Arizona Rubber Magazine - September 2019

Page 1



As the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association enters its 21st season of operation, those that work behind the scenes continue to create a positive atmosphere with an emphasis on doing what’s best for all the players and families involved





FROM THE EDITOR The grind of the hockey season has arrived – embrace it, folks


ell, the kids are back in school, the rinks are all going full blast and families’ schedules will be packed for the next 6-7 months. Yep, hockey season has arrived. All levels of our great game are kicking into high gear with hopes for the players to gradually improve and develop this season. Any coach will tell you that trophies, banners and medals are second on the priority list – and a long second at that – to player development. Those championships are certainly nice, but if each player on a team improves over the course of a season, those special accolades will handle themselves. For the players out there – enjoy this game and Matt Mackinder give it all you got each time you’re at the rink for onice or off-ice training, practice or games. Be real with your decision to play the game of hockey. For the parents out there – relish every moment you have with your kids at the rink, in the car or just talking hockey at the dinner table or restaurant. Time flies. Take advantage of these days while you can. To everyone involved in any role in our game – enjoy the season, have fun, smile, and keep making memories. We have our first NCAA commitment to speak of as Phoenix native and Jr. Coyotes graduate Riley Stuart will join his older brother Connor as an Arizona State Sun Devil. Connor will be a sophomore defenseman with ASU this year, while Riley will skate for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2019-20. “Riley has been a big part of our program for so long and shows with hard work and dedication, you can reach your hockey goals here in Arizona,” said Jr. Coyotes Tier I/Elite Hockey director Marc Fritsche. Congrats to the entire Stuart family!

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

Arizona Rubber Magazine is a production of:

Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Rippy


More advancement to note as former Phoenix Firebirds defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov signed an entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks over the summer. “Knyzhov is a young, skilled defenseman who represented Russia at the World Juniors and made several improvements in his game throughout the season to make it onto his KHL team,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson. “He’s a smooth skater who can use his speed and physicality to disrupt the opposition. We are excited to have him join our organization.” During the 2013-14 season, he played in the NAPHL for the Firebirds’ 16U and 18U teams and recorded six points in 25 games. Arizona today, NHL tomorrow! Back in late July, the Arizona Coyotes announced that businessman Alex Meruelo had purchased the controlling interest in the team from Andrew Barroway to become the new majority owner. “This is an incredible moment for me and my entire family,” said Meruelo. “The Arizona Coyotes team is poised to do great things on and off the ice. I look forward to helping hockey continue to thrive in the desert, and I am committed to providing our passionate fans, loyal partners and the entire state of Arizona with a team they can be proud of for years to come.” The California-based Meruelo Group has roots dating to 1986. Meruelo has built a broad portfolio of businesses in casino gaming, real estate, construction and engineering, hospitality, television and radio stations, food services and private equity. “It has been an honor and a privilege serving as the chairman and governor of the Coyotes,” said Barroway. “I am proud of the work we did to make this organization better, and I am pleased to be passing the torch to someone who will guide this franchise to great days ahead.”

Albuquerque native Marcus Gretz will man the blue line for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds this season and is being touted as a top prospect for next summer’s NHL Draft, which will be held in Montreal in late June. More on Gretz on Page 18. Photo/Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

The rosters for the 2019-20 U.S. Men’s Development Sled Hockey Team and the U.S. Women’s Development Sled Hockey Team were announced July 26 by USA Hockey. The women’s team features goaltender Gabby Graves-Wake, a Phoenix native and current player with the Arizona Coyotes Sled Hockey program. Go get ‘em, Gabby!

Directors from the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association gather recently at Ice Den Scottsdale. Pictured top, from left to right, are Kenny Corupe (AA travel director) and Scott Gruber (director of youth hockey development). Pictured bottom, from left to right, are Mike Nepsa (goaltending director), Kristy Aguirre (executive director) and Marc Fritsche (Tier I/Elite Hockey director). Photo/Sandra Tenuto Photography

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Coyotes add Kessel, confidence ahead of ’19-20 season Crosby and a dominant Penguins team won Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. The benefit of bringing Kessel to the desert served two purposes. First, the trade brought an elite scorer, but more importantly, the acquisition of Kessel did not break the bank. In 2013, Kessel signed an eight-year, $64 million contact with Toronto and has three years left on that deal. “To add a scorer was the primary need for our

motivated and ready to go. We have some good offensive players, but not as good as Phil. He comes efore commencement of free agency on July 1, in to augment our core and help take us to the next the Arizona Coyotes were well on their way to level.” addressing a significant point. While Chayka describes the Coyotes as an elite No need to go the free-agent route. Just ask an defensive team, Kessel and Soderberg now provide old friend and highly-skilled player if he would like to a necessary offensive spark. As the season proskate in the desert. gresses, Chayka sees Kessel as an important part As the Coyotes open training camp at Gila River of the power-play unit, and Soderberg as a steady, Arena, the offseason emphasis was simply to imstabilizing force at center ice. Together, they are prove the offense. By acquiring forward Phil Kesexpected to bridge the Coyotes into the promised sel, who has that history with head coach Rick land. Tocchet, in a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins Last season, Arizona missed qualifying for the and picking up center Carl Soderberg in a trade Stanley Cup playoffs by four points. With a season with the Colorado Avalanche, the Coyotes believe mark of 39-35-8, that registered 86 points and fell they are on the way to a markedly improved seashort of the 90 achieved by the Avs as the final son. Western Conference playoff qualifier. A quick look at numbers from last season shows Complementing Kessel and Soderberg, Chaythe incentive to move quickly and decisively. ka hopes for a healthy Christian Dvorak and Last season, the Coyotes were the only NHL Nick Schmaltz to be offensive factors and Clayteam without a 20-goal scorer and Alex Galton Keller to regain the production achieved as a chenyuk, who tied Brad Richardson for the rookie two years ago. The Coyotes also expect big team-high in goals with 19, was sent to Pittsburgh seasons from forwards Lawson Crouse and Vinin the Kessel deal. Over the course of the season, nie Hinostroza. the Coyotes scored 213 goals and only Dallas, New Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel is flanked by GM John Chayka Perhaps the most competitive issue for TocAnaheim and Los Angeles scored fewer goals. (left) and new owner Alex Meruelo (right) during his introductory press chet throughout camp is resolving the goaltending The presence of Kessel should help immedi- conference at Gila River Arena on Sept. 3. Photo/Norm Hall question. Antti Raanta was coming off a great ately. Last season, the Madison, Wis., native pumped group,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka 2017-18 season but spent most of last season out. in 27 goals for the Penguins and for an 11-year NHL said. “We needed a horse up front and a guy who He is now back healthy. Then there is the play of career, Kessel has scored 357 goals in 996 games has scored consistently. We were looking for a vet- Darcy Kuemper, who turned in a 27-20-8 mark last with Boston, Toronto and Pittsburgh. eran player who had a history of doing it. We have season with a 2.33 goals-against average, .925 save Despite having the Coyotes included as no-trade several guys who score but going into the season, percentage and five shutouts. team, Kessel waived that clause and agreed to re- we need a 20-, 30-plus goal guy. Phil has been one The Coyotes open the season Oct. 3 against the unite with Tocchet, his former assistant coach in of the best offensive producers in the league for a Ducks in Anaheim and the home opener is against Pittsburgh. That’s where Tocchet, Kessel, Sidney sustained period of time. We think he will come in the Boston Bruins two nights later. By Mark Brown



Maintaining A Foundation CAHA proving to be Valley’s top developmental model, both on and off the ice By Matt Mackinder


he Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) is the only program in the Valley that has house, A, AA, and AAA hockey. The association has also had a great deal of success at all levels getting players to the next level, whether that means moving a player from house to AA or AA to AAA. All of CAHA’s directors work together in unison to make players better every day. It all starts with executive director Kristy Aguirre, who is joined by Tier I/Elite Hockey director Marc Fritsche, AA travel director Kenny Corupe, director of youth hockey development Scott Gruber and program goaltending director Mike Nepsa. “The team functions as a unit – we review, discuss, decide and implement all items as a group,” Aguirre said. “Not one of us are more important, just different roles. We rely on each other for support, for assistance, and most of all, for information pertaining to our common goal. Sitting in the trenches is not always fun, but if you have people alongside you, you are stronger for it, no doubt.” Aguirre first joined the program years ago when her son was a firstyear Midget player and moved over from another program. She was a team manager for several years and then moved on to the staff and has been here ever since. “The people and the role keep me here,” said Aguirre. “The people because I have a great team to work with

contract to go back and play my 16th year of pro hockey in Norway and when this situation was presented to me and my family, it didn’t take me long to commit. “I have a chance every day to inspire kids to believe in something. Even bigger, we help teach kids to work hard, respect each other and be good teammates – all traits that help kids off the ice. As a result, we are the biggest and top program in the state, and I’m proud to be a small piece of that.” A part of CAHA for two years, Nepsa came to the desert from NCAA Division I Canisius College, where he coached. He has immersed himself in the organization and sees why the Jr. Coyotes are gaining respect and exposure not only on a regional level, but nationwide. “I am fortunate enough to help the cohesion since I work with the CDP house

In a recent game, a CDP house player sits ready to block a shot. Photo/Sandra Tenuto Photography

Arizona State commit Josh Doan and University of Minnesota commit Matthew Knies celebrate the game-winning goal against the Pens Elite at the 2019 USA Hockey National Tournament in Grand Rapids, Mich.

every day – all of us have the same goals and priorities for each other and our program. The role keeps me here because I get to help build and implement a program that puts youth at the center with an emphasis on getting better, doing better every day. That is a personal motto for me – do better, be better. There is always room for improvement.” For Gruber, joining CAHA 10 years ago was an opportunity to join a team that had his same visions. “I moved out of the operations department into house hockey to give the program a new attitude, a new vision, a new focus,” Gruber said. “The coworkers, the people and ownership keep me here. I have always been fully supported. I am trusted to do my job and mold the program as needed. I keep doing this because of the amazing group of volunteer coaches we have. We could not produce the CDP (Coyotes Development Program) product without our group of coaches. They are what makes the program thrive and maintain a strong reputation. “We are extremely fortunate to have the level of coaches we have and keeping everyone focused on the same goal is the key. The goal of marathon development for these great kids – it’s not about the win next weekend, it’s about the win once starting high school or college.” Corupe enjoys the team-first aspect of CAHA and the Jr. Coyotes. “What I enjoy about our program the most is that we have a team of people that respect each other and challenge each other to be better every day,” said Corupe. “We expect the best out of each other, and it shows in our programs. It makes me proud to be in this group. I quit professional hockey to start this job. I still had a 6

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

program goalies once a month, and then also work with our AA and AAA goalies each week,” said Nepsa. “I get to see firsthand how Scotty, Kenny and Marc operate and work together to form a well-oiled machine. I love working with goalies who have little to no background as well as goalies who are highly skilled and on the cusp of making a junior team. Being the main facilitator of their growth is CAHA Bucks 13U head coach Daemion Glantz rallies his squad during the recent AZYHL seeding tournament. . something I, myself, take pride in. “I am proud for being a part of this group, but in no way am I surprised at our success. Each director, coach and player has bought in to what we are trying to do here, and it shows in our accomplishments. We start them young in CDP and continue to build them up through AA and eventually AAA. It’s the long result of the system we built where we dive in and commit to Jr. Coyotes youngster Gunnar Corupe carries the puck up the the kids long term, which ice looking to make a play in an 8U AZYHL league game. is hard to find anywhere Photo/Sandra Tenuto Photography else in the Valley.” Fritsche first came to CAHA as a coach when he moved to the area from Cleveland. He coached the 2006 birth year Elite team for three seasons, and also guided the 14U and 16U teams. “I enjoy our program due to the fact that we keep growing,” said Fritsche. “We are building a great culture for players in Arizona to come and develop their skills Continued on Page 13



January 17 - 20, 2020 Clearwater Beach, FL U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 A, AA, B

November 29 - December 1, 2019 Clearwater Beach, FL U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 A, AA, B | 877-702-5701 |


Scottsdale’s Bricker returns to NCDC’s Jr. Islanders By Joshua Boyd/


dam Bricker loves being able to brag about his hometown. He’ll talk up Scottsdale every chance he gets. “I think it’s a great place,” said Bricker, a 2000 birth year forward. “Everywhere I go - every team I’m on - I say I’m from Scottsdale and people know it’s just a really fun place to visit. They see it as a nice place. “There’s not a lot of places that can beat Scottsdale for living situations.” Even still, as fond of his hometown as he is, he knew that if he wanted to take his game to the collegiate level, he needed to hit the roads and flights paths of North America to challenge himself. His latest hockey stop is a return for him - he has come back to the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, where he made his National Collegiate Development Conference (BCDC) debut in 2017-18. “I was here two years ago, and I loved it,” said Bricker, who was effective with 28 points in 42 games for the Jr. Islanders that season. After looking to branch out with different Tier II leagues in both the U.S. and Canada in 2018-19, his good relationship with new P.A.L head coach Mike Marcou convinced him to return to Long Island. “He is a coach who wants me on his team and believes in me,” said Bricker. “I’m also excited to be a part

“My mom asked me to try a hockey camp and I did of turning P.A.L. around. Last year and the year before were tough years, so we’re looking to turn our direction it,” said Bricker. “It was pretty easy for me to get into it. I played with the Jr. Coyotes until the Pee Wee level, and around and make a name for ourselves.” Bricker’s two years of junior experience make him then I joined the Phoenix Firebirds.” The Firebirds became the an immediate veteran presence Arizona Bobcats, under their alland a player from whom much around leader Ron Filion. This offense is expected in Year 3 of year, the Bobcats’ 16U program the NCDC. for which Bricker played will see “As I am mentioned as one of three alumni playing NCAA Divithe key guys (in the team preview sion I hockey. on, I am expected And, yes, there’s also that to be a key guy,” added Bricker. Matthews fella playing up in To“Producing offensively is one ronto. thing, but I will do anything I can “The Bobcats were a reto help the team succeed.” ally good growing organization,” He spent the summer on a said Bricker. “Nowadays, the Jr. workout program given to him by Coyotes get the top players, but a personal trainer that he used the Bobcats did a very good job to work with regularly in person with their program. For about five but was unavailable this sumyears, they were a solid program mer. Even still, he and another friend (who is now playing in Adam Bricker grew up playing for the Jr. Coyotes, and a well-known program.” Arizona Bobcats and Phoenix Firebirds, and is the BCHL) remained together set for a breakout season in 2019-20 with the The Bobcats certainly and worked out together for this NCDC’s P.A.L. Jr. Islanders. yielded another strong talent 2019-20 season. in Bricker. With his dedication to the Jr. Islanders, if He is feeling as ready for this season as he was they are to author that hoped-for comeback season, when he first became a regular hockey player roughly you can bet the young man from Scottsdale will be 13 years ago. right at the forefront.



Welcome Aboard AHU introduces three new, top-notch coaches, including two Arizona natives, to Knights family By Sean Phillips


rizona Hockey Union is very happy to announce our newest head coaches to the club! Take a minute and get to know a little about each of them. 8U Mite White: “Billy” Mulligan 1. Where are you from? Chandler 2. How did you get into coaching youth travel hockey? My son 3. Who is your NHL team? Player? Arizona Coyotes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson 4. Do you have any hobbies besides hockey? Being with my family 5. What other sports are you into? Football 6. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? Mully 7. What do you want from a player more than anything? Have fun and work hard 8. Best thing a player can do off the ice? Play other sports 9. Best vehicle for hockey – van or truck? Truck 10. What do you enjoy most about the game of hockey? Dislike the most? Some of my best memories are from my youth. They all involve hockey, being with my team before and after games, road trips, etc. 11. What is the most important thing you want to get out of this season? For everyone to get better 12. What is one thing you wish your players knew that would help you coach them better? That it is OK to ask questions

10U Squirt Black: Heath Tinsdale 1. Where are you from? Huntington Beach, Calif. 2. How did you get into coaching youth travel hockey? Started coaching my middle sons’ Mini Mites and continued since 3. Who is your NHL team? Player? Arizona Coyotes, Clayton Keller 4. Do you have “hype music” in the locker room? What would be your song/band? Yes. Steve Aoki. But my players pick their playlist 5. Do you have any hobbies besides hockey? Dirt bikes. Hiking. My dogs (I have five) 6. What other sports are you into? Golf and Motocross 7. If money was no object, what would you do all day? Wander around the mountains 8. What’s your favorite holiday? Christmas 9. What was your first job? Working for a horse trainer 10. What do you want from a player more than anything? Be a great teammate 11. Biggest pet peeve parents do to a coach? Car coaching. 12. Best thing a player can do off the ice? Stickhandling, shooting. Try stuff they wouldn’t in a game or practice 13. Best vehicle for hockey – van or truck? Truck. Nobody wants that stinky gear in their space. 14. What do you enjoy most about the game of

hockey? Speed and pace of game. Dislike the most? Nothing 15. What is the most important thing you want to get out of this season? Players developed and improved. Hungry for the next season. 16. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? A lot. My wife will tell you. 17. If you could see 24 hours into the future, what would you be doing? Practice plans 18. What’s something that no one would guess about you? I love cartoons 19. What is one thing you wish your players knew that would help you coach them better? That not everything has to be done at warp speed. Most importantly, do it right. Then do it fast – and right. 16U Midget AA Silver: Cody Gylling 1. Where are you from? Chandler 2. How did you get into coaching youth travel hockey? I wanted to stay around the game after I was done playing and found a passion in coaching. 3. Who is your NHL team? Player? Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby 4. Do you have “hype music” in the locker room? What would be your song/band? For sure, I’m all for music in the locker room before. Anything from Avicii. 5. Do you have any hobbies besides hockey? Spending time with friends/family 6. What other sports are you into? Golf 7. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? Sure, nicknames are common in hockey. Gills. 8. If money was no object, what would you do all day? I’m always up to something different so I’d just stay pursuing my passions. 9. What’s your favorite holiday? Christmas 10. What was your first job? Verified payments at a debt collection agency. 11. What do you want from a player more than anything? Be coachable, work hard, be a good teammate 12. Biggest pet peeve parents do to a coach? High-maintenance parents overall. 13. Best thing a player can do off the ice? Visualize 14. Best vehicle for hockey – van or truck? Truck 15. What do you enjoy most about the game of hockey? Dislike the most? Beyond actually playing the game, the relationships built along the way. My biggest dislike is the politics behind the scenes. 16. What is the most important thing you want to get out of this season? Give my players a great experience while giving them the tools to develop. 17. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? I wouldn’t say my personality has changed too much. 18. If you could see 24 hours into the future, what would you be doing? Not sure. My schedule varies. 19. What’s something that no one would guess about you? I don’t like anything dairy. 20. What is one thing you wish your players knew that would help you coach them better? Nothing that comes to mind, but I’d say it’s my job to teach them what I’d like them to know. ​​ 8

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

“Billy” Mulligan

Heath Tinsdale

Cody Gylling

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks’ D-II team opens new season with new faces, optimism By Matt Mackinder


ollege hockey continues to grow in Flagstaff. The Northern Arizona University ACHA program, which fields teams at the Division II and Division III levels, has been gaining steam – and substantial interest from players – over the past few years. That was clearly evident as the IceJacks held tryouts at the end of the summer for the 2019-20 season, a season that kicked off Sept. 13-14 against Arizona State University with a 5-2 win the first night and then a 2-1 loss the next day, despite outshooting the Sun Devils 52-30. “We had a really strong turnout for our tryouts this year,” said NAU Division II head coach Travis Johanson. “I believe we added lots of depth that will make us a tough team to play against. We also picked up 13 new players on our D-II team, and I think it will be a good mixture of returning players that we expect to mix in well with the new incoming players. The chemistry so far is great, and we’ll see how that progresses throughout the season. “I feel that our split with ASU isn’t a bad thing as we only had two practices as a team going into that series. Once we get into our routine and iron out a few kinks, I expect us to have even more success as a team. We feel good where we’re at right now, though.” New behind the bench this season is former Northern Arizona standout forward and Arizona native Max Mahood, who was hired in the offseason as an assistant coach. “Max had a tremendous career at NAU and will bring a lot of knowledge to the team,” said Johanson.


Rink Location: Jay Lively Arena 1650 N. Turquoise Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Hotel Info: Little America (928) 779-7900



Jr. Sun Devils bring aboard power skating expert Keil By Matt Mackinder


xpect to see an improvement this season in DYHA Jr. Sun Devils players’ skating. And be sure to thank Kristina Keil for that. As the organization’s new director of power skating, Keil is working specifically with the Mites and Lil’ Devils, in addition to those that partake in the Monday Night skills sessions. She also offers private lessons. “The DYHA hockey director, Brad McCaughey, is a big proponent of power skating and the positive effects it has on a player’s overall development and game,” said Keil. “We were introduced through a mutual acquaintance and then we started to discuss the opportunities available in the DYHA for a power skating coach. Having been a successful power skating coach for eight years with a prominent company in Michigan (Keil Power Skating), I was excited for the opportunity to branch out and to help build stronger skaters in a new community.” Keil added that she was attracted to DYHA “by the desire from coaches and players to build a program centered around skating improvement.” “The organization puts a heavy emphasis on skills development and I’m looking forward to being a part of a team of coaches that values the potential for development of the players in the association,” Keil said. “I am hopeful that power skating will become an integral part of every hockey player’s development. My long-term goals include introducing a skating treadmill in the Phoenix area and building off of all of the current work I do on

ers improve and enhance their skating techniques. ice. I am eager to see what the future holds.” “From proper knee bend to edgework as well as An Ann Arbor, Mich., native, Keil began coaching power skating in 2012 with Keil Power Skating located overall balance and agility, my goal is to empower the in her hometown, providing teams, camps, and individu- skaters to become more proficient in their game play,” als in the Metro Detroit area with basic and advanced Keil said. “And I am looking forward to connecting with power, speed, agility, and technique on-ice training. the players. While drills, practice and repetition are defiUpon becoming a senior instructor within the company, nitely important, I am very passionate about what I do, and I believe that creating a conshe also began training players nection and bond with each of my on the All-N-Stride skating treadstudents is essential. Athletes mill in 2016. The skating treadare more willing to learn and work mill helps players work on stride hard when a trusting environment mechanics and efficiency and has been established. also breaks down the stride itself, “Nothing is better than conbuilding it back up, and then adnecting with and watching kids dressing speed, power and exgrow to become amazing athplosiveness. Growing up, Keil also lived letes as well as young adults.” on the East Coast while attendKeil noted that she was ining a college preparatory school troduced to power skating at a in Connecticut. She graduated young age and grew up believing from Michigan State University in that it was important for the suc2016 with a degree in Business cess of her career. Hospitality and made the move DYHA director of power skating Kristina Keil (with her “I spent roughly 10 years befrom Michigan to Arizona this pal, Jax) wants to “help build stronger skaters in a ing a student and working on new community.” past August. perfecting my own techniques, which is where I soon “All of my family resides back in Michigan, but I do discovered that I loved helping others learn,” said Keil. have a loving two-year-old yellow lab named Jax,” said “So as the saying goes, ‘the student became the teachKeil. “He is not a fan of my hockey sticks but will swim er.’ I’ve spent the past eight years assisting hockey players become the best versions of themselves and I can and play fetch until he drops.” This season, Keil plans to focus on helping the play- honestly say that I love my job.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Taking It To Tahoe Newcomers to Tahoe Prep Academy look to maximize their opportunities during 2019-20 season By Greg Ball


ith each new season, Tahoe Prep welcomes a handful of new players to its campus, and each brings with them plenty of talent and promise. Now in its fourth season, the program is attracting players from all over the country and beyond our borders, but there are still plenty of players from California’s top programs who are making the jump to Tahoe. Here’s a look at a handful of those players who could make big impacts for the program’s prep and varsity squads during the 2019-20 season. Blake Bishop Bishop, 16, is finding life at Tahoe Prep to involve considerably less time in the car than at his previous stop, and that translates to more time on the ice.

Blake Bishop

Aidan Brink

A junior defenseman, last season he traveled a couple times a week from his family’s home in the Pacific Beach community of San Diego to Los Angeles to practice with a Jr. Kings AAA team. That meant that he spent as much as four hours a day on the road and often would get home after 11 p.m. He first visited Tahoe for an L.A. Kings summer training camp, and quickly learned that skating at altitude is different. Beyond the opportunity to train at altitude, Bishop committed to Tahoe Prep after meeting and talking with prep head coach Chris Collins and varsity head coach Leo Fenn. “What made the decision easy for me was the coaching staff and development opportunities,” said Bishop, whose goal is to play juniors or at a Division I college. “I wanted to sail pass other programs.” So far, the Tahoe experience is teaching him more than just hockey. “The people at the high school are pretty amazing and living in the dorms with all the boys is crazy fun, but you also learn to rely on yourself more and make your own decisions, and having chores is a little different,” Bishop said. Of course, the chance to make strides on the ice has been attractive as well. “I’m looking to improve my endurance and explosiveness this season,” Bishop said. “I’ve already seen improvements in my skating, stick handling and shooting.”

Bobby Doukov Academics have always been important to Doukov, and as his hockey career advanced to the AAA level with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, he found that finding the time to pursue both with the passion he wanted to was increasingly difficult. A junior from Burbank, Calif., he has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and has aspirations of attending an Ivy League college. His decision to transfer to Tahoe Prep was centered equally on academics and hockey. “I’m happy that at Tahoe Prep I’m on the ice every day while I still have the opportunity to take advanced placement-weighted classes this year to improve my GPA,” Doukov said. An only child, Doukov said living in the dorms has been a positive new experience for him.

Bobby Doukov

Jonathan Gunn A 16-year-old junior, Gunn first caught the hockey bug while watching a matchup between Canada and Russia in the Olympics on TV at his family’s home in Fresno, Calif., when he was 7. He soon started playing hockey and has been passionate about the sport ever since. Coming to Tahoe has taken that passion up a notch. The defenseman on Tahoe Prep’s varsity team is now working toward his goal of playing NCAA hockey. “I felt that Tahoe Prep would give me a good chance to develop my skills on and off the ice in a good environment,” Gunn said. “It is designed for players to excel at hockey and school, so why not come here?” After just a month on campus, Gunn said he knows he made the right decision.

Jonathan Gunn

“I’m doing well, and living with the boys is really different, but I like it and we all just click really well together,” he said. As for his hockey skills, he has already seen significant improvement. “I’ve learned different shot techniques and zone-entry patterns,” Doukov said. “The coaches care a lot about you and want you to succeed.” Drew Mazza Another transplant from the Jr. Ducks program, Mazza was attracted to Tahoe Prep by the opportunity to get nearly twice as much ice time as he was used to. That’s even more important for him than for other players, as the 16-year-old junior has switched from playing forward to playing defense. Moving to Tahoe was a little easier with several of his former teammates joining the academy. “I toured in June, and I thought the school was breathtaking and the coaches were awesome,” Mazza explained. “The schedule is tough and tiring. I’ve been going to bed early with everything that I have to do, but it’s what I came here for. I have never had such a good time with my coaches.” “I’ve had friends here from the start, so that helped with leaving my family. It was kind of hard seeing them for the last time for a while, but, it’s really fun living in the dorms. It’s a lot better than I imagined.”

Drew Mazza

“The coaches want you to be better,” he said. “They want you to succeed, and they are helping me improve the areas I needed to work on.” Aidan Brink Brink came to Tahoe Prep this season for the combination of great hockey training and strong academics. A 16-year-old junior playing goal on the varsity team, he felt a move to Tahoe was a smart decision for a lot of reasons. “I choose Tahoe Prep because I felt the development would be unreal, and they take academics seriously,” Brink said. “I toured in May, and the high school was insanely nice. It looks like a college campus, and the dorms were amazing. My dream is to play NCAA hockey, and I felt this was my best shot to play.” Brink is in his third season in net after having started his hockey career as a forward. He said his strengths of tracking the puck and keeping a good mental game were already intact but like many athletes, he found that training at altitude meant he needed to step up his cardio game. “It’s getting better now - all of the coaches and trainers have been really helpful,” Brink said. “It’s a busy schedule but I’m starting to get used to it. My goal for this season is to go to the championship with the team and hopefully build relationships and make some lifelong friends.”


West Coast Hockey Conference continuing to trend upward By Greg Ball


s it enters its 10th season of existence, there’s no doubt that the West Coast Hockey Conference is thriving. Perhaps the biggest indicator of the conference’s success is that it keeps growing - the WCHC will expand to 10 teams this season when it welcomes UC Irvine and Cal State Bakersfield to the fold. The addition of the two schools means the conference will be divided into two divisions for the 201920 season. Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara will play in one division, while the other division will be made up of Chapman, University of San Diego, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and Cal State Bakersfield. Having added three new schools last year, the conference has essentially doubled in size. “We’re not only growing in terms of the number of teams we ice each season, but the quality of the teams’ play is getting so much better year after year,” said Tyler Goeckner-Zoeller, the general manager for Loyola Marymount’s team, who helped start the LMU program back in 2006. “Since we started the West Coast Hockey Conference back in 2010, our conference has had the top team from California every single year. There’s plenty of good hockey throughout the state, but for the top team to come from our conference every year really makes a strong statement.” The 2019-20 season is set to open Sept. 20 with a matchup featuring Chapman taking on Cal State Bakersfield. Cal State Northridge is the conference’s 12

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

three-time defending champion, and while expectations are high for the Matadors, they should see plenty of competition throughout the WCHC. Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State are both expected to be strong teams this season, as are Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara. The regular season runs through early February and after playoffs, the champion will move on to the ACHA regionals

Cal State Northridge players hold up three fingers after collecting their third straight WCHC championship during the 2018-19 season.

in Boise, Idaho, at the end of the month. The strength of the conference is clearly evident in its postseason track record. Since its founding in 2010, the WCHC has sent a team to the ACHA Division II West Regional Tournament almost every year and has sent five teams to the Division II National Tournament. With eight teams for the first time last year, the WCHC’s winner received an automatic bid to regionals, and will do so again this season. “That’s the primary reason that we want to make

sure we continue to grow the conference - to ensure that we keep getting that automatic bid to regionals,” Goeckner-Zoeller said. “We want one of our teams from Southern California, which is under-represented for the quality of hockey we have here, to make it to regionals and face off against teams from Colorado, Utah and other states and show what we can do as a conference and a state. “It’s sort of a goal for everyone here to win this conference and knowing that you’ll get a chance to secure that coveted spot at the regional tournament makes it even bigger of a prize.” While Cal State Northridge would appear to be the favorite as the season begins, there is also some uncertainty because the Matadors have a new coach. Long Beach State will also have a new man behind the bench, as will Loyola Marymount. Other changes this season include some teams playing in new rinks. UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton will practice and play their games at the newly opened Great Park Ice in Irvine. “There are a lot of new faces around the league as far as new coaches and teams, and we’re really excited as the season starts and have high expectations, just like we do every season,” Goeckner-Zoeller said.


Jr. Coyotes program continues to thrive in 21st campaign Continued from Page 6

to have success,” said Fritsche. “We also try to stay away from reinventing the wheel but sticking with what works and making it that much better.” This season, the CAHA Bucks joined the association and are enamored with what the overall experience has been so far. “As coaches, parents and volunteers, the Bucks are proud and excited to be the newest program at

competitors, and through programs like the Bucks, CAHA is the only youth hockey organization in Arizona that offers such a variety of development programs for at the highest level. I am also very proud of our coachkids to choose from. Its programs advance the game ing staff. Also having support from such a great team of hockey, regardless of the starting point, and afford with Kristy Aguirre, Kenny Corupe, Scott Gruber and the kids the best resources and opportunities.” Mike Nepsa is more than reason enough to stay. We Now in its 21st season, CAHA is showing no signs also have an unbelievable facility in the Ice Den that of slowing down any time soon. supports our every need with everything that they “I carry a great amount of pride and haphave. piness that our program continues to help “We are truly a family. If one of us has an players achieve their goals,” said Aguirre. issue, it’s each of our problems to solve. It is “Seeing a player learn and master a new skill, incredible to work with like-minded people that a new move, is extremely rewarding to see have the same goals and aspirations for not players beam with confidence, knowing that all only our program but the growth of hockey in of their hard work and sacrifice both personally the whole state of Arizona. I love my job and and within their families does pay off. Making while at times it may be a bit stressful and kids happy, keeping them active, and learning hectic, taking care of our players, coaches and important life skills about teamwork are all part managers is extremely rewarding. I couldn’t of the priorities of our program. Our directors, picture myself anywhere else.” our coaches, all exemplify these priorities in Last season, the Jr. Coyotes’ 15 Only and their everyday roles as coaches in our program. 16U Tier I teams won Rocky Mountain District “Our outlook is very promising. We continchampionships at their respective divisions and ue to have more and more players going where made it to the quarterfinals at the USA Hockey they dream of going on their paths. Being able National Tournament. In addition, three players The Jr. Coyotes display a few pieces of hardware from their team trophy case. to supply the foundation for so many is an committed to NCAA Division I programs off incredible feeling. With our people, our culture, our CAHA,” said Bucks 12U/11U head coach Greg Sithe 16U roster, two players made Western Hockey partners, and our building, we are truly in a position trick. “CAHA is about the kids and the sport. CAHA League rosters and three more players made United has demonstrated a commitment to develop programs to continue to excel and be the best program we can States Hockey League teams. that grow skaters of any age from novice to intense possibly be.” “Every year, we are finding more and more ways

October 1 - 3, 2019 . 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM | Ice Den Chandler Open to House & Travel Players 3-DAY CAMP $ Goalie Exclusive Coaching 275 50 TU-WED-TH House & Travel Focused AGE DIVISIONS: MITE, SQUIRT, PEEWEE & BANTAM



Skill Development

goalie discount

SPACE IS LIMITED. SECURE YOUR SPOT TODAY! For more information & to register:

HEAD COACHES: KENNY CORUPE, Hockey Director Jr. Coyotes SCOTT MUNROE, Director of Hockey Development,Coyotes Development Program



Titans roll out new Mites development program for ’19-20 By Moriah Hernandez


n the organization’s second year, Arizona Titans director Justin Rogers has implemented a new Mites development program open to players ages 4 to 8 years old. The new program, coached by Jim Rogers, is geared toward providing the game’s youngest players with the opportunity to focus on development and enjoying learning the sport. As hockey continues to grow across the nation, the organization hopes to grow with it and expand its reach each year. “When we looked at the organization as a whole, we felt like we needed to do a better job with the grassroots,” said Justin Rogers. “With the ever-growing Little Howlers program, we needed to give those players an option to continue playing at AZ Ice Arcadia. It was the perfect opportunity for the Titans to grow and reach more kids. We wanted to give these kids a place to transition out of their introduction to hockey and grow into full-blown hockey players.” This is the organization’s first step toward building a generation of Titans players from the ground up. It is a step toward fostering an environment where players can grow up together in the organization as Titans from the start. “It’s our first initiative in helping grow the grassroots of hockey,” Rogers said. “It is so important to us

that we are focusing on building new hockey players because these kids are the future of the Titans program. “We want to breed an environment where these young hockey players want nothing more than to grow up and continue playing for our organization. We want them to feel like this is where they belong, this is their home –

because it is.” The Titans realize that growing the game at this level is an opportunity to shape the future and the direction of the entire organization. “This is a chance for us to teach them the fundamentals and the love of the game from the very beginning,” Rogers said. “If we can get them familiar with our coaches and help feed their passion for the game, we are better able to build a solid foundation for the


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

organization in the years to come.” Jim and Justin Rogers have become two of the state’s biggest advocates for growth in the hockey community. They want to challenge players to push work harder and have more fun because that’s where they will find the most development. “I want all of the kids to grow into better players over the season and to have fun every time their skates touch the ice, game or practice,” said Justin Rogers. When Justin Rogers took on building a new program last year, he wanted to build a program that was inclusive in every sense of the word because hockey is for everyone. “Our goal is to ensure everyone has a place to play regardless of skill, ethnicity, gender, or economic background,” Rogers said. The new development program will run the duration of the Titans’ season from August to March and will skate three times a week with the Mites teams, structured to give players two skills practices and one scrimmage session each week. Although the season has already started, the Titans development program is still open for players who may be interested in joining. For more information on the program or how to register, please contact the VOSHA Titans administrator at Photos/Moriah Hernandez


How NHL players train & why they choose HockeyShot By HockeyShot


obody knows how to keep their game sharp like an All-Star NHL hockey player. HockeyShot has a longstanding relationship with some of the best of the best in the NHL. We’ve gathered some of our favorite NHL hockey players to give us their thoughts on the HockeyShot Product Lineup. If you don’t know John Tavares, you may be living under a rock. After being selected first overall by the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL Draft, Tavares went on to become captain of the Islanders and one of the top players in the NHL. He recently signed a seven-year, $77 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his hometown team. Here is what he had to say about HockeyShot: “I’m always looking for an edge to my game. HockeyShot products, like the Passer Pro, are great to help keep my puck handling and shooting sharp during the summer. All of their products help me to prepare better for the next season” Next up, we have Aleksander Barkov, one of the darlings of Finnish hockey. Barkov was chosen as the second overall pick in 2013 by the Florida Panthers. He is an offensive threat and an absolute inspiration for any youngsters looking to get excited about playing ice hockey. One of the reasons Barkov plays with such high confidence is he knows the power of at-home training. HockeyShot has been right alongside Barkov, helping him develop his skills and get him ready for the NHL level.

His thoughts on HockeyShot: “I have always been a big fan of shooting pucks during the summer. HockeyShot products took it to another level. Now, I’m not only shooting pucks, I can dangle, pass, sauce and practice one-times. Allstar Tiles are

amazingly slick, and you just can’t get any closer to the real ice feeling. Overall, the products are a lot of fun and help preparing me for on-ice situations.” Continuing the pedigree, we have Jordan Staal. A native of Thunder Bay, Ont., Jordan grew up playing hockey with his three brothers on the outdoor rink built by

their father. All four boys later grew up to become massive ice hockey threats, with all of them making their NHL debut between 2003 and 2013. Jordan was selected at No. 2 in the NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006 and took home the biggest prize of all in 2009 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins. After six years with the Penguins, Jordan signed a 10-year, $60 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012, later being named co-captain alongside Justin Faulk. One of the only ways you can make it as far as the Staal brothers is with the help of proper training aids. Even if you have a backyard rink, there is no comparison to having the right gear. One of Jordan’s favorite Hockey Shot products is the Passer Pro. He said: “The HS Passer Pro is a fantastic training aid. I was impressed at the high quality and strong puck rebound, and it allows me to work on my passes and fire one-timers at home during the offseason. Their training aids are now an essential part of my off-ice training. Join the HS revolution, I did!” It takes passion, hard work and most importantly training, to achieve your goals of playing in the NHL – the Hockey Shot Product Lineup can get you there. For all the best hockey training products, visit www.



Knighthawks rebrand as Cobras for upcoming IHAAZ season By Brian Lester


hange is in the air in IHAAZ, and in a positive way. The Knighthawks organization has turned over its program and the tournament it hosts to a group headed up by Dave Marmorstein and Marvin Simmons. Marmorstein heads up the Peoria Sportsplex and has coached within the Knighthawks organization. Simmons is a former Knighthawks coach as well. The team will be renamed the Cobras, a throwback to the Phoenix Cobras of the old Roller Hockey International in the late 1990s. The move brings stability to a program that had struggled with it. Marmorstein and Simmons said they are excited about the opportunity to give back to a sport that has given them so much and have high hopes for the season ahead. They have been friends for a long time, growing up playing the sport of roller hockey together “We have had a lot to focus on for the upcoming season, and first and foremost is establishing our coaching staff and training regimens to improve our players throughout the season,” Marmorstein said. “Another goal of the Arizona Cobras is to teach the next generation how to play roller hockey. We want to take players from a grass roots beginner level, and work with them to get them ready for the in-state travel level (IHAAZ).” Marmorstein and Simmons currently run a free program out of the Sportsplex called Learn to Love Hockey. This new opportunity, which is held on Saturday after-

noons, adds another layer to that development process. “It is an individual skills clinic for beginner and developing players looking to improve and take their game to the next level,” said Marmorstein. Marmorstein and Simmons were approached last season about taking over the Knighthawks. They didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity to do it. Their hope

Dave Marmorstein (left) and Marvin Simmons have had a love for the inline hockey game since their playing days, and the duo will now run the Arizona Cobras organization going forward.

is to continue what the Knighthawks started. “Marvin and I want to make the Arizona Cobras a program that is synonymous with Arizona youth roller hockey,” Marmorstein said. “We hope to do that by using the knowledge and skills we have accumulated over the 20 years of roller hockey experience. A few chang-


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

es we want to make is having our players training more often and work on developing better teamwork than we have had in the previous years.” IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky is excited about the change the Cobras have created. “IHAAZ is excited to see the Peoria Sportsplex staff step up to the plate and get more involved with the series,” Boyarsky said. “There’s a ton of roller hockey history and talent in that building to guide the Cobras for years to come.” Marmorstein said he and Simmons are looking forward to seeing the players in the program gain a great deal from the experience of playing for the Cobras. “As a program, we want the players to learn how a team can accomplish things that an individual cannot – dedication, commitment and discipline are all irreplaceable skills in hockey as well as in life,” Marmorstein said. “We hope our players gain those skills from playing with the Cobras and have a blast while doing it.” The chance to be involved in IHAAZ in a different capacity is exciting, said Marmorstein. “We have been a part of the IHAAZ since it was AIHA when it started 20 years ago,” Marmorstein said. “I’ve played since the very first years of the AIHA and have been involved in Arizona roller hockey ever since. Marvin started in the AIHA a few years after me and has always dreamed of giving back to the sport that has given him so much. We look forward to our new leadership role in the IHAAZ and want to do whatever we can to help grow the sport.”


Hall of Fame an honor worth celebrating for Mission AZ By Greg Ball


all of Fame night is always an extremely special one for everyone involved with the Mission AZ hockey program, and this year was no different. Mission kicked off its season with an induction ceremony attended by most of the program’s players and their families, and the 2019 ceremony was an especially meaningful one. Mission’s 2019 Hall of Fame class includes Kyle Ambrose, Adam Beckermann, Kevin Bird, Peter Chung, Micheal Cosenza, Cole Golden, Sam Hinnant, Andrew Songstad, Kyle Tessmer, Jonathan Wieland and coach Terry Tessmer. And for the first time in the program’s history, an entire team was inducted – as the 18U AA Red squad that advanced to the USA Hockey Tier II national championship game last season was honored as a group. “For those players who have been inducted into our Hall of Fame, it’s the only time in their Mission careers that they get names on the back of their jerseys,” Mission director of player development Jeremy Goltz explained. “When they play for Mission, it’s all about the name on the front of the jersey, but this is our way of recognizing their individual achievements. “It was such a cool thing to see the entire 18U team get inducted together. That was a truly special group, and they accomplished something we’ve never done, so it was a fitting honor for sure.” Chris Fritz parlayed his successful Mission career

into a roster spot with the United States Premier Hockey League’s Northern Cyclones in Concord, N.H. After being inducted as part of the 18U national championship game team, he said he can’t understate what earning his place in Mission’s history means to him. “Being inducted into the Hall of Fame was something I will never forget,” Fritz said. “What made that night even more special and unforgettable was knowing that I had all of my best friends and brothers right there

For the first time in Mission AZ history, an entire team was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame as the 18U AA Red squad that advanced to the USA Hockey Tier II national championship game last season was honored as a group.

with me getting inducted as well.” Bird, who is entering his sophomore season studying and playing hockey at the University of Arizona, agreed that his membership in the Hall of Fame carries a ton of impact. “Being inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame class for

Mission has been one of my greatest accomplishments to this day,” Bird said. “At Mission, the Hall of Fame is an honor given to players that continue to play hockey at a higher level after wrapping up their youth careers. I think what made this day so special for me was seeing my teammates and best friends go into the Hall and having the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments together as a group. “I played at mission for six years, and in that time, I’ve formed relationships with players and coaches that have changed my life. It was a pleasure to be a part of this organization and learn not only how to become a better hockey player, but also a better person – which is always more important.” Added Fritz: “Mission has meant everything to me. I feel like I really found out who I was as a person, and I’m very grateful for that. Without Mission, I would not be where I am today. The impact that Coach Goltz and the program have had on me will be something I will always carry with me through life and my hockey career.” Goltz said the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is always one of his favorite days of the year because it’s the culmination of so much hard work – on the part of the players as well as Mission’s coaches. “This year’s class demonstrates so many players who have taken different roads to get where they are and players who have some incredible stories that have led them to be honored in this way,” Goltz said. “It’s always a great night to kick off our season and honor these guys.”

Congratulations to the Mission AZ Hall of Fame Class of 2019!



Optimism abounds as Tahoe Prep opens 2019-20 season By Greg Ball


all is always the best time of year for the student-athletes, coaches and administrators at Tahoe Prep Academy, and it’s not just because a chill in the air has returned to most mornings and evenings and snow will soon be falling on an almost daily basis. Autumn signals the beginning of hockey season, and after all, the sport is a passion for everyone involved with the program and the main focus of their everyday existence. With the 2019-20 academic year and hockey season off and running, Tahoe Prep’s student-athletes are as busy as ever, dedicating most of their time to their education and development as hockey players. Year 4 of the growing program’s existence is on tap, and the forward momentum gained in those first three years has been nothing short of remarkable. Needless to say, expectations are higher than ever before. Players from both the prep and varsity teams are now spending at least five days a week on the ice, and when they don’t have skates on their feet, they’re taking other steps to advance their careers – like working out in spin classes led by coach Mike Lewis and working with former Division I college athletic trainers at the Barton Center for Excellence. “I think during the first couple of weeks of the hockey season, we’re able to open the boys’ eyes to the realization that to get good at something, it takes a lot of

work and dedication,” said prep team head coach Chris Collins. “The reward for the players and for us as coaches is when we see all that hard work pay off in terms of their improvement. We’re already starting to see that, and we know we’ll witness even more of that in the coming weeks and months. “We have a lot of new players this year, and as a way of getting them all on the same page as far as our goals and how we approach teaching them the game, we implemented a lot of team-building activities. I think those things that we have done have really pulled them together, and it definitely showed in their first scrimmage games. The chemistry was there.” Tahoe’s prep team has a busy schedule of games on their slate in both the North American Prospects Hockey League and the East Coast Elite League. Facing the type of top-notch competition they will see in those two leagues can only help Tahoe’s players get better and do so rapidly. “Our first NAPHL tournament is this month, and I think the way our kids play as individuals and as a team

will give us a good feel as coaches how well this group is comprehending what we are teaching them,” Collins said. Meanwhile, Tahoe’s varsity squad, coached by Leo Fenn, is preparing for a full schedule playing in both the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League and the San Jose Sharks High School Hockey League. The schedule is definitely a grind, but all the players knew what they were signing up for, and they’re eager to be on the ice as much as possible – in practices and games. Collins said this year’s prep schedule puts that squad up against consistently high-performing opponents like Boston Advantage, a program that has a strong record of placing players with Division I college teams. “All of our players are responding to what we’re teaching them, and they’re working really hard,” Collins said, adding that taking on the new role of the team’s head coach this season carries responsibilities and duties that extend far beyond the ice. “It’s fun. It has been really rewarding, but it’s more about the mentorship and life lessons they are learning than the X’s and O’s of how the game is played.” Photos/Ed Fritz

NEW MEXICO REPORT Retired Air Force colonel Flint gets ‘dream job’ with Outpost

Albuquerque’s Gretz ready for NHL draft year with OHL’s Firebirds

By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



revor Flint recently retired from the U.S. Air Force, but he’ll hardly be slowing down any time soon. This past summer, Flint was named chief operating officer and general manager of the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, a facility that recently underwent $2 million in renovations. A native of Mississippi, Flint recently served as a colonel in the United States Air Force and is retiring after more than 27 years of service. Former Outpost GM Steve Thompson is retiring after more than 20 years in the position since the first day of operations at the facility. “In welcoming Trevor to the Outpost Ice Arenas, we look forward to his leadership experience and enthusiasm for ice skating, hockey and the Albuquerque community after his long and illustrious career serving our country,” said Outpost owner Stan Hubbard. “We are incredibly grateful to Steve Thompson who has worked tirelessly to keep all ice sports available, affordable and prospering in Albuquerque. He has led the efforts to rebuild and train our staff and oversaw the arena remodeling with a minimum of down time or interruptions. He has also been instrumental in leading the organizational aspects of ice hockey and other youth programs across our state.” “This is a dream job for me and a tremendous opportunity for our family and I could not be more excited and humbled to join Mr. Hubbard and the Outpost Ice Arenas team,” added Flint. “When we moved to Albuquerque three years ago, the rink was one of the first places we visited and when we walked in, Steve Thompson was the first person we met. We immediately connected with him, the Outpost, the New Mexico Ice Wolves youth hockey association family and the Albuquerque community, all of whom had a huge influence on our decision to retire here. I never could have imagined that my family and I would have the chance to follow Steve in this important role. “We look forward to building upon the great work he has done and working for Mr. Hubbard and teaming with the community in taking the Outpost Ice Arenas and ice sports in New Mexico to new heights.” 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

ext summer’s NHL Draft will be held in Montreal – about 2,100 miles from Albuquerque. Marcus Gretz, an Albuquerque native who turns 18 in November, is excited to make that trip in late June. “It definitely has hit me that it’s my NHL draft year,” said Gretz, a third-year defenseman with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Flint Firebirds. “I think anyone who says they don’t think about it is lying. It’s hard not to, especially when it’s everything I’ve ever worked for, but with that being said, worrying or focusing on it won’t do anything but eat at someone. For me, I’m just focusing on being back on the ice and playing to the best of my abilities and the rest will take care of itself. I just have to trust that.” During the 2018-19 season, Gretz, who played youth hockey back home for the New Mexico Scorpions, New Mexico Renegades and Team New Mexico, missed a big chunk of the year with a shoulder injury, but after a busy summer of training, he’s 100 percent for the upcoming OHL campaign. “Last season was definitely tough, not just physically but mentally as well,” Gretz said. “There were a lot of hard times in there. For me, it was never really the pain that bothered me. It was having to sit back and watch. Not being able to play, work out or even at a certain point, I was even missing just picking up pucks with the boys or the little daily locker room chatter. It took constant reminders that it doesn’t last forever no matter how tough and that I’ll be back stronger and better than ever.” Gretz said that he feels as great as he ever has and can’t wait to get the season started. “We have something truly special in Flint,” said Gretz. “We have really built a culture and it feels like one big family. This is one of the closest group of guys I’ve ever been with and I think that gives us such an advantage. We’ve all been through so much together and we can’t wait to prove what we have.”

Era picks up third consecutive gold medal with Team USA By Phillip Brents


preparation for this playing in big tournaments with and against each other as well as off-rink training (with trainer Megan Dovell) to make sure we were in the best shape possible.” A total of 15 countries participated in the senior women’s division and 28 nations overall in the four divisions. “A key ingredient this year was playing a very controlled game,” explained Era, a Youngtown resident. “It was also nice to have a tougher pool this year playing against very fast teams in round robin. It definitely made us ready for playoffs and got our mo-

t was definitely a banner year for the United States Senior Women’s National Inline Hockey Team, in particular for Arizona native Allison Era, as Team USA captured its third consecutive gold medal in international competition at July’s World Roller Games in Barcelona. It was also a personal milestone for Era. “It was the first time I had ever won three gold medals in a row,” she said. “The fact that two of them were during the World Roller Games is a huge accomplishment.” The World Roller Games, which are held every two years, featured four divisions at the 2019 tournament: junior men and women as well as senior men and women. The USA senior men’s team matched the American women with a gold medal while the two U.S. junior teams skated to silver Arizona native Allison Era skated to her third mentum going. I think that along consecutive world championship with the Team with the motivation of wanting a medals. The U.S. senior women’s USA Senior Women’s Inline Hockey Team by three-peat made us unstoppable. winning the gold medal at July’s World Roller team defeated the Czech Repub- Games in Barcelona. Photo/World Skate Our team dynamic was fun with a lic 3-1 to capture the gold medal good group of ladies that worked while the American men made it a sweep with an en- their butts off until the timer ran out.” suing 3-0 victory against the defending world champiEra said there were other intangibles to overcome, on Czechs. and not necessarily the other teams. “This is one of the best teams we’ve brought to a “Barcelona was a tough location because of the world tournament,” Era recounted. “We did a lot of heat and humidity, but we didn’t let that stop us from

playing our game,” Era said. “Because of the humidity, the rink would get wet and cause us to slip and slide, which definitely was some adversity we had to overcome.” The American senior women overcame everything. They outscored their four pool opponents 20-2, before defeating France 3-0 in the quarterfinals and Spain 5-1 in the semifinals. Era finished second in team scoring with six goals and five assists – one point behind team leader and fellow Team USA veteran Laura Veharanta. She picked up one assist in the championship game. “Team USA is always the team to beat when it comes to women’s inline hockey, and it definitely puts a target on our backs,” Era said. “I think we handle the pressure of that well and don’t get cocky. We treat every game like it is the championship and always take it one game at a time, never expecting to walk through anyone. I think that is what sets us apart from other countries. We have the talent and the skill, but we also have the tenacity and the willingness to work hard to be our best during every game, no matter who the competition may be.” Era was not the only Arizonan representing Team USA in Barcelona. Phoenix native Dave Marmorstein served as head coach for the Team USA senior women’s team while Yuma’s Isabella Clark competed in her second season for the USA junior women’s team, which fell 2-0 to Spain in the final. “There is no feeling in sports better than winning the gold medal representing your country in competition,” said Marmorstein, who helped guide Team USA to its first World Roller Games championship in 2017 in China.

Marmorstein keeps USA Senior Women’s Inline Team rolling and happiness of winning a gold medal for your country.” Marmorstein said the yearly challenge is to assemble a self-funded group of elite athletes and get them to commit to play a team game within a determined system. “Our players are from all over the United States and from different teams and systems,” he explained. “Our goal is to pick a team rather than a group of indi-

feated the Czech Republic for the gold medal at July’s World Roller Games while Spain defeated Italy for the hoenix native Dave Marmorstein has been fortubronze medal. nate enough to experience international competi“There are many differences in the style of internation both as a parent and a coach. tional play, and it is evolving every year,” Marmorstein “The two feelings are very different,” he said. “As said. “There are a group of about six countries with a parent, you feel satisfaction and pride for your child elite talent capable of winning the world championwho has accomplished something truly great in their ship. There is a group of six to eight more countries life. But as a coach you feel the pride, respect and satthat can win any game they play. Then there are about isfaction for your entire team that is like a second six to eight countries that are developing their family. There is no better feeling in sports than repskills and learning how to win on the world stage. resenting your country in international competition “The style of play has historically depended on against opponents who are doing the same thing. the level of skill of the team and the opponent they “It is truly unbelievable.” were playing. More recently, all the teams try to play Marmorstein has guided the United States competitively rather than sit back and just defend. Senior Women’s National Inline Hockey Team to Some countries are heavily influenced by a strong three consecutive gold medals, including champiice hockey culture and play a style influenced by onships at the 2017 World Roller Games in China their ice culture. Many teams from non-traditional and the 2019 World Roller Games in Barcelona. hockey countries have a different style of play inHe served six years as an assistant coach for fluenced by their soccer or field hockey culture. Team USA, winning two gold medals and collectThere are clearly differences in the style of play ing four silver medals, before assuming the head from country to country. I believe more teams are coaching position. trying to copy the style of the most successful rollThe American women remain a powerhouse er hockey countries in the world.” in the sport internationally by appearing in nine The future looks bright for Team USA at the consecutive championship games while capturing Phoenix’s Dave Marmorstein (far right) celebrates along with members of international level. the USA Senior Women’s National Inline Hockey Team after winning the five gold medals. The U.S. senior women’s team gold medal at July’s World Roller Games in Barcelona. Photo/World Skate “The talent pool of players in the USA is excelhas won 10 world championships since 2003. lent for the women’s program,” Marmorstein said. The feeling of standing on top of the awards podi- viduals. The biggest challenge is to find those players “Our current team is made up of one-third veterans in um doesn’t get tiresome, Marmorstein said. who are skilled enough to win the world championship their late 20s, one-third in their mid-20s and the final “There are no words to describe the feeling of and humble enough to play as a team.” one-third of our players are under 23.” your team standing on the podium as they raise the So far, it’s worked. He said standards are set high: “Our team expecUSA flag in victory and your team sings the national Inline hockey at the international level has devel- tations are nothing short of winning the world chamanthem,” he said. “Words cannot explain the emotion oped its own power structure. The United States de- pionship.” By Phillip Brents




Looking at recent changes in the retail hockey market T

he ever-changing dynamics of retail is very evident in the hockey market. Consolidation of companies and brands has left the industry with two huge vendors in Bauer and CCM and a handful of smaller vendors, Exelby such as True and Warrior, a couple specialty goalie brands Brian’s and Vaughn, as well as some vendors that specialize in tape, laces and accessories such as A&R, Howie’s and Proguard. The only area growing is the custom jersey segment, companies that specialize in quicker turnaround and being able to complete the jersey and embellishment in one stop – companies such as Winwave and Champro. These are also companies that can deliver team and association orders on time. While the number of vendors has shrunk, so has the number of retailers. In the last 12 months, Bauer has cut 400 retailers, those that did not meet their new, much-higher minimums or that Bauer feels did not service the area properly in their mind. At first, it

was strange to think a vendor was willing to lose business but after listening to them, it made sense. Make the vendors out there better and stronger while providing elite-level vendors additional tools to succeed. Bauer put in a great-looking skate wall at our Scottsdale store, plus a custom 3D-fit skate center. BTM employees scan your foot and send the image to Bauer, who custom makes a skate specifically to your foot. We recently got in the Bauer stick studio to custom Bauer sticks one at a time with custom colors, graphics and specs. Plus, you can put your name and/or number on the stick. BTM is honored to be the only elite-level dealer in Arizona to have access to technology and products not offered anywhere else. CCM has also stepped up their game with a custom skate wall at BTM Scottsdale and custom 3D-scan skate-fitting station. A custom stick center just arrived a couple weeks ago. Plus, both Bauer and CCM provide BTM employees with online training and on-ice demo and PK sessions. The more information the employee knows about the product, the better they are able to service, fit and sell the customer. They want retailers that provide not just good customer service and experience anymore but outstanding customer service.

True Hockey, the first retailer to offer custom 3D-fit skates is still a very strong presence. Many men’s league players have gotten them as well as players that either have foot issues or comfort issues with their existing stock skates. The reviews and feedback have been amazing, and what usually happens is a few teammates come in eventually to get their custom True skates, so word of mouth has been True’s biggest source of sales. Plus, True has over 60 percent of NHL goalies in their custom skates. The goalies can’t speak highly enough of the goalie skates, which are made either in one-piece or twopiece options. The hockey industry also benefits from Amazon not carrying products sold directly from the vendors. Hockey is still an industry that is your best to purchase in the store itself. Fit is so important, and most brands have several different fits. Trying the product on in store is key. It is a retail experience where the employees need to play the sport to understand and be able to sell the product. This is why the big box stores have never succeeded at selling hockey and for the most part, don’t carry much or anything. I’m not sure what the next five years will hold for changes, but I am super excited at what’s happening right now.

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Chicago, Ill. Acquired: Traded from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 12, 2018 with forward Marian Hossa, defenseman Jordan Oesterle and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the Coyotes for defenseman Andrew Campbell, forward Marcus Kruger, forward Jordan Maletta, forward MacKenzie Entwistle and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft NHL Draft: Selected by Chicago in the sixth round (169th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft Last Amateur Team: University of Notre Dame (then in Hockey East, NCAA D-I) Age: 25 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Vinnie Hinostroza: That was winning my first state championship. Maybe it was Minor Squirt, I can’t remember. We felt like we were playing in the NHL and they did a light show and stuff. I remember winning that and was a lot of excitement. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving college hockey? VH: My first NHL game and scoring my first NHL goal. The goal was in Vancouver and I’ll never forget that. I don’t remember the goalie, though. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? VH: My grandfather. We just spent so much time together and he drove me to the rink all the time. He is such was good man and really supported me in everything I did. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? VH: Don’t listen to all of the outside noise and distraction and people telling you can’t do something. Just go for whatever you want to do. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? VH: Played football in high school, so I would have to pick football. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? VH: No. I just have to take a nap before every game. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? VH: Come to the rink and have a meeting or a skate in the morning. Go back, eat some lunch and watch some TV or play video games and then take a two-hour nap. Then, go back to the rink. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? VH: My favorite restaurant is probably Roku (in Scottsdale). It’s a mission. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? VH: Just received a Kindle, and so I’m reading more. I take my iPad to watch movies. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? VH: That was Patrick Kane. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown




PUT YOUR EVENT PLANS ON ICE! • Team Parties • Weddings • Family Reunions • Corporate Events • Bar Mitzvahs • Birthdays • And more… DON’T LET YOUR DATE MELT AWAY!


Photos by Studio No. 5

Based on availability, the Ice Den offers private ice rental for exclusive functions.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.