyotes’ 11U Elite team captured the 12U Cactus Division title with a 3-0 win over the Jr. Coyotes’ 12U Elite team at the Ice Den Scottsdale on March 3. Jacob Brumm pitched a 19-save shutout to lead the Jr. Coyotes. 12U Elite: The Jr. Coyotes won the 12U Pinnacle Division with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Bobcats on March 3 at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Jacob Solano was the OT here at the 3:43 mark of the extra session. Daniel Rassega

Feb. 10 at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Jaden Lipinski scored twice, while Simon Rokhlin had a goal and two assists to back Nicholas Hansen’s 24 saves in goal. 15 Only Tier I: The Jr. Coyotes swept the Bobcats with a 5-0 shutout on Feb. 10 at the Ice Den Scottsdale. Michael Brown stopped all eight shots he faced for the shutout. Ty Nash and Matthew Gross each tallied a goal

16U Tier II: The Jr. Coyotes swept the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils, wrapping up March 17 at Oceanside Ice Arena with a 2-1 overtime win as Michael Doherty scored both, including the winner. George Serbin made 20 saves in goal. 10U Elite: With a 4-2 win over the Arizona Hockey Union, the Jr. Coyotes’ 10U Elite team secured the 12U Mesquite Division championship March 3 at the Ice Den Scottsdale.

added two goals in regulation, while Caleb Mahar also scored, Carson Kamin tacked on two assists and goalie Benjamin Vatis stopped 27 shots. Quinn Huseby had tied the game for the Bobcats at 9:25 of the third period. Both the 15 Only and 16U Tier I teams also won Rocky Mountain District championships March 17 in Colorado.

By Matt Mackinder




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Own the Moment – On the Ice By John Haime/Hockey Mind Coach


lay in the moment There are three potential places your mind could be when you are on the ice – the past, the present or the future. Of these three places, there is only one place where you can absolutely control performance – the present. This is exactly where noted psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his best-selling book “Flow,” made his mark as a researcher. His research demonstrates that people are happiest and most productive when in a state of flow – when they are totally absorbed in the task at hand, and the challenge of the situation is equal to (or just above) their skill level. This is where you must strive to be when playing the game. The past and future are distractions to performance in the here and now. The past has happened, so dwelling on it is not productive. The future has not happened, so being fearful about what might happen is not productive. At every opportunity, pull yourself back into the moment you are playing in. Fall in love with the process; results will follow To help you further with “playing in the moment,”

being focused on your playing process can be a key for you. The key to every plan is not necessarily the ultimate goal or target – but the small steps needed to take you there. These small steps, often focused on a technique or strategy that you have worked on and tested in practice this year,

keep your mind on your execution on the and not on outcomes like winning – that you have no control over. In order for you to “own the moment” and stay in the moment, put all of your attention on what’s important to play your best in the moment – great positional play, an aggressive, proactive approach, your best effort on each shift or whatever “your” focuses in practice might

be. Fall in love with your process and let the outcomes fall where they may. This is my time – no one else’s It all comes down to you. You are the one who can make a difference in the game – or help teammates to make a difference. You accept feedback and instructions from coaches, but ultimately decide how you will use it. You are responsible for your own enjoyment in the game of hockey and determine who impacts that joy. Will you allow the many distractions in the game to dampen the reasons you play in the first place – because you love it. Owning the moment is about taking responsibility for your playing experience and your performances. Each moment on the ice, whether practicing or playing, is yours – no one else’s. These are three simple keys to help you own your play. Each “moment” for you on the ice is an opportunity to shine and express your potential, so embrace each opportunity and own it! Enjoy this article? Then be sure to visit for the latest tips, tricks and THE best hockey training products in the world!



Prescott IHAAZ festival ‘always a favorite for the kids’ By Brian Lester


ain threatened to put a damper on the IHAAZ festival in Prescott March 15-17 at Pioneer Park. But the rain ended up staying away and the festival played out under perfect weather conditions at the picturesque park in Prescott. Pioneer Park is one of the better venues for roller hockey and an ideal location for the latest festival. “Pioneer Park is one of the premier outdoor facilities in the country, with a beautiful park setting and state-of-theart play area for the kids to enjoy between games,” said Nick Boyarsky, the IHAAZ tournament director. “It’s always a favorite for kids.” The action on the rink wasn’t too bad either, with several exciting matchups playing out during the festival. That includes in the midget division, which saw the AZ Royals White battle through a bit of adversity. Because the state playdowns for ice hockey are in full swing, the first-place AZ Royals were down several players for the festival. They suffered their first loss, falling to the Northern Arizona Yeti, the second-place team in the division. The Royals had just two of their normal skaters and a goalie. They ended up calling up three players from the 14U Royals team. They ended up going 3-1 at the festival. The Yeti went 4-0 over the weekend. At the 14U level, the Prescott Storm took advantage of playing at home and picked up wins over the Knighthawks and the AZ Jr. Wildcats. The Storm topped the Knighthawks 6-3 and stunned the Jr. Wildcats 7-4.

There was also a potential preview of the state championship game as the Yuma Blaze and AZ Royals, the top two teams in the age group, battled for the first time this season. The Royals prevailed 7-5. The loss was the second of the year for the Blaze. Justin Vandenberg had an impressive showing at the festival in the 14U division, scoring 34 goals in four games.

The Prescott Storm 10U team went undefeated at the latest IHAAZ festival at Pioneer Park and left with smiles and championship hardware. Photo/IHAAZ

In the 10U division, the Prescott Storm remained unbeaten as it rolled through another festival. The Storm has just one player in the top five in the division in scoring, and that’s Elijah Simpson, which meant the Storm relies on a balanced attacked to have success. Goalie Maddox Marshall has been instrumental to the


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team’s success as well. He owns a 2.00 goals-against average on the year. It’s an average that is almost unheard of in roller hockey. The seven-team 12U division has proven to be a challenge for Prescott, which is still searching for its first win of the year. The Storm made strides, however, over the weekend, particularly on the defensive end of the floor, and battled the Renegades tough in a 6-4 loss. the mercy rule and battled the Renegades tough, falling by just two goals in a 6-4 loss. The Yuma Blaze remains the top team in the 12U division and rolled through another festival. In the 8U division, the Prescott Lucky Charms, an appropriate nickname considering it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, got a taste of IHAAZ hockey and held their own at the festival. The highlight for them over the weekend was playing Yuma tough as the two teams battled to a 2-2 tie. Boyarsky was pleased with how things played out over the weekend and believes the competition will continue to heat up as the season inches a little closer to the state finals in May. Just one festival remains on the schedule, March 2931 in Peoria. Fans that attended the festival were treated to some matchups they could see again in the state finals. “We saw some great state finals matchups and also saw some rivalries start to form,” Boyarsky said. “With only festival left, teams are starting to figure each other out a bit more, which should lead to some great games at Barney’s in May for the state finals.”


Mission 18U AA is tops in Arizona, captures state title By Greg Ball


or the first time in at least five years, Mission AZ’s 18U AA team can call itself a state champion. Mission capped off its stellar season and run through the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association state tournament March 17 when it completed a sweep of its best-of-three finals series against the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils. They beat DYHA 3-2 in the series opener March 16 at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe and finished off the championship with a 2-1 win on St. Patrick’s Day. The pot of gold at the end of their rainbow will be the USA Hockey National Championships, which will be held in San Jose, Calif., from April 4-8. “Three times in the last four years, we’ve lost to DYHA in the state finals, and they’ve been our rival for a long time,” said Jeremy Goltz, Mission AZ’s hockey director and the head coach of the 18U AA team. “For our guys to finally get over that hurdle is extremely rewarding. I know the kids are really excited and enjoying it.” Goltz planned to give his team a few days off before returning to practice and prepare for Nationals. “This season has been amazing,” he said. “We played in the Central States League and the NAPHL Showcases and played some local AAA teams. We ended up playing a total of 76 games (before states), and playing that much

against such great competition, you see every scenario possible. So I truly feel our kids were over-prepared, and that showed up when the time came to compete on the biggest stage.” The team’s roster includes forwards Dean Angelo Jr., Johnny Baird, Nicolas Coppola, Jake Fain, Christopher Fritz, Matt Gary, David Jaichner, Benson Middendorf and John Salyer III; defensemen Brian Baier, Scotty Bird, Jordan Gaeta, Luc Spinasanta and

Joel Tessmer; and goalies Matthew Diamond, Chase Golden and Taz Joplin. Goltz is assisted on the coaching staff by Terry Tessmer and Chris Carouchi. Coppola scored two goals in Game 1 of the state championship series, while Werner added one and Tessmer had an assist. Golden stopped 37 shots on goal. In the series clincher, Werner and Weber

both scored, and Golden turned away 33 shots. Goltz said that this year’s 18U AA team is the type that doesn’t have superstars but has received contributions from every player on the roster. He emphasized that the level of success the group has achieved wouldn’t be possible without that being the case. “We are as deep as we’ve been in many years,” he said. “They are tenacious and tough to play against. They’re all skilled players, but day in and day out, they’re just hard to play against. They’re physically and mentally tough every day. I think that’s what defines our program and our jersey, and it has really been the calling card for this team.” He said his captains have really stood out for their leadership. That group includes Fritz, Coppola, Spinasanta, Bird and Golden - whose performance between the pipes in the state tournament Goltz singled out as one of the best he’s ever seen with the pressure of a championship on the line. “I’m really proud of this group,” Goltz said. “A lot of them have been together since Bantams, and they won some big trophies then as well. And this is really a homegrown group. A lot of these kids have been with us as long as nine years. They’ve been here forever. It goes to show you that if you stick things out, the reward eventually comes, so I’m happy for these kids.”



NAHL makes ’19-20 return to New Mexico with Ice Wolves By Matt Mackinder


he end of February and start of March brought new beginnings for the North American Hockey League (NAHL). On Feb. 28, the league announced that the New Mexico Ice Wolves will be joining the Tier II junior circuit for the 2019-20 season. Then four days later, Phil Fox was named head coach. The team will be owned by Desert Ice Investment, LLC, an entity owned and operated by Stan Hubbard and will compete in the South Division, playing out of the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque. “Part of buying the Outpost Ice Arenas from the founders, Bob and Pat Martin, was to create even more opportunity for hockey and other ice sports for the community,” said Hubbard. “The New Mexico Ice Hockey Foundation (NMICE) has been committed to opportunity, growth and development of youth hockey in Albuquerque under the name New Mexico Ice Wolves for many years. With the introduction of an NAHL team, we have agreed to share the name and work closely together to build more programs and grow the sport of hockey and in skating in general. “The new team and NMICE are committed to the community and look forward to working with the Albuquerque business community as we engage hockey fans from across the city and state.” “This is a great addition to the South Division, and

we are excited to bring the NAHL to Albuquerque,” added NAHL commissioner and president Mark Frankenfeld. “As the NAHL continues to evolve, the growth of hockey in the South has played a large role in our league’s success and the addition of the New Mexico Ice Wolves continues to solidify the footprint and add another strong community-based team. With the knowledge and backing of Mr. Hubbard, we are confident that the hockey fans in the city of Albuquerque and

Phil Fox

state New Mexico will be supportive for long-term success of the team.” Fox can’t wait to get started with the Ice

Wolves. “I’m very excited for this opportunity to coach the New Mexico Ice Wolves,” said Fox. “As a former product of the NAHL, I look forward to continuing the progress of the league by keeping their tradition of developing and moving players on to the next level.”

“With head coach Phil Fox, the New Mexico Ice Wolves will be exciting and competitive from the first game,” noted Hubbard. “Our players will be led by Phil in their development, both on and off the ice, from his experience and dedication, and Albuquerque will benefit from his love of the game as well as his commitment to the community.” A native of Stillwater, Minn., Fox played NCAA Division I hockey for Northern Michigan University (then in the CCHA) from 2007-11, followed by three years of professional hockey in the Central Hockey League and one game in the AHL. He also spent time in the USHL and in the NAHL with the Fargo-Moorhead Jets franchise from 2004-06. Fox has spent the last two seasons behind the bench as head coach of the Ice Wolves Bantam A travel team in addition to serving as vice president of NMICE and director of hockey for Outpost Ice Arenas. Prior to that, Fox spent the 2016-17 season as assistant coach of the Stillwater Ponies high school varsity team and director of player development for the Stillwater Area Hockey Association in Minnesota. Before coaching in Stillwater, Fox spent two years as the director of hockey operations at Northern Michigan. In addition, more than $2 million in renovations at Outpost Ice Arenas are planned prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. The NAHL previously had the Santa Fe Roadrunners from 2004-07 and the New Mexico Mustangs in Rio Rancho from 2020-12, while the Western States Hockey League’s New Mexico Renegades played from 2009-14, also in Rio Rancho.

TPHA focused on developing the entire student-athlete Continued from Page 11 Tyler Kitchen An 18-year-old senior goalie, Kitchen recently completed his second season on the varsity team at Tahoe Prep. Originally from Anaheim, Calif., he was familiar with the ADHSHL as he had played in the league during his time at Orange Lutheran High School. Kitchen said his decision to move to Tahoe was all about pursuing a career in Junior A hockey, which he hopes to use as a stepping stone to playing college hockey. An only child, Kitchen admitted that moving into the dorms was a challenge at first. “Having to share, having a roommate, it was all very different,” he said. “But then you get used to it.” His performance on the ice hasn’t showed any signs of homesickness, though. In 14 games in the ADHSHL, he compiled an .827 save percentage, facing 202 shots on goal. Kaden Krueger Moving to Tahoe prep was easier for Krueger, a 17-year-old senior defenseman on Tahoe’s prep team because a former teammate of his with the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils, Austin Chesworth, also made the move north for the 2018-19 school year and hockey season. Krueger said having a close 18

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friend by his side made the move easier, it also helped that he started his season off contributing to some big wins. “In my first game with the team in Minnesota, I got my first goal for the season, and then the next game, I got the game-winning goal in overtime. Everyone thought I was god after that,” Krueger joked. “But they would soon learn I really wasn’t.” The Boise, Idaho, native said he learned about Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy during a camp in Las Vegas. “Coach (Chris) Collins was the first one to see me,” Krueger recalled. “I really liked what they were telling me about being on the ice every day, and strength conditioning every day. The structure of it appealed to me. My goals were to get smarter with the game and learn the positioning more. The THA coaches have helped me a lot with that. I also wanted to get bigger in the gym, and I’ve gained quite a few pounds.” Krueger said he would like to play juniors, college, and then, if possible, in the NHL. He is interested in commercial aviation and firefighting, and right now, he is focused on laying the groundwork for his future. “I used to struggle with school, but this year I went up to a 3.5 GPA,” he said. “I think the structure of the academy has helped me a lot. You definitely have a lot more responsibility and you just have to be more on top of things.”

Holt Schwarm After two seasons playing at Tahoe Prep, Schwarm has punched his ticket to the next level of hockey. The 18-year-old senior forward on Tahoe’s prep team recently committed to play for the New England Wolves, a Tier III junior team based in Laconia, N.H., in the Eastern Hockey League. Schwarm moved to Tahoe from Westerville, Ohio, and before Tahoe, he attended and played hockey for St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio. “When we came to visit Tahoe, it was unbelievable to see what THA had built, and Tahoe is amazing,” Schwarm recalled. “The selling point for me was how the academy could help me get better with the ice time and exposure to better competition. And the competition level was just as they promised.” Schwarm comes from a family of athletes. His mother played college golf, and his father was a rugby athlete at Ohio University. Schwarm would like to play hockey at the college level and study sports management and law. “I’m a good corner player and passer. I have good passing IQ,” Schwarm said, when asked to describe his strengths. “Coach Mike (Lewis) has really helped push me. The coaches help you see where you can rise - especially when I was down and I wasn’t playing well. Coach Chris helped with my hands and improving my skills. The result was I definitely accomplished my goals this year. I got signed by a team and improved my game.”

NHL stud Matthews still has huge impact on Arizona By Mark Brown


when he scored four goals against the Ottawa Senators and became the first player in modern NHL history to score four in his first game. Now at 21, the Arizona Bobcats graduate is in his third season with the Leafs and already has put

his time, the mid-February crowd outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room inside Gila River Arena was electric and captivating. Sure, there was the usual gathering of friends and supporters hanging around after each Arizona Coyotes game, but this crowd was dynamic and vibrant. They came to see and be seen with Scottsdale native Auston Matthews, who was in his home region for the only time during the NHL season. Nearly by himself, Matthews has put Arizona on the hockey map. Matthews recently signed a five-year contract extension with Toronto for a reported $58.17 million. That averages out to $11.634 mil per year and still makes Matthews an unrestricted free agent at age 26. Despite piling up points and helping the Leafs near the top of the NHL, Matthews was shut down during the only appearance in his hometown. During the Feb. 16 contest, Matthews managed a team-high four shots on net but was held in check by Brad Richardson and the Coyotes’ top checking line. “It’s frustrating for sure,” he said after the Leafs Scottsdale native Auston Matthews is currently in his third season in were shut out 2-0 by the Coyotes before a sell- the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and recently inked a five-year out crowd. “You come back here and you want to contract extension with the club. Photo/Eric J. Fowler perform and win the game, but we just didn’t have his fingerprints on the franchise. At the same time, it. They outworked us and many areas and we really Matthews, whose family settled in Scottsdale just didn’t have an answer.” after his birth in San Ramon, Calif., reminds listenHumble and unassuming, Matthews talks of his ers of the importance of playing in Arizona at a high hockey origins with the same reverence that others level. talk of his NHL debut. That was on Oct. 12, 2016, Because of the mark Matthews leaves on his

hometown, there is always a big, red circle on the calendar to designate the Leafs’ lone game of the season at Gila River Arena. “It’s special coming back here,” said Matthews, the first pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. “Obviously, you see all the signs and all the kids. It’s pretty humbling for me to see the impact I think I’ve had here in my hometown. It’s pretty special and extremely humbling. The last couple of years, I’ve been pretty lucky. I get to spend a few days here at home and I love coming home.” In concert with his current production on the ice. Matthews traces his origins back to the Ice Den in Scottsdale and the days he followed Shane Doan. While it’s not unusual for fans to gravitate to their heroes, Matthews and Doan formed a unique bond. “The unique thing about playing here is that it’s not uncommon for boys coming to the rink to run into three or four NHL players,” Doan said. “For someone to come over and talk to NHL guys is pretty common. I got to meet Matthews when he was younger and talked to him a couple of times. He went away to the U.S. National Team Development Program and when he came back, you could see the growth. What he did was absolutely phenomenal. Since then, he’s grown so much more where it’s crazy.” His current coach agrees. “He’s a real good person and I don’t know if you met his mom and dad and his family, but they’re real good people,” said Toronto coach Mike Babcock. “I think it’s a real good thing for Arizona. One of the native sons comes home and not only is he a real good player, he is a real good person.”

Arizona State sweeps titles at WCRHL regional events By Phillip Brents


rizona State University captured championship titles in the Division I and Division IV tiers at the 2019 Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) regional championship tournament held March 2-3 in Corona, Calif. Arizona State defeated UC Santa Barbara two games to one to win the teams’ best-of-three Division I championship series. In an all-Arizona Division IV final, the Sun Devils rolled past Northern Arizona University by a score of 11-1. ASU co-coach Nick Boyarsky said the Sun Devils had to overcome adversity due to unforeseen injuries to capture the WCRHL’s top-tier Division I championship. Alex MacDonald, playing with an ankle sprain, scored the game-winning goal in overtime as ASU edged Santa Barbara 3-2. However, the Gauchos responded with a clutch 4-2 victory in Game 2 to square the series at one win apiece and force a deciding Game 3. “Game 2 saw us struggle with three defensemen and a tempo brought on by UCSB that was not ideal for a short roster,” Boyarsky said. “For Game 3, a re-strategizing by co-coach Alex Dodt reinforced how we would possess the puck and what chances we would take. Anything less than a 60 percent time of possession would lead to a loss.” Said Dodt: “We needed to have the puck and control the tempo for two-thirds of the game or we were just not going to be able to fend off their attacks and get the number of chances we were going to need to score with the players we had.”

The Sun Devils, who were down to seven players, never trailed in Game 3. ASU (14-3) opened up a 3-1 lead en route to a series championship-clinching 3-2 victory. Wes Fry had two goals, including the game-winner, while Chase Steele contributed a goal and two assists. Steele, a varsity newcomer, led ASU in scoring in the three games with three goals and four assists while Fry, the team’s fifth-year veteran, reeled in three goals. ASU goaltender Aaron Git-

tings stopped 25 of 27 shots in the deciding game and posted a .885 save percentage in the three games. He made a huge save with 10 seconds left to preserve the championship series-clinching victory. As a reward for his fine play, Gittings received the Division I MVP award. Arizona State’s Division IV development team finished regular season play with a commanding 14-1 record and swept through regionals with a 5-0 record. The Sun Devils doubled up Cal Poly Gold 10-5 in

the semifinals before defeating the Lumberjacks in the final. ASU swept the three star awards in the championship game as Shaun MacDonald earned first star with four goals and two assists, followed by Colin McHugh as second star with one goal and five assists and Clint Tapsell as third star with three goals and one assist. MacDonald finished the tournament with 10 goals and 17 assists to earn the Division IV MVP award. MacDonald racked up two goals and four assists in the semifinal win while teammate John Henze chipped in with three goals and two assists. “We knew going in to regionals that it was our tournament to lose,” Boyarsky said. “The focus was on using the games at regionals to better prepare us for the extreme jump in competition level we’ll see at nationals.” NAU did not originally qualify for the regional tournament, finishing fifth in the regular-season standings, but gained entry when the University of Arizona, the fourth-place finisher, dropped out. Jakob Ogan stopped 29 of 31 shots (.935 save percentage) to earn first star of the game for the Lumberjacks in the 4-2 semifinal win over UC Santa Barbara while teammates Jordy Maugeri and Reed Bullock each chipped in with a goal and assist. Both of Arizona State’s Division I and Division IV teams received bids to the upcoming National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association national championship tournament April 10-14 in Rochester, N.Y. NAU’s Division II and Division IV teams, as well the University of Arizona’s Division II team, received bids as alternates.


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

ARIZONA PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – New York Rangers 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 FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Seth Gustin (Phoenix) – Carolina Thunderbirds OVERSEAS Broc Little (Phoenix) – Sweden Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – United Kingdom NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Boston Pride Katie McGovern (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Whitecaps COLLEGE HOCKEY

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

ATLANTIC HOCKEY Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Bentley University BIG TEN Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) – University of Minnesota ECAC HOCKEY Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – St. Lawrence University Andrew Shortridge – Quinnipiac University * 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

Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals & Luke Ormsby – Moose Jaw Warriors * Garrett Wright (Mesa) – Regina Pats

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

PREP SCHOOL Austin Chesworth (Gilbert) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy Kenadie Cooper (Gilbert) – North American Hockey Academy Kaden Krueger – Tahoe Prep 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 *

CHA Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University

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

ECAC HOCKEY Taylor Stadeli (Scottsdale) – Dartmouth College

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

HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Kiki Roust (Queen Creek) – Merrimack College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire NCAA DIVISION III – MEN CCC Sage Englund (Cave Creek) – Salve Regina University MASCAC Erik Pritchard (Cave Creek) – Worcester State University James Stiles (Tucson) – Framingham State University 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


Trey Bagwell (Buckeye) – Amarillo Bulls 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 &

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


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 – 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

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

NEW MEXICO 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 ! former DYHA Jr. Sun Devil


Check out what we have planned for BTM Goalie Day T

he biggest weekend of the year for goalies is coming very soon! This year marks the 11th year of Behind The Mask’s Goalie Day – a great event that takes place on May 10 with a free onice demo at AZ Ice Arcadia in Phoenix, Exelby followed up on May 11 with the huge Goalie Day sale at Behind The Mask Scottsdale. Demo Day at AZ Ice Arcadia will take place on May 10 from 6-7 p.m. Goalies are welcome to arrive by 5 p.m. to ensure they get the proper time to meet with the various company reps and get trained on the latest innovation in the goalie industry. This ensures that you have the proper time to see all the products before deciding what to check out on the ice. Also, you want to make sure you have the time to get the product in hand, as this event brings a capacity crowd. There will be several nets on the ice along with shooters ready to test out your choices. Goalies who participate in Demo Day will receive a free raffle ticket for some great prizes.

Be sure to mark Demo Day in your calendar. Our biggest sale of the year happens May 11 at Behind The Mask Scottsdale, the Goalie Superstore. This is your chance to take advantage of ONE DAY ONLY blowout deals at up to 70 percent off retail. The early bird gets the worm on Goalie Day as unreal deals head out the door quickly. Here, you will have a great opportunity to meet with the reps and find out more about gear from CCM, Bauer, Vaughn, Brian’s, and True. Plus, be sure to enter our door raffles and get some free swag. Several prizes are still to be determined but past items included sticks, skates, Beats headphones, bags, and more. Make sure you get your name entered in-store at Goalie Day. These events are always a great time for our company as well and we cap off the weekend with our annual employee BBQ. Reps and staff members partake in the BTM Olympics with various activities ranging from partners ping pong, corn hole, ladder ball and more. BTM Olympic champs Scott Morrow of CCM and Dan Kennedy of Bauer team up to defend their three-year championship reign. Scott has been the ultimate trash taker. Will he be able to use

psychological warfare against his opponents again this year? The BTM after-hours BBQ has become legendary in the hockey industry. Most events that these reps attend close at the end of the day and everyone goes home. That’s where a BTM event differs – at the end of the event, we just get started. The BTM Goalie Day employee BBQ gives the reps a chance to interact and learn more about the BTM staff. It helps both parties get to know more about the other. There is inner fighting with the companies on which rep gets to attend our event each year, of which Bauer’s Tim Gentile uses his position at Bauer to make sure he can attend. It is the first event of the year he marks on his calendar. And he does many events for Bauer across the USA each year, including heading Bauer’s sponsorship events at the Minnesota High School hockey tournament. If you’re a goalie, we’d love to see you at one or both events. We thank each of your who attend every year and want you to know we take each year as an opportunity to better serve you. Be sure to check out BTM Demo Day and BTM Goalie Day in May!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Scituate, Mass. NHL Draft: Selected by Coyotes in fifth round (123rd overall) of 2015 NHL Draft Last Amateur Team: Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) Age: 23


n Feb. 27, the Coyotes signed Garland to a two-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season. “Conor has come onto our team and made an impact through his work ethic and willingness to get to the net and score goals,” said Coyotes GM John Chayka. “He’s a great success story for our organization as a later-round pick and the development process he went through to get here. We’re thrilled to get him signed long term.” Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Conor Garland: Good question. Winning Game 7 against our rivals in juniors (QMJHL). We beat the Halifax Mooseheads in Game 7 of a tough series and that was pretty cool. I had no goals in that one but just enjoyed the win. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? CG: Playing for the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) and winning the playoff series last year against the San Jose Barracuda. We won Game 5 and had a sold-out crowd at home. Pretty cool to win that game. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? CG: My father, for sure. He taught me almost everything I know about hockey. He drove me to all of my practices growing up and I wouldn’t be here without him. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? CG: Believe in yourself. I was taught that multiple times growing up and now believe in myself full time, so that’s huge. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? CG: Football. Big Patriots fan. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? CG: No, none. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? CG: I go to Maggiano’s (in Scottsdale) before every game and get chicken parm with sparkling water. Take a nap for about 20 minutes and that’s about it. I come to the rink early, around 4 p.m., and just get ready from there. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? CG: True Food Kitchen is really good. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? CG: Just a deck of cards. I play with Clayton Keller quite a bit and that’s the most important thing. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? CG: Marc Savard. He played for the Boston Bruins when I was growing up and he was a great playmaker. I try and model my game after him.

Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown



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