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Mission ‘pretty excited’ about changes to Midget program By Greg Ball


significant change is coming to Mission AZ’s Midget program as the 2018-19 season approaches, and it is aimed at providing an improved experience for players looking to further their development as they reach their high school years. Mission’s director of hockey operations Jeremy Goltz said that in recent years, the program’s White teams had become more of a destination for high school-age kids to continue playing hockey, rather than a true developmental program aimed at furthering their hockey experience. Mission has typically iced 16U Red and White teams and 18U Red and White teams, with the White teams focused on development and the Red squads intended more for high-level tournament play. And while Mission got away from the goals of the White program in recent years, the association is looking forward to re-establishing those goals moving forward. “We’re really trying to bring it back to where it was when we started the Mission program and bolster the White teams so the kids get a quality development season where they’re playing AA hockey and hearing one voice as far as coaching,” Goltz said. “We’re excited about it. We want to give these kids the opportunity to play some good hockey and be challenged so they can maybe get to that next

level.” Goltz said he mulled over the change for quite some time, and eventually came to the conclusion that it was best for the program as a whole. While he has found that more and more kids decide to give up the sport around the age of 14, that’s when hockey development really begins, in his opinion. “These kids are going to get everything they

need in terms of development and eventually push themselves up to the Red teams,” Goltz said. “That’s what we’re hoping to do.” Each of the four Midget teams will play AA schedules in state, and the 18U Red team will likely move back into the Central States Development League in Chicago after a two-season absence from the league, Goltz said.

“What we have seen in the last couple years is that our kids on the White teams have been playing straight A hockey in the AZYHL, and we’re not getting the development that we want for these players,” Goltz said. “I’m taking a step back into the Midget program and am going to serve as the head coach for all four teams, just like I originally did.” Mike Carouchi, who had coached Midget players in recent seasons, will shift to working with Squirts and Pee Wees. Doug Cannon will stay on as an assistant with the 16U and 18U squads. Goltz said a “reshuffling of the deck” with the program’s coaching staff isn’t uncommon every couple of years, as it helps keep things fresh and ensures that all of their coaches are invested in every kid in the program, from Mites to Midgets. “I think everybody is pretty excited about it and agrees with the change,” Goltz said. “Hopefully, we’ll see the benefits. “The parents and the players have provided some positive feedback as well. At this age, these kids want to really become hockey players. If you’re playing on a White team and getting the AA experience, getting the same coaching and same tournament experience as players on the Red team, it’s only going to give you opportunities to grow. “It may not be setting them up for a lot of wins, but it’s putting them in position to develop as hockey players, and that’s what ultimately matters. Everyone seems pretty excited about it.”

MISSION STATEMENT How a former coach’s teachings have been my motivation I

am going off-topic here a bit to talk about my high school baseball coach Eric Kibler, who was recently let go by Horizon High School brass after 38 years of dedication and success. This is my Goltz way of supporting Coach and all the lessons he taught me in my senior year playing for him at Horizon High School. First of all, the biggest lesson he taught me was when he cut me. I came in unprepared, and unfocused as a younger player and for the first time in my life, I failed. I didn’t blame him or harbor a grudge. I took the hit and used it as a motivator to be prepared. He did the right thing and to his credit, I learned how to deal with adversity and reality. I came back stronger and was named best pitcher the next season in a Final Four season. That was

because he did the right thing. He was right, and I was forced to dig deep to a place I didn’t know I even had. There are a few things that really stuck with me having been around him and his coaching style. The biggest was to show up each and every day with a purpose to get better. He was a focused, passionate coach that required the pursuit of excellence and perfection daily. So many of these values have made me the coach and leader I am today. I also remember the time I didn’t take responsibility and have my parents sign the physical form that was necessary to participate in game play. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was counting each and every day but never said a word. I finally showed up with it and will never forget what he said to me. “Jeremy, thank you. You owe me 11 miles on the track and have to complete them to be back at practice. One mile for every day this form wasn’t signed and handed in.” Unlike today’s world, I ran them without saying a word.

It took me two days to complete them, and I ran every single lap of those 11 miles, for fear of him knowing I didn’t and once again letting him down. Imagine that – a parent letting a coach reprimand a player for being irresponsible. That seems like a lost concept these days. Needless to say, that lesson stuck with me! Once I heard this was happening, I had to find a way to let him know how much he has helped me on my own journey. I have been so fortunate to have hundreds of past players staying in touch and I know much it means to me. I found an old camp flyer with a number. I knew it was him right away. I just let him know how much he meant to me and wanted to see if there was anything he could do. We talked and laughed for a few minutes telling old stories and then the call was over. I was left with a buzz and such a love for all he has taught me, and I wanted to let him know one more time, by using this article, how much he meant to so many of us and that his culture has been the spark for my own success. Thank you, Coach. I love you. Coach Goltz

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


Arizona Rubber Magazine - May 2018  

This month's issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine features the Inline Hockey Association of Arizona (IHAAZ) on the cover!

Arizona Rubber Magazine - May 2018  

This month's issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine features the Inline Hockey Association of Arizona (IHAAZ) on the cover!