Arizona Rubber Magazine - October 2019

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VOLUME 15

ISSUE 2

OCTOBER 2019

JR. COYOTES DUO MAKES NCAA DIVISION I COMMITMENTS

Using a development model that is beneficial to players and coaches alike, the Mission AZ youth program continues to improve and gain momentum in the Valley

NEW NAU COACH HAAR LOOKS TO LEAVE MARK IN FIRST YEAR GROWTH CONTINUING FOR AHSHA WITH SUPPORT OF COYOTES LOBOS FINDING POSITIVES AS ACHA SEASON GETS UNDERWAY



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FROM THE EDITOR With hockey booming everywhere, time to buckle up for the ride

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he month of October generally means that summer is in the rearview mirror and until early spring, it’s hockey, hockey, hockey. Just look around – hockey is everywhere. All the youth programs are going, in addition to junior, college and pro teams. Many junior and college teams out of state also have a slew of in-state players on their rosters. Yep – hockey continues to grow. What a time to be involved in this great game! Make sure your seat belt is fastened. The ride is just beginning!

Earlier this month, the North American ProsMatt Mackinder pects Hockey League (NAPHL) announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of September. The players were selected based upon their performance at the first NAPHL event of the season, which took place in Blaine, Minn., from Sept. 19-22. Stats were based on all games played. The 16U Apex Peak Performer (goaltender) was Stephen Gilson from the Arizona Bobcats. Gilson was perfect in his three starts during the event in Blaine. The Scottsdale native posted three shutouts in three starts and stopped all 52 shots that came his way in the three wins, which included a 21-save effort in a 3-0 shutout over Everett in the first game. Congrats, Stephen! The Arizona Coyotes and the Arizona Coyotes Foundation announced recently that the club invested $3.4 million into the Valley community this past fiscal year. The investment reached numerous Arizona non-profit organizations, schools, community partners and youth hockey groups. “A central pillar of our organization is to positively impact our Arizona community,” said Coyotes president-CEO Ahron Cohen. “The Valley has given us tremendous support over the years, and it is our privilege and responsibility to give back and make this community a better place to live. We look forward to surpassing this number this season with our fundraising efforts as we endeavor to find even more opportunities to give back.” The Arizona Coyotes Foundation supported over 50 non-profit organizations in 2019-20 through its grant recipient program. In addition, the Coyotes funded the team’s reading program that reached over 100 Valley schools and supported the NHL and NHLPA’s Future Goals STEM and the Healthier Me programs. These programs helped educate over 50,000 students in Arizona. The Coyotes also assisted hundreds of non-profits with donation items to help their fundraising efforts. The Coyotes also constructed a playground for the New World Education Center in Phoenix last January and have plans to build another playground in the Greater Phoenix area this November. In conjunction with the NHL, the NHLPA and the league’s Industry Growth Fund, the Coyotes supported the development of youth hockey in the Valley and state through funding several hockey programs that introduced the sport to over 100,000 boys and girls last year. These programs include the Raise the Pack School PE Curriculum, the Small Frys girls hockey development program and Arizona Kachinas girls hockey association, sponsorship of the Arizona High School Hockey Association, financial support to local ice rinks with the Part of the Pack rink improvement program and the Little Howlers Learn to Play hockey program which introduces the game of hockey to kids 5-9 years of age. The Coyotes will introduce three new programs this season to further grow the game. The new initiatives include an adult learn to play hockey program, a Little Howlers inline program, and monthly Try Hockey For Free sessions. In addition to a contribution of $3.4 million, the Coyotes organization volunteered roughly 2,000 hours of service this past year. Starting last season, all Coyotes employees are expected to volunteer at least 15 hours of service to the community each year. Wow! Thank you, Coyotes!

Contact Matt Mackinder at matt@rubberhockey.com 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: matt@rubberhockey.com 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: www.AZRubberHockey.com Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/arizonarubber Follow us on Twitter: @AZRubberHockey

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Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Rippy

OFF AND ROLLING

University of Arizona club president Alex Parrish fires off a shot in a recent WCRHL game. More collegiate inline hockey coverage can be found in this issue on Page 19.

ON THE COVER During a recent practice at AZ Ice Peoria, Mission AZ director of hockey operations Jeremy Goltz goes over on-ice strategy with the Mission 16U and 18U Red teams. Photo/Chris Carouchi


Coyotes optimistic as 2019-20 NHL season gets underway NHL club without a 20-goal scorer and only the Los Angeles Kings (202), Minnesota Wild (211) and Dallas Stars (210) scored fewer goals than the Coyotes’ 213 tallies. To address the lack of the scoring, Coyotes made two significant additions and one, forward Phil Kessel, has a strong history of producing on the power play. Throughout his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessel’s im-

While the first two games certainly do not forecast the season ahead, the Coyotes had a challenge s the 2019-20 season peaks through the NHL right out of the gate, scoring only one goal in their curtain, one of the telling stories of the Arizona first two games. Coyotes’ campaign may have been written late in On paper, the Coyotes seem much improved and training camp. injured players, primarily forwards Nick Schmaltz Coming into the preseason, one of the significant and Christian Dvorak, are ready to bounce questions to resolve was goaltending. With Antti back. Coming over from the Chicago Blackhawks, Raanta out for most of last season, Darcy KueSchmaltz managed 14 points in 17 games before a mper emerged and made fans and management knee injury ended his 2018-19 season. Still, the nearly forget the terrific second half of the 2017Coyotes signed Schmaltz to a seven-year, $40.9 18 season turned in by Raanta. million extension. With the new season on the horizon, coach Equally worth watching is whether Clayton Rick Tocchet and other club officials faced the Keller can bounce back from his remarkable issue of allocating significant ice time for each. By rookie season. Last season, Keller scored only 14 the time camp ended in late September, that quesgoals, a drop from the 23 goals and 42 assists of tion seemed resolved. his rookie year of 2017-18. Raanta lumbered through camp with nagging One player who may hold the key to an iminjuries and eventually placed on the injured reproved offense could be right wing Vinnie Hinosserve list. With his return uncertain, the Coyotes troza, who pumped in 16 goals last season. claimed netminder Eric Comrie off waivers from With a blistering wrist shot, Hinostroza has the Winnipeg, recalled Adin Hill from the AHL’s Tucpotential to be a deadly sniper, and the kind of son Roadrunners and anointed Kuemper as the shooter that strikes fear into hearts of opposing starter. goalkeepers. Given the reality of losing Raanta for a signifi- Darcy Kuemper begins the 2019-20 NHL season as the Arizona Coyotes’ “My game is hard-working and winning battles cant period of time, general manager John Chay- No. 1 goaltender. Photo/Norm Hall with speed,” he said. “There’s no reason why I ka reached out to Kuemper and signed the 29can’t be one of the guys that scores. Talking with year old to a two-year contract extension. pact with the man advantage was significant. Over Tocchet and Chayka, they want me to one of those Kuemper comes off a stellar season in which he the past three seasons, he produced 108 points on guys, to take a step forward and not be satisfied with went 29-20-8 with a 2.33 goals-against average and the power play and that represented 44 percent of the year I had. They are expecting more from me and a .925 save percentage. As the season progress- his overall production. I’m expecting more from myself.” es, the Coyotes will likely rely on Kuemper, whose At the same time, Chayka went out and secured While Kessel received the vast majority of attenteam-oriented disposition and likable personality center Carl Soderberg from the Colorado Ava- tion in the offseason and in camp, a player like Hinosserve his teammates well. lanche. While Tocchet continues to mix and match troza could emerge as the Coyotes’ need for greater Last season up front, the Coyotes were the lone his lines, the scoring issue remains outstanding. offensive production.

By Mark Brown

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Competitive Mindset

With Mission AZ, program’s focus on intensity in practices leads to stellar results come game time By Greg Ball

“It’s a bit of an old-school philosophy,” said Scott Farber, who coaches Mission’s Bantam White and bantam red teams and is in his ninth season with alk through the large glass doors into Mission AZ’s sprawling headquarthe program. “We try to put kids in game situations and develop all the basic ters at AZ Ice Peoria in suburban Phoenix, and you may not notice much skills - shooting, passing, skating, etcetera - within that framework. We do have different from any other rink hosting any other youth hockey program in any other separate skill sessions, but the majority of our practice time is spent in a competpart of the country. itive environment.” The sounds of skates cutting across the ice, sticks meeting pucks, whistles Goltz said one of the reasons he has chosen to employ his competition-based blaring and coaches barking instructions create a cacophony that is familiar and practice philosophy is that it keeps kids engaged. No other sport has a season as comfortable for hockey families everywhere. long as hockey and finding ways to keep kids from getting bored by keeping their Yet, look a little closer and you’re bound to see that things are done a bit attention and competitive edge sharp is one of the hardest things coaches have differently here. Under the supervision of Mission coach-in-chief Jeremy Goltz, to tackle on a week-to-week basis for 6-7 months. who founded the program more than a decade ago, Mission’s coaches, players “We’re not just dropping the puck and doing five-on-five scrimmages all day and parents have forged a unique path. It is defined by a philosophy that is not long - we isolate the forwards or the defensemen and work on situations, but often seen elsewhere but that everyone at Mission is fully behind. it’s always in a competitive environment,” Goltz said. “Scores are being kept. To put it simply, Goltz and his fellow Mission coaches employ a Somebody wins and somebody loses, and the loser has to do some extra philosophy that putting kids in game-like situations as footwork or something. When you do that type of thing often possible is more effective than having them on a consistent basis, you can’t help but have a really slog through endless drills. The thinking is that competitive group.” players develop at a similar or faster rate, and Coaching kids with traditional drills can lead their skills develop in an environment that’s to players focusing too much on their individual more akin to what they will face in games. games without having a good feel for the team “Our whole purpose in our day-to-day concept that is so important. practices is to re-create the intensity, emotion “The kids end up developing skills while and situational play that the kids in our program they’re competing, and they don’t even realize it,” are going to face in games,” Goltz explained. Farber said, adding that kids naturally want to com“Right now, USA Hockey’s hot-button issue is skill pete and are often at their most engaged in practice development. People equate skill development with when there is something on the line. putting down tires, bumpers and other props on the “We do it so often that when we get into games, they’re comfortable ice so players can skate around them, stick-hanin every situation - in all three zones, outside the dots along the boards and dle under them and work on these skills in sort of with contact. I’ve been with fabricated situations. some other organizations in “That’s great, but our belief is the past where they focused that those types of approaches too much on the perfect-world take away from the competiscenarios. It’s just unrealistic tiveness of kids. At the end of and not what kids are going to the day, this game is all about experience in games. We put competing.” incentives into everything we Goltz used his 18U AA Red do, and the kids just eat it up. team as an example. They will They love it, and they love to play 60-plus games this seacompete. There’s nothing worse son, but they’ll multiply that by than having 15 kids on the ice approximately three times with and 13 of them are standing the game-like intensity that they around watching or listening to create in their practices. Kids a coach do a demo that goes on are put in game situations comand on. All these kids just want peting against their teammates, to skate and have fun.” and their skills naturally develop. Goltz acknowledged that “What we’re doing is recogcoaches with other programs nizing that the ‘perfect world’ may disagree with Mission’s scenario that’s present in most approach, but he’s been at it drill situations isn’t reality when long enough that he is confident you get into games,” Goltz said. in standing behind his methods. “In those situations, there’s no He has seen enough kids come The Mission AZ program focuses on competition-based practices and putting its players in real-world situations through his program and move pressure - you go through a route, pass the puck, get it back that the players will experience during games over the course of the grinding season. Photo/Chris Carouchi on to play at the next levels that and take a shot. That’s great because you’re touching pucks and developing he knows the development is there, even if it’s not being achieved by traditional skills, but we have actually noticed with our 16U teams this year is that guys are means. getting into games and their shot isn’t heavy enough and it’s not quick enough. Players are on board, their parents have bought in, and Mission’s coaches If you’re in the perfect-world situation, you’re taking that nice wrist shot when in are all on the same page. Anybody who expects things to change doesn’t know fact a snapshot is what you need to get the job done when a defenseman is bear- Goltz and his resolve to stick with what he knows has worked and will continue ing down on you.” to work. Goltz spends most of his waking hours at the rink, and thus sees all of Mis“It’s the polar opposite of what the trend is right now with so many other sion’s teams practicing on a regular basis. He is convinced that there is nobody programs, but I’ve seen it our approach work in real-world scenarios with kids at out there practicing as hard and with as much intensity as the kids in his proMission doing the same things for five or six years and becoming great hockey gram. That makes the transition to games that much easier, he said, because kids players,” Goltz said. are used to performing at a high level and executing in pressure situations. “I think the way we approach things has created out hard-working identity as When you take nerves out of the equation and make the pressure of gamea program. We have a grind-it-out, never-give-up competitive style with all our day feel familiar because it’s no different than practice, young hockey players are teams, and I correlate that directly to the way we practice daily. It has been like able to thrive, he said. this for me since Day 1.”

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UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE

Gilbert’s Miller assumes captaincy of NCDC’s Jr. Rangers By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com

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eid Miller knows when he’s found a home. After career stops in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Miller has not only hooked on with the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, but he is wearing the captain’s ‘C’ for the tuition-free junior team playing in the USPHL’s National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC). “I feel like I have some big shoes to fill with the ‘C’ being worn by Noah Strawn and Colin Slyne last year,” said the Gilbert native, a 2000-born defenseman. “I’m very honored to have the ‘C’. It’s a big step from where I was last year. I want to lead my team to win the Dineen Cup.” Miller has done his part on the early path towards that goal, being named the NCDC’s Defenseman of the Month in September. He had 69 defensive takeaways in seven games and led his team in ice time by more than 20 total minutes. He was also the top penalty-killer. “I’ve found myself to become more of a north-south defenseman - hard-nosed, but more of a playmaker,” said Miller. “I like to make plays and put the guys in good positions to score. I would go through a wall for my team and my coaches - I’ll block shots, kill penalties, anything for my team.” This team-first attitude has been the key part of Miller’s game all the way back to his days in Gilbert with the Jr. Coyotes. The Jr. Coyotes and Arizona Bobcats

From the Jr. Coyotes, he first played Tier II junior were the two top Midget teams in the city, and they went after each other with a vengeance every time on hockey with the Aston Rebels in Pennsylvania, before returning to the Midget game with the Oakland Jr. Grizthe ice. “The rivalry was huge,” said Miller. “You hated the zlies in suburban Detroit. “I can’t thank (Jr. Grizzlies) Bobcats on the ice, but you’d coach Mike Peruzzi enough run into those guys off the ice, for building my conand we were all a tight group fidence back up,” and we’d talk to each other. It said Miller. “I’ve seen was definitely always a battle – the highs and lows everyone would get up for the of hockey but having games against the Bobcats.” those people around In his final season with the me helped me to Jr. Coyotes, he played alongside where I’m at now.” teammates Demetrios KouHe’s also grateful montzis, now playing NCAA Difor the support and vision I hockey as a sophomore lessons he’s learned from his curat Arizona State University, and rent coach, the Jr. Rangers’ Jim Erik Middendorf, a Colorado Henkel. College sophomore. Koumontzis “Jim’s done everything for me, was also selected by the Caland he’s probably one of the gary Flames in the fourth round Gilbert native Reid Miller grew up playing for the (108th overall) of the 2018 NHL Jr. Coyotes and now in the NCDC with the Con- best coaches I’ve ever played Draft. necticut Jr. Rangers, will do “anything for my for,” said Miller. “He puts his Prior to his time with the Jr. team.” Photo/USPHL.com players before himself. The hours Coyotes, he started his hockey career in his first home he puts in for the team, it’s unbeatable. He’s helped me of Flagstaff. When he and his family moved south, he with my weaknesses and strengths. He wants me to be first played with the Arizona Hockey Union under Bob the best player I can be, and he’s like that with all his Platt. players.”

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ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION

Knights’ Paris raising funds, fighting cancer for mother By Sean Phillips

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arlee Paris is the only girl on the Arizona Hockey Union 10U Purple team. On top of that, she’s a goalie. This month, Paris is the Arizona captain for October Saves, a program for goalies to help raise money for childhood cancer and breast cancer. Every poke check and every glove save helps fight the battle. Goalies register for free online at OctoberSaves.org and then keep track of saves made in the month the October. They then get donors to donate money for every save they make by either a flat fee or per save. Paris is doing this for two reasons. Her mom, Dez, is a breast cancer survivor. She diagnosed when Marlee was three. She is now free of cancer but wants to help other breast cancer patients. Also, since the money goes towards childhood cancer, she wants to raise money in honor of Leighton Accardo, another girl who plays hockey for AHU as well.

“It’s heartwarming to see Marlee so passionate about raising money for such a good cause while doing what she loves the most – being a hockey goalie,” said Dez Paris. The money raised will go towards research and treatment. October Saves also has a fund for hockey families experiencing cancer. That money

can help in times of need. The Paris’ story also highlights girls playing hockey, especially because of Marlee and Leighton. Marlee also plays inline hockey for the AZ Royals as a

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goalie with all-boys team as well. In fact, she was the only girl in her division to make the IHAAZ All-Star Team for the 2018 season. “I love hockey and I love playing goalie,” Marlee said. “I don’t mind my team is all boys. They are all my friends and don’t treat me differently.” Still, October Saves is at the forefront of Marlee’s priorities. “I’m doing this because of my mom and also all the kids going through cancer, like Leighton,” she said. “I hope we raise a bunch of money for a cure.” Goalies can earn prizes as well. “If our state raises $50,000 as a whole, $5,000 will be donated to the charity of my choice,” said Marlee. “I will ask Leighton Accardo and her family to pick that charity to donate to the money to.” ​​


NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY New NAU coach Haar sees gig as ‘opportunity of a lifetime’

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION Coyotes helping to strengthen youth hockey in Flagstaff

By Matt Mackinder

By Kevin Tye

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yan Haar is the new head coach of Northern Arizona University’s ACHA Division III team, but he’s hardly new to the program. A 2017 graduate of NAU and former player for the IceJacks, Haar said once he realized his NHL dreams were dashed, coaching was the next best thing. “I have played hockey for 20-plus years and have been a leader on the majority of teams I have played on,” Haar said. “I have an incredible passion for this great game and I am definitely a people person, so when I realized I wasn’t going to make it to the NHL, I kind of knew I would become a coach at some point in my life.” Haar started coaching youth players when he was about 16 or 17 years old while he played for Mission AZ in Peoria. “As players, we would volunteer to work with Kid’s First Hockey (now Little Howlers), and I had a great amount of fun teaching those kids how to skate, stick handle, and shoot,” said Haar. “Watching them develop their own love for the game was just awesome.” Presented the idea of coaching the NAU D-III team over the summer when the previous coach, Ryan Smith, who was actually one of Haar’s captains while playing at NAU, decided to move to Denver. “With my vast knowledge and intense passion for the game, and with the support of many of my previous coaches like Jeremy Goltz, Kris Walsh and Travis Johanson, I simply could not turn down the opportunity to take on the role of head coach of my old squad,” Haar said. “Unfortunately, I was unable to win a national championship as a player at NAU, but to get the chance to coach a team that I played for, at an organization that I have so much love and respect for, and to continue to be able to make a run at winning a national championship, is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

oing back about seven or eight years ago, the Arizona Coyotes started making conscious efforts to strengthen their connection with youth hockey associations across the state. It started with invitations to a luncheon on the outdoor mezzanine of what was then Jobing.com Arena. The leaders of every association who attended the luncheon were also provided tickets to the Coyotes game that evening. The senior leadership, as well as some Coyotes alumni, including ex-goaltender Sean Burke, spoke to us about their desire to increase their involvement with Arizona youth hockey associations. It led to a thriving Little Howlers program. Today, the Coyotes create the registration page for Little Howlers and run it through their website, provide participants with an entire starter set of hockey gear, provide advertising materials, provide jerseys, attend the events, bring Howler to the events, and sometimes even take over physical education classes in local schools to promote the event. Reaching out to us and other associations across the state has greatly strengthened the bond between the Coyotes and the state of Arizona. We are very thankful for everything the organization has done for us, especially Matt Shott, director of amateur hockey development for the Coyotes. It has helped the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association provide our community with an amazing program designed to introduce kids to hockey in an exciting way. Imagine being a kid and showing up to try hockey for the first time and there are gigantic Arizona Coyotes blow-up structures in the parking lot, a sweet Coyotes truck parked out front, numerous staff members wearing Coyotes swag, and Howler running around all over the place. Pretty exciting, right? It is, and as a result, the development of youth hockey in Arizona is thriving and will continue to do so, especially if young athletes continue to have increased access to the local team they love, the Arizona Coyotes.

NAUIceJacks.com

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ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION COACH'S CORNER: GUEST COLUMN

Should we keep spending money on team building? This is Part of 1 of this guest column series from Carlos Valdes-Dapena.

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ost corporate team building is a waste of time and money. I say this based on my 25-plus years of research and Valdes-Dapena practice in the field of team effectiveness. Seventeen of those years were with Mars Inc., a family-owned $35 billion global business with a commitment to collaboration. Many companies, when they decide to invest in team building, decide to do offsite events like bowling nights or ropes courses. Sometimes these events get really elaborate. One sales and marketing executive I know told me how he was flown to London with 20 of his colleagues, put up in a pricey hotel, and then trained to do the haka, a traditional war dance, by a group of Maori tribe members from New Zealand. This exercise was supposed to build relationships and bolster team spirit, and, by extension, improve

collaboration. Instead, it fostered embarrassment and cynicism. Months later, the failing division was sold off. Mars was not immune to the conventional wisdom. Before making the commitment to study collaboration intensively, we also did things like this. Once, we spent thousands of dollars to hire an orchestra to spend an hour with a group of senior leaders at an offsite retreat and help them work together in harmony. It was a nice metaphor and an interesting experience. It did nothing, though, to change how that group of leaders worked together. Events like these may get people to feel closer for a little while; shared emotions can bond people. Those bonds, though, do not hold up under the dayto-day pressures of an organization focused on delivering results. In 2011, senior HR leaders at Mars decided that we would study our global workforce and try to crack the code of how to maximize team effectiveness. The resulting research, which I led, revealed that most of what we — and others — thought about team building was wrong. Most important, we learned that quality collaboration does not begin with relationships and trust; it starts with a focus on individual motivation. Our research drew on data from 125 teams. It included questionnaires and interviews with hundreds of team members. We asked, among other things, how clear people were about the teams’ priorities,

what their own and others’ objectives were, and what they felt most confident about and most worried about. If there was one dominant theme from the interviews, it is summarized in this remarkable sentiment: “I really like and value my teammates. And I know we should collaborate more. We just don’t.” The questionnaires revealed that team members felt the most clarity about their individual objectives and felt a strong sense of ownership for the work they were accountable for. To further investigate, we turned to another source and analyzed several years of data from Mars’s 360-degree leadership surveys. The two top strengths identified in those surveys were “action orientation” and “results focus.” The picture was getting clearer: Mars was full of people who loved to get busy on tasks and responsibilities that had their names next to them. It was work they could do exceedingly well, producing results without collaborating. On top of that, they were being affirmed for those results by their bosses and the performance rating system. It occurred to us that their failure to collaborate was, ironically, a function of their excelling at the jobs they were hired to do and of management reinforcing that excellence. Collaboration, on the other hand, was an idealized but vague goal with no concrete terms or rules. What’s more, collaboration was perceived as messy. It diluted accountability and offered few tangible rewards.

Carlos Valdes-Dapena is managing principal and founder of Corporate Collaboration Resources, LLC, an organization and group effectiveness consulting firm. More information can be found at www.carlosvdapena.com. AZRubberHockey.com

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DYHA JR. SUN DEVILS

DYHA has Wright stuff with longtime hockey skills coach By Matt Mackinder

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ason Wright is one of those people that doesn’t see his hockey job as actual work. As the Desert Youth Hockey Association skills coach, Wright gets to be on the ice regularly with Jr. Sun Devils players, helping them round out their overall game. “​I just love to teach,” Wright said. “I enjoy seeing kids start at one point and work hard at something to master it. The joy in their achievement really makes me happy. “It is very important to me to be involved in hockey. It has been a passion of mine my whole life. I just don’t see my life without it. I think all the guys that have been coaching here in Arizona for a long time take pride in trying to help develop hockey players from here.” Born in Thunder Bay, Ont., Wright grew up playing hockey and found he had a natural knack and love for the sport. He went on to play four years at NCAA Division I Michigan Tech University, tallying 18 goals and 100 points in 162 games for the Huskies, before turning pro. Wright then played more than 300 games in six professional seasons in the ECHL and overseas in the United Kingdom. Prior to MTU, Wright played in the USHL for the Thunder Bay Flyers, winning the 1992 Centennial Cup.

He was also selected to the all-star team at the national and we saw huge improvement in skills sets in a short period of time. We are now using it on our Monday tournament. He started teaching hockey at age 15 and has been night skills sessions along with our coaches integrating coaching in the Valley for more than 20 years. As a resi- it into some of their practices. “Our coaches are now saying dent of the Valley, he loves giving they are seeing kids use the skills back to the sport that provided they are learning in games.” him with so many opportunities. Power Edge Pro is an on-ice “​I moved here after I finished player development system using playing in the minors,” said propriety equipment and training Wright. “My wife, Erika, and I patterns. The system focuses on met at Michigan Tech. She came reactive countering training, enfrom Arizona to play basketball gaging multiple motor skills simulat Tech. We wanted to live by taneously to develop a player’s family and Thunder Bay is too small-area game performance. cold. Way too cold. All patterns are completed while “​Family and the lifestyle are what keep me maintaining puck control and are here. ​ I have a regular designed to provide five times sales job that I really as many repetitions as standard enjoy, too.” drill-based practices, leading to In his skill sessions, faster development of elite skills. Wright utilizes the As for the future, might we Power Edge Pro sysonce again see Wright behind tem, something he calls a bench at higher levels of the Jason Wright a huge benefit to all who use it. game? ​“I have been coaching and teaching here for more ​“I have coached in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League than 20 years and this system really works on many of many times and I might coach AAA again depending the little things that I believe a player needs in today’s on my job schedule,” said Wright. “I do have some game,” said Wright. “We started in the spring with kids aspirations to coach at a higher level, but it isn’t in the from many different levels (AA, AAA, junior, college) cards right now in my life.”

DYHAHockey.org

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TAHOE PREP ACADEMY

Off and Running Tahoe Prep Academy teams start new 2019-20 hockey seasons on positive notes By Greg Ball

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he 2019-20 season is well underway, and both the prep and varsity teams at Tahoe Prep Academy are off to great starts. Here’s a look at five players already making an impact: Jaxon Call A 16-year-old varsity defenseman, Call said he felt right at home returning to Tahoe Prep for his second school year and hockey season there this fall. Having re-located from Bountiful, Utah, last year, it didn’t take him long to know he had made the right decision. “The brotherhood and the experience and the love everyone has here - I wanted to experience it again,” Call said. “I was really excited to come back.

Jaxon Call

“We have a lot of potential that we need to work on. I believe we can play at a high level.” Dunnigan was thrilled to return to Tahoe this fall, and said he’s trying to get one percent better every day. He said he’s looking forward to seeing what the world after high school has to offer. “I want to find a tender for the NAHL by the end of 2019 - that’s a big goal of mine,” he said. “I want to go play juniors next year because, obviously, this is something that I would love to do for a living, but I have to put in the work.” Prep coach Chris Collins said Dunnigan brings a high level of completion not just to games but also to every practice. “That’s part of what gives me such confidence in this team is that we have two really good goalies,” Collins said referring to Dunnigan and Gian Buerer. “These guys can win games for us.”

Cameron “Bryce” Dunnigan

I couldn’t wait.” Call now sees himself in the role of mentor for his teammates trying to adjust to their first season in Tahoe. He also has set his goals high, aiming to go deeper into the playoffs in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League than last season. “Last year, we had a good chance in the playoffs but couldn’t close it,” he said. “This year, I’m focused on getting there again and capitalizing on those opportunities. “My personal goal this year is to score some more goals and get a lot more assists, and help lead this team to a championship.” Varsity coach Leo Fenn said Call provides great leadership to his team. “He’s coming off a shoulder surgery last summer, but you would never know it,” Fenn said. “He’s a great young man who plays with so much heart.” Cameron “Bryce” Dunnigan As a goalie on the prep team, the 17-year-old Dunnigan is excited about what lies ahead. After tackling head on the challenge of playing at a high level, studying at a high level and being away from home for the first time, he was eager to further test his abilities playing in the East Coast Elite League (ECEL) this season. “I’m excited about the ECEL because the league has a lot of skill that comes out of it,” Dunnigan said.

Cade Schiefelbein

Cade Schiefelbein In his second season at Tahoe Prep, Schiefelbein, an 18-year-old senior, has taken on some added responsibility as captain of the prep team this season. But the center and left wing, who grew up in Minnesota and Phoenix before moving north, said it’s just another thing to add to his plate as he tries to do everything possible to advance his hockey career. “It’s definitely stressful,” he admitted. “You’re applying to colleges as a backup plan, while maintaining your GPA, and I’m trying to figure out even what country I’m going to live in next year. I’d really like to get my college commitment, but I’m also super excited about getting a junior contract.” The 6-foot-4 inch forward said he is using this year to focus on gaining some weight to prepare for the physical challenges of playing at the next level. Collins said Schiefelbein is a role model on and off the ice. “He’s not the most vocal leader, but what he brings is a demand on and off the ice, and he influences solely by his actions,” Collins said. “They all respect him for his work ethic, so when he does talk, they listen.” Quinn Proctor Towering over most of his opponents and teammates at 6-feet-6, Proctor is an imposing force on the blue line for Tahoe’s prep team this year. The 17-year-old senior moved up from the varsity squad, though he’ll pull

double duty this season and get some additional ice time with the varsity. Proctor, a South Lake Tahoe native, credits the program and Tahoe Prep method with revolutionizing his game. “My first year helped me develop into a AAA player,” he said. “Skating five days a week and working out every day helped my game tremendously. It is an amazing opportunity. It’s allowed me to play hockey at a higher level without having to move away from home. “My goal this year is to find success at this level, which will hopefully get me noticed by junior teams. I also want to help my teammates and everyone around me find success while improving my own game. Being big is helpful, but I’m working on improving my footwork and speed.” Collins said he enjoys watching players like Proctor advance quickly with the program.

Quinn Proctor

Liam Sutton

“I’ve watched Quinn turn into a Tier I player, and it’s awesome,” he said. “It’s really cool seeing someone take advantage of the resources and putting a lot of effort into wanting to become better.” Liam Sutton The 16-year-old junior is off to a hot start this season, having already scored more goals than he did all of last year. A varsity right-winger from Santa Fe, N.M., he has also improved his grade-point average to 4.0, and is thriving academically and athletically at Tahoe Prep. “I think the improvement was from my effort,” Sutton said. “I wanted to get better. With the program here, it’s kind of impossible not to get better. They give you a lot of tools.” Fenn said Sutton’s work has developed him several levels above his starting point. “I’m looking forward to Liam developing into a AAA player and seeing him attend and play in the NCAA someday,” Fenn said. Beyond helping his team reach the finals, Sutton is focused on maintaining his academics and enjoying his high school experience. “I need to work on trusting my puck handling and having more confidence and as a person, I need to work on keeping calm and not worrying about everything,” Sutton said. “One of my goals with high school is to get more involved. I want to try and get some of my high school life back.”

TahoeHockeyAcademy.com AZRubberHockey.com

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ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY ASSOCIATION

AHSHA growth continuing to blossom with Coyotes’ support By Matt Mackinder

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s the 2019-20 Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) season approaches, it’s clearly obvious that the league has never been in better shape. With 34 teams in the league again this year, there is a total of 243 new players, up from 189 players last year. The total number of registered players is 634. The league opened registration on May 15 and had to go to a restricted registration by June 21, the earliest that AHSHA has ever had to move to that situation. The league usually goes to a restricted registration after team formation has been completed at the end of July. With a wait list of 128 players, the league was eventually able to place almost all of them on to team rosters. “Enrollment in high school hockey has been growing exponentially every year for the past six years,” said AHSHA president pro-tem Ray Reed. “In fact, we are at a point where enrollment is far exceeding the number available positions. Along with the growth, we are attracting higher-level coaches and seeing a huge influx of higher-skilled players opting to play high school hockey. There is no doubt that high school hockey is close to becoming the premier league in the state of Arizona and we look forward to Arizona high school hockey dominating at the national level.” The support of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes has also been a major point of appeal for all involved.

Matt Shott is the director of amateur hockey development and grassroots marketing for the Coyotes and sits on the Executive Committee for AHSHA as well as on the board as a non-voting member. “Getting Tait Green more involved (as hockey director) has been a huge boost to the league and a lot of the more talented players in the state are coming to high school because they know the product is continuing to improve,” said Shott. “Just in the mere fact that there is a wait list for registration shows that this league’s popularity has skyrocketed. AZ Ice Gilbert has started to feature a Saturday Night High School Hockey Night weekly, the state playoffs and championships have seen huge numbers of fans, and the credibility for the league amongst the coaches in Arizona has greatly improved.” This season, AHSHA will play games at Oceanside Ice Arena, AZ Ice Gilbert, Gila River Arena, AZ Ice Peoria, Jay Lively Arena, Tucson Arena and both Ice Den facilities in Scottsdale and Chandler. “Just in my 4-5 years here, simply a noticeable increase in the number of AHSHA players seen wearing travel gear is a great indicator of the increased skill

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level and popularity,” said Coyotes supervisor of amateur hockey events and business development Jon Shivener. “If you go back 5-10 years, high school hockey was more of a next step after graduating from the various house leagues around town, and the sporadic travel player taking part was more of just a fun way to play hockey with their classmates and friends. Now, I think you’re seeing many kids at even the highest skill levels looking forward to joining AHSHA in addition to, or as a replacement to, travel hockey.” Reed, a Michigan native who has been playing hockey for 50 years, wants to see AHSHA’s momentum continue to gain traction. “As the new voice of AHSHA, managing our relationships with the Arizona hockey community will be key in the future growth of this league,” Reed said. “In addition, the future success of this league could not happen without the rock-solid board we currently have running AHSHA. As the board’s leader, I am very fortunate to have the support and dedication of my peers on this board. Without their dedication and countless hours spent, none of this growth and success would be occurring.”


COYOTES AMATEUR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION

Jr. Coyotes grads Stuart, Hymovitch choose NCAA schools By Matt Mackinder

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or both Riley Stuart and David Hymovitch, staying home to play for the Jr. Coyotes has provided numerous opportunities for each to take their game to the highest level. And while Stuart will play in the USHL and Hymovitch with the Jr. Coyotes’ 16U AAA team this season, the future will see both hone their skills playing NCAA Division I hockey as Stuart will come back to the desert to play for Arizona State University and Hymovitch will venture to Connecticut to play for Quinnipiac University. Stuart’s older brother, Connor, currently plays for the Sun Devils. “I’ve always loved playing and representing Arizona hockey,” said Stuart, playing this season for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. “I took my time and didn’t want to rush this process. I’ve seen my brother go through his freshman year and it’s been a dream of mine to join him. Along with that, there’s no better place to play than your home state. We are not sure if we will get the chance to play together, but it will always be a dream of mine to play alongside my role model.” Hymovitch said he was scouted by Quinnipiac over the summer at the USA Hockey National Player Development Camp in New York. After that, things fell into place rather quickly. “When Aug. 1 came up, which was the first day they could offer me, (Quinnipiac head coach) Rand Pecknold was my wake-up call that morning as they

were the first school to reach out that day,” explained Hymovitch. “Everything kind of happened really fast, so I was still new to the recruiting process and did not really know what to expect. However, my coaches and parents kept me grounded and humbled. We ended up setting up a visit and I fell in love with the school when I went over there with my mom in September.” Developing with the Jr. Coyotes has been a boon for both Stuart and Hymovitch. “I played for the Jr. Coyotes for six years and there’s

David Hymovitch

Riley Stuart

nothing better than staying home and being loyal to one organization,” Stuart said. “Our team ended up having a lot of success due to the coaches we had. All the coaches in the program that I have worked with have helped me improve and formed me into the player I am. The coaches that have helped me make the jump

the last two years were Mike De Angelis and Shane Doan. Coach Mike always believed in me and gave me the opportunity to succeed. Coach Doan taught me how to be a leader and how to play a big, strong game. “I have a lot of memories playing for the Jr. Coyotes. My top memories would be making nationals three years in a row, winning districts two of those years, and having great teammates and coaches along the way.” Hymovitch looks to be a key member of the 16U team this year and hopes to find his squad playing for a national title next spring in Michigan. “I certainly believe playing for the Jr. Coyotes has played a huge role with my hockey development,” Hymovitch said. “For several years (2007-17), I was lucky enough to be coached by Steve Potvin and ex-NHLer Tyson Nash. Not only did they teach and enforce the skills needed to be an elite player, they also taught me to go above and beyond what I thought I was capable of. Nick Naumenko, who is now coaching me for a second straight year, has helped transform me from a highly-skilled individual into an impactful two-way team player. Coach Nick has that special knack of knowing how best to get the most out of each and every one of his players. Lastly, Marc Fritsche has had faith in me by picking me for his teams that participate in international tournaments these past several years, which provided me with many memories and experiences to bring wherever I play. “There have been so many great memories playing for the Jr. Coyotes over the years.”

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13


AZ ICE ARCADIA

AZ Ice Arcadia offers girls free chance to play hockey By Moriah Hernandez

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n Oct. 5, AZ Ice Arcadia participated in IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. The rink hosted its first ever Girls Try Hockey For Free - an event that offered girls ages 4-9 the opportunity to try hockey for a day cost free. The event was organized by hockey director Justin Rogers and included volunteers from the Arizona Titans coaching staff and players from the Grand Canyon University and Arizona State University women’s teams. The rink supplied full hockey gear, including AZ Ice jerseys and sticks for the girls to take home. All of the volunteers helped the girls get geared up and onto the ice. For the on-ice sessions, the volunteers paired up with 1-2 girls to teach them the basics and most importantly, to have fun on the ice. GCU women’s coach Natalie Rossi jumped at the opportunity to get herself and the team involved in the event. “It is important for rinks to host events like the Girls Try Hockey For Free because it gives girls the ability to try hockey for the first time at a price that all parents can afford,” Rossi said. “We are able to show them what the hockey community is about at an accessible price for families.”

Rossi recalls how much the hockey community has grown for girls and women. It’s important for her and her team to be a part of that growth and encouragement for girls in hockey. “When I first started playing hockey, I didn’t meet any other girls, so for me being involved and having our GCU players involved means that the young girls trying hockey get to see the role models we currently have in the sport,” Rossi said. “The GCU girls love giving back because they see how much they can impact the future generation.” Annabelle Koethe, a freshman on the GCU women’s team, loved being a part of the Girls Try Hockey For Free event. Koethe and the rest of the GCU and ASU volunteers ended the event with an autograph opportunity where they got to sign jerseys, sticks and helmets and talk to the girls more about hockey off the ice. “I never knew how much our team impacted younger generations,” Koethe said. “I’ve always been the little girl looking up to the big girls and it was weird to have the perspectives changed. It’s a really cool experience.” “The little girls out there trying hockey were having so much fun, and then seeing how excited the GCU

ArcadiaIce.com

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players were to be on the ice and have fun with the little ones makes me so happy,” Rossi added. “I love how much our GCU girls buy in to making sure that the next generation has role models and making sure that we are them.” This event was also a pleasant reminder for the volunteers and everyone involved. It was a chance to showcase exactly what the hockey community is about. “An event like this reminds us hockey players why we love hockey, why we push so hard to be the best in our sport,” said Rossi. “Each of us have a little girl inside of us who fell in love with the game, and it’s important for our players to see another little girl falling in love with the game as a reminder of that.” AZ Ice Arcadia plans to continue hosting events like this in the future including another Try Hockey For Free event open to boys and girls ages 4-9 on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m. “It has always been our goal at AZ Ice to give everyone a fair chance to play hockey, or at least give it a try,” Rogers said. “We want to grow the hockey community in every way we can, and hosting these Try Hockey For Free events is the perfect way to do that. It was important for us to take this opportunity to shed light on the growing girls hockey in Valley, even within our own building.”


HOCKEYSHOT

Pavel Barber’s Top 10 Hockey Training Tips: Part 1 of 2 By HockeyShot’s Stickhandling Specialist Pavel Barber 10. Use a Notebook: Those with more awareness will build skill at a faster rate. We all know those moments where we’ve been working so hard on a skill, and we make one small tweak and it finally clicks. I would get so excited as a kid when these moments happened that I would need to write down the details in a notebook. This way, I would never forget that small point that made me successful. To get truly great at something, you have to immerse yourself in the trial and error process. The failures and the disappointment will actually be the glue that will allow these points to stick so you won’t forget. Capture these moments, enjoy them, and continue to build. 9. Focus on Yourself: It’s easy to get distracted by what others are doing, especially when they are better than us. Sometimes that leads to us feeling insecure, and that’s OK. We all learn at different paces, and we need to understand that the only way to get better at the fastest rate possible is to focus on ourselves. We are constantly in competition with our former selves. That means we aren’t looking at

how fast someone beside us in line is going through a drill. What you’ll find is that when learning a new skill, going slower will actually get you to learn the skill faster. Focus on your own development.

ing. It needs to be fun. When we have free time, we seek fun activities to do. When we enjoy it, it’s easier to stay in the present moment for longer, and we will undoubtedly train more if we love doing it.

8. Have Fun: When we’re training, there is a lot of pres-

7. Read: There are so many books to complement your development and help make you aware of all the competitive advantages you can use to gain skill faster. You’ll notice most of my advice above is about mental skill rather than physical. This is because the quality of the physical skill you perform will be influenced by the mindset you have going into that training session. A few great reads are “The Talent Code,” “Mind Gym,” “The Power of Now,” “The Cellestine Prophecy” and “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.”

sure. There’s a lot of expectations. When it comes down to it, we want to be the best we can be and do the best with what we have. In order to put in the ungodly amount of deep, focused hours needed to be the best we can be, we have to fall in love with the game. We need to have a positive relationship with train-

6. Put in the Work Off the Ice: These hours add up. And you don’t need much. Whether it’s a carpet floor and a golf ball, a backyard stickhandling zone, a driveway, and outdoor rink or a parking lot, you can get a lot done off the ice to supplement your on-ice skills. I didn’t have much money growing up, and the only way for me to get my hours of deep focused practice in was to stickhandle at home and stickhandle at an outdoor rink near my house. In your shoes is great, but adding rollerblades is a great way to take your skills and challenge them at speed and with edge work. Join us next month for Pavel Barber’s Top 10 Training Tips: Part 2, or visit www.HockeyShot.com now for the latest tips, tricks and the best hockey training products on the market at an affordable price.

HockeyShot.com

AZRubberHockey.com

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INLINE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION OF ARIZONA

IHAAZ season to start later, extend State Finals event By Brian Lester

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t will be a little bit longer than normal before the IHAAZ season gets underway. The offseason has been extended as a result of changes that should benefit the league in the long run. Starting with the 2020 season, the start date for the season is now February instead of December. That will mean one less festival. In addition, the IHAAZ State Finals will now be played over two weekends and push the end of the season later into May. IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky believes the changes should add excitement to the season ahead. He’s looking forward to seeing things get started. “With one less festival, the fatigue of playing the same teams will hopefully lessen and make for more competitive and exciting season, especially for our league format teams in regular season,” Boyarsky said. Boyarsky said spreading out the state tournaments will create more flexibility with scheduling and there won’t be a feel of the action being crammed into a small amount of time. “Over the past few seasons, we’ve surpassed the team count threshold for what a two-and-a-half-day event can accommodate,” Boyarsky said. “With games starting mid-afternoon on Friday and basically running through Sunday late evening, we only have about six hours between the end of each night and the start of the next morning.” Having multiple weekends for the state tournament is

not a new thing. It’s been done in the past. “When the league was larger, we always ran multiple weekends, but when the team counts dropped below 30, we started trying to cram it into one,” Boyarsky said. The two weekends for states also provide more spotlight opportunities for the players. “The final splitting of the State Finals tournament into two weekends allows for better game times, more recognition of players and teams via skills competitions that will be more open to more players, as well as all-star games, and expanded awards ceremonies,” Boyarsky said. The reason behind the changes is to avoid conflict with ice hockey season since so many players play both sports. The later start to the season and later finish should benefit IHAAZ in terms of participation, perhaps bringing in more players interested in giving the sport a shot. “Starting in February allows programs more time to recruit and find interested players and entire teams that are now showing interest in IHAAZ,” Boyarsky said. “The later finish is again to avoid the tryout period for ice hockey.”

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Boyarsky is hopeful the changes will avoid the issues IHAAZ ran into last year when some teams weren’t able to compete in the State Finals because of ice hockey. “We share so many players in the Valley with ice hockey that working around them is now part of what we need to do to allow them to participate,” Boyarsky said. “Last season, having multiple teams not play State Finals last season due to ice tryout conflicts was unfortunate. We are working to make sure that no player will have to choose again. That has been in the forefront of our planning for 2020.” Roller hockey has grown in popularity over the years and continues to do so. Boyarsky is looking forward to another season and is confident the changes will have a positive impact on the league overall. The fact that there are fewer games on the schedule this coming season makes every game count a little bit more and enhances the competition factor. “Again, having fewer regular-season games, it will make every game more important in determining a state champion,” Boyarsky said. “The two weekend State Finals will allow us to offer better game times and a chance to put on a more complete event.”


MISSION ARIZONA

Mission AZ girls thriving on competitive boys squads By Greg Ball

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early everywhere youth hockey is played, the rosters of Mite, Squirt and Pee Wee teams feature plenty of girls playing alongside boys. But as you progress to the Bantam and Midget levels, it becomes more and more rare. As players mature, boys typically out-pace their female counterparts in size and strength, and the physical nature of the higher levels becomes a major factor. More often than not, older girls gravitate toward all-female teams, and in other cases they leave the sport behind. One exception to that rule can be seen within the Mission AZ program in suburban Phoenix. Mission has six girls playing on mixed teams at the Midget level this season. Reese Middendorf is a defenseman on the 18U AA Red squad and Payton Goltz plays defense and serves as an assistant captain for the 16U AA Red team. On the 16U White team, female players include left wings Caitlin Bailey and Jenna Majewski and defensemen Sofia Martinelli and Darian Kessler. Mission coach-in-chief Jeremy Goltz said this is the first time the program has had girls playing on boys teams at the 16U AA and 18U AA levels. “It’s very rare - it says a lot about their character,” he said. “We had a little bit of a test run last year with Payton and Reece to see if they could handle the pace and physicality of the game at a high level. It went very

well, and the girls behind them are following in their footsteps. Everyone in the program has been very supportive of it.” Payton Goltz has spent her entire youth hockey career playing for Mission, where she has played on teams with boys ever since she was a Mite. Not every youth hockey program would provide that type of opportunity, she said. “Everyone has been really supportive, and the pro-

From left, Jenna Majewski, Caitlyn Bailey, Sophia Martinelli and Darian Kessler are excelling this season in honing their skills playing on Mission AZ boys teams.

gram is really inclusive, which has allowed me to progress to this level,” she said. “You’re not treated any differently because you’re a girl, and I am really grateful to have been able to work my way up the same way the boys have.” Goltz said she never considered not playing on a

mixed team as she got older, despite the fact that girls often make the move to all-female teams once they reach the Bantam and Midget levels. “I wanted to stick with Mission and play with the teammates that I have played with forever,” she said. “I’ve always felt that playing with the boys puts me on the ice at a really high level. I want to play college hockey, and I know the speed and the intensity of the play are going to prepare me for that. “The biggest challenge has been the physicality, and it took me some time to get used to it as a firstyear 16 last year. The boys are just naturally bigger and stronger for the most part, but I’ve learned to play smart and adjust to it. I know some other girls are kind of scared of the physicality when they get to this level, but I’ve found a way to overcome it, and I love it.” Goltz is tall for her age and has spent extra time in the weight room improving her strength the last few years so she can take hits and dish them out as well. Another concern that sometimes keeps girls from playing on boys teams as they get into their high school years is that they won’t have the same opportunity to be seen by college coaches. “That’s the next test that we have to pass,” Jeremy Goltz explained. “All our coaches are making the extra effort to be in touch with college coaches and provide opportunities for our girls to play in showcase events to help them with recruiting. “It has really worked out, and I’m very proud of that. I feel like we’re breaking some ground here.”

MissionArizonaIce.org

MISSION STATEMENT Why more 16U A teams would be a major benefit to all I

t’s ironic that I am writing this story on the road with my 16U A team in Pittsburgh. This level has all but disappeared in our town and I am doing all I can to keep it alive, as I truly feel it is an important step for so many Goltz kids. Look at the numbers of Bantam teams in our town this year at the AZYHL. Eight teams currently are competing at the non-tier level. The problem is the next natural level of progression for most of these kids is 16U A or AZYHL. We currently have only two teams at this level and more and more players are being left with no real travel options. Most of these level kids are being pushed to high school hockey where practice ice can be scarce, and development can be limited. Our town is basically saying that if you’re not at

a certain level by 15 years old, it’s time to give up and settle. I just don’t buy that. I have had too many players in the past who needed that A level of hockey to develop and went on to play college or junior hockey. Andrew Songstad, who is currently playing at Arizona State University, had two years of 16U A-level hockey before he was ready to play 18U AA and now, college hockey. His development came later, and the 16U A level kept him in competitive hockey. Kids develop at their own rate and I have

found how essential this year has been for so many. Players and parents need to be educated and organizations need to keep players in their fold to continue essentially a big developmental year for their players. So here I am in Pittsburgh at a tournament with eight 16U A teams across the country. That is what I am forced to do in order to get these kids some competition that will help the process. Our town might not understand the need for it, but it is clearly still an important component for so many across the country. We, as a town, get really caught up in the AAA piece of the pie but by doing that, we are not giving so many kids the opportunity to develop after their Bantam years. It is necessary for our town to understand that our A players need dangling carrots and options to play, just like our AA and AAA players.

Jeremy Goltz is the coach-in-chief for Mission Arizona. AZRubberHockey.com

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TAHOE PREP ACADEMY

Tahoe Prep’s Nordorf expands horizons at national camp By Greg Ball

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hat does it take to be in the top one percent of hockey players? Tahoe Prep defenseman Jacob Nordorf found out this year on his road to the 2019 USA Hockey Boys Select 17 Player Development Camp, which was held in June in Amherst, N.Y. The camp provided the United States’ top players born in 2002 with on-ice and off-ice training, coaching from elite-level instructors and the opportunity to compete against their peers from across the country. The camp is also used to select the roster for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that competes at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup each August. But before his journey to upstate New York, Nordorf’s journey almost ended at the CAHA camp that feeds players to the Pacific District finals. “After CAHA, I was named an alternate for Pacific District,” Nordorf said, recalling his disappointment in not being selected outright. “I was very frustrated, but then a couple weeks later, my mom got an email saying that I got a bid and I was going to Pacific Districts.” Nordorf was returning to Tahoe from the Pacific District camp in Las Vegas when he got a text in the Reno Tahoe International Airport that he had made it to the national camp. “It was crazy – I was jumping around and scream-

ing,” Nordorf said. “And I realized that I was going to get the most exposure that I’ve ever gotten in my life.” Nordorf knew the camp would give him a shot to be noticed by some of the best Division I college hockey programs in the country. “I went in kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, and it was kind of shocking how good everybody was,” he said. “The camp itself was laid back, but when they told us that we represented the

top one percent in the nation of our age group, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’” Nordorf’s Gold team won three of their five games at the camp, and Nordorf scored a goal from the point

in his first game. A hard hit in his final game irritated a previous shoulder injury, but Nordorf finished out the game. Tahoe Prep head coach Chris Collins wasn’t surprised by Nordorf’s strong performance at the camp. “His demeanor and his ability to stay calm in high pressure situations, where a lot of players will fumble, is part of what makes him such a good player,” Collins said. “He will rise above and maintain and make a play out of that situation.” Nordorf said that after the camp he felt his outlook change on the ice. With a national camp under his belt, for his senior year with Tahoe Prep, Nordorf said he would like to get the most points in the NAPHL as a defenseman and add that accolade to his resume as he continues on his hockey journey. “I always knew I was a good player, but the experience gave me confidence,” he said. “A lot of different schools started reaching out to me, and I made connections with NAHL teams.”

TahoeHockeyAcademy.com

NEW MEXICO REPORT

Lobos start new season aiming to fire on all cylinders By Matt Mackinder

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pening the 2019-20 season against the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, University of New Mexico head coach Grant Harvey said the four losses were “a learning experience.” “Pinching on ‘D’ doesn’t work to get rid of the freshman jitters,” Harvey said. The results notwithstanding, Harvey sees great things ahead for the Lobos. “The team chemistry is pretty solid,” said Harvey. “I do have three new defensemen, so their chemistry is arguably more important than a forward, but it is growing by the day for them. The forwards on the team have either played together from a previous Lobos team or they played on the 18U team together.” Up front, Harvey said his top players are junior Chance Shanks and senior captain Jarrod Ronquillo. “Both are important for their respective offense skills,” Harvey said. “Jarrod with his speed and shot and Chance sees the ice well and hockey IQ is as high as it gets.” The Lobos’ freshman class is one Harvey said he’s been waiting on “for a long time.” “That’s what I mean by chemistry – these guys have been a on a team for a long time and they have a brotherhood that started as kids for them,” Harvey said. “These eight players plus the addition of Alex Perry make the ensemble complete.” The eight freshmen are Tristan Colyer, Tylec Kohlrust, Garret McKinstry, Jacob Dunwoody, Leandro Richert, Sam Fisher, Jarod Carnes and Marcus Trujillo. 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Gone from the 2018-19 team are Nate Taglialegami, “a fantastic leader and quarterback of our power play,” according to Harvey, and Logan Colyer, “a once-in-a-generation talent” for UNM. Forwards Graeme Chiasson and A.J. Goff, defenseman Mackenzie Smith and goaltender James Bostian are also former Lobos. With so many high-end players gone from the program, what are realistic expectation for Harvey and the

University of New Mexico captain Jarrod Ronquillo will be relied upon this season in all offensive situations for the Lobos.

Lobos this season? “Some people want to call this a rebuild year, but I don’t regard it as so,” said Harvey. “I have so much work ethic balled up into one team that allows me to take a different approach that I enjoy, including a real hard incessant forecheck that we have never had before. I really

believe my players can make a playoff run if we fire on all cylinders. We have to play all 60 minutes, and I like our chances. “Obviously, we are green on ‘D.’ These guys have to learn fast and realize the game is so much faster and that a turnover on the wrong half of the ice is a goal against. They are very coachable, but they need to soak in everything very quickly to keep us competitive.” Next month, the Lobos will play a tournament in Missouri, skating against the University of Missouri, University of Arkansas and University of Kansas. “All are top-10 teams in our region, and we can find out where we stand,” said Harvey. “This tournament will establish a solid ranking for our conference. We win a couple there and we are sitting pretty. Lose two or more and we have a steep slope to climb.” Harvey said he’s also looking forward to playing Texas Tech University later this month on the road and in February at the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque. “These fans at home don’t forget the 15 years we have been going at it,” Harvey said. Moving ahead, Harvey sees the Lobos continuing to get top-notch players and individuals. “I have been very responsive to any potential recruits and meet the parents and student on campus and have them skate with us,” Harvey said. “One practice with me and you can tell I’m a players’ coach. My success rate is about 25 percent and that’s solid for me. Obviously, our previous success perpetuates interest for the subsequent season so that’s why winning and being competitive matters not only for the current season, but seasons to come.”


Coyotes plant roller hockey field of dreams at GCU spective roller hockey team. Simmons serves as co-founder and assistant captain. “Having a rink on campus really helped get the word out around campus about the possibility of there being a roller hockey team for the 2019-20 season,” Garcia said. “From March until the beginning of September, Marvin and I did whatever we could think of to get the word out about having a roller hockey

has used the rink extensively since its opening. “I do notice my skills improving since I have the uild it and they will skate. ability to work on whatever I feel I need to improve The Arizona Coyotes did just that and, as a on,” he said. result, Grand Canyon University could soon have a The new rink will allow the university’s ice hockey roller hockey team representing the Antelopes on the teams to practice and refine their skills when they are playing court. away from the ice. The Coyotes unveiled the new $150,000 DEK The rink is also open to GCU students throughout hockey rink on campus on March 28 to further the year as an added recreational opportunity. the relationship between the university and the Roller hockey players on campus obviously NHL team. The Coyotes paid for and installed plan to make good use of it. the rink at their own cost. “I’m going to be using this every single Coyotes president-CEO Ahron Cohen day,” Garcia said. said the organization was thrilled to unveil the “We’re very excited to partner with the new multipurpose outdoor hockey rink, which Coyotes on this project and bring more expois the latest addition to the university’s Canyon sure to the sport of hockey while adding to our Activities Complex. growing list of athletic facilities,” GCU presi“One of our fundamental objectives as an dent Brian Mueller said. “There probably will organization is to grow the game of hockey not be a hockey rink more used than this thing throughout the entire state of Arizona and we in the entire country because of our students.” will not rest until everyone in Arizona has been Mueller said GCU is excited to partner exposed to our great sport,” Cohen said. “We with the Coyotes to promote hockey, including are fortunate to have an incredible partner in hockey on campus, in the West Valley. GCU (that) is ideologically aligned with us in The Arizona Coyotes recently installed an outdoor DEK hockey rink on the camJerry Colangelo, who helped bring the this pursuit. We look forward to GCU acti- pus of Grand Canyon University to further the hockey aspirations of the school’s NHL to the Phoenix metro area in 1996 with vating this rink with its students for years to students. Photo/Arizona Coyotes the transfer of the Winnipeg Jets and serves as come.” team.” a special advisor to GCU, spoke at the ribbon-cutting Activation has already started. The team held its first-ever tryouts on Sept. 15. ceremony. Jack Garcia and Marvin Simmons, members Hockey appears to be one of the fastest-growing “When you look at the marriage of GCU and the of GCU’s men’s club ice hockey team, have spear- sports on campus. The university’s men’s and wom- Coyotes organization having this kind of an amenity headed recruitment for what could develop into the en’s ACHA club programs, which included more than for its purposes, it doesn’t get much better than that,” university’s first-ever roller hockey team. 120 athletes of both genders last season, have com- Colangelo said. “These amenities are just added to The new rink helped greatly in the recruiting pro- mitted to move up to the Division I level. The men’s a long list that rival any other university across the cess, according to Garcia, who serves as lead rep- program will also field a Division II team. country. We take great pride in this relationship and resentative, co-founder and team captain of the proGarcia, who attended the dedication ceremony, look forward to some wonderful years together.” By Phillip Brents

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Wildcats looking for ‘a very exciting year’ in WCRHL By Phillip Brents

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Allen finished second in team scoring last season with 12 goals and 22 points in 15 games but is no longer playing while Smith played three seasons with the Wildcats from 2011-14, netting 34 points in 39 games. Arizona’s Division III rivals this season include Cal Poly Pomona, University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and WCRHL newcomer University of Nevada-Reno. The Wildcats won 18 games during 2017-18 en route to posting a quarterfinal-round finish at the 2018

son event Dec. 7-8 at the Tucson Indoor Sports Center. Arizona will close out first-half play with a Jan. 11-12 event in Huntington Beach “The program this year is light years ahead of where we were last year, and the culture here in Tucson is changing,” Parrish said. “We have had players come to the school to play roller and now that our professionalism has increased, we are making sure guys are enjoying their time here. I feel that we have a locker room that wants to play together and wants success.” Enthusiasm remains high on the team, adding an extra push to succeed. “We are expecting nothing short of a national championship this year,” Parrish said optimistically. “We have the skill, the mentality and the drive to build on last year and we are excited.”

he University of Arizona has experienced their highs and lows since joining the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) in 2011. The Wildcats won back-to-back Division II regional championships in 2016 and 2017, and finished runner-up in 2018, but failed to qualify for last season’s playoffs. The 2019-20 season could be much more rewarding as the Wildcats have dropped to the Division III level with the aim of finding a better fit competition wise in the WCRHL pyramid. University of Arizona club president Alex Parrish said the team likes its new surroundings. “We have a very exciting year planned even with the loss of so many of our core guys,” said Parrish, who has skated with the team since 2016-17 and Power plays collected 71 points in 51 career games. “Within the The Wildcats will honor the memory of former pool of new recruits, we have Ethan Zorbas in net goaltender and club president Ian Prescott by rewith a spectacular track record with the Jr. Ducks tiring his No. 72 jersey during Alumni Weekend on and Griffin Sherwood, who was a dominate force Dec. 7. in IHAAZ. Prescott, who served the team from 2013-15, “Griffin is an excellent roller hockey player and passed away in May 2017. seems to have chemistry with everyone he plays Arizona will get the jump on regular-season play with. He has excellent vision and control on de- Despite being in separate divisions in 2019-20, the University of Arizona by competing in the 13th annual Give Blood Play and Northern Arizona University will remain intra-state rivals. fense.” Hockey inline hockey charity tournament Oct. 25-27 Parrish and fellow returner Taylor Knight both bring National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) in Irvine, Calif. experience to the team’s top lines. national championship tournament in Fargo, N.D., but WCRHL director Brennan Edwards said that while “Taylor Knight is one of the best forwards I have finished 3-12 in 15 games at the Division II level last the Wildcats will mainly play their Division III counterhad the chance to play with,” Parrish said “To help give season while absorbing four forfeit losses. parts this season, they will also still be playing teams like depth on the bench, Jack Allen and Kevin Smith have The team faces off the 2019-20 season with a former Division II rival Northern Arizona University and stepped onto our coaching staff and have been amazing WCRHL regular-season event Nov. 16-17 in Hunting- possibly defending Division I regional champion Arizona at helping players play roller.” ton Beach, Calif. The Wildcats will host a regular-sea- State due to their geographic location. AZRubberHockey.com

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SHOP TALK

Reflecting on Behind The Mask Girls Hockey Weekend B

ehind The Mask was proud to host the first-ever BTM Girls Hockey Weekend at the BTM Scottsdale location just a few weeks ago on Oct. 5. In partnership with the Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Exelby Kachinas, Arizona State University women’s hockey and Grand Canyon University women’s hockey, this event was held to showcase the growth of girls hockey in Arizona and around the world, as part of the ninth annual IIHF World Girls’ Hockey Weekend – a global opportunity for girls to try out hockey as a new sport. The Coyotes held on-ice events to provide a free opportunity for girls to try out the game for the day. The cost of the game can be intimidating to first timers, but Behind the Mask has partnered with the Coyotes to help provide equipment to these programs and make the game more affordable for new participants. It was amazing to see how many girls came out to

BTM Scottdale for the event. All girls who attended received a scratch-off ticket when they entered the door. The ticket revealed a variety of prizes available, like CCM Beats by Dre headphones, a new CCM SuperTacks AS1 stick, a Bauer Vapor Flylite stick, water bottles and apparel. Behind The Mask was able to showcase some of the new protective lines from Bauer

specifically designed for girls and also the newest hockey apparel on the market from CCM and Bauer. Theses women’s and girls’ products are something we are working to carry more of in all of our stores in the coming seasons. The ASU and GCU women’s ACHA club teams set up booths and greeted everyone as they came in the door. Lots of people stopped to chat with the

women’s players about their games the night before and let them know of the support they had for their teams. We appreciate the teams coming out to showcase the future of women’s hockey in the state of Arizona and wish them all the best of luck this season. The growth of the girls game has been more noticeable this year with the addition of the Arizona Coyotes Small Frys learn-to-play program and newly formed Arizona Kachinas girls hockey program. Lyndsey Fry and Matt Shott with the Arizona Coyotes have done a fantastic job of putting together these programs to grow the game’s interest throughout the Southwest United States. The amount of talented young women leaving the state to join elite-level college and national programs is impressive and the future looks even brighter with the addition of these grassroots efforts. We are proud to be able to help grow the game here in Arizona and have worked hard over the past 25 years in order to do so. We thank the Arizona Coyotes, Lyndsey Fry and Matt Shott and their entire staff for their partnership with us and their effort to grow this game we all love. Thank you to all who attended the first of many BTM Girls Weekends!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


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JOHNNY WALKER

Position: Forward, Arizona State University (NCAA D-I) Hometown: Phoenix Arizona Youth Teams: DYHA Firebirds, Arizona Hockey Union/Polar Bears, Jr. Coyotes Junior Hockey Teams: Minot Minotauros (NAHL), Topeka RoadRunners (NAHL), Chicago Steel (USHL) Age: 23 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Johnny Walker: Mini hockey tournaments in the hotels. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving Arizona? JW: Coming back home to play college hockey AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? JW: My family. Without their constant support on the ice and in the classroom, I would not be where I am right now. Especially my mom (Amy Livanavage). I’ve always been a momma’s boy. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? JW: Enjoy every second of the experience. It’s a privilege to play the greatest sport in the world. You will be surrounded by teammates who will be lifelong friends and it goes by so quick. Love the game and it will love you back. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? JW: Mini hockey. Since I can remember, all I wanted to do was play hockey but if I had to pick another sport, I would say golf. I love golfing – similar swing to hockey and no better place than Arizona to play. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? JW: How much time do you have? From what I eat, to the way I tape my stick and get dressed is more times than not a superstition. Most common one is getting dressed right to left except for my under gear, hockey socks and pants. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? JW: Depending if we have a game-day skate or not, I will run through the drills we do for the skate. After that, I will come back to my place and try to relax before the game. Not overthinking and staying loose is the most important thing for me. Maybe mix in a quick nap, too. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here back home in Arizona? JW: I am not too picky on favorite meals. I would say if I am not cooking, my go-to would be Chipotle. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? JW: My laptop for any schoolwork I still need to finish up is probably the only extra that I pack for road trips, other than my headphones. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? JW: I had a couple. My first favorite was Dominik Hasek. I loved everything about him. Followed him from team to team and wanted to be a goalie until my first game trying it. Got lit up for about 15. Photo/Noah Lau/Sun Devil Athletics

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Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Matt Mackinder



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