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NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks prepping for ’18-19 season with upcoming tryouts By Matt Mackinder


or Northern Arizona University’s highly-acclaimed ACHA college program, the upcoming season is right around the corner as there are only have three months before the first day of NAU Prospects Camp. The IceJacks coaches hope everyone is gearing up and ready for what is proposing to be a great 2018-19 season. Coaches have been at it and working hard all spring recruiting some exceptional talent for the upcoming season. The team meeting will be on Monday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. on campus at the NAU Fieldhouse. Information about camp and tryouts will be explained in detail at the meeting. Prospects Camp will begin the following night, Aug. 28 at 9:15 p.m. and will run through Saturday, Sept. 2. Each skater will receive a camp jersey and one hour of ice time each day with two skates on Saturday. The cost of the Prospects Camp is $200. According to NAU staff, although camp is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that everyone attend to ensure the players are ready for tryouts and the upcoming game schedule. Tryouts will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 8:30 p.m. and will run through Saturday, Sept. 8. Skaters will mimic the Prospects Camp schedule with one hour of ice daily and two skates on Saturday. Cost of tryouts is $200 before July 15. All player dues will be collected prior to anyone hitting the ice with no exceptions. After July 15, the tryouts fee increases to $250. For more information, visit


Let’s discuss a missing skill in today’s game – passing T

he teams that can pass the puck the best usually win the game. However, most teams struggle with it because no one really works on passing any more. No matter what age group you are in, you should always St. Clair work on passing. You look at players in juniors or in college and the NHL and the best players can pass and receive pucks at full speed. This isn’t because of the level they play at. It’s because they work at it and that is how they got to that level. Every coach or even player should watch a college or NHL practice. The flow of the drills look so much faster because every player can handle and give a crisp pass. They rarely miss one that is on the tape. Encourage your players to catch every pass

that they can and hold them accountable. Passing is not only a skill, but it is a habit. Make good passes and handling passes a habit for every practice because it translates into a game. For young guys, do stationary passing until they can handle and catch every single one. Then move to simple passes while moving. There are so many progressions that kids can learn, and it will become a habit for them. Allow players to become comfortable skating with the puck and passing in stride. For all the skill drills you do during the season, add in a pass or two and challenge the players. Just like in a game, you might have to make a move and then pass the puck to a linemate and then receive the puck right back again. All at full speed. After the coaches teach the fundamentals of passing, then you can teach game scenarios – which lane to skate in, puck support and when to give an

area pass. Every team that can pass has good puck support and they generally control the game. In a game, if a player misses a pass, it’s a turnover and you have to go back on defense and you no longer have the puck. Playing with the puck is more fun, so encourage your players to think that way. I encourage kids to start watching habits of older players. When you watch someone that is better than you, you can pick up on their tendencies and realize how good they are and that is how you can also learn. There is a reason that player is better, so catch up to him or her. Coaches, I encourage you to either watch other coaches or add more passing into your practices. It is becoming a lost skill and they best teams do not lose skill, they increase it. Enjoy your offseason and hopefully, the players and coaches that read this column will work to improve the skill and habits of passing.

Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union.


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!