Arizona Rubber Magazine - November 2018

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As the college hockey season grind amps up and takes center stage in Flagstaff, the Northern Arizona University IceJacks program has but one goal in mind – to keep making noise on the national stage while still playing meaningful games next spring MISSION AZ SQUIRT SQUAD TAKING GAME TO NEW LEVEL





FROM THE EDITOR Remember to take the time to give thanks, both on and off the ice


t finally happened. The days might shorter and the summer days and nights gone, but all that means is that hockey season is in full swing. And with it also being November, let’s also take time to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes, we all give thanks for everything hockey-related – many of us do this on a daily basis. And for good reason as, let’s be honest, hockey is the greatest sport on Earth. We must also give thanks for the fans, rink managers, Zamboni drivers, bus drivers, coaches, team managers, team supporters, players and parents – all of whom make this great game happen every sinMatt Mackinder gle day at various levels all across the state. So go ahead and indulge in the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. But look around and enjoy the holiday with those closest to you. Really embrace the moment because family really is everything, and this includes your hockey family. Same thing applies at games and practices – take it all in. Never forget the sights, smells and feelings you have of being inside those rinks and being a part of this wonderful game. From all of us at Arizona Rubber Magazine, we say Happy Thanksgiving! How about those Arizona State Sun Devils? Those guys are really leaving their mark on NCAA Division I hockey this season, aren’t they? In late October, ASU swept the University of Nebraska-Omaha and was led by a pair of Arizona natives in Johnny Walker and Anthony Croston and former Jr. Coyotes star Demetrios Koumontzis. Then the following weekend, the Sun Devils waltzed into No. 6 Penn State University and took an OT win as Walker was the hero. A sweep of Michigan State Nov. 9-10 saw ASU ranked for the first time, too. Watch out for these guys – something special is happening in Tempe. The AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners have announced their leadership group for the 2018-19 season. Dakota Mermis has been named the club’s new captain, while Mario Kempe is a full-time alternate captain and Robbie Russo and Laurent Dauphin will split duties as the team’s second alternate captain. Mermis becomes the third captain in Roadrunners history, succeeding Craig Cunningham and Andrew Campbell in the role. “Dakota has the ability to carry the coaching staff’s message into our locker room,” said Roadrunners coach Jay Varady. “He has the ability to stand up and talk in the dressing room, he has the ability to talk in the coaching room in terms of the message or how the team is feeling, and he backs that up with his play in practice and in games.” Mermis made his NHL debut on Nov. 2, 2017, against the Buffalo Sabres as a member of the Arizona Coyotes. He was also recalled to the Coyotes earlier this month. “I’ve been lucky to be able to have learned from Craig Cunningham and Andrew Campbell, so to be taking over this year is definitely an honor,” said Mermis. “It’s a group effort and being the leader is exciting, but it goes to guys outside of wearing letters in the room, there’s a lot of leaders in our group.” “Our leadership group all has experience at the American Hockey League level and above,” Varady added. “All of them work extremely hard on their game and are not only interested in their own performance but the team’s performance. Having that balance is extremely important.” Speaking of the Coyotes, the team announced recently a new, multi-year partnership with Dignity Health. As part of the agreement, Dignity Health will become the presenting partner of Hockey Fights Cancer Night, which will take place on Sunday, Nov. 25 versus the Calgary Flames. “One of our core organizational goals is to make our community a better place,” said Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen. “Dignity Health’s philosophy towards community engagement is perfectly aligned with ours, which makes this partnership an ideal fit.”

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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

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Playing their first season out of the Ice Den Chandler, the Arizona Bobcats have not missed a beat and have been welcomed with open arms into their new home with the future looking exciting and bright for this new partnership. More on the Bobcats on Page 13.

ON THE COVER The Northern Arizona University ACHA Division II senior class - pictured, from left to right, are Josh Nolan, Christian Foster, Kristjan Toivola, Desmond Conley, Steven Thompson, Lucas Lomax, Max Mahood, Alex Shupe and Jaxson Gosnell. Photo/Wyatt Rutt Photography

Wildcats kick-start 2018-19 WCRHL season on early roll the San Jose event, defeating Cal Poly 4-3 while dropping matchups against Chico State (5-4) and San Jose State (4-3). The Wildcats topped off the season-opening event with a 5-0 crossover win over West Valley College, which finished runner-up in the Junior College Division at last season’s National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournament in Fargo, N.D.

12-hour-plus bus ride and getting in at 2 a.m. and then having to play at 7 a.m. is never an easy task. he University of Arizona Wildcats enjoyed a long, but “However, we as a team need to be able to overby all accounts, highly successful road trip to San come those mental hurdles and play the way we know Jose, Calif., to face off the 2018-19 Western Collegiate how.” Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) season. Veterans on the Division IV squad include forArizona’s Division II team finished with two wins and wards Luke Pancrazi and Alex Parrish while freshtwo overtime losses to top the seven-team division with men Joe Miscio and Matthew Delseni bring some six standings points following the WCRHL’s first regmuch-needed young depth to the team, according to ular-season event while the Wildcats’ Division Bushnell. IV team finished 3-0-0-1 to lead its eight-team Miscio led Arizona in scoring with seven division. points, followed by Delseni and Ryan Miller “Both the Division II and Division IV teams had with six points each. a really strong showing in the San Jose event,” The Wildcats advanced as far as the quarnew head coach Brett Bushnell explained. terfinals at last season’s NCRHA nationals and “The Division II team had some really tough expectations are high for another strong push games coming into this weekend, but everybody deep into the playoffs this season. played the way we needed to so we could end “I expect our Division II team to continue to the weekend 2-0-2. be a competitive team throughout the entire “Right now, our goalie Kenny Eakle is playyear and to receive a bid to nationals,” Bushnell ing very well and is proving that he is a top goalsaid. “I expect our Division IV team to improve tender in our conference. First-year player Trey upon what they did last year and to receive a Kerns also had a very strong weekend by notchbid to nationals as it has been three years since ing seven points.” we have taken a Division IV team to nationals.” Eakle posted a division-best .914 save perBushnell received the 2018 Outstanding centage in four games while recording a 2.31 Contribution to Collegiate Roller Hockey award goals-against average, second only to Cal Poly The University off Arizona inline hockey team got off to a 2-0-0-2 start to the at last year’s nationals for his long-term service San Luis Obispo’s Nicolas Leacox (2.19 GAA). 2018-19 Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League season -- good for first place to the U of A roller hockey program. Kerns, a Peoria native, led the Wildcats with among Division II teams. He said moving from between the pipes to three goals and four assists while returners Jacob Toro, “The Division IV team’s performance during San behind the bench has been rewarding. David Santos and Ben Jackson each recorded five Jose was also really strong,” noted Bushnell, who takes “The transition from player to coach has been an points. Santos is in his fourth year on the team while Toro over the coaching reins of the team after backstopping interesting one, especially with having played with a is in his third year and Jackson is in his second year. the Wildcats between the pipes over parts of the pre- lot of the current players,” Bushnell said. “I feel it has Eakle is in his second year with the club. vious five seasons. “I was only disappointed with our gone well, and the players have been giving feedback Arizona wound up playing three overtime games at first game against UCSB. I understand that we had a along the way.” By Phillip Brents



Chopping Down the Competition For the NAU Division II team, the IceJacks’ nine seniors are leading the way to success in ’18-19

“I thought it would be some place new coming from Gilbert,” said Shupe. “It was a really nice change of scenery. The people I’ve met here have made me orthern Arizona University is a perennial powerhouse in ACHA Division II stay here, and I love most of the people I’ve met here. Flagstaff is a great hockey circles, and that is no different for the 2018-19 season. town because it’s a small town, so a lot of the people get behind our team and This year, the IceJacks are led by a talented group of nine seniors, all of the kids really look up to us. whom bring different ingredients to the proverbial table. “We just have to keep it rolling the way we are. We had a rough start, but we What they all have in common, however, is buying in to the NAU strategy and have really picked it up the last couple of games. Just need to keep that going.” process, being team players. Thompson arrived on campus already having a personal reason to be there. Of the nine seniors – forwards Desmond Conley, Lucas Lomax, Max Ma“I first came to NAU cause my brother Ryan played here and I wanted to get hood, Alex Shupe, Steven Thompson and Kristjan Toivola, defenseman a chance to play for the same team,” said Thompson. “I think what makes FlagChristian Foster and goaltenders Jaxson Gosnell and Josh Nolan – all but staff a good hockey area is the community. Every hockey team in Flagstaff plays Conley (Alaska), Foster (California), Thompson (California) and Toivola (Wash- out of the same rink and many of our players work with the youth teams here. ington) hail from Arizona. Mahood was born in Winnipeg but raised in Arizona. “Our ultimate goal is to bring back a national championship and I think this Each senior has a story to tell, too. team has the ability to do that.” “I chose NAU because it’s very similar to Alaska in terms of weather and Toivola transferred to NAU from McKendree University (Ill.) after his sophooutdoor activities,” said Conley. “Another key reason for attending NAU was be- more year and has never looked back. cause of their strong hockey team, which was a factor I weighed when choosing “I had been in contact with the hockey staff, knew the team’s winning repuschools. I transferred here from Alaska after having surgery, so I’ve only been here tation, and loved the Flagstaff area,” said Toivola. “The success at NAU and the for three years, but have enjoyed all that Flagstaff has to offer and playing hock- great local youth program have both helped make hockey more popular in the ey with amazing teamarea, which keeps new mates. players coming and the “We have a good fan base and communimix of new players and ty growing. veterans. My expecta“This season, I extions are to continue to pect us to make a push improve and challenge for one of the top two for an automatic bid to spots in the Western nationals. I think our Region and the autoteam has a promising matic bid to the nationfuture.” al tournament.” Lomax had offers When Foster was to play college hockey looking at colleges, he elsewhere, but really had two criteria: cold wanted to come home weather and hockey. to Arizona and NAU “NAU had both,” was the fit. Foster said. “What “We have a tighthas kept me here all knit group that I really four years has been my enjoy being a part of drive to get my degree as well as NAU being in Construction Mana good school,” Loagement so I can work Northern Arizona University’s ACHA D-II team is all business on the ice, but the IceJacks find time to keep it loose off the ice, especially max said. “You get the when it comes to the annual team picture. Photo/Wyatt Rutt Photography for California Pools sense that you’re not and make a name for really in Arizona because we get the snow up here and the chance to play pond myself in the pool building industry. hockey. The youth programs are growing here, and a lot of the guys do volunteer “I think what makes Flagstaff a great hockey area is the youth hockey. I have work there and help coach and mentor those kids, so it’s really a small hockey seen some of the Northstars play and practice, and the skills that these kids family up here.” have are leagues ahead of where I was when I was their age. This shows me that Growing up in Peoria, Lomax played for the Peoria Roadrunners and Phoenix Flagstaff has coaches that are putting the time and effort to develop the kids, Firebirds. which is really what I believe makes Flagstaff a great hockey area.” Now at NAU, Lomax wants to end his senior year with a bang. Gosnell chose NAU because it was close to home but wanted a change in “My expectations for this team are to make it to the national tournament,” scenery, plus he already knew a couple players on the squad. said Lomax. “The last two years here at NAU, we’ve had really solid teams and “Flagstaff is a great hockey area because there is one rink for all the teams been able to make it to nationals and compete at the highest level. We’ve tried which leads to a closer relationship between all the players and there is a great to create that winning mentality and winning culture here at NAU. Every year we opportunity for NAU players to coach and mentor some of the younger players,” want to be the team to beat and want a chance to be called national champions, said Gosnell, a former VOSHA Mustang and DYHA Firebird. “We have a really which I think a lot of the guys on the team who have been here a while have good group of guys this season. Everyone works hard and has a team-first mencompletely bought in to that idea.” tality. I think it’s only going to get better for the team this season.” Mahood knew early on that NAU would be the school for him. Nolan said one way or another, he was bound for NAU, “I chose NAU because of the Jay Lively Arena and the supporting fan base,” “Ironically, I had always said growing up if I decided to stop playing hockey said Mahood, a former Chandler Jr. Polar Bear. “I came and watched a game and that I would go here,” said the former Arizona Bobcat and Jr. Coyote. “During my the fans really drew me in. The thing that separates hockey in Flagstaff is training senior year of high school, I was burned out from hockey for various reasons, so at 7,000 feet. It’s a competitive advantage that you can see in the youth teams I decided to go to NAU instead of pursuing the junior route trying to play NCAA and when teams come to play us at the Jay. hockey. I did not play my first year here, but then decided during my sophomore “We want to keep getting better and growing together as a team. From the year to try out. I have stayed here because of the friends I have made, how well start of the season to where we are now, you can see the difference and we have I have done in school, the hockey team, and I have also become involved in a to ramp it up all the way to nationals, learning from mistakes and embracing our few other things. With all of those things going on, it has made my time here fun highs.” and purposeful. A lifelong player for the Arizona Hockey Union, Shupe is a Gilbert native who “The majority of our team was here last year, so we all have a bitter taste from has loved playing in Flagstaff. our nationals performance last year, which I think helps drive us this year.”

By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



AHU Mite White wins off the ice, gives back to community By Sean Phillips


he Arizona Hockey Union Mite White team is the youngest team in the organization, with players ranging from age 6-8 years old. As part of the development of these young players, the coaches and managers are committed to teaching the kids not just about being a good teammate and hockey player, but also being a caring member of our community. As part of this, we organized a charitable fundraiser for the team through Savers. The fundraiser consisted of collecting used clothing, household goods, toys and books, and turning them in to Savers. In return, Savers donates money back to the team. Each item is given a different value, with linens and clothes getting the most money per pound. Once it was started, the team put the word out to friends and all of AHU. Soon after, the donations started pouring in. The first day of collection, the team manager’s F-150 was packed so full that their kiddo had to hold toys on his lap and shove his hockey bag under his feet. They even made a trip out to the West Valley to collect eight bags of donations from the AHU teams there. Some of the best donations included a huge box of books that needed several people to lift, an entire kitchen set of dishes from a family that was combining two homes, and of course, all the toys that many of the play-

ers willingly donated. Most of our families appreciated a fundraiser that did not require them to spend any of their own money and allowed them the opportunity to teach their kids about giving back to a community. Many of the players helped their parents sort through old toys and find those items that were ready for another kid to play with. After collecting donations every Tuesday and Thursday in September, the team rented a moving truck and players and families spent the morning load-

ing everything up. It was then delivered to Savers. In total, the team collected 1,684 pounds of clothing and linens, 408 pounds of housewares and 176 pounds of books. This added up to a total team donation of $385 from Savers. The funds earned will help to pay for the team’s entry into an 8U tournament in Niagara

Congratulations to the Arizona Hockey Union teams that won division championships at the 11th annual AHU IceBreaker Invitational Hockey Tournament, which was held Oct. 19-21 at the Ice Den Chandler and AZ Ice Gilbert!


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Falls this coming January. Though it may seem that Savers takes all the donated goods and just resells them, their commitment to the community is much bigger than this. All the items are sorted and put out on to their sales floor to be purchased. If the items are not sold, the Savers Get-2-Give program will donate those goods to local shelters, senior centers, preschools, and free distribution centers, depending on those organization’s needs. Items not suitable for the sales floor or local charities are recycled, repurposed or sold to small businesses around the globe. Savers’ recent shipment for the intent or repurposing goods went to Africa and Argentina where small businesses there will reuse the goods to create merchandise to sell. This recycling and repurposing program has kept more than eight million pounds of textiles out of Arizona landfills (that is just from the Savers in Arizona – Savers is a nationwide company). This was a great way for this small team of 18 players and their families to make an impact on both their community and the environment without ever needing to open their wallets. We truly appreciate everyone from AHU that donated their used goods and Savers for offering such a well-organized fundraising opportunity. Finally, the team is excited that with the money earned in this charity they get to make many wonderful memories when they travel to Niagara Falls for their only outof-state tournament of the season. ​​

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks’ D-III team has slow Finding the formula: Player start, but turning things around retention, development with FYHA By Matt Mackinder

By Dave Bereson



yan Smith began the season with high expectations for his Northern Arizona University ACHA Division III team. And even after a slow start that has turned to the winning side of things, Smith still has achievable goals in mind for the IceJacks. Our team has the expectations of returning to regionals with our minds set on moving from regionals to the national tournament,” said Smith. “We had a very slow start to the season combined with several losses we feel we should not have lost. Over the past few weeks, we have turned things around in our locker room, and that has resulted in wins and ties, but not losses. “We are now on the right path forward and have excitement towards the upcoming games.” Smith noted that there have been several team highlights and positives to this point in the season. “The biggest positive so far is a mental change in the locker room where we are dedicated to perform and work harder for one another,” said Smith. “The biggest highlight we have had was an overtime win against the University of New Mexico, a team we haven’t beaten in three years.” With a deep team, Smith said a handful of key players has emerged as impact performers early in the season. “Adam Groendyke, Reed Harbison and Jacob Paul have all stepped up for us,” Smith said. “Jacob is a freshman on the team and came to us from Vegas high school hockey as a goalie. He has proven himself to earn the spot as the go-to goalie. His play has been a major part of the team’s recent success.” Smith wants that success to continue for the foreseeable future. “With the current momentum our team is carrying, I am currently expecting us to become an over .500 team within the remaining games of this semester,” said Smith.

t the youngest ages of hockey, the biggest key is to get as many players included and involved as possible. At the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA), the Northstars recognize this and realize that this formula works best and have been utilizing it for years in their program. Flagstaff’s 8U House League integrates 8U Select players for long-term retention and can add depth to the teams. The league also spreads players throughout the four teams to increase development and competition. The House League is a program for kids and parents who want to play at a recreational level and not incur the time and/or expense associated with traveling both inside and outside of Arizona. The 8U Select League is a program for kids and parents who want to play at a higher and competitive level. Players are evaluated and try out for the Select team based on their age. The 8U Select players also complete in the Arizona Youth Hockey League (AZYHL), which now includes an 8U division as opposed to Jamborees for Select players. “FYHA is a leader in the state for following the American Development Model (ADM) since its inception and bringing the first Jamborees to the state,” said FYHA board member Dave Bereson. “We are always looking for the right formula to continue to retain and develop our players. We’re in a small town. Growing the base this way (Selects integration to 8U house) has been shown and is a proven method that works for retention. “This year, we have two 8U, two 10U (one is tournament-only, not AZYHL) and two 12U teams competing in the AZYHL while still retaining house and rec kids at 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U.”


More tips for hockey parents on how to not get rattled T

his is Part 2 of 3 in a series by Jamie McKinven of GlassAndOut. com.


4. Don’t Compare. One of the worst things parents do in minor hockey is compare their kid to other kids on their team. This does nothing but

create animosity. This is a terrible result of insecurity and jealousy and can have damaging effects on kids. Comparing kids creates strained relationships between parents, which often filters down to the kids. It’s no different than typical workplace jealousy. It spirals into paranoia. If you, as a parent, act like this, your kid will see it and constantly compare themselves to everyone else, which is extremely detrimental to confidence.

5. Avoid Politics. It’s not hard to get a reputation as a trouble maker, and whether right or wrong, that reputation follows a parent and their kid. When I was coaching Tier II Junior A hockey, one of the factors that came into recruiting and making final selections was family life. At the higher levels, you look to get a glimpse at possible character traits. If you are deciding between three 16- or 17-year-old kids, who are almost identical in skill, potential, grades, etc., and you are about to invest money, time and effort and introduce them into your culture, you take family influence into serious consideration. If one kid has overbearing, meddling parents, you almost immediately cross them off. It’s sad, but it’s true. The last thing coaches at higher levels want is to bring in a kid who has grown up with parents who fight all their battles and run around making excuses. It’s a bad example to set and it’s detrimental to the culture of a team and the success of your kid. 6. Always Be Positive. A recent survey stated that the one aspect of minor hockey that kids fear the most is the drive home. It’s the fear of criticism. My dad was always really positive with me when I was young, and I think that was what got

me through the tough years in minor hockey. I was always put down because of my size, but my dad always said, “Don’t worry. You’ll grow. Just keep having fun with it.” There were lots of other kids who had yellers and screamers for parents and it wasn’t long before they gave up on the game. When I was a player, the one thing that I hated more than anything was when I would make a mistake in a game and get back to the bench and get reamed out by the coach. Couldn’t he tell by my head-shaking and slumped shoulders that I was well aware of my mishap? What good does it do to state the obvious other than to kick a man while he’s down? Who benefits from this? In my first season of Junior A hockey, I had one of the best coaches of my career, Steve Carter. I can remember the first time I made a bonehead blunder on the ice that season. I made the long, lonely skate back to the bench for what I thought was sure to be a blasting followed by a long ride on the bench. What happened next was the most uplifting experience of my hockey career. Carter put his hand my shoulder and leaned down to my ear and said, “Relax, kid. Now get back out there and make up for it.” I went back out with my head held high, full of confidence and determined to reward my coach for his positivity and trust.

Jamie McKinven, author of “So You Want Your Kid to Play Pro Hockey?” and “Tales from the Bus Leagues,” is a former professional hockey player who played in the NCAA, ECHL, Central Hockey League and Europe. Along the way, he discovered a great deal about life, love and the value of following through on a dream.



Jr. Sun Devils take in ‘Yotes game, name DYHA Superstars By Matt Mackinder


ast month at Gila River Arena, the Arizona Coyotes continued their string of theme nights with DYHA Jr. Sun Devils Night on Oct. 27 as the Coyotes hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning. Prior to the game, each DYHA team selected a player from each of its 12 teams – a DYHA Superstar – and the Jr. Sun Devils’ Mites skated a simulated game between periods during the “Mites On Ice” portion of the game (pictured). Mite player Brayden Barnes was also honored with being the Coyotes’ “Blueline Buddy” during the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” According to DYHA hockey director and coach-in-chief Brad McCaughey, there are certain criteria the club uses when deciding on who to select as DYHA Superstars. “The qualities we looked for in selecting these players included a good work ethic, good sportsmanship, teamwork or being a good team player, and someone who sets a good example, both on and off the ice,” said McCaughey, who also coaches the 16U AA Gold and 12U

Maroon teams this season. “Each of these DYHA Superstars excel in those areas and we were proud to honor them at the game.” Kole Goldberg was the 18U AA nominee and head coach Sean Whyte was thrilled to see him recognized. “Kole was selected from our team for his leadership skills and his loyalty to DYHA by playing eight years for our association,” said Whyte. Marc Membrila, a co-coach of the 14U Gold team with Rob Warzel, said their choice of Jacob Izenstark was a no-brainer. “When Brad asked for nominations for the honor with thoughts towards a player whose commitment, excellent work ethic, and example of not only being a good team member but being an outstanding player willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team stood out, for both Rob and myself, the choice was obvious,” said Membrila. “Always positive in the room and on the bench, Jacob is the kind of teammate anyone would be lucky to have. He’s infinitely coachable - a quality that is much appreciated by the coaching staff. Supportive and encouraging when someone needs it, but the intangibles


8U Gold - Brayden Barnes 8U Maroon - Logan Kelly 10U Gold - Nicky Donarski

10U Maroon - Alex Donarski 12U Gold - Aiden Lynch 12U Maroon - Finian Halle


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

that come from leading by example are where he really shines.” Chris Sehring coaches the Mites and 14U Maroon team and had positives to say about Barnes (8U Gold), Logan Kelly (8U Maroon) and Riley Langford (14U Maroon). “Brayden is a very hard worker who always comes to practices and games with a huge smile on his face,” said Sehring. “He is a great teammate and an awesome goalie who is always there to support his team at practices and in games. “Logan is one of the funniest and most genuine players I have ever coached. He is another player that no matter the situation, he is always smiling and giving his best. “Riley is always one of the hardest working players we have on the ice. He has a great attitude and leads by example on the ice. Over last season and this season, Riley’s skills have really improved and that is a testament to his dedication and effort. Jon Koshiol has the reins of the 12U Gold squad and his nominee was Aiden Lynch. “Aiden is a respectful young man who is very competitive and gives his best effort in practices, games, dryland, and team activities,” noted Koshiol. “Aiden is an unselfish player and a great teammate who is well liked by his Jr. Sun Devils’ 12U Pee Wee Gold team.”

14U Gold - Jacob Izenstark 14U Maroon - Riley Langford 14U AA - Owen Gruener

16U Gold - Michael Garvey 16U Maroon - Chase Wilhelm 18U AA - Kole Goldberg


Finding Balance

TPHA standouts Dahlen, Nordorf, Boyko, Coca succeeding this season, both on and off the ice By Greg Ball


s the weather cools down and snow starts to sprinkle the mountain peaks all around, things are heating up at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy. Tahoe’s prep team was off to a 13-3 start through the end of October and had outscored their opponents 77-42. The varsity group was 1-1 in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) and had the same record in the Sharks High School Hockey League. Noah Dahlen, Jacob Nordorf, Alex Boyko and Brendan Coca are four players who have played a big part in Tahoe’s early season success. And they’re not just succeeding on the ice - each boasts a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Noah Dahlen A senior defenseman on Tahoe’s prep team, Dahlen had scored two goals and notched three assists through the end of October. Originally from Orange, Calif., he started with Tahoe Prep when it first opened and is now in his third season and academic year there. Dahlen started playing roller hockey at age five and moved to an in-house ice program the next year. It wasn’t long before he realized how much more he enjoyed it compared to other sports he played. “It had everything I liked,” he explained. “It’s competitive, fast and fun to be around your team.” In his two-plus seasons at Tahoe, he has improved by leaps and bounds thanks to plenty of ice time and the dedication of the coaching staff. “Before I came here, I had the mindset of trying to do everything by myself,” Dahlen said. “The coaches have helped me develop my hockey sense more and use my strengths as well as my teammates’ strengths. “I went into this year with the motivation to make it the best year possible for me. I’m focused on improving my footwork and speed and spending the extra time off the ice in the workout room and on my nutrition. At the academy, I have learned how to grow up and basically be a young adult. It’s helped me tremendously.” With his sights set on a career in computer engineering or culinary arts (he has loved cooking since he was a little kid), he is hoping to attend Arizona State University or Ferris State (Mich.) University and continue his hockey career while pursuing his academic goals. Jacob Nordorf Having told his parents as early as second grade that he wanted to attend a hockey prep school when he was older, Nordorf didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to play hockey and study at Tahoe Prep came along. A junior defenseman from Gardena, Calif., he’s in his second season at Tahoe, and he knew it was the right place for him when he saw the roster of coaches

that it was employing. “Tahoe’s coaching staff was pretty much the selling point for me,” Nordorf said. “I’ve known Mike Lewis a long time, and the coaching I get from him and Chris Collins has been amazing. The exposure we have gotten playing for Tahoe this year has been nationwide - we’re really on the map now. We went 4-0 in Minnesota in our last tournament. This is kind of Tahoe’s breakout year, and we’re getting better every day.” Nordorf hopes to play at the highest level in college

Noah Dahlen

Jacob Nordorf

Alex Boyko

Brendan Coca

and wearing a Boston University sweater is his dream. He said he has matured personally and academically since he landed in Tahoe and has thrived thanks to the academy’s blend of in-person and online education. “I need to take some classes face-to-face,” he said. “It would be hard for me to get through a math class online, but this is the right mix and it has helped teach me time management. I’m much better about not putting things off.” Alex Boyko Before coming to Tahoe, Boyko commuted more than an hour each way from his family’s home in Rocklin, Calif., - northeast of Sacramento - to play for the

Vacaville Jets program, so when he heard about Tahoe Prep opening, it wasn’t a hard decision to commit to the academy. “You’re telling me there is a prep school two hours away from my house in beautiful Lake Tahoe and I get to play hockey every day? Who wouldn’t want to do that?” Boyko said. “I obviously came for hockey, but I’m a big nature guy. I’ve lived my whole life in the Sacramento area and it’s so hot and we have no snow - here we are right in the middle of the forest, and at night you can see so many shooting stars. I miss home sometimes, but I love the cold and snow, and it’s just so beautiful here.” A junior forward on the varsity team (who has also played a handful of games with the prep team), Boyko is in his second year at Tahoe Prep and plans to make the next step in his hockey development with a junior or college team. He’d like to follow his parents’ path into the tech industry. He said the coaching he has received in Tahoe, along with the opportunity to be on the ice much more regularly than with other programs, has been instrumental in his improvement as a player. “The program develops you unbelievably fast,” Boyko said. “The coaches are great. They improve all of our skills through drills and the systems they have put in place.” Brendan Coca While the staff at Tahoe Prep recruits all across the country, Coca landed at the academy by approaching them. A junior center from Thornton, Colo., he met Lewis (also TPHA’s athletic director) at a CCM Showcase event in Denver last year to learn more about the school. After touring the campus with his family in June, Coca decided to enroll, and hasn’t looked back. “In terms of development, skills and ice time, Tahoe is second to none,” Coca said. “Honestly, I love it. I love being on the ice more. It’s a very constructive place as well. If you mess up, the coaches aren’t going to get in your face. They are going to try to help you fix the problem.” Coca plays on Tahoe’s varsity team and has suited up for a handful of games with the prep squad. His short-term goals include helping Tahoe Prep win the ADHSHL championship and to develop enough this year to get an official spot on the prep team. His longterm goal is to play NCAA Division I hockey and study business. “It’s always been my dream to play college hockey,” he said. His time at Tahoe should help prepare him for that possibility. While it was a leap of faith for him to enroll at Tahoe Prep and leave the comforts of home, just a couple months into his tenure there, he’s already feeling welcome. “It was a big change for me in the first week or two, but I think I’ve adjusted,” Coca said. “When you have an environment like this where you are with people 24/7, you aren’t lonely. You have a lot of support.”



New AHSHA leadership award recognizes Doan, Catalano By Matt Mackinder


t’s onward and upward for the Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA). This season, the new Shane Doan Leadership Award will be presented to one senior player in each of the four Varsity divisions upon the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. According to AHSHA president Marc Fritsche, this award will be based on top-notch leadership, both on and off the ice. “We were looking for a face to put with a scholarship for the high school senior that shows exceptional leadership,” said Fritsche. “Most awards we give away are given for either financial or athletic reasons. What we are looking to highlight is what some of these kids that not only play hockey but also lead an exceptional life off ice and are the epitome of leadership like Captain Coyote himself.” “I am so grateful and honored to be part of AHSHA’s program,” Doan added. “Young people playing hockey is really the best part of our sport. The game of hockey has given me so much and any opportunity to encourage other young hockey players is such a privilege and an honor. The game reveals the character inside of these players and then helps it to grow. I am very excited for the future of AHSHA.”

The award will also be presented in collaboration with the Tanner Catalano Foundation. Tanner Catalano was an avid hockey player and fan who was tragically killed in a car crash back in 2007. The foundation in his name was created shortly thereafter in his memory and several of the individuals on the committee have had ties to AHSHA through either coaching or having kids playing. “We wanted to give back to AHSHA in the name of our former friend and teammate,” said foundation board member Marc Kamin. “The foundation approached AHSHA about doing an award such as this and couldn’t

think of a better role model than Shane Doan, who not only led at the highest level of hockey but also with class for such a long time. Shane was approached and was honored to be a part of it. We had a few meetings and hammered out all the details and we couldn’t be happier to finally roll out this award.” The Arizona Coyotes are a major supporter of AHSHA and are thrilled with the new scholarship coming to fruition this season. “I think it shows commitment from the league and the


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Tanner Catalano Foundation to provide these sorts of opportunities for high school seniors,” said Coyotes’ director of amateur hockey development Matt Shott. “Everyone in Arizona knows how good of a person Shane was while he was a player, and I think this cements the fact that he really does care about the community and helping the hockey world.” “Having Shane on board is huge,” added Kamin. “He is such a well-respected member of not only our hockey community, but our community in general. The fact that Shane supports high school hockey speaks volumes to its continued growth and popularity here in Arizona.” Fritsche noted the award will be very prestigious as just four out of nearly 650 high school players in the state will be chosen for the award. “I think it will be an honor to attach your name to this award as a winner and the scholarship that comes with it will help with the next step in any senior’s life, which is usually college,” said Fritsche. “We have put a lot of time into the criteria and would like to thank the Tanner Catalano Foundation for their partnership in making this award become a reality. We have partnered with the Coyotes and now adding Shane Doan and the Catalano Foundation is pretty exciting to show how far Arizona high school hockey has come.” All of the teams will submit their nominees by Dec. 1 and each nominee will have to fill out an application along with writing an essay to be considered.


Bobcats making smooth transition to Ice Den Chandler By Matt Mackinder


here was perhaps a certain degree of uncertainty last offseason as to what would happen when the Arizona Bobcats moved their program to the Ice Den Chandler. Fast forward to mid-November and the transition has been phenomenal and beneficial to both the Bobcats and the Ice Den Chandler itself. “The Ice Den and the Bobcats are creating the perfect partnership, finding ways to help each other in our common goal of developing the new generation of Bobcats,” said Bobcats hockey director Ron Filion. “Our Bobcats families enjoy the facility and more importantly, the high level of coaching that has remained in place over the past five years.” Filion added that the Bobcats have had a successful first part of the 2018-19 season. “All our teams have competed well so far with some big wins and tough losses, but all of our families understand that it is a process and that is still very early in the season,” said Filion. “Our coaches are working on our weaknesses and continuing to improve our strengths, all with our players having fun. If we as coaches develop the players well, then I believe big wins will come.” Kristy Aguirre is the executive director for the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association and said the partnership between the Bobcats and Jr. Coyotes – who skate

exclusively out of the Ice Den Scottsdale – means stronger teams and better player development. “Having a larger foundation of players, teams and coaches also means a stronger product on and off the ice,” said Aguirre. “The coaching staff of the Bobcats is great to have around as they have a unique approach to player development and programming that has brought a different life to Chandler. “Having both programs housed under Ice Dens has

been fantastic. Ice Den facilities are the best in the state and the Jr. Coyotes and Bobcats are extremely fortunate to call the Ice Den home. It is beneficial for both programs to be working towards a common goal. The two programs run independent of each other with budgetary and programming pieces. However, we are always looking at how to improve the programs on and off the ice and how to mirror pieces between the two that will contribute to the success of both the Bobcats and the Jr. Coyotes.” Coyotes Ice president Mike O’Hearn is enamored

with the newfound relationship between all parties. “In coordinating the two programs, we believe we’ll see a more cohesive product, as well as a greater level of compete within the programs,” said O’Hearn. “The players see the effort that it takes to play at the Elite level. If they didn’t attain that level in this first year, they see where they have to be, and the coaches provide the path for them to succeed. In this way, both programs are pushing one another. We’ve already witnessed that early in this first season. “One obvious benefit for both programs is the strength gained by working in unison. While there remains a healthy competitiveness, which should result in all of the teams getting stronger, that will become more apparent in the coming years. The fit has been surprisingly good, even in this first season. In each ensuing year, it will become more apparent that the talent level at every age division will solidify. Last year, we saw the Jr. Coyotes’ 15 Only team take a bronze medal at the USA Hockey Youth Nationals. As the programs continue to work together, opportunities will improve for more Arizona squads to challenge not just regionally but gain greater attention on the national scene.” Filion added that the Ice Den Chandler staff has been a pleasure to work with. “New things are coming to Chandler for our hockey players starting this spring and summer,” Filion said. “In the meantime, little things are in the works for the Bobcats, such as a new coaches locker room, extra ice time for our teams, private lesson sessions and our new training partnership with our house program.”



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GCU men’s team soaking up atmosphere at AZ Ice Arcadia By Matt Mackinder


he Grand Canyon University ACHA Division II men’s team calls AZ Ice Arcadia home for the current 201819 season, and head coach Daniel Roy has the Lopes off to a fantastic start. Starting out the season with a tie and a shootout win over Arizona State University’s ACHA Division I team, GCU then went on a five-game winning streak that included weekend sweeps against ASU’s Division II team and Northern Arizona University’s D-II squad. “Our goal is for our program to be better each season and the first 10 games of this season have been the best start we have had in these first three seasons,” said Roy. “Our players seem to get along every season, which is great to see. We are still a young program trying to build a winning team culture from scratch and there have been challenges along the way, but we seem to find our way at some point within the season where everyone is buying in and playing for each other. “With a young program, it takes some time for the entire group to learn and trust each other’s personalities.” So far this season, Roy said his team has seen big contributions from senior forward Wyatt Grant, soph-

omore defenseman Sullivan Murphy and sophomore forward Jeff Payne, who have gelled really well with freshman forwards Zach Bennett and Declan Carter, especially on the powerplay where the Lopes seemed to struggle last year. Playing at AZ Ice Arcadia has been a plus for the program as well. “We have the best fans and always see a great turnout for all our home games,” said Roy.

“The location of Arcadia has really helped with getting more GCU fans to our games. We have only played a few home games at Arcadia since our move over, but the fan support has been fantastic, which always makes it more enjoyable for the players. “Having the support of the Arizona Titans program and the Kachinas girls program has been incredible for the players, allowing them to be role models on game nights and being able to have special events during pregame for


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the youth players.” The fast start now in the rear-view mirror, Roy has his club focused on what’s to come. “Our expectation is to make the national tournament in Dallas this year,” Roy said. “We hit our goal of qualifying for our regional tournament last year and now we want to get to the national tournament. We have a team that can get it done as long as we take care of the steps along the way. “In addition to that, we have been accepted to move up to ACHA D-I for the 2019-20 season and are hopeful that we will be able to step right in as a competitive team in our first season. The goal from the beginning has been to build our program to the highest level possible. To be a successful program in reaching our short term and long-term goals, we strive to improve every season and be better than the last.” Roy also noted that with the recent success of ASU’s NCAA D-I team, which entered the Division I Men’s Poll for the first time on Nov. 12 ranked No. 18, that can only help ACHA hockey in the state. “The ACHA has been growing each year and the teams in the West have been getting stronger,” said Roy. “The hope is that we see four ACHA D-I men’s teams in Arizona soon (ASU, U of A, GCU, NAU) and a possible Arizona ACHA in-state tournament between the four teams.”


Pavel Barber’s Top 10 Hockey Training Tips: Part 2 of 2 By HockeyShot’s Stickhandling Specialist Pavel Barber 5. Use slow-motion video capture: I can’t overstate how important slow-motion video capture is. I would have killed to have this technology on my phone as a kid. Slow motion picks up on things that we often overlook when we look at video in real time. It is a great tool to offer awareness in areas where we are often moving very quickly, especially in skills where we are working on a very small detail in a skillset we’re trying to attain. 4. Redefine failure: “Failure” is an awful word. In school, an “F” means we flunked, and we need to go to summer school. However, there is positive failure and negative failure. Positive failure is failure that we can learn from and build on. Where we listen, work hard, focus deeply and make a mistake, identify the area we made the mistake and address it. Then there is negative failure where we are either not listening or not focussed, and we make a mistake. The issue here is we don’t get much, if any, feedback if the focus and effort isn’t there. A good way to look at positive failure is to redefine it in a way that contributes to development, such as saying,

“I didn’t fail nine times out of 10. I found nine ways that didn’t work.” 3. Get out of your comfort zone: The only way to get better is to take our current abilities and push past them. It’s very easy

to get caught staying in the comfort zone because it’s exactly that, comfortable! But comfort is the enemy when it comes to development. Identify your current level and push just to the edge of what you can already do. We

don’t want to go too fast because we need to be able to process the information in order to get feedback from our failures and successes. 2. Focus: Be 100 percent in the present moment. This is a very difficult mental practice, but it is one of the greatest skill advantages you can give yourself. If you’re on the ice for an hour, don’t allow your mind to wander off and think about homework or Fortnite or anything else. Be in the moment and get a full hour of training in. Not 45 minutes. Not 30 minutes. But 60 minutes of focused practice. 1. Listen: It may sound simple, but those who listen and pay attention to the small details will get better faster. When a coach is trying to help you, they can only do that if you’re listening to them. Enjoy this article? Then be sure to visit for the latest tips, tricks and the best hockey training products on the market!



Tucson, Jr. Wildcats set to host season’s first festival By Brian Lester


rik Dahl is looking forward to the Jr. Wildcats hosting the first IHAAZ festival of the season in Tucson in December. The festival is slated for Dec. 7-9. But preparing for a festival, as exciting and fun as it is, requires a lot of work to make sure everything is ready to go for the teams that will compete in an always fun and competitive atmosphere. “There are a lot of behind-the-scenes things that go into hosting a tournament, from organizing basket raffles to raise money to helping clean the rink,” Dahl said. Last season, Dahl came up with what he hopes turns into a tradition in Tucson in regard to preparation for a festival. It revolves around getting families more involved. It seems to have worked out well so far. “We have our families volunteer some time to do minor repairs, painting, cleaning, etcetera, around the rink,” Dahl said. “It’s easy for some of these things to start deteriorating, so aside from fixing up our home rink, it helps instill some pride as well.” And while a lot of work goes into it, it’s worth the time and effort that goes into it. “The benefits of hosting a tournament are that we get to play on our home rink,” Dahl said. “It’s also always fun to have our friends from out of town visit Tucson and play where we play.”

As big of a deal as it is to host a festival, it’s expected to be a big year for the Jr. Wildcats, who, for the first time, will have a team in each of the five age divisions in the league. The program started out with two teams when it joined the league in 2015. “We’ve had steady growth in each of the seasons we’ve been in the league, but it’s exciting to have finally gotten to where we are,” Dahl said. “Our first ever high school age team should be very competitive.” Dahl has high expectations for the season ahead for the Jr. Wildcats as a whole. “We expect this to

be a successful season for our club,” Dahl said. “We’ve introduced several new players to travel hockey this season, which is always a positive. We’ve also added several coaches who we believe will help propel our program even further. They’ve brought a renewed energy to the program and have the players doing different drills and working on different things, which I think has a lot of


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us excited about our future.” Finding the right mix of coaches is something Dahl believes will aid the progress of the program. “We’ve relied on volunteer coaches since we began, but last year we started adding some parent coaches as well,” Dahl said. “We’re looking for a good mix of parents because they provide stability as they will be around as long as their kids are playing, and non-parent coaches, who have a lot to offer but don’t have perhaps as long-term of a commitment as the parents do.” Coaches such as Josh Smith, Anthony Hammermaster and Brian Hillegonds have stepped up to help out fellow coaches David Sticker, Kurt Beutel and Mike Richardson. The latter three all coached last season with the Jr. Wildcats. Just as the Jr. Wild- cats continue to thrive, IHAAZ does as well. Tucson in particular has continued to see the popularity of inline hockey rise. “Our club continues to see steady growth and our rec program adds new players every season,” Dahl said. “In Tucson, we’re seeing a lot of players playing inline and ice hockey, and quite a few new players come to us when the ice season ends to keep playing. And many of them never stop playing inline. “It’s been great to see.”


Mission’s Squirts digging challenge playing at new level By Greg Ball


hen the Mission AZ youth hockey program experienced an unusually high turnover rate with its Squirt team after last season, coaches turned to the inhouse program at AZ Ice Peoria to recruit players, and the results have been remarkably positive. Mission’s hockey director, Jeremy Goltz, said he and his fellow coaches invested some time in working with the in-house kids, and put on a number of clinics that essentially showed them and their families the type of training they would get wearing a Mission uniform. “It took off like wildfire,” Goltz said. “Once these kids got a feel for what we were about, we had enough players interested to put on a whole team tryout. Not only do we have some strong players that we brought over from the in-house program, but we have great parents who are excited about what Mission offers and on board with how we’re doing things. It makes my job easy, and I truly appreciate their passion and energy.” Through mid-November, Mission’s Squirt squad was 6-0, and had outscored its opponents 48-9. The team’s roster includes forwards Daniel Basinski, Alexander Brent, Sydney Coleman, Cameron Corsette, Camden Eyer, Jacob Grant, Tucker Howey, Tatum Krol, Braden Martin and Mark Melissa; defensemen Oliver Foss, Logan Hoerr, Ben Neubauer and Gavin Newton; and goalie Evan Hazelberg. Krol is one of the handful of players who returned

from last year’s squad. Her grandfather, Joseph Krol, said it was a no-brainer for Tatum and her family. “With us, it was a very easy decision to return to Mission,” the elder Krol said. “Tatum likes the brotherhood that Mission offers, and she loves the coaching staff. Tatum’s skills and general hockey knowledge have grown, thanks to the coaches and older players.” For those new to the Mission program, it has been a

The Mission AZ Squirt team has been finding success this season on the ice, and has also been taking the time to bond off the ice as well. Photo/Amanda Newton

positive experience playing travel hockey for an organization so dedicated to its players’ development. Melissa, 10, started playing hockey when he was seven and has played with the Little Howlers and in house at AZ Ice. His mom, Erica, said her son is loving every minute of it. “It’s a great group of kids and families who really know each other from the in-house program,” she said. “Our kids have gelled well, and they really enjoy

the competition and playing against kids from other programs that they don’t know. Mark has enjoyed the coaching style, the intensity of practices and learning the strategy side of the game.” Added Mark: “I like that the games and practices are harder, and there’s more competition. I think playing against better players has helped me improve.” Eyer, 9, is also new to Mission’s Squirt team this season, and has played hockey since he was four or five. “There are a lot of players that I already knew, so it has been a lot of fun playing with them again,” Eyer said. “I played All-Stars, and I’m on a line with the same players I was with on that team.” His parents, Amy and Brian, said they have already seen a lot of growth in their son and other players as they learn the game at a higher level. “We decided at the last minute when they were holding tryouts,” Amy said. “We had done some of the clinics that Coach Goltz had put on for the in-house program, and we just felt like he was an excellent coach - Camden was learning so much from him. There are some great families that we got to know through playing in-house. Once we made the decision, we were all in.” Added Brian: “I love the ice time that Camden’s getting. He’s at an age where he needs to be challenged and be on the ice as much as possible. I have no complaints - the competitive spirit and the coaching that he’s getting are exactly what he needs.”

ENOUGH Mission Arizona Ice


NEW MEXICO REPORT Ice Wolves’ Bantams off to a Lobos finding early-season highs winning start, take Aspen tourney with more tough games on tap By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



hil Fox is a Minnesota native now living in New Mexico and coaching the New Mexico Ice Wolves’ Bantam team. Needless to say, the former Northern Michigan University NCAA Division I standout knows hockey. And he’s passing on that knowledge to the Ice Wolves, and succeeding. Last month, his Bantam squad won the Aspen Fall Faceoff tournament in Colorado – the team’s first tournament action of the season. “What I like most about my Bantam team is that all of them want to get better,” Fox said. “They’re constantly pushing each other to get the most out of their teammates. As a coach, this is the culture you want within your teams. “I think it’s a good accomplishment any time your team can come out and win their first tournament of the year. You’re going into it little unsure how as a team we will handle adversity. We don’t get a lot of local games, so it’s tough for these kids who skate a month and a half before they actually play a game. They handled it well, but there is definitely work to be done to get better.” Fox said that the team was firing on all cylinders in Aspen. “We played good team defense,” said Fox. “Our goalies were good when they were tested, and our ‘D’ did a good job of shutting down grade-A chances. We scored first in all the games, I believe, and I think it’s huge getting the first goal in a game momentum wise.” Moving forward, Fox sees his team celebrating more success this season. “We have the team this year to give ourselves a chance to play for a championship every tournament,” Fox said. “If we stay the course and keep committing ourselves to getting better, we will continue to turn heads in New Mexico hockey.”


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or the University of New Mexico, a new season means new beginnings. What hasn’t changed, however, is the Lobos’ confidence, night in and night out, even with roster changes, additions and subtractions. “The departure of three of my four starting defensemen has given the chance for others to step up and get some minutes and experience,” said UNM coach Grant Harvey. “Last year’s second line, offense wise, also hid behind my first line for production and now that they are gone, this year’s first line with seniors Nate Taglialegami and Graeme Chiasson has stepped up and been an offensive powerhouse.” In net, senior James Bostian is back, deciding to stay one more year to advance his nursing degree. As for newcomers, former Calvin College (Mich.) player Ben Hopp has been a standout for the Lobos. “I saw him at pick-up hockey and prayed he was a student,” said Harvey. “After a lengthy phone call, he decided this program was a fit for him and it has been very beneficial. He is smart and sees the ice well and has filled in on defense where we needed it the most.” Harvey added that, “Offensively, we are as deadly as we have ever been.” “Every line is a threat, so line matching against us proves to be difficult for teams,” Harvey said. “For my defensemen, a couple of injuries has caused different sets of ‘D’ partners, which can be taxing, but they are ironing out the wrinkles.” Going forward, Harvey is excited at the direction the team is heading. “We have the toughest schedule we have ever had in 2018-19,” said Harvey. “We have strong opponents for the rest of the year – six out of the top 10 teams are either coming up or we have played them. It will be an exciting year and I’m anxious to see how we respond. This team has a different look and identity but just enough remnants of the national playoff team of last year to make me feel good about our playoff ambitions this year.”


USPHL proving to be ideal fit for Phoenix native Cibrario By Jim DenHollander/

Making the jump at every level presents new challenges and apart from the culture shock of moving to a new state and living with a new billet family, playing at the junior level provides some tests as well. “Definitely the speed, it’s a lot faster game with a lot bigger people,” said Cibrario. “Going from playing with kids that are only my age to this is tough, but it’s not impossible.”

Brad Jones basically rolled four lines through the game, so every player got a chance to get on the ice run Cibrario may have the perfect game plan for and play in front of the crowd that included several young Arizona hockey players looking to somescouts on hand to check out the talent. day play the game they love while getting a great Cibrario picked up two assists in the game and post-high school education. obviously was pleased with the chemistry on his line. The 17-year-old Phoenix native took his act to the “We just got a new kid on our team from Russia,” opposite side of the country, making his junior hocksaid Cibrario. “Our chemistry was good. It was just ey debut with the Hampton Roads Whalers out of our first game together today.” Chesapeake, Va., this season. Playing for a team like the Whalers, the expecThe Whalers are a cornerstone squad in the tations are high. The Whalers have become acUnited States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), a customed to being a contender at both levels and top Tier III junior hockey league in the U.S. with two Cibrario said he likes that. levels of play at the Tier III level, working alongside “Yeah, the bar is set high, it’s always set high the tuition-free National Collegiate Development here,” said Cibrario. “We’re expected to win. It just Conference. pushes you harder.” Cibrario has fit in perfectly on the team’s Jones is happy with what he has seen from the Elite-level team, contributing 21 points (11 goals, young Arizona forward so far. 10 assists) through his first 18 games. This is a “He can score goals, and he can put the puck plum spot to be in as the Whalers enter the 2018in the net,” said Jones. “He’s still young so he’s 19 junior season as defending champions of both still learning to play a 200-foot game, but when he the Elite and Premier Leagues. gets the opportunity to score a goal, he doesn’t Having come up through the youth levels in Armiss very often. He’s pretty creative that way. Now izona, Cibrario played the 2017-18 season with one big adjustment for him is consistently moving the Arizona Bobcats’ 16U AAA team where he his feet, so he’s not standing still and watching. picked up 15 points (eight goals, seven assists), Arun Cibrario entered November averaging better than a point per He’s been getting better at every practice, every and he credited the Bobcats for playing a part in game with the USPHL Elite’s Hampton Roads Whalers. Photo/ day.” getting him an audition with the Whalers. As far as goals, Cibrario said he is just going to The Whalers, as expected, are a strong team “They did a great job talking to scouts for me,” again this season. After the Charlotte Showcase see how things work out this season. He is ready said Cibrario shortly after playing his first game at where the Whalers won all four games, the team sat to test the Premier level if team moves, injuries or the Southern Showcase Tournament with the Whal- in top spot in the Southeast Division with a record his own level of play create the opportunity, but right ers at Charlotte, N.C., in late September. of 8-2-0-0. now he is happy to just do everything he can to help Cibrario also played for the Jr. Coyotes during his At the tournament opener, the Whalers rolled the Elite-level squad, which will no doubt be a chamyouth career. over the DME Swamp Rabbits 8-0 and head coach pionship contender again in the spring.



Bauer World event in Florida all about customer service B

ehind The Mask was invited to the 2018 Bauer World Global Hockey dealer conference in Miami from Oct. 2427. Dealers from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia and other countries Exelby attended. We arrived on Wednesday night, checked in to the hotel and had some free time to walk the gorgeous hotel property (11 pools and nine restaurants) and settle in. Thursday morning started with a 7 a.m. breakfast, followed by the opening ceremonies. Bauer talked about the state of the retail hockey industry, the direction they are going with fewer dealers and stronger retail partnerships, and how the select dealers they had invited would be getting exclusive Bauer products moving forward such as exclusive sticks and skates. Bauer also discussed a new custom stick and skate-fitting program. BTM has been on the ground floor with Bauer with our 3D custom fit center, allowing customers

to customize any of the three high-end families of skates (Nexus, Supreme and Vapor). In 2019, Bauer will also be allowing customization on the second level down skates as well, and then with custom goalie skates by the summer of 2019. We got a chance to attend pods on all the new products. The five 90-minute pods were on protective, helmet and facial, goalie, roller and apparel. We got to listen to the presentation of those category managers. All five pods were very informative. That night, we had a banquet meal and an open trade show where we could walk around, touch and feel the product and speak with the product managers, many of them who we have had relations with for many a year. Always good to catch up with them. Friday morning started with an executive question-and-answer breakfast followed by guest speakers. We listened to Chad Brown, the CFO of Trek Bikes, talking about how Trek runs its business. It was fascinating to hear. He spoke of how specialty sporting goods stores can thrive if the give extraordinary customer service. Ordinary customer service at retail spells long-term disaster. He walked us through how Trek partners with dealers

throughout the entire bike-buying process. We also had author Joseph Michelli speak about retail business practices and the in-store shopping experience. He has consulted and written books on Mercedes, Starbucks and Amazon – another inspiring guest speaker who explained that in-store retail beats online if the customer service is top-notch. Friday afternoon, we had some time off and several of the dealers ventured to Gulfstream Park West to spend time in the sun watching the race horses. It was a good chance to talk business in a fun setting. Friday night, we had our Havana night that included a barbecue, rum tasting and cigar rolling station. It was a casual setting with a chance to catch up with some of our retail friends. Saturday morning was a wrap up on the day’s events, complete with some swag for the retailers – handshakes, good byes and a new inspiration of making BTM better. The Monday after Bauer World, we sat down with our managers and went over what all of us can do to make the customer experience better in our stores. Thanks to Bauer for including us in this global dealer event. We had an absolute blast!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes/Tucson Roadrunners Hometown: Kramfors, Sweden NHL Draft: Selected by Philadelphia Flyers in fifth round (122nd overall) of 2007 NHL Draft Acquired: Signed as free agent with Coyotes on May 16, 2017 Age: 30 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Mario Kempe: Probably the World Juniors. That was a lot of fun. We were young and that was pretty cool to play in such a big tournament. In that tournament, we (Team Sweden) lost to Canada in the last minute. It’s a really good memory and had a lot of fun. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? MK: It was my NHL debut (with the Coyotes at Vegas last Oct.10). It’s been a long dream and goal. To achieve that as a 29-year-old was cool. So that and my first NHL goal against (Boston’s) Tuukka Rask (last Oct. 14). It wasn’t the nicest goal I’ve scored, but I’ll take it. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? MK: I’d say my dad. He’s watched almost every game since I was a kid. He always calls me up after games to give me advice, so I’d say he’s been the biggest influence for sure. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? MK: Never stop dreaming. Even if you think it’s too late, it’s never too late. Make sure you do everything you can to achieve your goals. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? MK: I love soccer. It’s my favorite sport to watch on TV. Here in the United States, I try and put the alarm early so I can watch the Saturday soccer games from the English Premier League. I was actually in Russia to watch Sweden play in the round of 16 (in the 2018 World Cup) against Switzerland. We beat them, so it was great. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? MK: Yes, small ones. Little things, like during pre-game warmups, I need to go to the same line every time. Pretty simple and it’s nothing too bad. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? MK: I think it’s pretty normal. I like to get up pretty early and get a good breakfast in me. Wake up a little, have a coffee and then go for the morning skate. Do my thing there. Then go for a sleep for maybe 30 minutes to an hour and then you start to get ready for the game. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? MK: I love sushi, and there a couple good sushi places here. If I need to pick one place, my go-to is True Foods in Scottsdale Quarters. I really like that place. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? MK: Nothing really special. My computer. I like to watch some TV shows or play some games when we’re on the road. That, and my headphones. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? MK: Yeah. I’m from Sweden so Peter Forsberg was one of my great role models. Forsberg and Henrik Zetterberg, who was younger and came along a little later for me. Those two for sure. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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