Arizona Rubber Magazine - December 2018

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The Arizona Titans youth program came to fruition earlier this year and over the past several months, has grown and gained substantial interest to the point where the sky is now the limit at AZ Ice Arcadia



FROM THE EDITOR Holidays are the perfect time to reflect on family, goals, hockey


es, it’s that time of year. The decorations are up, the lights are bright, the food is aplenty and family time is at an all-time high. Smiles are everywhere and for the most part, everyone seems to be in a jolly mood. As we approach the end of 2018 with the holiday season and look forward to an even better 2019, let’s all take the time to just enjoy the moment. Kick back, relax and take in all that life has given you – and all that is to come. There is always something special and magical about this time of year. The holidays have a funny way of making that happen, you know? So as we move in to 2019, make time to reflect Matt Mackinder on all that went well in 2018, what dreams you want to make a reality in 2019 and of course, don’t forget about hockey. The sport slows down a bit for the holidays, but stay in touch with the game at all levels. For those playing in holiday tournaments in the coming days, play hard, play the right way, and leave it all on the ice. From all of us with Arizona Rubber Magazine, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Late last month, the ACHA announced that Grand Canyon University has been approved to move up to the Division I level, beginning with the 2019-2020 season. The Lopes currently play at ACHA’s Division II level and compete in the Mountain West Collegiate Hockey League. “This has been a long time coming,” Lopes coach Danny Roy said. “It was part of our five-year building plan that we put together about four years ago. A lot of work and preparation to do now, but this gives us a chance to focus on what the next five years will look like.” On the New Mexico side of things, the EHL Premier League recently announced its TSR Hockey Stars of the Month for November, and one New Mexico native earned one of the awards. Rio Rancho native and New Mexico Warriors alum Nick Weaver was tabbed the junior league’s Forward of the Month with the Boston Jr. Rangers. Weaver, a 1999 birth year, was a key factor behind his team’s near-perfect month, tallying six goals and seven assists. The Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners are taking it to the streets. Literally. The Coyotes, in partnership with the NHL, the NHLPA and the league’s Industry Growth Fund, have created a street hockey PE curriculum that will be introduced to over 300 schools in Maricopa and Pima counties this year. In addition, the Coyotes’ street hockey PE curriculum will be added to 200 new schools in 2019-20 and 200 more schools in 2020-21. In total, the Coyotes will reach approximately 700 schools and over 500,000 students in Arizona with this program. The Roadrunners will be expanding on the PE curriculum as 22 Tucson-area schools will participate in the program during the 2018-19 school year, running through the middle of May. As a part of the program, each school will receive a full set of floor hockey equipment. School districts interested in more information can contact the Coyotes’ director of hockey development Matt Shott at or Roadrunners’ manager of fan development and amateur hockey Tyler Kern at In more great news, Chandler native Lyndsey Fry has agreed to serve as the Coyotes’ special advisor to the team president/brand ambassador. Fry will continue to work with the Coyotes Hockey Development Department to spearhead the growth of youth hockey and, particularly, women’s hockey with the Small Frys program. Additionally, Fry will play a central role in establishing and implementing a hockey development and engagement strategy. She will also provide strategic advice to the organization on a multitude of other areas, including brand awareness, community engagement, corporate communication and operational efficiencies.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

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Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Rippy


For Gilbert native and DYHA graduate Kenadie Cooper, developing in the desert helped boost her skills to play prep school hockey for the North American Hockey Academy in Vermont and next year, Division I hockey for St. Anselm College. More on Cooper on Page 10.

ON THE COVER Players from the first-year Arizona Titans gathered recently at AZ Ice Arcadia. Pictured back row, from left to right, are Gavin Trudeau (16U), Butch Mohler (18U) and Tyler Posivak (18U. Pictured front row, from left to right, are Michael Sarratt (10U), Ethan Uster (10U), Lexi Sarratt (12U) and Tate Burton (8U). Photo/Gil Gabo Photography

ASU inline squads rolling with new divisional format By Phillip Brents


he National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association realigned its divisions for the 2018-19 season to promote more parity at its season-ending national championship tournament. This realignment created an opt-in Division I tier where the strongest teams would compete against each other not only at the national championship tournament but also have the opportunity to meet in inter-regional competition during regular-season play. Arizona State University elected to compete in this new division. The University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos were the only other team from the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) to join the Sun Devils in this new division. The two teams will play a best-of-three championship series at the WCRHL regional finals. In the meantime, the Sun Devils continue to hone their skills against other top WCRHL programs from other divisions as well as match up against nationally-recognized powers in inter-regional competition. ASU director Nick Boyarsky feels his team, especially with key additions coming for the second semester, has the potential to be the strongest and most balanced in the recent era of the program. “Being able to combine this roster with the added benefit of seeing schools like Lindenwood University (2018 Division I national runner-up) once or twice in a regular season, and other top clubs like Michigan State, Farmingdale State and others, really puts the team in a more focused place heading into the national championship event in April,” Boyarsky explained. The Sun Devils ended the first semester of play with a lot of optimism.

The Division I team, despite battling a shorthanded roster at times, rolled into the midseason break with a 4-3 record. The Division IV development team faces off the second semester of play with a 6-2 record that includes a 4-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast University

Arizona State University’s Division I inline hockey team participates in a recent practice with coach Alex Dodt.

at the Nov. 17-18 regular-season event in Huntington Beach, Calif. Both the Division I and Division IV teams lost to Lindenwood at the Huntington Beach event, while the Division I team dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to Florida Gulf Coast. The Division I team, which is 4-1 against WCRHL

opponents (losing only 4-3 to UCSB), has relied on players transitioning between the Division I and Division IV teams for success in the first semester. They include freshmen Chase Steel and Michael Bloom and second-year player Paxton Parker, who makes the jump from the Sun Devils’ development squad in 2017-18. “For what’s previously been our role players, along with a group of freshmen and new-to-Division I players, the results were encouraging,” Boyarsky said. Steel has provided the biggest surprise by finishing in a tie for second in team scoring with five goals and 11 points through the first semester. He trails team leader Aryeh Richter (four goals, 17 points) and is tied with Ian Bast (eight goals, 11 points). Steel has one game-winning goal to his credit in the team’s opening seven games. “Chase has his eye on a Division I spot and came in both our preseason weekend and our first regular-season weekend with that goal in mind and put up a lot of points, showing us where we can find our goal scoring,” Boyarsky said. “With a little work on the other end of the puck, he could end up being an impact player for the next four seasons.” ASU’s Division IV team is 4-0 against fellow WCRHL divisional foes, losing only to Cal Poly Pomona’s undefeated Division III team in conference play. Jordan Behm (eight goals, 17 points) and Miguel Cazares (11 goals, 16 points) top the Division IV team in scoring at the semester break while goaltender Scott Keohane has posted a 5-2 record with a 3.57 goals-against average and a .834 save percentage. ASU is scheduled to travel to Palatine, Ill., Jan. 2627 to compete in an inter-regional tournament.


A Titanic Beginning

The first-year Arizona Titans association is adding to the booming growth of Arizona youth hockey develop, to excel, especially when they didn’t believe they could do it themselves.” For players’ parents to take a leap of faith and join a new program, Rogers said o much is happening these days with the Arizona Titans, that one has to re- the Titans have a special group of families in the organization. member that the youth program only came to fruition this past summer. “We are so grateful for all of our families who believed in us this first year,” said Housed at AZ Ice Arcadia, the Titans have teams ranging this season from 6U Rogers. “I couldn’t be happier of how positive and supportive our families have to 18U and a high-caliber coaching staff. been so far in our inaugural season. This organization has been a group effort, and Titans program director Justin Rogers said the last few months have been all of the volunteering and suggestions have made all the difference. Titans parents nothing short of a whirlwind. are the most trusting and supportive parents. They put their trust in myself and the “The growth has been absolutely amazing for being a first-year program,” said coaching staff from the very beginning and haven’t questioned it since. That and Rogers, who also coaches the Titans’ 11U and 13U teams and serves as the AZ the outpouring of support for the Titans is all I can ask for from parents. Ice Arcadia hockey director. “I don’t think any of our coaches and parents could “We definitely lucked out with the Titans families.” have predicted this outcome in such a short span of time. We are very excited to On the coaching end of the spectrum, that group is also a cherished composee what the future brings for us.” nent of the Titans. The Titans name stemmed from Arcadia High School, whose mascot is also the “I have coached all levels of hockey from beginners to Tier I travel and have Titans. Jim Rogers (AZ Ice Arcadia owner) and Justin Rogers are both alumni, so never been with a closer-knit group of coaches,” Rogers said. “We all have similar it just seemed fitting. mindsets and coaching styles, so it is just so easy to get along. There’s a consenEventually, the Titans want to be able to offer high school hockey as well as Tier sus across the coaching staff in what the end goal is, and that’s for our players II hockey within the program. to be the best they can be by Besides the Rogers duo, the end of the season. It’s just a others have had a hand in buildcohesive coaching staff that all ing the Titans from scratch. works in unison, and I couldn’t “Rebecca Trudeau has be prouder of that. We have been a tremendous asset in become a very close network helping to get the Titans off to of friends from 6U all the way a great inaugural season,” said to our 18U. We like to help out Rogers. “She stepped up as with other teams when running our program administrator, lead station-based practices and it team manager, gear and playhas just been a blast to have er organization, and so much all the coaches we ended up more. Her years of experience with.” as an involved hockey parent Mike Hensdell is the Tiaround the Valley helped retans’ director of player develshape VOSHA in the Titans’ opment and 16U coach, while first season. the rest of the coaching staff “Roxanne Sarratt took on includes Jim Rogers (6U), the role as our registrar and Garrett Stephenson (8U, has been a large component in 9U), Steve Majercak (12U), ensuring that coaching credenJarred Smith (14U) and Rob tials and all rosters are in order. Kerns (18U). “Moriah Hernandez, who Looking ahead, once springis also the general manager time comes, what will make this for AZ Ice Arcadia, has been a successful first season for a big part of this year as well. the Titans? She handles the ice schedule “For the Titans, a successfor VOSHA, making sure all ful season is development for the pieces fit together, espeall of our players and smiling cially with GCU hockey in its faces,” said Rogers. “I believe first year at Arcadia. Moriah the most important thing in any has helped to ensure that the Arizona Titans’ director of player development Mike Hensdell (center) is flanked by current Titans players Gavin Trudeau youth hockey player’s season (16U, left) and Butch Mohler (18U, right) during an on-ice session last month at AZ Ice Arcadia. Photo/Gil Gabo Photography Titans and Arcadia are able to is to make sure they are having create a working relationship that benefits both parties.” fun even if they are winning or losing. All of our kids have come so far already and And growing the game in Arizona, especially at the youth level, has been a trend with their hard-working and positive attitudes, I don’t think we will have any issues that gets bigger and bigger every year. The Titans certainly fit into that growth achieving our goal.” spurt. Rogers also noted that plans are already in place for the 2019-20 season to “The goal of the Arizona Titans is to help grow the game across the Valley,” build on the wonderful start in 2018-19. Rogers said. “In conjunction with AZ Ice Arcadia, we strive to help players develop “We are looking to add a couple of teams next season, which means we will be while also developing new hockey players. Titans coaches and kids helped partici- expanding our coaching staff,” Rogers said. “We are also looking to strengthen our pate in Try Hockey for Free Day in November in an effort to do just that. The Titans partnership with the GCU Lopes that share AZ Ice Arcadia as our home rink. We are hoping to develop hockey on a local level so players don’t have to consider are also planning on adding a couple hockey-specific tools to our gym upstairs with out-of-state options for better competition. We are also here to develop all of our the possibility of shooting lanes, stickhandling stations and passing blocks. All in players to be ready for the Tier I level, junior hockey and college hockey.” all, the Titans are looking to have a bigger and better season each year. In looking at the Titans teams this season, Rogers noted that it’s hard to pin“I believe we finally have the right formula to have VOSHA be successful. We point what gives him the most gratification with the entire program. are focusing on growing our 6U and 8U teams to be the biggest part of our asso“The best part of this season is seeing some players who normally would have ciation. With a bigger base to develop, it will be easier in the future to fill teams been overlooked to play travel not only have the opportunity to play travel this sea- in older age groups. We also have a fantastic coaching staff that encourages son, but to excel,” said Rogers. “It’s one of the most gratifying feelings to see that and motivates our players to be the absolute best players they can be. While type of development and know that all the hard work, all the trying times in getting we focus on development first, we always make sure our players are having fun this program off the ground so quickly, and even those obstacles that are still to during the season, which gives us a friendly and fun atmosphere for all families come, are worth it. There’s nothing like being able to give kids the opportunity to to be a part of.” By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Tocchet adapting to new ways of coaching in NHL By Mark Brown


ike players in development and transitioning through competitive levels, coaches traverse through a similar journey. From many who touch youth hockey through those who seek jobs at the highest NHL level, there remains a learning curve and an education which continues to drive instruction. Success means the ability to adapt to changes in the game, dealing with individual personalities and the need to be transparent. As Rick Tocchet becomes entrenched in his second season behind the Arizona Coyotes bench, there are visible signs which address the need to grow and progress. No longer is the game, especially at the NHL Rick Tocchet level, a matter of throwing a line, a pair of defensemen and a goaltender onto the ice with no prescribed method. Today, the diverse and complicated systems of analytics help propel hockey into the 21st century. With an increasing emphasis on numbers, trends, developments, and projections, coaches remain vigilant in a myriad of ways to keep their team constantly ahead of the competition. “It’s all about how you want to play the game,”

Tocchet said. ‘Once you decide that, then create your own style. Sure, you start with a core approach, but then you also pick up from other coaches and ways they were successful. “ From a learning perspective, Tocchet, and all other NHL coaches may not emphasize a strong learning base. When players don an NHL sweater, the individual skill level is essentially complete, and the coach’s duty is then two-fold. First, there is a need to fine-tune physical skills and then, adapt to changes in the game. In today’s game, the need to play “small hockey” is highlighted. That is, players are asked to control the corners, play a 200-footgame and intelligently utilize all dimensions of the rink. Though similar demands to play a complete game at the minor level remain, the requisite to teach and educate expands. Though the Coyotes, and all other NHL teams, dip into their AHL affiliates for help, the need to develop and grow as hockey players begin cultivating in levels below the NHL, such as the ECHL. When Drake Berehowsky manned the blue line as a defenseman for the Coyotes over a decade ago, the teaching aspect, an increasing fundamental in today’s game, was non-existent. A former first-round selection of Toronto in the 1990 NHL Draft, Berehowsky eventually appeared in 549 NHL games with the Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and

Vancouver Canucks and finished up with the Coyotes. Now as coach of the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears, Berehowsky is charged by the parent Tampa Bay Lightning with player development in an age of change and adjustment. “Just as a head coach, you’re learning all the time,” Berehowsky said. “You want to keep evolving as a coach. You have to adapt to the changes in the game. You can’t be a dinosaur.” I n contrast to Tocchet and his emphasis in preparation at the NHL level, Berehowsky is representative of coaches who use their platform to prepare players, in the embryonic stage of their hockey career, for mobility through the organization. “You’ll always looking to evolve and get better,” said Berehowsky. “If you don’t, you’re going to be left behind.” Part of the evolution is the need to instruct and educate. While Tocchet’s curriculum may be abbreviated because the elite feature of playing the NHL, for coaches like Berehowsky in Orlando and others in the ECHL, the emphasis on education is clearly defined. “In the ECHL, we’re a teaching league,” Berehowsky said. “We want our kids to move on and want our kids to evolve. We want them to play hard and want them to get to the next level. Every kid’s dream is to play in the NHL and lift the Stanley Cup. Our goal is to develop each player, have each player reach their potential, and realize their dream.”



AHU Bantam Black squad gives back to Chandler community By Sean Phillips


he Thanksgiving holiday is a time to reflect on what individuals and families – and yes, even hockey teams – are thankful for heading into the holiday season. For the Arizona Hockey Union’s Bantam Black team, those players, coaches and families instead chose to give back to the Chandler community during a recent event that took place a week before Thanksgiving. The players met at Fry’s Marketplace at 7:15 a.m. on Nov. 17 with a shopping list and a budget of $80 to be used for each gift basket the team would then put together. After checking out, the players and their families assembled the Thanksgiving baskets in the parking lot and then ventured over to the Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA for an orientation about the Thanksgiving Food Basket Program. Each family was then assigned two homes to which they had to deliver food baskets. Cars were packed up and food was delivered to the recipients’ doorsteps shortly thereafter. In total, 25 food baskets were delivered to the local Chandler residents. Not only does the AHU Bantam Black team secure victories on the ice, but the Knights also proved they know how to make a difference off the ice as well. ​​

Thanksgiving Shootout tournament another rousing success O ver Thanksgiving Weekend, the Arizona Hockey Clubs staged the 17th annual Thanksgiving Shootout tournament at Gila River Arena, Ice Den Chandler and AZ Ice Gilbert. On Nov. 25, after the third day of competition, the six divisions crowned champions, including three from the Arizona Hockey Union at the Mite, Squirt B and Squirt A levels.


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

The AHU Pee Wee White team finished in second place in its division, while the AHU Bantam Black and Pee Wee Silver teams all advanced to the semifinals. In addition to the three AHU winners, the other three division champions were the Jr. Coyotes (Pee Wee Elite, Pee Wee A) and the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils (Bantam).

The Arizona Hockey Clubs continue to offer three tournaments in Phoenix each season. “We’re excited to extend our efforts placing Phoenix hockey on the national map,” said Arizona Hockey Clubs president Stacy Shupe. ​​ -Sean Phillips

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY Overcoming adversity, NAU D-II FYHA coaches a positive mix of club finding ways to pick up wins knowledge, patience, attitude By Matt Mackinder

By Dave Bereson



t’s inevitable. Every hockey team has to battle adversity in one way, shape or form over the course of the long season. Whether it’s bad bounces in games, injuries or any other reason, good teams find ways to overcome these obstacles. That’s been the story so far this season for the Northern Arizona University ACHA Division II team, a squad that was 11-6-1 at the end of November. “We’ve been a tale of trials and tribulations this season,” said IceJacks coach Travis Johanson. “With all of our injuries, though, we’ve had guys step up and pull the rope, so to speak. All we can do is keep going forward here.” Forwards Reise Kieffer, Max Mahood and Desmond Conley have all missed substantial time recently for the IceJacks. All three are key players for NAU with Mahood being at or near the top of team scoring much of the season. He entered December with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points in 15 games. Only Lucas Lomax (31 points) had found the scoresheet more in 2018-19. One notable player for NAU has been senior forward and Phoenix native Kyle Erwin, who was recently called up from the NAU Division III team, where he had been serving as team captain. In one of his first games with his new team, Erwin notched a power-play goal against Weber State University on Nov. 29 at home. Mission AZ graduate and NAU freshman Dimitri Thorsen recently joined the IceJacks and has been a welcome addition on the blue line. The Peoria native skated last season for the Eastern Hockey League’s Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. “Kyle and Dimitri have been pleasant surprises for us and we’re certainly excited to have them both here moving forward,” said Johanson. “We have a long way to go, but we’re looking forward to getting some guys healthy and ready for the second half.”

s the coaching coordinator for the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association, Travis Johanson has an enjoyable role when it comes to the Northstars coaches. Johanson said it’s a position that takes up a great deal of time but is well worth it for the good of the FYHA players. “A lot of our coaches have ties to FYHA in that they played here once upon a time,” said Johanson. “You look at Reuben Gibbs (16U coach) and Matt Gibbs (12U), I had those guys as coaches when I played for FYHA. This year, those two tag team the 16U and 12U teams and do a tremendous job there. They’ve been with the program a long time and have always done a great job teaching these kids and developing their games.” Glen Austin coaches the FYHA Jr. Jacks’ 18U tournament team this season and is another longtime FYHA coach. “Glen grew up playing for FYHA and now, he has a kid on the 18U team,” said Johanson. “It’s kind of crazy to think how time flies, you know?” Brian Levin-Stankevich (12U), Ryan Haar (10U), Chris Whitney (6U), Mathew Sabicer (10U, 12U, 14U) and Kris Walsh (8U) also coach in the FYHA program. “Ryan and Chris, like the rest, including our wonderful assistant coaches, just do a spectacular job,” said Johanson. “For these club teams, they need to make the most of their time, and all of them do just that. I really appreciate the time and effort everyone puts in here. “We may not be as well known as some of the associations down in the Valley, and there is nothing wrong with that, but we are continuing to grow and build a great hockey community up here in Flagstaff and it all starts with our coaches.”


Continuing the discussion on hockey parent etiquette T

his is Part 3 of 3 in a series by Jamie McKinven of

7. It’s a Marathon, Not a Race. Most kids who play hockey dream of playing in the NHL. As a parent, it’s great to support your kids and do whatever McKinven you can to help guide them along the way. One thing that is important to remember is that the journey to the culmination of this dream is a marathon and not a race. If times get tough when your kid is 10, 11 or 12, it’s important to remember that it’s all about developing and getting better, and nothing is written in stone. There are so many stories of kids taking the long road to reach their dreams. Always keep that in mind, especially when the horizon looks cloudy. 8. Always Take a Step Back. As a parent, your first instinct is to protect and defend. If you feel your kid is

being wronged or a situation is unfair, you want to lash out and hurt those who would dare bring harm to your kid. It’s natural instinct. That being said, it is important to always take a step back and put things into perspective. You need to understand that your actions will have consequences and those consequences affect you as well as your kid, and others. In 2000, Thomas Junta (Google him, it’s a sad and tragic read) let his paternal emotions get the better of him during a situation at a minor hockey practice and spent eight years in prison for his actions. It all resulted from a typical situation that happens every day in hockey rinks across the world. Recently, I was at a Pee Wee game watching a friend’s nephew play. Throughout the game, I heard every swear word in the book aimed towards players, coaches, other parents and referees. Some of the yellers were people I recognized from real estate and insurance ads in the paper. Do these people think I’m now going to buy a house or a policy from them? I wondered what these people would think if they were able to watch themselves on video. 9. Be Aware of the Signs. Not everyone who starts playing hockey is going to want to play hockey forever. Even kids who are the best players on their teams and play at the highest levels can develop other

interests or lose interest in hockey altogether. There is nothing wrong with that. Kids often try different things throughout their childhood before they decide what truly interests them. To be more in tune with this, pay close attention to their body language and subtle cues because quite often, kids are too afraid to tell their parents that they don’t want to do something anymore out of fear of disappointment. 10. Educate Yourself. If your kid is serious about their dream of playing in the NHL and you want to shell out colossal amounts of money and provide moral support, educate yourself as much as you can about hockey and the different stages of development. Learn about what is important for development and what path is best. Soak in as much information as you can from as many sources as you can. One of the biggest hindrances for kids and their families at crucial times in development is lack of knowledge. For example, I’ve seen dozens of kids in the past few years throw away their NCAA eligibility in order to play a handful of games of Major Junior hockey simply because they didn’t have enough knowledge. They think that the only path to the NHL is from AAA minor hockey to the OHL to the NHL. They simply haven’t educated themselves on the subject of hockey and the various levels and paths.

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.



DYHA grad Cooper up for challenge at NCAA D-I St. Anselm By Matt Mackinder


enadie Cooper was born in Wyoming and loved playing hockey. And while Wyoming couldn’t provide the types of hockey opportunities Cooper and her family strived for, Arizona, on the other hand, could. Spending her formative years in Gilbert and playing for the DYHA Firebirds and then Jr. Sun Devils, Cooper later ventured out to Vermont to play prep school hockey for the North American Hockey Academy, where she has been for three years. Next season, she’s off to play NCAA hockey at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire – a school that next year will be part of the New England Women’s Hockey Alliance, a new Division I conference. “I have had a lot of great guidance and exposure at the North American Hockey Academy,” said Cooper. I had other opportunities from different colleges, but none of them fit me well. I ended up speaking with the head coach of St. A’s (Kerstin Matthews) and going on several visits. I loved the campus and everything about it. “The school was incredibly appealing in all aspects. It’s an absolutely beautiful campus and a very tight-knit community overall. From a hockey standpoint, I really liked the coach along with the values and philosophies she had when it came to both playing the game and taking life experiences from it. All the girls I spoke to on the team were very down to

earth and genuine about why they were there. You take that hit when we’re on the breakout. DYHA was could tell that they were a successful team not only also where I honed my power skating skills. Having from the statistics but from the way the presented that ability to be a fast skater with great edges is an themselves.” advantage that I’ve used through high school and St. Anselm’s academic programs were also a will most certainly be thankful for at the D-I level.” selling point for Cooper. Cooper added that “there are “The school itself is small, so many coaches from DYHA which was exactly what I was that I’m grateful to have been looking for,” Cooper said. “They coached and influenced by,” have very well-known nursing and including Todd Collins, Jon bio programs. Also, the classes Koshiol, John Damyanovich, are small, which give you the opJarred Smith, Mike Ziemboportunity to get to know your prowicz and Randy Vance. fessors. I wanted to be more than Koshiol sees Cooper being just a number in my school.” an impact player with St. Anselm. Playing for DYHA helped “Kenadie is a very focused Cooper hone her skills and deand intelligent individual,” velop to the point where she Koshiol said. “Anyone who has could play at higher levels. coached her or played with her knows that she will continue to “Playing for DYHA was a push herself, both on and off the fantastic experience because it ice, to get better each and every refined a lot of my skills and in day. I’m certain she will do very many ways, taught me grit,” said Gilbert native and former DYHA standout KenCooper. “It was never easy being adie Cooper signs her NCAA National Letter of well playing at the highest level the only girl on a boys team or, in Intent to attend and play hockey next season at of women’s college hockey while pursuing a college degree besome cases, the whole league. I St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H. had to be willing to give and take hits from boys that cause of that focus and dedication. I’m sure it will are quite a bit bigger. Something that I always carry be a challenging, yet fun and rewarding experience with me now is my lack of fear. Every time I touch the for her. All of her hockey friends and family will be ice, I’m not afraid to go in the corner and battle or rooting for her.”

Trio of Jr. Sun Devils teams capture Thanksgiving titles By Matt Mackinder

of themselves as well. They fought hard and never gave up. They have been working just as hard, so it was great to see both teams do well and enjoy the fruits of their labor.” The Jr. Sun Devils defeated Mission AZ in the title game. Marc Membrila and Rob Warzel coach the 14U Gold squad and Membrila said seeing the team’s hard work pay off in San Jose was “fantastic.” “We are so jazzed for the kids,” said Membrila. “Current Bantam Maroon coach Chris Sehring and I had taken our Pee Wee team out to San Jose Silver Sticks a couple years ago and had a blast. He was taking his team this year and Brad McCaughey was taking two of his teams, so we figured why not? It’s a great city, so win or lose, we knew the kids and families would have a good time. “We just didn’t know how good a time it would end up being.” In the championship game, the Jr. Sun Devils defeated the California-based Tri Valley Blue Devils 3-2 in a shootout. Membrila said the biggest key to winning it all was an all-around team effort. “It was everyone digging in, coming together and playing as a team,” said Membrila. “Nearly everyone got at least a point over the weekend, and the couple that didn’t definitely helped in ways that don’t show on the scoresheet. Every player showed us what they are made of, and it has the coaches very excited for the rest of the season.”


earing the midway point of the 2018-19 season, three DYHA Jr. Sun Devils teams found success winning three separate tournaments over Thanksgiving Weekend. The Jr. Sun Devils’ 14U Gold team captured a Pacific Region Silver Stick Regional championship and now advances to the International Silver Stick Finals from Jan. 10-13 in Pelham, Ont. – a small town between Toronto and Buffalo. In addition, the DYHA 14U AA team won the division championship at the local Thanksgiving Shootout tournament and the DYHA 10U Maroon team captured its division banner at the OneHockey Thanksgiving tournament in Southern California. “The players all put in the hard work and commitment that it takes to try and get better every single day,” said Kayman Wong, who coaches the 10U Maroon team. “To see the reward in the end makes you feel so happy for them and their families. It validates some of the things you work on as a team and for them individually. We brought two 10U teams and both teams did extremely well. “The Gold team didn’t make it into the finals, but they went 3-1 and they should be very proud 10

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Thumbs Up In Tahoe

As second half of season approaches, TPHA players continue to improve, progress on daily basis By Greg Ball


ith the holidays suddenly upon us and the hockey season well underway, the teams at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy are hitting their stride. The school’s prep team was off to a 6-2-0 start in the NAHL Prep division, and the varsity squad was 3-1-0-2 competing in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League. Here are six players who have been making an impact for Tahoe this season: Noah Csaky-Schwede A 15-year-old sophomore, Csaky-Schwede plays goalie for Tahoe Prep’s varsity team. He is a native of Victoria, B.C., who started playing hockey at the age of four and discovered his passion between the pipes when he was 10. He was convinced to cross international borders to continue his schooling and further develop his hockey career when he saw the incredible resources that would be available to him at Tahoe Prep. He and his family considered a number of other boarding schools before he landed in Tahoe this season, and it has been a great decision. “The dorms are incredibly nice, and it’s beautiful here,” Csaky-Schwede said. “It feels like I’m living the dream - I’m getting to play hockey every day, and the academic schedule works well for me. The coaches are really the best - they care about us and our development, and they know what they are doing.” Csaky-Schwede wants to play Division I college hockey eventually, but for now is focused on taking advantage of the unique opportunity afforded him at Tahoe Prep to advance his skills and become the best hockey player he can be. “In the leagues we are competing in, the play is different,” he said. “It’s a lot faster here. I just want to get better, and I really feel that I have accomplished that here.” Ellis O’Dowd Growing up in Santa Barbara, Calif., O’Dowd played everything from soccer and flag football to basketball, lacrosse and, of course, hockey. But hockey always held the top spot in his heart, and he had a decision to make after his freshman year and hockey season with the Valencia Flyers Bantam AA team came to a close last year. Now a 15-year-old sophomore forward at Tahoe Prep, he felt like his hockey development had hit a dead end, so he began to look elsewhere. “At the end of last year, I wasn’t sure where to play next,” O’Dowd said. “It didn’t seem like there were a lot of good options. Travel time to other teams was hard, and my freshman year playing hockey at this level wasn’t easy academically. I was able to make it work, but it was a challenge. TPHA seemed a lot more convenient to me having everything in one place with school and hockey. To be able to be on the ice five days a week was a big part

of it, too.” O’Dowd had spent many summers visiting Lake Tahoe

Noah Csaky-Schwede

Ellis O’Dowd

“My goal is to be able to make money playing hockey and to do that, I first need to play college hockey,” he said. “Right now, I’m focused on improving my skill set in pretty much every way and to have a shot of being on the prep team next year. It’s only been a few months, but there has been a noticeable difference in my skills.” Quinn Proctor Finding a local at Tahoe Prep is rare simply because the school and hockey program is so attractive to student-athletes from across the U.S. and other countries, but Proctor is an exception. A 16-year-old junior defenseman on the academy’s varsity team, he grew up in South Lake Tahoe. Proctor, now 6-foot-5, started playing hockey as a Mite with the Tahoe Grizzlies. He found success with his teams at the A and B level, winning two NorCal championships and one state championship. He said he is now focused on making it to the next level. “What changed it for me was practicing with the coaches and realizing how good they are,” Proctor said. “I liked the higher level of play and I’ve enjoyed developing as a player. It’s been fun developing a brotherhood with both the prep and varsity players, and I think the strongest part of the program is the staff. They are helpful with whatever you need, and they care.” Proctor, who carries a 3.75 grade-point average, said the blended academic schedule that includes online and classroom learning is also a major selling point for him. “It really sets up well for the student athlete,” Proctor explained. “It allows you to develop in your sport while staying on top of your classes.”

Jaxon Kennedy A 17-year-old defenseman on the prep Jaxon Kennedy Quinn Proctor team, Kennedy is another South Lake Tahoe native who was drawn in by Tahoe Prep’s burgeoning reputation. He played for the Golden State Elite Eagles for two seasons before joining TPHA. The senior said his ultimate goal is to play college hockey either at the Division I or Division III level. To make that happen, Kennedy said he is working on everything from stepping up his academic performance this year to putting in the time both on the ice and with strength and conditioning. “I want to be good enough by the end to this year to not only be scouted by a junior team, but to be ready so that I can earn significant playing time in the junior league,” Kennedy said. “Academically, I really want to get a 4.0 my senior year to help raise my overall GPA.” Kennedy said he has been impressed by Tahoe Prep’s growth since the academy first Brett “Ziggy” MacNicoll Jonah Fleisher opened, and the exposure has been great for and participating in the Pro Ambitions Hockey Camps, so the program. he and his family were familiar with the area. A trip to the TPHA dorms cemented his decision. Continued on Page 18



Fritsche, AHSHA seeing ‘immeasurable growth’ this year By Matt Mackinder


hen Marc Fritsche took over as AHSHA president two years ago, his immediate vision was to see the high school league grow and progress over the long term. While that has happened, what Fritsche didn’t expect was for the growth and improvement across the entire league to take place at a rapid pace. “We have grown so much in the time that I have been a part of AHSHA,” said Fritsche. “The board and league members continue to put countless hours and effort into making this league grow and continue to sustain its growth. If we look back five years and truly see the immeasurable growth, it amazes me. “The Arizona Coyotes have been a big part of our fast growth and will continue to help us make this league even stronger.” Fritsche went on to say that the board has been an amazing group of individuals to work with. “We have done a superior job turning our board into a group of people that truly care about two things – the players that play in the league and making things better for our players,” Fritsche said. “Even when we hit bumps in the road such as the All-Star Game and the inability to host it this season due to a concert being rescheduled, all hands were on deck finding a solution. This board is a cohesive unit and make things very easy to manage because they work so well together.”

And as for the Coyotes and Shane Doan coming aboard as AHSHA supporters, that support is “extremely valuable,” according to Fritsche. “The Coyotes have stepped up and helped us on numerous occasions to make sure that our mission is being fulfilled,” said Fritsche. “(Coyotes director of hockey development) Matt Shott and (Coyotes supervisor of amateur hockey events and business development) Jon Shivener work to grow hockey in Arizona through the Coyotes, and they both have been and continue to be valuable partners and pieces that help AHSHA continue on its successful path of growth. Shane is a true, natural leader and what better way for AHSHA to get the Shane involved then by offering a scholarship in his name? The Tanner Catalano Foundation will be doing their share of lending a hand and adding them to our list of family members is exciting for us as well. “I believe that hockey is the ultimate community and by adding quality people that eat, sleep and breathe the game to our family bodes well for our organization.” And now with a girls program in the AHSHA Premier division, again, more growth is never a bad thing.

“It is great that we were able to lay the groundwork and start to build a girls program,” Fritsche said. “Girls hockey has grown so much and to have a program that can help these players reach their hockey goals is a win for AHSHA.” Fritsche also noted that AHSHA hockey is something even a casual fan or observer should consider taking in this season. “Hockey is the greatest game on Earth,” said Fritsche. “We have so many passionate people that are a part of our program and make this program run so very well. People like Ed Georgevich who not only coaches and manages our Mountain Ridge program but has been on the board since inception. Ray Reed, who is currently coaching Corona High School, heads up our Disciplinary Committee and has been a board member for many years. He and his committee are working tirelessly to clean up our program. Lauri Griebel and Lori Deopere work countless hours to make sure the coaches and managers have everything they need to be successful on and off the ice. “All in all, it is fun just to see where hockey in this state has come and I am so proud to be a part of hockey growth in the state of Arizona and to work with so many fine people.”

Nationally-ranked ASU continuing to ‘build this the right way’ By Matt Mackinder


ust a few short years ago, many wondered when Arizona State University would make waves across NCAA Division I hockey circles. This season, the Sun Devils have been doing just that. Last month, ASU turned some heads when the school was ranked No. 18 in the Division I Men’s Poll for the first time. That ranking came on the heels of a sweep over Michigan State University, a split with Penn State University and a sweep over the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Sun Devils coach Greg Powers was elated with the ranking (ASU is still ranked, coming in at No. 15 in the Dec. 10 poll), but knows there is still work to be done. “Getting ranked is certainly a nice milestone for our players and we’re all very proud of what they have done so far this season,” said Powers. “By no means is this our end all, be all. We have big things yet to accomplish as a program and we’ll continue to build this the right way, brick by brick.” Over the Dec. 7-8 weekend, Arizona State picked up yet another sweep in winning both on the road at Princeton University, including one in overtime Dec. 8 on a goal by Jake Clifford, who was celebrating his birthday. “That is poetic justice, what happened out there with ‘Cliff,’” said Powers. “It’s his birthday and he’s been a tremendous program builder for us. He’s been through a lot of ups and downs as we’ve grown, and for him to have this big moment on his birthday in his senior year is a good moment for him.” Powers’ birthday is also Dec. 8. The previous night, junior goaltender Joey Daccord served Princeton a 45-save shutout at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink as the Sun Devils’ 4-0 win broke a program record for wins in a season. Daccord’s fourth shutout of the season has him tied for the NCAA lead in the category. “’Dacs’ was tremendous and he was the reason we won,” said Powers. “Our guys got a nice, gritty, gutty road win and we’ll take it all day.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


T1EHL spotlight again shining on Jr. Coyotes, Ice Den By Matt Mackinder


s the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL) continues to be a sustainable AAA youth league that stretches across the United States, that reach is evident in Arizona as the Jr. Coyotes, Ice Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler host the T1EHL Super Showcase this month for the second time in as many years. After taking in the incredible venues and seeing the impressive scout presence at last year’s event, the T1EHL awarded the league’s only Super Showcase this season consisting of participation of all 23 league members. Teams come from as far east as New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts and as far west as California with stops in between in Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Georgia and Iowa. “Due to the overwhelming positive response from high-level junior hockey scouts following last year’s event, that assured us the league was going to award the Jr. Coyotes this marquee event once again,” said tournament director Mike DeAngelis. The 2018 event runs Dec. 14-17 at the Ice Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler. Marc Fritsche, the Jr. Coyotes Elite Program

hockey director, could not be more excited for the AAA-level showcase and for teams like the Jr. Coyotes that travel a great deal, it’s great for the players to get to sleep in their own beds with the comforts of home for a change, and to play high-level games on their familiar home ice. “Our goal is to host another top-notch event with competitive games and to showcase our premier hockey facilities,” said Fritsche. “We

want to s h o w the national hockey community that the sport continues to grow here in Arizona at all levels. The sport is flourishing in the state and we remain a top program that prioritizes quality development and is beginning

to be recognized on the national stage. Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association executive director Kristy Aguirre adds: “This is a big event and we are very grateful that the Tier I Elite Hockey League has awarded us the opportunity to play host again this year. Who wouldn’t want to be in our beautiful state in December?” The Jr. Coyotes program’s responsibilities are to work directly with the Tier 1 Elite League and serve as liaisons with the Ice Den facilities to coordinate schedules and ensure that a smooth, high-quality event with competitive play with a great level of scout presence takes place. “The weekend will boast an excellent level of hockey – and a lot of it – with 96 games total between the 16U and 18U teams in both buildings,” said Aguirre. “These types of events provide a unique opportunity for us to showcase our program,” added Fritsche. “The pressure is to make sure we host the best event possible and do our program and the league proud. We look forward to the challenge knowing that, together with our players, coaches and families, and the Ice Den staff, everyone will get involved to pitch in and help us put on a memorable event.”

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Little Titans program providing stress-free development By Matt Mackinder


hen the Arizona Titans program was formed this past summer, Justin Rogers had no idea it would take off at such a fast pace. It took off so quickly that Rogers, the Titans program director, helped form the Little Titans – a program at AZ Ice Arcadia for beginner hockey players 3-15 years old. “It’s an in-house hockey program designed to develop kids who either just completed Little Howlers or who are potentially trying hockey for the first time,” said Rogers. “The Little Titans is the stepping stone for beginners. We run station-based practices, which include fun, small-area games and basic hockey skills. “The Little Titans was formed to give new players an opportunity to play the game in a stress-free and fun environment. This program is structured to give newer players a chance to further their development and hone their skills before moving into a house league or a travel program.” Rogers noted that a typical Little Titans session is similar to how Titans coaches run their teams’ practices. “We run an ADM (American Development Model) style practice, which includes skill-oriented stations and small-area games,” Rogers said. “These practices are modified to maximize skill development for all ages with an emphasis on fun.

AZ Ice Arcadia runs the Little Titans program on Saturday mornings each week. It is staffed by all Titans coaches, including Rogers, Mike Hensdell, Jarred Smith, Garrett Stephenson, Steve Majercak, Rob Kerns and Jim Rogers. “This is to ensure the best development possible for our new players,” said Rogers. “Jim Rogers is the lead coach on the ice and is assisted by coaches from the Titans’ 6U teams through the Titans’ 18U teams who are willing to give back their time and help with the development of the next generation of Arizo-

na hockey players.” And at the end of the day, bringing aboard new, young hockey players who don’t have to travel great distances or have their families spend a boatload of money to learn the game is what the Little Titans is all about. “Little Titans is a grassroots program for both AZ Ice


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Arcadia and the Arizona Titans,” Rogers said. “We are hoping to help players develop from the ground up so they will eventually become part of the Titans’ travel program. It’s the foundation of our organization and a great show of the relationship between the Titans and the rink. The partnership has been great, especially with the Little Titans program because it gives us the opportunity to shape more hockey players from the basic fundamentals on up.” Growing the game at the youngest levels has always been of the utmost importance, especially in Arizona. The Little Titans program is simply another facet of this growth, according to Rogers. “That is precisely what the rink and the Titans were looking to do with this program,” said Rogers. “It’s an effort to develop and build hockey players at the youngest level. It’s a chance for us to teach these kids the fundamentals and the love of the game from the beginning. “So far, so good. We are very excited to see what the future holds for the entire Titans organization and based on what we’ve seen to this point, I really believe that the sky is the limit.”


6 Helpful Ways to Conquer Your Hockey Fears By Mental & Emotional Coach John Haime


et’s talk about some ways you can address your fears. Here are a few simple recommendations that we might use with a player that might help you deal with fear and put it in perspective: 1. Address your fears directly. What are you afraid of and what might be the reasons? When you understand what might be causing your fear and acknowledge it, it will help you consider ideas how to address it. 2. Always remember your purpose for playing. “I love playing hockey because I love the speed, the competitive environment, the opportunity to show my skills and sharing an experience with my teammates.” Write your purpose down and keep it front and center – always! Your purpose will help you create perspective about what’s REALLY important in your game and why you are doing it. Remember, also, that have a feeling of gratitude about the opportunity to play and do what you love to do can fill you with positive energy and dampen the feelings of fear. 3. Learn to manage the most important voice in your game (and your life) – your own! Sometimes our own voice doesn’t help and tells you things you really don’t want to hear – building the threats into something bigger than they are. It’s important to develop your own “emotional caddie” – a friendly, supportive voice

that you might use if your best friend was having troubles. Try the same language and tone with yourself. A few suggestions might be, “I can’t wait to test what I’ve been working on in practice,” “Everyone watching is supporting me – I’ll treat them to some great play,” “My best effort is all I can do – I may make a few mistakes, but being perfect doesn’t exist,“ and “Pressure really gives my game meaning – this is where I want to be.” 4. Confidence and constantly building it is a secret weapon to overcome fear. Creating a feeling of “knowing” you can do it in your practice and preparation will help keep those fearful “what if” thoughts from taking over. After all, you’ve done great work in your practice with the team and on your own. You know you can do it – so bring the same feelings and approach to the game ice.

5. Practice mindfulness to enjoy hockey and stay in the moment. The future is where your goals are, but you don’t achieve them without staying in the moment and paying attention to the steps that will get you to those goals. Choose to bring the positive experiences from the past forward to support your confidence, and choose to leave the few negative ones where they belong – behind you! 6. Know the difference between “prove vs. improve.” The goal in your game should always be trying to improve all of your skills (technical, physical, strategic, mental/emotional). Sometimes when our goal is to “prove” ourselves to others, fear will creep in – the fear of the “what ifs” and trying to meet other’s expectations of you. Winning is great, but it will only come if you are doing the right things – enjoying yourself and trying to become a better player each day. So if fear is holding you back from really enjoying your hockey and using all your abilities, fear not. Remember that you are in control of your fears and there are practical actions that can help you douse the flames - helping you to be a more confident, proactive player. Follow these steps and you are well on your way to your pursuit of greatness! Did you enjoy this article? Then be sure to visit for the latest tips, tricks and the best hockey training products on the market!



Tucson event kick-starts ‘really exciting’ IHAAZ season By Brian Lester


he IHAAZ festival season kicked off over the Dec. 7-9 weekend, with the Jr. Wildcats playing host to it in Tucson. A total of 26 teams from around the state participated in the event. “The Jr. Wildcats are great IHAAZ hosts, and they go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome,” IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky said. “Although we saw some winners and losers this weekend, the gambit of different facilities and matchups will always play a part in who can hold their leads in a five-festival regular season.” Jr. Wildcats president Erik Dahl was also pleased with how the tournament played out over the weekend. “It was a great first tournament of the IHAAZ season,” Dahl said. “It looks like there’s going to be a lot of competition this season with many teams at all age levels either barely winning or barely losing some very close games. It was good to see all of our friends from around the state after the off season and we’re looking forward to the Royals tournament next month in Queen Creek.” Boyarsky added that the festival was a great way to start the year, sparking excitement of what is to come in the season ahead. “This season should be really exciting,” said Boyarsky. “We’re seeing growth within the series as a whole with growing ice hockey crossover players and teams, boosting our numbers.”

Below is a look at the highlights from each age division. The newly-launched provides updates throughout each festival and within seven days of each festival, individual scoring and goalie stats will be added. 18U: The largest Midget division featured seven teams, including two new teams in the Jr. Wildcats and Prescott Storm. The AZ Royals White and Northern AZ Yetis both went unbeaten. The Royals Blue and Yuma Blaze also competed hard.

At the first IHAAZ festival Dec. 7-9 in Tucson, the host Jr. Wildcats fared very well in all divisions, including the 8U level where the team went undefeated.

14U: The five-team division saw every team play each other, giving everyone an idea of what the season is going to look like. Yuma and the Jr. Wildcats dominated the division. In their head-to-head matchup, Yuma prevailed 3-1 behind great team play and a stingy defense. The two teams are likely to trade punches all the


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way to the state finals. 12U: Six of the seven teams in the division played in Tucson. Yuma came out of the weekend as the leader thanks to an overtime goal by Cole Gebhart in the opening game of the tourney against the Jr. Wildcats. The division appears to be too tight to pick a favorite as Yuma still has to play the Knighthawks Green. The most exciting game featured the Jr. Wildcats and the Knighthawks Green. The Jr. Wildcats prevailed 10-7 in a matchup featuring standouts Eli Shulman from the Jr. Wildcats and Brandon Gorzynski of the Knighthawks Green. 10U: This is a six-team division led by the Prescott Storm and Knighthawks Blue. The two teams didn’t play each other at the festival and ended up in a tie at the conclusion of the tourney. Both teams racked up six points in their three wins and both teams had a plus-17 goal differential, which is the first tiebreaker after points if there is no head-to-head matchup to go off of in determining a winner. The second tiebreaker is fewest goals allowed. Prescott held the advantage there, having allowed only three goals. The Knighthawks Blue gave up nine goals. 8U: Because of conflicts with weekend Mite ice hockey, there only three teams are in the division at the moment, though there is a chance a fourth will be formed this year. The Jr. Wildcats, who return a large number of their players from last season, dominated the competition and won each of their games by eight goals. The AZ Royals are hosting the next IHAAZ festival Jan. 11-13 in Queen Creek.


Coppola lighting it up for Mission AZ 18U Red squad By Greg Ball


icolas Coppola has been skating with the Mission AZ youth hockey program outside Phoenix since he was a Pee Wee, and as he approaches the end of his run with Mission, he’s in position to leave the program as one of its best players ever. Coppola, a 17-year-old forward on Mission’s 18U AA Red team and a high school senior, is among the leading scorers not only in AZYHL play (with four goals and two assists in five games), but also has excelled in the highly-competitive environment of the Central States Development Hockey League, where he has tallied an impressive 15 goals and 20 assists in 18 games.. Mission AZ hockey director Jeremy Goltz said Coppola is among the top players he has coached in his long career behind the bench. “What makes him special not only his skill set but his compete level daily,” Goltz said. “He wants to be the best every day and even against top national competition, he has been the best player on the ice almost every game this year. “He has a unique blend of skill, work ethic and being coachable. He should go down as the best Mission player of all time, and that is saying something.” Coppola first laced up a pair of hockey skates and picked up a stick when he was four years old and started with the Mission program in his second year of Pee Wees.

“Mission is everything that a hockey player could ment Camp three times for his age group, and that he want and need to develop into the best player they can has always excelled. Coppola is also the only skater in be,” Coppola said. “It’s truly a family at Mission, and the program’s history that Goltz has moved up a level I’ve never felt the same way anywhere else. The coach- - which he did last season - and Goltz said that only motivated his young star to push ing there is great, with Coach himself even harder. Goltz and the assistants - Coach So what’s next for Coppola? (Chris) Carouchi and Coach He hopes to play junior hockey and (Terry) Tessmer. I’ve never felt use that as a springboard to playlike I needed to leave because I’ve ing NCAA Division I hockey. His been getting the skill development ideal landing spot would be Arizoand competition that I need from na State - where he can stay close the program.” Coppola’s best attribute on the to home but also thrive playing for ice is his speed, helping him zoom one of the premier programs in the western United States. past opponents and get to pucks “I’m hoping to go play juniors that other players may not. He also for a couple years and see where has placed a heavy emphasis on that takes me,” Coppola said. “I chemistry within his line, which he would love to play in the NAHL understands has a big impact on next year and then end up at Arithe line’s scoring ability and ultizona State. I’ve been a fan of the mately the team’s win-loss record. program since I was a little kid, and “I love to show up at the rink it would be a dream to go there.” and every time I’m there, I try to AZ 18U Red forward Nicolas Cop“I have talked to Coach (Greg) put in 100 percent effort and re- Mission pola has been an offensive juggernaut this ally strive for perfection,” Coppola season, averaging nearly two points per Powers about him, and he is gosaid. “I want to spend every minute game in CSDHL play with 15 goals and 20 ing to get him a tryout this sumtrying to make myself and my team- assists for 35 points through 18 games. mer,” Goltz added, adding that he mates better.” thinks Coppola’s development will really take off under Goltz noted that Coppola has been selected for the the tutelage of high-level college coaching. “The sky’s Rocky Mountain District’s prestigious Player Develop- the limit once he hits that level.”

Happy Holidays from all of us with Mission AZ!


NEW MEXICO REPORT Ice Wolves trending upward with Revamped RGHSHL growing in coaching changes, rink ownership New Mexico, Texas, Colorado By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



he New Mexico Ice Wolves youth hockey program (NMICE) is recognizing that change is good. For the current 2018-19 season, the Ice Wolves made some wholesale changes to the club’s travel coaching staff – just one such tweak that has proven to be a positive for the Albuquerque-based association. “Our Squirt, Pee Wee and Bantam coaches all grew up and learned the game in Minnesota playing at very high levels,” said Ice Wolves president Jeff Thompson. “They are also committed to helping our house and developmental programs as well.” On the business side, the Outpost Ice Arenas – the home rink for the Ice Wolves – are under new ownership this season with University of Minnesota alum Stan Hubbard taking the reins. And Hubbard is proving to be a difference maker at the arena, also located in Albuquerque. “The new ownership has made tremendous upgrades to the facility already,” Thompson said. “They are also very dedicated to growing youth hockey in New Mexico. At NMICE now, for instance, our Squirt kids playing house and travel get five hours of ice time a week (three hours for just travel), and that is making a big difference. “There is a buzz at all levels, adult hockey included, at the changes being made at the Outpost.” Thompson added that watching hockey at the youth and adult levels start to pick up steam in the local communities is very encouraging for the present, as well as for the future. “The Albuquerque area is a solid hockey community and growing every day,” said Thompson. “I believe that we are putting all of the right pieces in place and in the very near future we will have a junior hockey team in Albuquerque. It is not a case of ‘if you build it, they will come.’ They are already here and are waiting for it.” The Western States Hockey League’s New Mexico Renegades were the last junior team to call the state home, playing from 2009-14 in Rio Rancho before moving to Springfield, Mo.

nown for years as the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League, the NMIIHL has grown to incorporate more than just schools in the Land of Enchantment. Starting with the 2018-19 season, the league is now known as the Rio Grande High School Hockey League (RGHSHL). “With more than half of our programs playing out of Texas or Colorado, it seemed right to adjust the league name,” said RGHSHL commissioner Kevin Brake. “Our league has been going through significant changes over the last several seasons. The inclusion of programs across West Texas and Southern Colorado has undoubtedly been a positive thing for the level of competition in the league. “However, some programs have struggled to maintain enough players that are able to make the significant commitment that is required for a league that has such a large geographical footprint. I do think that several of the programs that have struggled over the last several years are bouncing back and will be back at the varsity level soon. Overall, I think we are heading in the right direction and we are happy to have the Odessa program back at the varsity level and we hope to get Santa Fe back next season. We have brought Alamosa into our rapidly-developing JV league and they are excited to be hosting our JV midseason tournament this year at their new rink.” Brake added that with the new season underway, he’s excited to see how the games shake out. “I think we should see a lot parity in the league this season,” said Brake. “The early games have shown that we have a lot of evenly-matched teams and I think this should be a very competitive season. One major change that we made to the rules this year was that only the top six teams make it to the year-end tournament. In years past, we have brought all of the teams to the tournament and the regular season existed to develop the seeding. “I think that the new format will increase the level of intensity in our regular-season games, especially as we close in on playoff time.”

Daily improvement is the name of the game at Tahoe Prep Continued from Page 11 “I feel the program has just gotten a lot better, and (Coach) Mike (Lewis) is super serious about moving kids on to the next levels,” he said. “The coaches here care about you. Mike and Chris (Collins) care about your individual success - not just the team’s win-loss record.” Kennedy said the addition of Barton’s Center for Excellence in the prep team’s training has also been a significant improvement to what Tahoe Prep offers its student-athletes. “The best development is being on the ice every day and working out every day,” Kennedy said. “Our training at the center is lot more hockey focused. We work on all the of things we need to be better for our sport like agility and strength.” Jonah Fleisher A center on Tahoe’s prep team, Fleisher is in his first season at the academy after moving late this past summer from his family’s home in Dallas. The 17-year-old senior previously played for the McKinney North Stars and started looking at a number of different programs last year. “It took coming and seeing the facilities and meeting the coaches to help me make the decision,” Fleisher admitted. “I knew I needed a change because my school wasn’t supporting me through hockey. I was missing a ton of school it was hard to keep my grades up.” Academics are important to Fleisher because his hockey goals are centered around playing at the collegiate level. 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

“It’s not so much about playing hockey professionally for me,” Fleisher said, adding with a laugh that if he was drafted by an NHL team, he wouldn’t say no. “What I want is a free education. I want to be able to set

myself up with a good education.” TPHA’s prep team travel schedule has been just right for Fleisher “It’s a lot more travel this year,” he said. “Personally, it’s been good for me. To be the best, you have to beat the best. I’m only going to get better if I push myself and it’s tough. I’m looking to try to go to the NAHL next year. It’s hard work, and I know I have to do this to get there.”

Fleisher said he knows Tahoe Prep’s training and conditioning are working through measurable results. “Mike (Lewis) is on you,” he explained. “He expects better from you, better than you even expect of yourself, and Chris (Collins) is creative. He teaches you new moves and new ways to play the game. Realizing how much better you’re getting is refreshing.” Brett “Ziggy” MacNicoll A native of El Segundo, Calif., MacNicoll is an 18-year-old post-grad who plays forward for the prep team. He was introduced to roller hockey at a young age and played for the LA Jr. Kings 18U AAA squad before making the jump to Tahoe. He is currently taking online courses from Lake Tahoe Community College and starting work on his degree. MacNicoll was familiar with Lewis through private lessons he had taken with him in the Los Angeles area. He said THA’s development focus appealed to him on his road to playing juniors. “I literally came up and here and it was just, ‘Wow,’” MacNicoll said. “The dorms and the facilities are just great, and you can’t beat the time on the ice. Since I’m doing online classes, I often practice with both the prep and varsity teams, and it’s helped my game a lot. I feel I’m getting more speed and stick handling skills.” His improvement has showed up on the scoreboard. In the team’s last tournament, he scored 14 points in four games. “The competition has been pretty good,” MacNicoll said of the team’s many trips. “Some games, I’m like, ‘This is hard,’ but the exposure is what you are looking for as a player.”


Petruzzella chasing NCAA dreams with NCDC’s Bandits By Joshua Boyd/


hen he’s home, and when it’s not 120 degrees in the shade, Scottsdale native Joey Petruzzella often puts a light pack on, ties on his trail-running shoes, and hits the dirt for some serious cardio. His regular off-season training ground? Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale. “Me and a few of my buddies will head over – that’s a favorite place to train and hike,” said Petruzzella, a longtime Jr. Coyotes player who is now playing in the tuition-free National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) with the Boston Bandits. The NCDC is the highest of three junior tiers in the United States Premier Hockey League, the nation’s largest amateur hockey organization. The NCDC saw more than 50 NCAA Division I commitments last year and over 110 NCAA commitments in total last year. Petruzzella is a regular on the blue line for the Bandits, who are right in the mix of the 12-team NCDC, sitting fifth as of early December. They were just one point out of third place, which carries with it home ice for the first round of the playoffs. “It’s a great, young group of guys. Once we put it all together, we can win it,” said Petruzzella, who has five points in 20 games this season. “I think we just have a great group of guys. We are all friends, and we all love coming to the rink every day.” Petruzzella is actually a second-year NCDC player,

make his commitment this year, he can still play anothhaving suited up last year for the Syracuse Jr. Stars. “Any team can beat any team on any given night,” er year of junior hockey. “It would be great to achieve my career goal of a Petruzzella said. “It just makes you push harder every day to get better. Anyone on your team can play in any college commitment this year but having one more year of junior eligibility allows me to keep all options situation, so you have to separate yourself.” Petruzzella said that playing for head coach Rich open,” he said. Petruzzella grew up with the Alger, a former University of Masgame, being the son of a Buffasachusetts and Boston University lo native who was a hockey capdefenseman, allows the Bandits tain for Archbishop Williams High players to separate themselves. School in Braintree, Mass., in the “Coach Alger is a great coach 1980s. Braintree is not too far from and would be considered a playBridgewater, home of the Bandits. ers’ coach, the type of coach you “He introduced it to me and I want to want to leave it all on the ice for every night,” added Petruloved it,” Petruzzella said. “I loved watching it, loved skating, loved zzella. playing roller hockey in the driveIt also helps put the Bandits way.” players on the radar for NCAA colThe NCDC is just about at its leges, and Petruzzella sees himself midway point prior to Christmas, offering much to college hockey and Petruzzella said that as good teams. as the Bandits have played, they “I’m a two-way defenseman, I can do even better before playoffs skate pretty well, and I like to jump Joey Petruzzella begin in late March. into the play offensively,” he said. “We just have to get a little more gritty, bear down “I just liked how close all the NCAA Division I and III schools are (to NCDC teams). It feels like we have in the offensive zone, get the shots on,” he said. “We more exposure. It’s a short drive for all the schools to also have to get pucks out of our zone the right way.” Learn more about the USPHL’s Junior and Midget come watch.” Petruzzella is a 1999 birth year, so if he doesn’t offerings at!

Stenholm family utilizing hockey to overcome tragedy he stopped what he was doing to find an unopened pair of gloves in the Mission room just so Spencer could get en years ago, the Stenholm family experienced a teron the ice that night. Moments like that are, to me, what rible tragedy – and then a generous donation – that it means to be part of the hockey community.” changed their lives forever. Last summer, Spencer was selected to represent Jim Stenholm, an officer with the Phoenix Police Arizona at the Western Regional High Performance Department for over 13 years and center of calming Development Camp in Colorado Springs, an “amazing strength in the family, passed away suddenly, opportunity,” he said. leaving behind a wife and two young children. “I got to see all of the opportunities that His colleagues and friends in the Arizona first are out there and play with some of the best responder community were committed to players in the country in my age group,” said helping his family through this time. Spencer. “I’d like another opportunity like The Daisy Mountain Fire Department had that next summer. Long term, I want to go as an idea: hockey. far as I can in hockey. I’d like to make a Tier It was a sport that they knew could help I or Tier II junior team and hopefully get the bring focus, community and structure to Jim’s chance to play for a Division I school in colson, Spencer, then four years old and reellege. I also look at academics – I’m interested ing from the loss of a parent. They arranged in engineering and law enforcement.” for eight weeks of skating lessons at AZ Ice As for watching her son grow and dePeoria, with the rink picking up the cost. velop and excel at a sport he is passionate “I used to tease his dad that Spencer about, all while using the game to find hapcould try any sport his dad he liked, but that piness again, Rebecca puts it best: “The rink Spencer would end up liking my favorite has been so much more than ice. It’s a place sport, hockey, best,” said Rebecca Stenwhere we had the space to hurt, the space holm, Spencer’s mother. “The rink was a and time to recover, and it helped shape our fresh start, a place where we didn’t already new chapter. Lots of kids love hockey, but have memories. We – Spencer, his sister, Mission AZ player Spencer Stenholm (left) takes in the sights and snaps a selfie with his it has been so much more than a game for mother, Rebecca (middle), and sister, Avery (right), during his time away from the rink. Avery, and me – could start writing whatever Spencer.” that next chapter was going to be.” “There have been a couple of times when I’ve felt helped turn a negative into a positive. This season, Spencer plays for two Mission AZ “Spencer was a Mite and playing in the house my dad was watching me while I was on the ice, but teams – with his age group on the Bantam Red team league,” she said. “It had been a bad day for all of us I like to think he is always watching over me and my and up a level with the 16U White team. – we were already late for practice, and a glove was sister,” added Spencer. “Whether it’s hockey or some“I love the chance I get to be part of a team, and the missing. (Mission director of hockey operations) Jere- thing else like riding a bike (one of his favorite hobbies), community I am part of,” said Spencer. “Hockey is an my Goltz didn’t know us, and we didn’t know him, but I know he’s there.”

By Matt Mackinder


amazing community of people, no matter which team you play for. I get to play with a group of friends who really work hard and it’s like being part of a big family. I also have friends on other teams, so it’s like having an even bigger family. It’s something really special and I get to be a part of that.” Rebecca remembered an occasion where hockey


2018-19 ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO ALUMNI E-mail all additions, deletions and corrections to

ARIZONA PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Winnipeg Jets Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Utah Grizzlies Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Rapid City Rush Joey Sides (Tucson) – Kansas City Mavericks SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – Macon Mayhem Ben Oskroba (Tempe) – Peoria Rivermen Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – Peoria Rivermen

Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Arizona State University NCAA DIVISION I – WOMEN CHA Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University

NEHC Natasha Hawkins (Scottsdale) – New England College Belle Lacombe (Surprise) – Norwich University

ECAC HOCKEY Taylor Stadeli (Scottsdale) – Dartmouth College

NESCAC Lori Berger (Scottsdale) – Trinity College Alexis Ryan (Mesa) – Middlebury College

HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Kiki Roust (Queen Creek) – Merrimack College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire NCAA DIVISION III – MEN

FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Seth Gustin (Phoenix) – Carolina Thunderbirds

CCC Sage Englund (Cave Creek) – Salve Regina University

OVERSEAS Broc Little (Phoenix) – Sweden Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – United Kingdom

MASCAC Erik Pritchard (Cave Creek) – Worcester State University James Stiles (Tucson) – Framingham State University

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Boston Pride Katie McGovern (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Whitecaps

MIAC Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – St. John’s University Nick Nast – St. Mary’s University &


NCHA Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – College of St. Scholastica

NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Bentley University BIG TEN Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) – University of Minnesota ECAC HOCKEY Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – St. Lawrence University HOCKEY EAST Adam Samuelsson – Boston College * NCHC Jake Durflinger – University of Denver & Phil Knies (Phoenix) – Miami University Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – Colorado College Keenan Spillum (Phoenix) – Colorado College Carson Vance (Tempe) – Western Michigan University D-I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Demetrios Koumontzis – Arizona State University *

MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St. Olaf College Taylor Curtis (Peoria) – Hamline University

NESCAC Andy Chugg (Mesa) – Trinity College Alex Heinritz (Fountain Hills) – Middlebury College Samuel Kany (Phoenix) – Trinity College SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Derek Brown (Peoria) – Oswego State University Alex Storjohann (Phoenix) – Cortland State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University UCHC Sean Dickson – Utica College & WIAC Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN COLONIAL HOCKEY MacKenzie Lyons (Scottsdale) – Nichols College Sarah McSweeney (Chandler) – Becker College

NEWHL Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Hannah Kiraly (Glendale) – Plattsburgh State University Ky Lackey (Phoenix) – Buffalo State University UCHC Raeann Clancy (King’s College) Gabrielle Igo (Phoenix) – Utica College

NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Buckeye) – Amarillo Bulls Henry Dennee (Chandler) – Topeka Pilots Clayton Lackey (Scottsdale) – Lone Star Brahmas Reid Miller (Gilbert) – Odessa Jackalopes Ryan Reid (Phoenix) – Springfield Jr. Blues Joe Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Mason Vukonich (Gilbert) – Topeka Pilots Dante Zapata – Austin Bruins & NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Alejandro Apud (Scottsdale) – Louisiana Drillers Robby Beck (Cave Creek) – Northeast Generals Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – Coulee Region Chill Alexander Kelsall (Gilbert) – Milwaukee Power Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Maine Wild Chase McLaughlin (Scottsdale) – Coulee Region Chill Hayden Seitz (Phoenix) – Helena Bighorns


NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Patrick Murphy (Gilbert) – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Jack Strauss (Phoenix) – Soo Eagles

ALBERTA JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Adam Bricker (Scottsdale) – Whitecourt Wolverines

ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE D.J. King – Hamilton Bulldogs *

BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Trevor Griebel (Glendale) – Wenatchee Wild Hunter Hastings (Scottsdale) – Wenatchee Wild Rowan Miller (Scottsdale) – Powell River Kings

SASKATCHEWAN JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Cole Golden (Phoenix) – Notre Dame Hounds Grant Ziegler (Scottsdale) – Kindersley Klippers

CANADIAN PREMIER JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Xavier Zuba (Scottsdale) – Scarborough Wexford Raiders CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Ethan Osburn (Dewey-Humboldt) – Nepean Raiders EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Chris Crowley (Fountain Hills) – Boston Jr. Rangers Justin Gusso (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Revolution (Premier) Carson Holliday (Gilbert) – Walpole Express (Premier) John Olguin (Chandler) – New England Wolves (Premier) Tanner Paterno (Surprise) – Connecticut RoughRiders Joe Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers GREATER METRO HOCKEY LEAGUE Connor Hanson (Cave Creek) – South Muskoka Shield Sam Hinnant (Cave Creek) – South Muskoka Shield Alec Miller (Peoria) – Bradford Rattlers KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Gavyn Entzminger (Surprise) – Castlegar Rebels MANITOBA JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Riley Morgan (Scottsdale) – Winkler Flyers MARITIME HOCKEY LEAGUE Landon Quinney – Valley Wildcats &

WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Jacob Elik (Phoenix) – Northern Colorado Eagles Anthony Masanotti (Gilbert) – Utah Outliers Ryan Radke (Cave Creek) – El Paso Rhinos PREP SCHOOL Austin Chesworth (Gilbert) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy Kenadie Cooper (Gilbert) – North American Hockey Academy Cade Schiefelbein (Phoenix) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy

NEW MEXICO PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY OVERSEES Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Finland COLLEGE HOCKEY NCAA DIVISION I – MEN ATLANTIC HOCKEY Jackson Barliant (Santa Fe) – Sacred Heart University NCAA DIVISION III – MEN NESCAC Nicholas Faturos (Albuquerque) – Amherst College

UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Sean Bunting (Phoenix) – Sioux City Musketeers

UCHC Cory King (Albuquerque) – Chatham University

UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Blake Bjella (Mesa) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Arun Cibrario (Phoenix) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Harrison Corse (Scottsdale) – Kasson Vipers (Premier) Brett Dillon (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Joe DiGiulio (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) – Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) Kohl Hedquist (Tempe) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Stephen Kennedy (Scottsdale) – Northern Cyclones (Elite) Skylar Miller (Chandler) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Joey Petruzzella (Phoenix) – Boston Bandits (NCDC) Hayden Ripley (Scottsdale) – Minnesota Mullets (Premier) Ian Rogers (Phoenix) – Dells Ducks (Premier) Barrett Rosser (Scottsdale) – Atlanta Jr. Kings (Elite) Jared Sanchez (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Keshawn Scott (Gilbert) – Motor City Hockey Club (Premier)


WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Erik Atchison – Spokane Chiefs & Mark Kastelic (Phoenix) – Calgary Hitmen Jeremy Masella (Phoenix) – Prince Albert Raiders Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals & Luke Ormsby – Moose Jaw Warriors * Garrett Wright (Mesa) – Regina Pats

EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Matt Orlando (Rio Rancho) – Boston Jr. Rangers (Premier) Nick Weaver (Rio Rancho) – Boston Jr. Rangers (Premier) ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE Marcus Gretz (Albuquerque) – Flint Firebirds UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Jason Knoll (Albuquerque) – Florida Jr. Blades (Elite) Seth Payson (Albuquerque) – New York Aviators (Elite) PREP SCHOOL Liam Sutton (Santa Fe) – Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy

* former Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat


Thank you, Arizona, for 25 great years supporting BTM I

t may be a ways away, but preparations are already under way for the BTM 25th Anniversary Extravaganza to be held on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at BTM Scottsdale. People thought we were crazy to open a hockey Exelby store back in March of 1994 in the middle of the desert. And looking back, we were crazy. There were two full-time ice sheets in town at that time – Tower Plaza and Oceanside. The lack of freeways made both much harder to reach than now. And there were also a couple inline rinks – the Glendale YMCA and Hockey on Wheels. Both long gone. At our grand opening in March 1994, we did not have one piece of hockey equipment in the store. Our first store on 75th Ave. and Cactus was 400 square feet of retail space. We had just gotten approval to be a Rollerblade account. Back when fitness skating was wildly popular, Rollerblade ventured into the inline

hockey market. That lasted a few years until they realized that inline hockey was not their forte. It would be years before we got CCM and Bauer accounts. Our store at the time sold sports cards and pogs. Anyone remember the pog craze? Kids would come in after school buy and play pogs in the middle of the store. One of those kids, Beau Saugling, has been the longtime manager of BTM Peoria. Every once in a while, someone brings up buying sports cards or pogs from us. Over the 25 years, many hockey companies have come and gone – Graf, Eagle and Easton, to name a few. Then in 1996, an amazing thing happened. The Winnipeg Jets were relocated to the Valley of the Sun and the Phoenix Coyotes were born. New hockey players turned up in droves. Hockey began to be a relevant sport here. New rinks were built. NHL players retired and started coaching youth hockey in town. Arizona State University got an NCAA Division I team and a player from Arizona – Auston Matthews – was chosen first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Could we have ever imagined this in 1994? For our 25th anniversary, we will be having

some great events at BTM Scottsdale and in-store deals at all locations. BTM Scottsdale will be hosting Smashfest II, in which Bauer, CCM and Warrior will have demo sticks to shoot off synthetic ice – shooting at TVs, fridges, glasses, and lots of other breakable items. Each person will receive three FREE shots – to see how much damage they can inflict. Five additional shots will be available to purchase for $5. All the money raised will be donated to the Arizona Humane Society, a cause dear to our hearts. Test out sticks while helping a great cause. There will be lots of free swag. The vendors are all on board to help make this a great event, much different than 25 years ago when B a u e r would not even return our call for the first couple years. We will start to take any donations for Smashfest II in the New Year. Anything breakable we will put to good use. Last Smashfest for those who attended, we had a car that we shot at. Remember that? We cannot thank the entire Arizona hockey community enough for 25 wonderful years. And for the lifelong friendships we have made. Thank you!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


JORDAN OESTERLE Position: Defenseman, Arizona Coyotes

Hometown: Dearborn Heights, Mich. NHL Draft: Undrafted, signed as free agent with Edmonton Oilers on March 31, 2014 Acquired: Traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Coyotes along with forward Marian Hossa, forward Vinny Hinostroza and a 2019 third-round pick in exchange for forward Marcus Kruger, forward Jordan Maletta, defenseman Andrew Campbell, forward MacKenzie Entwistle and a 2019 fifth-round draft pick Last Amateur Team: Western Michigan University (NCAA D-I) Age: 26 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Jordan Oesterle: Before turning pro, probably winning the state championship (in Michigan) as a high school senior with Belle Tire. That was probably the highlight of my hockey experience growing up. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? JO: Actually, I could point to several. My first NHL game, my first game played in Detroit (hometown is nearby Dearborn Heights) or first NHL goal. My first goal was against Edmonton (playing for Chicago), my former team, and it came last year against Cam Talbot. It was kind of full circle to get my first goal against the team that I broke in with. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? JO: I would say my parents. They’re both blue-collar and hard-working. The way I grew up, and what they taught gave the value to the things my dad did. Definitely, they are people that I hold up as high as you can. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? JO: Just have fun. Obviously, it’s every young kid’s dream is to play in the NHL. You have to grow up, play a ton of sports, have fun and what happens, happens. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? JO: No, not really, I played them all, but it all came down to my last two sports, football and hockey. I ended up staying with hockey. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? JO: I really don’t have any superstitions. I don’t know if it’s a superstition or just something I do. I always put the left side of my equipment on first before the right. It’s kind of natural for me. If I put the other side on first, it just feels weird. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? JO: Pretty simple. I’m pretty easy-going. Most of the time, I nap and take things like that easy. I think some guys have some pretty crazy ones. I don’t have anything like that. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? JO: Nothing yet, really. I caught a couple of good restaurants and I like True Foods. I’ll go there often. Pre-game meal is usually some pasta, some chicken and some veggies and that’s it. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? JO: A tie, laptop, chargers, a book and some toiletries. Then I’m good to go. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? JO: It was Nicklas Lidstrom. Growing up in Detroit and in that era, it’s pretty easy to pick one of Red Wings. With me being a defenseman from a young age, I was influenced by the career he was able to have and all the success. It’s hard not to want to model your game after him. When I was younger, I would think if I could have one-third of the career he had, that would be terrific. He was definitely an idol of mine growing up. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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