‘We are a family’
Titans coaches adjust in second year to foster more growth, on and off ice, within organization By Moriah Hernandez
I have been a part of this organization,” Allan said. “And now, I get to work with every kid and get to know each and every one of them. I’m able to create relationearly two years ago, Justin Rogers was tasked with rebuilding VOSHA and ships throughout the whole organization and have a bigger impact.” as a result, the Arizona Titans were born. Rogers is convinced the passion and enthusiasm the Titans coaching staff has What seemed like a shot in the dark to the then-22-year-old hockey director for the game and being able to share that with the players is unmatched. Across has proven to be an important decision in the growth of youth hockey in Arizona. the program, the coaches share a genuine care for development. The mission for the organization has and continues to be focused solely on Stephenson, one of association’s younger coaches, is highly respected among player development, both on and off the ice. players, parents and fellow coaches. He has been with the Titans “We truly believe in player development and we are passionate about helping from the start and continues to be a vital piece of the players reach their highest potential,” Titans 10U coach Garrett Stephenson p r o g r a m ’ s foundation. said. “Garrett’s patience with the “It’s really amazing to be able to give opporyoung kids is just phenomenal,” tunities to players, including players who may said Majercak. “For someone have been passed on by other travel organizaso young to be doing it and tions, and watch them be so successful in a getting so much joy out of travel setting,” Rogers added. the younger kids shows To achieve the most development possible, how much he just wants to the Titans coaches are huge proponents of coach.” USA Hockey’s American Development Model “Having such a skilled (ADM). It’s proven to be effective for the coachcoach who wants to coach es to keep players engaged and increase the at a younger level has been abpuck touches so players are getting more out solutely fantastic,” added Rogers. “He of each practice. continues to be such an asset for us, and the “Being here at the Titans, we have a lot kids love him.” of really good skills coaches who specialize On the other hand, Titans coaches admire in certain things,” said Titans 14U and skills Rogers’ positivity and his ability to connect with coach Jarred Smith. “The ADM gets those the kids, in addition to his fresh perspective on coaches in small areas and focused with the the landscape of youth hockey and where it is kids in smaller groups, which really translates going. into skill development. It’s one of the most ef“Justin brings a passion to the game that is fective ways to use ice in terms of developing unmatched,” Stephenson said. “You can tell he skill.” grew up here as he loves everything about AZ Rogers said the ADM has helped the Titans Ice Arcadia and is dedicated to developing kids on an organization level to maintain a similar here at home.” structure from the Mites Development Program “He takes on a lot, and he’s only 24, but all the way through 16U AA, ensuring similar Lourdes Smith is one of the many Arizona Titans hockey moms, and joined her he does it well,” added Majercak. “He’s the unthings are being taught. children Harry, Landon and Lulu Smith take in a recent 12U game supporting derdog, he’s coming out of nowhere. He has a As the youngest director in the state, it’s their brother and her son Charlie Smith. Photo/Lourdes Smith plan but he’s not closed-minded to changing fitting that Rogers made it a point to build a his plan for the better, and he’s in it for 100 young, highly-skilled coaching staff. It was percent the right reasons, to grow hockey in important to him to find coaches who shared Arizona and develop players.” his passion but who also possessed the skills Rogers has also implemented a family-style needed to foster development. coaching atmosphere in effort to familiarize “We’re young, but we have a lot of years players with coaches across the organization. of playing and we relate very well with the “The coaching staff is a tight-knit group who kids,” trainer Jordan Allan said. “We’re here enjoys spending time together away from the because we want to make an impact and a rink,” Stephenson said. “We are a family, and change.” it shows when we step on the ice. If anyone “Seeing some of our younger coaches getis short, another coach jumps in to fill a spot ting involved and being a bigger part of it like without question.” Anthony Peralta and Jake Bayer has been Beyond the internal family-like setting, the great,” Rogers noted. “Not only could they play Titans have worked hard to create more than and did play more recently, but to see them dejust a hockey program. velop as a coach and start to strive on the other “On the ice and around the rink, our families side is incredible.” are so supportive,” Rogers said. “It starts from As the organization entered its second year, the Mites development level all the way up to it looked to restructure practices providing 16U AA. It’s more than just hockey. It’s a fullplayers with power skating coached by Mike blown hockey community.” Hensdell, weekly skills coached by Smith and “Everyone is connected,” Stephenson addweekly goaltending sessions with Jeff Tecca. ed. “There is a family-like atmosphere at the “The addition of skills night with Jarred rink from the youngest to the oldest.” Smith is definitely a plus because you dedicate It’s important to the Titans to improve and an entire day to ADM skills sessions, which is Arizona Titans Mite players – the youngest players in the organization – get grow with each season. Rogers said the goal great for every team,” said Titans 12U and 14U ready for a recent game in the AZ Ice Gilbert locker room. Photo/Jennifer Monn. each year is to build on the last and to become coach Steve Majercak. “The advancement of Jordan Allan, a dedicated physical more competitive year after year. fitness trainer, has been another positive change this season.” “Having a strict program for goaltending coaching, power skating and skills practices Allan was promoted to the Titans full-time off-ice trainer and continues to help has been more beneficial to our players, whether it’s in wins or closer games,” Rogers said. out on the ice for 10U and 12U teams. “We’re starting to see the byproduct of the right development and where it “It’s been one of the best experiences of my life – I haven’t worked a day since comes into play in a competitive atmosphere.”
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
The November issue, featuring the Arizona Titans on the cover, has hit the streets!