Page 10

JR. SUN DEVILS

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

K

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.”

N

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

DYHAHockey.org 10

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Arizona Rubber Magazine - December 2018  

The December issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring the Arizona Titans on the cover, has hit the streets!

Arizona Rubber Magazine - December 2018  

The December issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring the Arizona Titans on the cover, has hit the streets!