FROM THE EDITOR Optimism, positivity will be at the forefront of a happy 2018
appy New Year, one and all! Ah yes, it’s that time of year where feeling optimistic and finding all the positives seem to be on everyone’s minds and New Year’s resolutions are kept intact for a week, maybe two. What keeps us from maintaining this positive and forward-looking attitude on a yearround basis? Sure, we get busy and I get it, life happens. Every day. The only way to get through this daily grind of life is to take it one day at a time and focus on the good in your life. We all have those positive aspects of life, but often times, it’s Matt Mackinder easier to see the negatives and just settle. Hockey can be one of those positives. What better feeling is there than walking into a rink any day of the week and feeling like it’s a second home. The smells, the sounds, the sights, the people – you name it and it’s there. Let’s face it. Hockey is the greatest game on Earth and if you or a family member, an acquaintance or a friend play the game, for that time you are at the rink or on the ice, you have no worries in the world. That’s the glory and magic of hockey. So take time this month – and for the 11 after this one – to seek out the positives in life. Odds are, you’ll find many of those at your local rink. Congratulations are in order for Ryan Reid, a defenseman on the Jr. Coyotes’ 18U Elite AAA team coached by Dave Ellett, who signed a tender agreement with the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League’s last month. Stick taps! The Tucson Roadrunners certainly gave back during the holidays, donating almost 750 pounds of food to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. The food was donated by Roadrunners fans and collected during the team’s home games on Dec. 12-13 against the San Jose Barracuda. Following the collection, Roadrunners players volunteered their time in ensuring the delivery to the Food Bank. “We are very thankful to our tremendous supporters for coming together and helping us make this donation,” said Roadrunners president Bob Hoffman. “This is another great testament of the Tucson community and we look forward to partnering with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona again in the future.” Want to see college hockey at Gila River Arena? Well, now you can. Arizona State announced the series-opening game against Hockey East powerhouse Boston University on Friday, Jan. 26, will be moved to the Coyotes’ home rink. Puck drop is still scheduled for 7:05 p.m. “I think it’s our responsibility to allow as many local fans as possible the chance to see such great hockey, and with the demand of our fans wanting to see us play such a historic program like BU, we felt this was the right thing to do,” said ASU coach Greg Powers. Boston University features 12 NHL draft picks, including two belonging to the Coyotes in defensemen Brandon Hickey and Cam Crotty. For the first time in school history the Arizona Wildcats took home the Cactus Cup. The Cactus Cup, created in 2011, is awarded to the victor of the season series between the Wildcats and Sun Devils. The Wildcats accomplished this historic feat in dominant fashion, defeating ASU 4-1 and 6-1 last month and finishing the semester ranked No. 13 in the country. “I can’t imagine how this weekend could have gone better,” said Arizona coach Chad Berman. “To accomplish this in front of our fans - with our alumni in town - makes this moment extra special. I am so proud of our senior class. I never told them it would be easy. I told them it would be worth it.”
Contact Matt Mackinder at email@example.com 4
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
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DEVIL OF A MILESTONE
Arizona State started off 2018 with its first tournament championship in its three-year NCAA Division I history, winning the Ice Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas over the Jan. 5-6 weekend. More on ASU’s milestone win on Page 11. Photo/Arizona State Athletics
ON THE COVER Players from the Mission Arizona youth program gathered recently at AZ Ice Peoria. Pictured back row, from left to right, are Payton Goltz (14U Red), Christopher Fritz (18U Red) and Luc Spinasanta (16U Red). Pictured middle row, from left to right, are Troy Coleman (12U Red) and Sydney Coleman (8U). Pictured front is Ariana Heredia (Mission Special Edition). Photo/Brandi Goltz
Matthews has superb Arizona homecoming with Maple Leafs dominant player, and those traits of maturity and professionalism are clearly evident. “He wants to be great, and that starts with a great mom and dad, which he has,” said Toronto coach Mike Babcock. “With a solid background, there also
Arizona and the tidal wave of interest he helped create. he smile on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston “I think hockey is really grown (in Arizona), espeMatthews’ face was as bright and distinct as any cially the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s kind of sunset in his home state of Arizona. cool to be part of that and all the support that comes Midway through the opening period of the from here. It’s exciting to be here during the sumLeafs only visit to the desert this season back on mer, going into rinks and see a lot of kids come Dec. 28, Matthews took a setup from teammate up to you. That’s humbling. Just to be part of the William Nylander and put the puck over Arizona growth that’s going on around here is amazing.” Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood. The score Part of Matthews’ hockey education in the came just over two minutes after Zack Hyman’s desert is his association with Shane Doan, the shorthanded goal and brought the Leafs to an former Coyotes captain. Playing youth hockey in early 2-0 lead in a game they eventually won 7-4. the Valley and attending many Coyotes games Greeted by teammates after the goal, Matgave Matthews an opportunity to form a relationthews was all smiles and kept on smiling. ship with Doan. “It was a great feeling,” he said of scoring in “(Doan) was definitely the player I looked up his hometown. “I’ll remember this one as a pretty to when I was growing up,” he said. “Over the last special goal. Definitely pretty nice.” couple years, just to get to know him and skate On the goal, Matthews outlined what will likely with him in the summer, he is just an unbelievable evolve as one of his special moments in the game. person and unbelievable hockey player. Just the “We had a good give-and-go down low,” he type of person he is off the ice resembles that. explained. “When (Nylander drives) the middle He had a great career, did so much for hockey in like that, it kind of creates a lot of space for me. Arizona and a great role model for kids like me. He pulled the puck around the defense and creSo everyone is pretty fortunate to have a guy like ated a little bit of a screen. I was as able to sneak that for 20 years around here” it past the goalie.” Of his skill set, perhaps Matthews is most adYet, no one in the sold-out Gila River Arena ept is his ability to control the corners. Smart and Scottsdale native Auston Matthews returned to the desert Dec. 28 crowd of 17,125 was actually keeping score. alert, Matthews has the ability spin on dime and Those in the house came to see Matthews, the and scored a goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Arizona keep possession. That is likely one dimension Scottsdale native, who put Arizona on the hockey Coyotes 7-4 at Gila River Arena. Photo/Norm Hall that will enable Matthews to enhance his overall map. As the only first-overall pick from the Copper is development as a player. His skill set comes with skill level. State, Matthews’ shadow in the game remains as long a burden. He understands the game, but his learning “I’m a corner guy, and always believed if you conand as commanding as Sidney Crosby, Connor curve is still developing.” trol the corners, you can control the game,” said CoyMcDavid or Alex Ovechkin. While existing in the hockey epicenter that is To- otes coach Rick Tocchet. “Matthews is a corner guy At age 20, Matthews already shows the mettle of a ronto, Matthews continues to recognize his roots in and if you do that, you’re a very special player.” By Mark Brown
Mission Statement Mission AZ continues run of success built on pillars such as consistency, character, work ethic Goltz only brings on board coaches who are on the same page as him in terms of their approach. Shaping the staff that way lends itself to a cohesion from level to level that not all programs can boast. “We all buy into the same philosophy and agree on what we’re going to teach and how we’re going to teach it,” Cannon said. “So when a Mite becomes a Bantam, he knows what direction he’s going in because he’s been taught the same things from the beginning. They all know what we’re trying to do - there’s no confusion and the message is always the same. “I could guarantee that if a coach is sick and needed me to fill in at a
By Greg Ball
rop in any afternoon or evening to AZ Ice Peoria to watch any of Mission AZ’s nine teams practice, and you’ll notice a consistent message printed right there on their practice gear. Across the back of each of the program’s approximately 150 players’ practice jerseys is the word “character” in big, bold print. It’s a pillar of what the Mission program is all about. In everything they do whether it’s their effort in practice or the challenges they face in games - character is at the forefront of their minds. It starts with director of hockey operations Jeremy Goltz and trickles down to his coaches and ultimately, to the players at every level. “Kids walk into the locker room and they hear the same thing every day - we want to be the hardest working team, the most disciplined team, and at the end of the day, that we’re hard to play against,” Goltz said. “We have a blue-collar approach, practice or and we take tremendous pride in that.” a game, I could fill Goltz and his wife, Brandi, founded the in and the players would Mission program 12 years ago and have built know exactly what I’m it brick by brick into what it has become totalking about. I could have day. A big part of its success is the consiseasily stopped coaching tency from year to year - all of Goltz’s coachwhen my boys aged out, but I’m still here. es have been with Mission for six years or Mission does it right and always has done it longer, and Mission’s board members have right.” been in the same positions for nine years or With everything Goltz and his fellow longer, well past the time frame when their coaches do, their biggest goal is developkids aged out of youth hockey. ing character in the kids under their charge. Even better, Goltz said that Mission’s While the immediate goal is success on the player retention rate is 85-90 percent from ice, the staff knows that the lessons that kids year to year. learn through hard work, being challenged “We’re kind of boring,” Goltz said with a and facing adversity will pay off for them in laugh. “We’ve added Mission Special Edition the long run. this year, which I’m very proud of and which “I’m spoiled and fortunate that so many of has really helped those kids, but aside from our alumni keep coming back to the program that, we just keep plugging along and doing - whether they’re playing hockey or they’re the things we’ve always done.” in the professional world,” Goltz said. “I talkAmong Goltz’s longest-tenured coaches ed to a former player the other day who’s are Scott Farber and Doug Cannon. just getting started in the workforce, and Farber is in his seventh season with the he thanked me - his work ethic is there, he program and serves this year as the head shows up on time and he communicates well coach of the Bantam White squad and an with his boss. assistant with the Pee Wee Red team. He “To me, hockey and building great kids go said that the messages preached by the enhand in hand. If you’re doing the right things, tire coaching staff have remained consistent you’re developing character as well. Characsince he first stepped into the building, and ter development is as important, if not more he has enjoyed seeing kids grow up and take important, than anything the kids learn about what they’ve learned on to the next stages playing hockey.” of their lives, whether those stages involve It’s clear that winning games and tourThe Mission AZ youth program starts at the Mite level and has teams through the 18U naments is a secondary goal for the Mission hockey or not. “We build around hard work, discipline level. This season, the association has also added the Mission Special Edition squad, a program. Likewise, maintaining a manageable team of special needs individuals that director of hockey operations Jeremy Goltz says, and respect,” Farber said. “That’s something “I’m very proud of.” Photo/Brandi Goltz size is important to Goltz and his coaching that I introduce at the beginning of each seastaff because they want to be able to assure son because those are three things that you can bring to every practice and every that every player is the program is getting the same opportunities for development game. Ultimately, what we try to do for the kids is build that character, from the Mite and learning life lessons from coaches pushing the same consistent messages. program all the way up to the 18U team.” They have realized that 9-10 teams is an ideal size for them, as it allows them Cannon is an assistant coach this year with the program’s 14U White and 16U to go forward with a seamless approach throughout the organization and with its White teams, and has been with Mission for nine seasons. staff. He said Goltz’s philosophy, his outlook on development and his passion for Goltz said there’s nothing else he’d rather be doing than running the Mission hockey are infectious. Coaches and players want to be a part of what he’s doing program. Over the years he has had interest from college and junior programs, but and can clearly see a pathway to success. he has elected to continue forging ahead with the program he built. “It starts with one person, and that’s Jeremy - he is the reason that I came to “While that interest is flattering and in some ways attractive, what I have realMission,” Cannon said. “My sons have played there, but I don’t currently coach my ized is that at the end of the day, this level of hockey is what I’m genuinely passionown kids, so I’m there strictly for Mission and the kids in the program. ate about,” Goltz said. “It’s where I like to be. “He’s all about the players - developing players and making sure they get the “You see so many kids who are able to achieve goals that they didn’t even know best instruction so they have a future ahead of them whether they want to play were in reach. That’s why I keep doing it - that’s what fuels me day in and day out. college hockey, junior hockey or just complete their youth hockey career. Jeremy If I’m having a tough day, you have a good practice the next day and everything’s provides the foundation for them.” right back to normal. It’s an overall passion for what I’m doing. I want to see these One of the biggest reasons Cannon has stuck with the Mission program is that kids believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.” 6
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
OneHockey comes ‘home’ for four holiday extravaganzas By Kevin Conway
t was 14 years in the making, but the No. 1-rated hockey tournament group in the industry finally introduced its home state of California to what the highly acclaimed OneHockey Experience is all about during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It will do so again next month with a three-day Presidents Day festival. OneHockey CEO Sebastien Fortier announced last summer that, thanks to the support of the local Ontario Jr. Reign program, he is bringing four OneHockey holiday weekend spectaculars to the Golden State during the 2017-18 campaign. The upcoming extravaganzas will take place at the Icetown Rinks in Riverside and Carlsbad during the 2018 Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends. Both arenas are owned and operated by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings franchise. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to break into California, and now we got one,” said Fortier, who founded OneHockey in 2003 as a spring and summer events company and now operates the 25-plus international tourney organization year-round from his home office. “We had an opportunity to take over the ice from the Jr. Reign and jumped on the opportunity.” “We are so happy to bring the best in the business to our area,” added Jr. Reign founder and president Ben Frank. “OneHockey will be a breath of fresh air in California. I’m sure West Coast teams will be thrilled and dive right in.” The Presidents Day hockey festival will be headquar-
tered mainly at the Icetown Riverside facility. The five- there’s the festive music and amusing mascot streaming game-guaranteed tournament will feature competition for throughout each rink as well as a mini-expo of vendors the Pee Wee through Midget/high school age groups at and red carpet social media interviews in the lobby. And, the B, A and AA levels. of course, there’s the trademark championship celebra“I’m so happy to be able to show the people in our own tions complete with the OneHockey Cup raising and nonbackyard what the OneHockey Experience is all about,” alcoholic campaign showers. said Fortier. “We’re going to show them how we spoil the By the end of 2018, OneHockey will be making worldplayers, but I also strongly encourwide news as Fortier’s group age teams from across the country embarks on setting a Guinness and Canada to come play hockey World Record for hosting the largon the beautiful California coast.” est tournament ever. OneHockey During the inaugural Oneis partnering with the Michigan Hockey-California event in NoAmateur Hockey Association to put on the largest tournament vember, eight champions were the sport has ever seen during crowned in the Mite through the Holiday Invite 2018. This unMidget/varsity divisions as more precedented, four-day Christmas than 650 players from 34 teams school vacation event will feature converged in Riverside. The Presias many as 1,000 teams in both dents Day tournament is expected boys and girls divisions currently to be even larger. estimated to number more than “I love the idea of holding 23,000 players from 10 countournaments here in California on The Ontario Jr. Reign Mite A team celebrates a holiday weekends throughout the recent OneHockey tournament championship, tries squaring off on more than 75 year,” Fortier said. “I want people which was held over Thanksgiving Weekend to sheets of ice throughout the Great Lakes State. to think ‘OneHockey’ during those rave reviews. For more information or to register for the OneHockspecial times of year when families get together.” A OneHockey event is anything but your everyday ey-California holiday events, record-setting 2018 Holiday tournament at your neighborhood rink. The experience Invite or any of the other year-round spectaculars schedstarts by transforming each venue to a OneHockey Arena uled across North America and Europe, visit www.onewith hundreds of feet of banners, posters and flags. Then hockey.com.
ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION
AHU’s Presidents’ Day Invitational will see new firsts By Bryan O’Sullivan
his year, Arizona Hockey Union’s 17th annual Presidents’ Day invitational tournament will be the largest ever, seeing 182 teams fight it out for a chance at winning their division. One of the teams participating in the tournament is flying all the way over the Pacific Ocean. The Ice Star 09 Energy are coming over from Beijing, China, to compete in the 8U division. This marks the first time a team from outside of North America will take part in the tournament. Part of the Tiger Hockey Club, under Ice Star Sports Management Co. Ltd., the team was formed in 2015, comprised of 12 players from the 2009 birth year, and have been successful in their early years. They have won three tournaments since inception, the 2015 (Beijing) International Youth Hockey Invitational U6 silver, “China Star” East Asian Youth Hockey Invitational 09 silver, and 2015-2016 Beijing Youth Hockey League 6U champion. In recent years, ice hockey has begun to grow in China. With Beijing’s successful bid of the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015 and the creation of the
Kunlun Red Stars and entry in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Russia’s professional hockey league back in 2016, ice hockey has been put under the spotlight and has rapidly gained popularity in China. Over the next four years, there are plans to build over 1,000 ice rinks throughout the country. Ice Star has constructed and currently operates 12 ice rinks in six major cities across China and is involved in making hockey an affordable option for families. Additionally, Ice Star has recruited a large number of talented and skilled coaches from home and abroad and has been tasked in taking the lead of promoting on-ice sports in China. In 2017, the Ice Stars hosted the 2nd CCM Beijing International Youth Hockey Invitational, where Dr. Catherine Jiang, an Arizona attorney and hockey mom, and partners Lan Shen and Muzi Guo at S Choice Consulting, LLC, led American 14U and 10U teams. During this tournament, Dr. Jiang and Ice Star officials discussed the growth of hockey in Arizona and AHU’s Presidents’ Day tournament. Ice Star management felt that the tournament would be a good fit and they registered. Ice Star management stated: “We believe that
The Ice Star 09 Energy Beijing, China
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
sportsmanship can train young players to work hard and strive for excellence. Ice Stars aims for young Chinese hockey players to gain exposure to higher level opportunities, and this Presidents Day Cup will be a good opportunity for getting the exposure.” “Ice Star 09 Energy team hopes that through this opportunity, they will have a deeper understanding of the American ice hockey culture and establish a rapport and friendship between Ice Star and Arizona Hockey organizations and create future opportunities for exchange and learning programs,” said Dr. Jiang. “It will be an incredible learning opportunity for young players and for our coaches, too.” The Ice Star 09 Energy team is set to arrive in Phoenix a week before the tournament and will be taking part in a hockey clinic put on by AHU for the team. They will also be attending their first-ever NHL games when the Arizona Coyotes take on the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers. Also making the long journey South are the Wolfpack, coming all the way from Yellowknife, Canada in the Northwest Territories. They are only 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle and can see the Northern Lights for over 240 nights out of the year. The Presidents’ Day Invitational, in addition to the Ice Star 09 Energy, also will see more than 35 teams from Canada attending. The tournament, its largest yet with 371 games scheduled over four full days, will be played at all rinks in the Valley from Feb. 16-19. For more information, visit www.presidentsdayhockeytournament.com.
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY IceJacks’ D-II team gearing up for crucial spring stretch drive By Matt Mackinder
he goal is simple for the Northern Arizona University ACHA Division II team: get to the national tournament – and win it. That is obviously easier said than done, but NAU coach Travis Johanson has confidence in his squad. “We had a strong first half, but had a few hiccups – that has to do with consistency,” said Johanson. “We will need to stay consistent in the second half to earn the bye to nationals and hopefully, put ourselves in a good position for a strong postseason run for a championship. It really has been a strong group effort.” Flagstaff native and NAU captain Rayce Miller knows there is still room for improvement with his team. “I believe our expectations for the second half should be no less than taking No. 1 in the West and going on to win a national championship,” Miller said. “We have outstanding chemistry and depth throughout the lineup, as well as skill that is deadly in this league and is capable of beating any team we play. If we strive to bring the same game night in and night out, there is no reason these goals aren’t achievable.” Lucas Lomax, a Peoria product and assistant captain for the IceJacks, said having a successful team starts with accountability across the board. “I believe this second half of the season will be a good test for us and our resilience,” said Lomax. “Being on top of our division means we’re the team to beat and we’re going to get every team’s best game. As long as we all stay on the same page and can put a consistent product on the ice night in and night out, we can accomplish something special here and I believe win a national championship, which is the ultimate goal.”
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ARIZONA HOCKEY UNION COACH'S CORNER
When it comes to skill vs. will, use both to get better T
here is a lot that makes a hockey player, but there is a difference in what makes a great hockey player and an average one that just gets by. The drive and willingness to do what it takes makes a great hockey St. Clair player and someone that just shows up and puts the gear may have enough skill to just get by, but the drive to be the best is not there. When you are a coach, you are looking for players that will do what it takes to win as well as someone that is coachable. You can have a team of 25 players and three of them may be on their own page and just those three can hurt the team more than you know. There comes a time where you need to look for the right players, not just the ones that are going to
do their own thing but might have high-end talent. Each team needs the guys that are role players and have the will to do whatever it takes to win. These players come to work everyday and do what is asked of them. Unfortunately, these are the hardest players to find because everyone wants to be the skilled guy. The guy that works hard everyday will develop the skill. The skill can be taught, but the mentality and the drive cannot be taught. That is why I would rather have a team of 25 workers that want to get better, because they will. They will put in the work and become a better player every single day. Don’t get me wrong, the skill is great to have, but if you don’t have that mentality to go along with that skill, you will only go so far. There is always someone out there that wants it more than you do. So you have to remember to keep working hard with your skill. The best players are the best because they have that skill and want to win every single time they can. That is why they become the best.
As I stated before, the skill can be taught. It’s simple, but the way you go about your day leading up to a practice or a game cannot. You can preach it to your team, but if the players are not coachable, nothing will change. You have to find a way for kids to buy in to what you are teaching them. In my opinion, the work ethic and coachability is going down, but the coach needs to have a mindset just like the players do. So if you have a team where they are not buying in and only have skill but no will, then you need to step up and be that leader and role model for your team. The kids will follow and your team will only benefit from it. Tell the kids to keep working hard and make sure they know its not a chore. The harder they work, the more fun they have because their success will be off the charts and everyone plays the game to be successful. Good luck to everyone the rest of the way and keep working hard and having fun!
Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union. AZRubberHockey.com
JR. SUN DEVILS
DYHA teams prepping for strong finishes to ’17-18 season By Jack Harris
s the calendar turns to a new year, Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) teams have turned their attention to the final stages of their seasons. For some, like Sean Whyte’s 18U AA Jr. Sun Devils squad, that means Arizona State Playdowns – and a potential berth to USA Hockey Youth Nationals – is fast approaching. “We are gearing up to win states and then represent Arizona at Nationals,” Whyte said. “That’s our goal, and that’s been our goal since the start of the season. Hopefully, they actually pull it together and can come off with a championship.” That said, accolades aren’t his team’s sole focus. For his 1999 birth year players, the stretch run of this campaign will be the final weeks of their youth hockey careers. “It’s definitely bittersweet for them,” Whyte said. “They’ve been able to play as long as they have at a high competitive level. That speaks volumes for the time and commitment that they’ve put into the sport. “At the same time, all the 1999 birth years, if they don’t end up playing college or juniors next year, they’re probably going to end up in men’s league somewhere. I’m sure that weighs on them. It will definitely be a motivational factor taking place near the end of the season when we come to state Playdowns.” Whyte has coached the core of his team for over
five years now, following them up the ladder of youth hockey to arrive at what he hopes will be a crowning achievement at the state and national level. “We will gear our strategy and game plan toward each team when the time comes,” he said. “The boys are familiar with all of the teams, so it’s going to be at that point who executes a better strategy.” But more than just strategy, Whyte knows impending, title-deciding games will also be won by the team that shows the superior effort. He hopes it will be his squad. “Any of the players on my team can completely dominate and take over a game. Likewise, on any given day, they can be a non-factor in the overall picture,” he said. “It’s truly up to them on how they get motivated.” DYHA’s 16U AA and 14U AA teams have similar State Playdown goals in mind, but for the organization’s younger teams, the end of the season provides a final chance to improve. “Any team I’m coaching, my job is to make sure these players are better players than when we started the season,” said Brad McCaughey, DYHA director of hockey and head coach of the 12U Major team. McCaughey’s Pee Wees have battled against
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
older competition this season, a challenge he thinks will benefit his players in the long run even if it translates to frustrating results now. “They are keeping a good attitude and they are continuing to come practice and they are working hard and they are making some incredible strides,” McCaughey said. DYHA has eight teams that won’t be competing for a Nationals berth, but McCaughey insists that doesn’t diminish the final weeks of the year. “There’s less focus on Nationals and all that stuff and more of a focus on getting consistent effort every game,” he said. Something all Jr. Sun Devils teams have in common: a final stretch to enjoy with their teams and solidify bonds on and off the ice. “The bond and the brotherhood they have formed over the course of this past season has been very solid and I’m very proud of them for that,” Whyte said. Growing those locker room connections helps breed a winning culture. For everyone. For Whyte’s team though, Playdowns provides the last chance to make the ultimate payoff: “Now it’s a matter of them pulling together when it counts.”
Sun Devils make history, win inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational By Matt Mackinder
oing to Las Vegas for the first-ever Ice Vegas Invitational tournament at T-Mobile Arena, Arizona State University captured the tournament with wins over Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech University over the Jan. 5-6 weekend. The tournament championship marked the Sun Devils’ first as an NCAA Division I school. “I’m just proud of our guys,” said ASU coach Greg Powers. “It’s a good moment for those kids and they earned it. They’ve been through a ton of adversity. Every one of them had options to go someplace else, and they wanted to come here and build this program for moments like these. “They earned this special moment. I’m proud of them. I’m happy for them, and it’s a really good moment for our program.” In the title game, a 3-2 win over MTU, Brinson Pasichnuk scored twice and Johnny Walker (Phoenix native) once while goalie Joey Daccord made 36 saves and added an assist on Walker’s goal. “I give Arizona State full credit for the way they played (Jan. 6),” Michigan Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. “They played very similar to the way Bowling Green played in the GLI championship. They didn’t give us a lot of ice and we did a poor job of managing the puck against that.” Powers said that ASU’s momentum started in a loss to Lake Superior State on Dec. 30. “It might have been our sharpest effort of the year, and it just didn’t translate into a win,” said Powers. “We carried that effort into this weekend and beat two really good hockey teams and came away with a trophy and that was one of our preseason goals. One of our main goals was to win one of the two tournaments that we went to, and we accomplished that tonight.” Pasichnuk, Anthony Croston (Phoenix native) and Daccord were named to the All-Tournament Team, with Pasichnuk being selected the tournament’s MVP after recording three goals and two assists in the two games. Against NMU, the Sun Devils claimed a 7-3 win as Croston and David Norris each scored twice.
IN A DEVILISH MOOD Why work ethic is more important than scoring goals B eing a h o c k e y dad, coach and now a hockey director, I have lost count of the number of conversations I have had with parents in regard to the sport of hockey and their child. Many of the conversations McCaughey have to deal with what aspects of hockey their child needs more work on to become that elite player, or what types of drills should they be doing more of in practice to become better. I believe that most of these parents are expecting some kind of detailed answer, but it goes without saying that the more you work on something, the better you will get at whatever it is you are working on. Having said that, there is probably one sentence that I have repeated to more parents and just in general when talking hockey: “I believe that 95 percent or more of the kids that play hockey have no idea what work ethic
means when it comes to hockey.” I don’t say this to imply that these kids are not smart, but to point out that just because a kid works really hard when he gets the puck, does not mean he has good work ethic. When kids start playing hockey at a young age, the kids that are considered the “best” kids are the ones who score the most points. That is a metric that is easy for everyone to follow. Those kids at that young age are usually the better skaters and most talented. I have had parents tell me that their son or daughter is the hardest working kid on the team and when I watch them play, I don’t always come away with the same conclusion. Their child may very well be one of the most talented and a top scorer, but when I am watching a game, I am looking to see what that kid is doing when he does not possess he puck. The fact of the matter is that there are 10 players on the ice, excluding goalies, and at any given time, only one player possesses the puck. This means that approximately 90 percent of the game is played without the puck. In the long run, how good this player turns out to be with rely heavily on his or her work ethic and hockey smarts without the puck. It is also important to mention that it is not always the player’s fault if they never develop
good work ethic without the puck. The other two responsible parties are the parents and the child’s coaches growing up. I am not saying that the parent should be responsible for teaching their child how to play away from the puck, but I am saying that the parent plays a big role in what their kid thinks is the most important aspect of hockey. With the money in professional sports these days and all parent’s desires to see their kids make the big leagues, I see a lot of parents who think that the more goals their kid scores, the better player he or she will be. We also see coaches who are so consumed with winning that when they have this super-talented kid on their team, they double shift him or her and tell the child to just go out there and score goals. Sooner or later, this player will be playing with kids of equal or better talent and he or she will not be able to go end to end and score at will. This player will be lost on the ice at that point because they were never taught the other 90 percent of this great game and how important that part of the game is to becoming a good hockey player. The bottom line is that hockey is the ultimate TEAM sport and you need to be proficient in all aspects of the game in order to move on to higher levels.
Brad McCaughey is the director of hockey and coach-in-chief for the Desert Youth Hockey Association. AZRubberHockey.com
TAHOE HOCKEY ACADEMY
THA eyes being accepted into new NAHL Prep league By Greg Ball
tarting next season, high school, prep and academy teams across North America will get a chance to compete in a brand-new league, and the Tahoe Hockey Academy is hopeful that its prep squad will be accepted into the prestigious league. The North American Hockey League announced in late December the formation of the NAHL Prep league for the 2018-19 season. The league will be a premier training ground for the development and exposure of high school, prep and academy teams, targeting teams that are looking for a competition and recruiting platform to advance their players and programs. NAHL Prep teams will compete in three high-profile showcases strategically timed to maximize scouting exposure and minimize days missed from school. Each event will also be in cooperation and partnership with events that feature teams from other leagues under the NAHL umbrella. “With the growth of high school, prep and academy hockey teams in North America, the creation of the NAHL Prep league became another avenue for us to provide players with an opportunity for exposure,” NAHL com-
missioner and president Mark Frankenfeld said. “We have had some great success and feedback from high school, prep and academy teams who have participated in our Future Prospects Tournaments, so it was obvious to us that providing a full-time league with all the valuable benefits associated with it was a necessity.” Tony Zasowski, the director of player personnel for the NAHL and the director of the North American Prospects Hockey League, will oversee the new prep league, and is thrilled to be filling a need for high-level hockey at a critical age level. “As the ‘league of opportunity,’ we were approached by prep schools and academies looking for a place to play competitive games with increased exposure, and we felt the we could meet their needs,” Zasowski said. “In my role as director of player personnel for the NAHL, I have talked to a lot of teams and attended a lot of events this fall, and I was constantly approached on doing something for high school teams.” Zasowski was a founding member of the NAPHL in 2009, and as the head coach and general manager of the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues the last five seasons, he has placed more than 40 players with college hockey programs. He previously coached the San Jose Jr.
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Sharks’ 18U and 16U teams in the NAPHL, and played at the University of Notre Dame and in the ECHL before moving into coaching. Mike Lewis, the head coach of Tahoe’s prep team, said that Tahoe Hockey Academy hopes to be selected to play in the league because the competitive level and the exposure for the academy’s players will be second to none. “The NAHL has set the bar in providing a systematic approach to getting players exposed and recruited to junior hockey,” Lewis said. “With the addition of the NAHL Prep league, you’ll see an even greater level of players being showcased throughout the NAHL scouting events. Tahoe Hockey Academy is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural season.” Added Tahoe Hockey Academy varsity head coach Leo Fenn: “We’re really excited about the possibility of finding a great home for our prep team to play against some of the best competition out there. We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity.” Zasowski said he has already been approached by more than 20 programs about participating in the league’s inaugural season. While he hasn’t determined the number of teams that will make up the league, he plans to start with a good core that will ensure the quality of play and a high competitive level. “The league is a great avenue for high school teams from all over the country, as it gives them three events with roughly 12 games against some terrific competition,” he said.
from the Management, Staff & Coaches at:
ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
With Coyotes’ support, AHSHA making jump to next level By Matt Mackinder
dmittedly, high school hockey in Arizona is not on the level of the game as it is in traditional markets in Minnesota, Michigan and New England. But is the Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) on a positive swing upwards with growing numbers and increased competition? Most definitely. This season, the Arizona Coyotes came on board as a partner with AHSHA and the results have been phenomenal. “Obviously, the Coyotes are a huge influence on the growth of high school hockey in Arizona and there is no better partner for us to have,” said AHSHA Premier general manager Kenny McGinley. “Our league doesn’t just value growth in terms of number of players, but rather in value returned. High school hockey in a market like Arizona is unique because it offers our players the opportunity to represent their school and play in front of their friends and family. Travel teams play a very small percentage of their games locally due to the need to play higher competition that is offered in other parts of the country. “The Coyotes offer more than just financial assets. An NHL team as a partner offers a level of credibility and respect. A large challenge for high school hockey programs is the lack of support from their schools. We believe that having an NHL team on board can help bridge the gap and grow the game in Arizona. We will also be able to offer new programs such as the spring-summer High School
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
Beginner Hockey League, more player development and rebranding that will provide a solid foundation for long-term stability.” Truth be told, the AHSHA-Coyotes partnership had the wheels in motion some five years ago when Matt Shott was hired by the Coyotes as the director of amateur hockey development. “This partnership is something that was on my radar when I first started with the Coyotes when the old ‘Thunder on Ice’ regime was still in place,” said Shott. “That group wanted, pretty much, what we are currently providing to the league, except we didn’t have the finances back at that time. When the leadership changed, and people like Tim Reckell, Kenny McGinley, Tait Green, Lauri Griebel, Lori Dragosh, Marc Fritsche and many others came in, they understood that this relationship would take time to form and began working closer with the team and, more or less, making it a two-way street for both groups.” When the second round of applications for the NHL’s Industry Growth Fund came out, Shott knew this was an opportunity to take the partnership to a new level and help give the league more recognition and more respectability. It’s been all that, and then some, as the grant was awarded.
“I think it really all starts at the bottom with the focus, both locally and nationally at USA Hockey, towards getting young kids between the ages of 4-9 involved in the game through various initiatives,” said AHSHA board member Jon Shivener. “While Arizona as a whole sees its youth registration numbers increase year after year at those age levels, the pool of potential high school players is going to naturally increase as those kids get older. AHSHA needs to be able to capitalize on that growth so that they themselves can evolve and grow for the better as an organization. “And we feel the Coyotes partnership is one way of doing that.” McGinley concluded by saying that the sky is the limit for AHSHA. “To my knowledge, this year was our largest by total numbers over the past 5-6 years,” he said. “More importantly than that, the quality of hockey continues to be on the rise. We have seen more and more players move on to higher levels of hockey after developing their skills in AHSHA. Our supplemental teams, AHSHA Premier and Team Arizona, have continued to improve year after year and compete with elite high school programs throughout the country. Our fan base at games improves constantly, exemplified by last year’s D1 championship game, which featured a capacity crowd at Ice Den Scottsdale. “We expect this year to be no different.”
INLINE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION OF ARIZONA
IHAAZ season in full swing after two events; Yuma next cord. The Knighthawks are 4-2. The AZ Royals built their lead to six points over the Jr. second IHAAZ festival is in the books and as usual, ex- Wildcats in the standings of the 14U Division and sport an citement and competitiveness were not in short supply. 8-0 record. The Prescott Storm and Phoenix Knighthawks have Their dominance has been fueled by an offense that gone back and forth in the 8U division in the two festivals has cranked out 60 goals in the first eight games of the that have taken place. The season. The Royals won all Knighthawks dominated in four of their games in Havasu, Peoria, but the Storm made including a 9-2 win over the Jr. things more interesting this Wildcats, and they finished the time in Lake Havasu City over tourney with 31 goals. the Jan. 5-7 weekend, buildThe Jr. Wildcats, the only other team with a winning reing a four-goal lead before the cord in the division, are 6-2 Knighthawks rallied for a oneand have scored 55 goals this goal win. season. The Knighthawks are 5-0-1 In the Midget division, on the year, while Prescott is the Yuma Blaze had a strong 3-1-2. showing and remains atop the In the 10U division, the Knighthawks Green team won The Yuma Blaze 10U team gathers earlier this month at standings in a highly competiall four of its games, closing SARA Park in Lake Havasu City during the second IHAAZ tive division. festival of the season. Photo//IHAAZ The Yuma Blaze Black out with a 10-2 win over Yuma. The Knighthawks Green team is unbeaten at 8-0 this sea- won three games in Havasu, including a thrilling 1-0 win son. The Jr. Wildcats are 6-2. over the Knighthawks, to stay in first place. The AZ Royals The 12U division featured strong performances from Blue team, which won the state finals last season, is in third the Jr. Wildcats and Knighthawks. The Jr. Wildcats won place, but still has time to make a run to the top. The Blaze Black is 6-0. while AZ Royals White is 5-1. the head-to-head matchup with the Knighthawks 5-2 to finish the festival with three wins. The Knighthawks won The AZ Royals Blue squad is 3-3. The Yuma Festival at Kennedy Park is up next and twice. The Jr. Wildcats sit atop the standings with a 5-1 re- scheduled for Feb. 9-11. Matt DiCori, the president of By Brian Lester
Yuma Youth Hockey and also a coach in the program, is looking forward to the opportunity to host it. “Yuma Youth Hockey is excited as always to host one round of the IHAAZ series and represent the desert southwest,” Dicori said. “Roller hockey is alive and well in Yuma, and we have taken major strides forward this year in restoring our rink. Thanks to the previous boards we have saved enough of a nest egg, to reinvest hard earned fundraising monies into some improvements to our facility.” Yuma will have six teams competing in a festival that will feature 30 teams in all. The Yuma program is thriving despite being in a smaller area in the state. “We have teams in each of the divisions and two in the high school,” Dicori said. “As a smaller community than the Phoenix-Metro area, we work hard to cultivate talent from within, and our group of high schoolers have been playing together for a long time and they have bought into a system that is producing steady results. Our younger age groups are seeing a boom in participation over the last couple of years, and we have several young coaches dedicated to those groups. It is a very exciting time to see the progress of those youngsters.” Dicori is looking forward to seeing the teams compete and the chance to showcase the city. “We look forward to showing off our fine city and providing some excellent barbecue and playing some high-quality hockey,” Dicori said. “The Yuma Blaze families are a tightknit group and we welcome the other families of Prescott, Phoenix and Tucson to join us and watch our young boys and girls shine in the Arizona desert.”
Bobcats gearing up for annual Quebec Pee Wee tournament By Greg Ball
group of 12-year-old hockey players from the Arizona Bobcats is just a few weeks away from playing in a tournament that many of them will later look back on as the most memorable of their youth hockey experiences. The Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament, the legendary 59-year old event in the quaint and hockey crazy Canadian city, has been a highlight of so many young players’ careers. The tournament runs from Feb. 7-18 at the Videotron Centre. As many as 2,000 players representing 150 teams from across the United States, Canada and other parts of the world attend the tournament, and it is considered an honor to be accepted. The Bobcats had sent a team to the Quebec tournament for 10 straight years until missing 2016, then returned last February. Three years ago, the program won its division, becoming just the second Western team to ever win the event. “This year, our 2005 AAA group will have the chance to enjoy the biggest hockey event in the world,” said Ron Filion, the Bobcats’ hockey director. “Every year, there is the same level of excitement. We had the chance to win this prestigious tournament once at the highest level, but the Quebec experience is way more than just hockey.” The roster for the Bobcats’ Pee Wee team traveling to Quebec includes forwards Sheldon Wilson, Hayden Hastings, Camden Kunkel, Jake LeDoux, Preston Jones, Brody Hernandez, Carson McGinley, Trace
Day and Logan Walz; defensemen Holden Hrabak, Michael Saunders, David Keene, Hawke Huff, Sam Webster and Tyler Pavao; and goalies Elizabeth Ramsey and Blaise Becker. The squad is coached by Filion and assistant Scott Wilson, with Mike Hensdell, Pat Conacher and Justin Rogers also contributing. Jodie Wilson is the team’s manager and the organization’s concussion coordinator. Players such as Guy Lafleur, the Gretzky and Howe brothers, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy and Steven Stamkos have played at the Quebec event before going on to becoming NHL stars, but for most players and teams that attend, there’s much more to the event than just the competition on the ice. It’s a 12-day celebration of hockey that also mixes in a healthy dose of culture. “I think the players are going to come back and say it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever done,” Jodie Wilson said. “As much as we talk about it, they don’t really have an idea of what they’re going to experience there. I am personally very excited for Sheldon, my son, to experience this opportunity and create hockey memories of a lifetime. “It has been hard work planning the event for the team, but knowing what these players will experience, it’s
all worth it, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support and fundraising efforts of our parent group.” Many of the Bobcats players will billet with local families who have been taking in kids from around the world for years - an experience the Arizona players have never had before. Outside of official tournament games, there are opportunities for exhibition games and pond hockey games, and kids get to experience other winter outdoor activities like snow tubing. “I’ve heard lots of players over the years who attended this tourney during their Pee Wee years still to this day talk about their memories from when they played, so I think this is something our players are going to remember forever,” Scott Wilson said. “When you combine hockey, Canada and the world’s largest Pee Wee tournament, you can’t help but get excited.” He said he’s looking forward to the Bobcats’ kids to getting the opportunity to play against international teams, as well as the pin trading that has become a big part of the tournament and the camaraderie between teams. “I think the snow and cold weather, and just the atmosphere are going to be things that we all really enjoy,” Scott Wilson said. “I think it will be a lot of fun for the kids.”
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Alumni link remains strong within Mission AZ program By Greg Ball
ver since Jeremy Goltz started the Mission AZ youth hockey program in the Phoenix area 13 years ago, he has made it a point to maintain connections with Mission’s alumni. It’s an important part of growing the program and giving his young players something to aim for, he believes. Mission AZ has produced nearly 70 players who have gone on to play junior hockey and college hockey - everywhere from the Eastern Hockey League, Western States Hockey League and the North American 3 Hockey League to ACHA schools Loyola Marymount, University of Denver, University of Pittsburgh and of course, the four major college hockey programs within Arizona’s borders. “We’ve had 33 guys from our program over the years play for University of Arizona, Arizona State, Northern Arizona University or Grand Canyon,” said Goltz, the director of hockey operations for Mission AZ. “We have 14 currently playing at those colleges.” Goltz goes to great lengths to maintain connections with Mission alumni, maintaining a detailed list on the program’s website of players who have gone on to play at higher levels and regularly organizing events that allow alumni to come back to the rink and share their experiences with younger players. It’s not only a great way for current players to get a grasp on what their future could hold, but many alumni feel a genuine desire to give back to the program that helped shape their hockey careers.
A big part of that, Goltz said, is maintaining strong relationships with the Arizona colleges and working with the coaches to place his players in the appropriate programs. Goltz recently signed on as the director of North American scouting for U of A, and continues to stay in close contact with coaches at the other local schools. Goltz said that there’s a common misconception among hockey players in the Phoenix area that playing for Arizona State’s Division I program is the be-all and end-all of local college hockey. But he argued that only a small percentage of players from Mission’s program - or any other local program, for that matter - will make it at that level. For players that don’t fit with ASU’s top program, there are plenty of other really good options to stay in state and play hockey in college. “These are competitive teams at great schools with scholarship money available,” said Goltz, who played at the University of Arizona and coached at Arizona State before starting the Mission program. “It’s an honor to play for a major university. “The hockey is getting better and better at these schools - they’re getting Junior A kids and Division I transfers. Playing at these local colleges is a great option
that’s realistic for a lot of top players when they’re ready to make that move.” Having strong college hockey programs across the state creates a significant impact on the hockey scene as a whole. With kids being able to aspire to further their educations and play college hockey close to home, youth hockey programs are strengthened and the general interest level in the sport increases substantially. That’s part of the reason why Mission’s alumni network is something that Goltz holds near and dear to his heart - he wants the best for his players, and he expects that those who have gone on to bigger and better things will give back to the local hockey community by helping bridge those ever so important connections. “It definitely helps,” Goltz said. The biggest thing is that when you start getting to the older levels, you need that dangling carrot to keep kids motivated. They can set a goal for what they want to do, and that helps keep kids playing youth hockey when they get a little older.”
Mission AZ Hockey Club MissionArizonaIce.org
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ARIZONA PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Brendan Lemieux (Phoenix) – Winnipeg Jets Auston Matthews (Scottsdale) – Toronto Maple Leafs AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Austin Carroll (Scottsdale) – Stockton Heat Trevor Cheek – Tucson Roadrunners * Jeremy Langlois (Tempe) – Hershey Bears Zac Larraza (Scottsdale) – Tucson Roadrunners Gage Quinney – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins * Philip Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Charlotte Checkers ECHL Mike Krieg (Phoenix) – South Carolina Stingrays Henrik Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Idaho Steelheads Joey Sides (Tucson) – Tulsa Oilers SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Cody Castro (Peoria) – Pensacola Ice Flyers Richard Coyne (Cave Creek) – Mississippi RiverKings Brandon Fehd (Gilbert) – Birmingham Bulls Ben Oskroba (Tempe) – Peoria Rivermen Brandon Parrone (Peoria) – Pensacola Ice Flyers EUROPE J.T. Barnett (Scottsdale) – France Anthony Caruso (Queen Creek) – Sweden Nikolai Knyzhov – Russia * ! Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley) – United Kingdom NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE Kaliya Johnson (Chandler) – Boston Pride COLLEGE HOCKEY
D-I INDEPENDENT Anthony Croston (Phoenix) – Arizona State University Johnny Walker (Phoenix) – Arizona State University NCAA DIVISION I – WOMEN COLLEGE HOCKEY AMERICA Taylor Curtis (Peoria) – Syracuse University Logan Hicks (Scottsdale) – Syracuse University Victoria Samuelsson (Scottsdale) – Penn State University HOCKEY EAST Makenna Newkirk (Scottsdale) – Boston College Carlee Turner (Scottsdale) – University of New Hampshire
ATLANTIC HOCKEY Michael Boyle (Phoenix) – Bentley University Derek Brown (Peoria) – Niagara University Christian Cakebread (Gilbert) – Niagara University ECAC Todd Burgess (Phoenix) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NCHC Jake Durflinger – University of Denver & Phil Knies (Phoenix) – Miami University Carson Vance (Tempe) – Western Michigan University WCHA Danny Kiraly (Glendale) – University of Alaska-Fairbanks
MIAC Molly Andrews (Phoenix) – St.. Olaf College
Kevin Hamilton (Phoenix) – Louisiana Drillers Gabriel Lepper (Glendale) – Gillette Wild Dylan Mattfeldt (Glendale) – Missoula Jr. Bruins Hayden Seitz (Phoenix) – Helena Bighorns Austin Wilks (Avondale) – Point Mallard Ducks
NEHC Natasha Hawkins (Scottsdale) – New England College
QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Landon Quinney – Saint John Sea Dogs &
NEWHL Bri Carroll (Peoria) – Buffalo State University Jessica Carter (Scottsdale) – Buffalo State University Hannah Kiraly (Glendale) – Plattsburgh State University
UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Jaxon Castor (Phoenix) – Dubuque Fighting Saints Carson Dimoff (Scottsdale) – Sioux Falls Stampede D.J. King – U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team * Erik Middendorf (Scottsdale) – U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team Adam Samuelsson – U..S. NTDP Under-18 Team * Ryan Savage (Scottsdale) – Fargo Force
WCHA Amanda Martin (Peoria) – Minnesota State University
UCHC Raeann Clancy (Surprise) – King’s College Gabrielle Igo (Phoenix) – Utica College
NCAA DIVISION III – MEN
CCC Chris James (Carefree) – Curry College Alec Mono – Curry College &
BRITISH COLUMBIA HOCKEY LEAGUE Luke Ormsby – Wenatchee Wild *
MASCAC Brandon Berkley (Scottsdale) – University of Mass.-Dartmouth Erik Pritchard (Cave Creek) – Worcester State University MIAC Nick Nast – St. Mary’s University & NCHA Ashton Amaya (Gilbert) – Aurora University Clay Cross (Glendale) – Marian University Forbes Ploszaj (Gilbert) – College of St. Scholastica NEHC Bryan McFarlane (Scottsdale) – New England College NESCAC Andy Chugg (Mesa) – Trinity College
NCAA DIVISION I – MEN
MacKenzie Lyons (Scottsdale) – Nichols College Sarah McSweeney (Chandler) – Becker College
SUNYAC Cameron Berry (Chandler) – Oswego State University Alex Storjohann (Anthem) – Cortland State University Sean Winikates (Phoenix) – Potsdam State University UCHC Jeremy Briscoe (Phoenix) – Lebanon Valley College WIAC Adam Kleven (Phoenix) – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN COLONIAL HOCKEY Alex Bloom (Scottsdale) – Canton State University
CENTRAL CANADA HOCKEY LEAGUE Ethan Osburn (Dewey) – Navan Grads EASTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Colten Egge (Chandler) – New England Wolves Joshua George (Chandler) – New England Wolves Jacob Kerns (Peoria) – Connecticut RoughRiders Drew Platt (Gilbert) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Dimitri Thorsen (Peoria) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE Cole Golden (Phoenix) – Revelstoke Grizzlies Hayden Hirsch (Phoenix) – Kamloops Storm Ryan Radke (Cave Creek) – Princeton Posse NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE Trey Bagwell (Tempe) – Aberdeen Wings James Brown III (Phoenix) – Texas Brahmas Nathan Burke (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Jeremy Gabriele (Scottsdale) – Topeka RoadRunners Clayton Lackey (Scottsdale) – Coulee Region Chill Michael Mahan (Scottsdale) – Bismarck Bobcats Reid Miller (Phoenix) – Philadelphia Rebels Keenan Spillum (Paradise Valley) – Aberdeen Wings Joe Strada (Scottsdale) – Aberdeen Wings Connor Stuart (Phoenix) – Lone Star Brahmas Cole Tiedemann (Flagstaff) – Texas Brahmas Mason Vukonich (Phoenix) – Fairbanks Ice Dogs NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Blake Bjella (Mesa) – St. Louis Jr. Blues Eddie Cannon (Glendale) – Oswego Stampede Keaton Caplis (Gilbert) – La Crosse Freeze Hunter Feagins (Surprise) – Gillette Wild Jacob Garman – La Crosse Freeze &
UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Adam Bricker (Scottsdale) – PAL Jr. Islanders (NCDC) Zach Canaan (Tempe) – Tampa Bay Juniors (Premier) Daniel Chambers (Phoenix) – PAL Jr. Islanders (Premier) Henry Dennee (Chandler) – Skipjacks Hockey Club (Premier) Sean Dickson – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) & Joe DiGiulio (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Brett Dillon (Phoenix) – New Jersey Rockets (Premier) Jonas Edwards (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Sage Englund (Scottsdale) – Northern Cyclones (NCDC) Dakota Gottlieb (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Justin Jiang (Chandler) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) Sebastian Llaneras (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (Elite) Alec Miller (Peoria) – New Jersey Rockets (Elite) Fraizer Mohler (Phoenix) – Eugene Generals (Elite) Barrett Rosser (Scottsdale) – Atlanta Knights (Premier) Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley) – Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) Jared Sanchez (Scottsdale) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Premier) Cameron Sniffin (Scottsdale) – Syracuse Stars (Premier) WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE Mark Kastelic (Phoenix) – Calgary Hitmen Jeremy Masella (Phoenix) – Victoria Royals Kaid Oliver – Victoria Royals & WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Brandon Bessee (Globe) – Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers Michael Caravella (Chandler) – Phoenix Knights Caleb Cavazos (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Noah Duke (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Chase Gillaspie (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Justin Gusso (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Kohl Hedquist (Tempe) – Phoenix Knights Anthony Masanotti – Phoenix Knights @ Ozzy Mason (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Joe Platt (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights Christian Reh – Phoenix Knights @ Colton Seeman (Phoenix) – Phoenix Knights Brennan Smith (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Jeffrey Solomon (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights
Ivan Vilcauskas (Phoenix) – Fresno Monsters Ryan Weick (Mesa) – Phoenix Knights Malcolm Williams (Gilbert) – Phoenix Knights PREP SCHOOL Jackson Birecki (Phoenix) – Tahoe Hockey Academy Alexis Ryan (Mesa) – Williston Northampton Jared Shuter (Prescott) – Tahoe Hockey Academy
NEW MEXICO 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 UCHC Cory King (Albuquerque) – Chatham University NCAA DIVISION III – WOMEN NESCAC Kristen Molina (Albuquerque) – Amherst College JUNIOR HOCKEY NORTH AMERICAN 3 HOCKEY LEAGUE Josh Martinez (Las Cruces) – Roc City Royals ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE Marcus Gretz (Albuquerque) - Flint Firebirds UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE Nick Darrow (Rio Rancho) – Hampton Roads Whalers (Elite) WESTERN STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE Quinn Martin (Santa Fe) – Idaho IceCats
* former Jr. Coyote & former Arizona Bobcat % former Mission AZ @ former DYHA Jr. Sun Devil ! former Phoenix Firebird
NEW MEXICO REPORT
Albuquerque native King developing at NCAA D-III Chatham By Matt Mackinder
ory King is one of a handful of New Mexico natives skating with NCAA programs this season, playing for the first-year Chatham University team in the Division III United Collegiate Hockey Conference. King, an Albuquerque native, said it’s been nothing but positives thus far at the Pittsburgh-based school, both on and off the ice. “Being a new program can be tough, but I think if we keep building as a program and keep implementing what coach (Michael) Callan is teaching us, I think we will be very successful down the road,” said King. “Personally, if I can keep putting in extra work and getting more used to the style of play of college hockey, I feel like I can be very successful for the four years here at Chatham. “I believe I can go as far as I want to in hockey. I hope to play professionally at the end of my four years at Chatham and I think Coach Callan can help get me there.” Off the ice, King is majoring in Business Management with a minor in Physical Training. He hopes to start a hockey training facility down the line. Last season while playing for the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Western States Hockey League, King realized college hockey was closer to reality than a farfetched dream. “Chatham was a very open and welcoming school with an opportunity to create a new legacy with a new program while receiving a top-notch education,” said 18
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
King. “It means a lot to me and especially, my family to be a New Mexico kid playing college hockey. It took a lot of sacrifice from my family to help me follow my dream by allowing me to move from the age of 16 to billet to play AAA hockey and juniors to lead me to where I am today. It’s nice to see the hard work pay off
A freshman forward at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Cory King is excelling as a true student-athlete during the current 2017-18 season. Photo/Chatham University Sports Information
and to hopefully continue to keep inspiring kids from New Mexico who are getting into hockey to keep following their dream.” Truth be told, hockey has always had its place in the King family. “My dad (Kevin) was from Michigan and his dad (Frank Smith) got him into hockey where he just
played men’s hockey as a goalie, which led my two oldest brothers (Nick and Chris) to pursue hockey,” King said. “Of course, me being the baby, I wanted to do the same as my brothers. I called my grandfather ‘Popi’ and he was my biggest inspiration along with my dad.” As a youth, King played for Team New Mexico up to the age of 15 before moving to Colorado to play AAA hockey for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders and former NCAA and NHL player Doug Smail. “The Outpost Ice Arena was the first rink I ever laced up the skates at the age of three and the first rink where I scored a goal,” said King. “This rink will always be home to me and my family – it’s where it all started. “Growing up, my dad was my coach for the longest time until Frank Mastrandrea became my coach and I played with his son (Vinny), who became one of my best friends,” said King. “My dad and Frank have had a huge influence on me not only becoming a better hockey player, but teaching me along the way to become a better man. My dad will always be my biggest supporter and someone I continue to look up to every day.” King also has an idea on how the game can continue to grow and thrive in New Mexico. “Hockey in New Mexico has plateaued a bit, but I believe if we can keep having camps there and promoting hockey in New Mexico, we can grow it back up to what it once was when I played there,” King said. dig deep and test our character as an organization.”
Arizona Outcasts return to AIHL inline play for 2018 campaign
Wildcats roller hockey president Bushnell wants to leave legacy
By Phillip Brents
By Phillip Brents
he Arizona Outcasts have generated quite a bit of success during the past three seasons as members of the American Inline Hockey League’s (AIHL) Elite Division. The Outcasts lost in the conference finals in 2015 and placed runner-up in the national finals in both 2016 and 2017. The Arizona team will compete in the Pacific South Division in 2018 alongside the Las Vegas Dragons and four Southern California teams — the Mavin Mayhem and Mavin Clippers from San Diego and Revision Rocket Flex Purple and Rocket Flex Yellow from Irvine. Teams will play 24 regular-season games, plus playoffs. The national championship tournament is scheduled for May in Philadelphia. “Our Outcasts team will be returning the majority of the same team we’ve had the past three seasons,” forward Paul Linder explained. “We’re adding a few new young guys to replace a few losses.” The Outcasts’ success starts once again with goaltending. “Clay Taylor will be in net for us for the fourth year now and he is most important to our success,” Linder said. “We play a smart game in front of him, get scoring from various guys, and don’t depend on any one person to the puck in the net.” Alex MacDonald, a 1997 birth year and NARCh Pro veteran, should help bolster scoring after joining the team this season. Linder led the Outcasts in scoring with 14 goals and 24 points in 24 regularseason games last season while tacking on 17 points in eight playoff games. Taylor was lights out in the playoffs with a 1.35 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. The Outcasts won their first five games at last year’s nationals in Las Vegas before falling to the New Jersey Alliance two games to one in the finals. “We want to be back in Philadelphia for the finals again this year, but after two years of coming up short, it’s definitely our goal to get over the hump and win it all this time,” Linder said.
oaltender Brett Bushnell has played a large role in the success of the University of Arizona roller hockey team the past two seasons. “I was club president for one and a half years and I have enjoyed seeing the camaraderie that the team has developed throughout that time,” explained Bushnell, who left office as club president on Dec. 31 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the semester break. “To see that happen, it really makes it worth dealing with all the paperwork, club sports semantics and other pencil-pushing stuff that goes into running a collegiate team.” Bushnell remains on the active roster for the second semester in what is his fifth season in the program after starting on the school’s Division III squad in 2013-14. He posted an 11-5 record with a 3.37 goals-against average and .834 save percentage in 16 game appearances last season as the Wildcats won a Division II regional championship and made a Sweet Sixteen appearance at the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Bushnell said his most satisfying moment with the team came during last year’s nationals when the Wildcats rallied from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Kansas State 7-4 in a pool-round game. “(Forward) Jacob Toro had been thrown into the boards and had to leave the game due to concussion-like symptoms, and instead of trying to fight everybody on Kansas State, we came together and scored four goals on the ensuing five-minute power play,” Bushnell explained. “That was a really satisfying win.” The 22-year-old Phoenix native is enjoying one of his finest seasons with a 3-0 record, 2.57 GAA and .895 save percentage at the semester break for the 6-1 Wildcats. He wishes nothing but the best for the program. “I hope that the club continues to grow after I leave and is able to be competitive in whatever division it is playing in,” he said.
WCRHL teams learning, improving at Division III level By Phillip Brents
he Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) will hold its regional championship tournament March 3-4 at THE RINKS-Corona Inline in Corona, Calif. Champions in three divisions will be determined: Division I, Division II and Division III. Division I is considered the level for elite play, while Division II, though based somewhat on skill level, is generally a level of play for teams from smaller schools. Division III, meanwhile, is a developmental level for both Division I and Division II teams. All three divisions have an equivalent division at the annual National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournament. This year’s NCRHA nationals are scheduled for April 11-15 in Fargo, N.D. Arizona State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Santa Barbara have been particularly dominant among WCRHL Division III teams. In fact, those three programs have accounted for 15 of the last 16 WCRHL regional champions. UC Santa Barbara defeated West Valley College 4-3 in overtime to win last year’s WCRHL regional championship. Prior to that, Arizona State reeled off four consecutive Division III regional championships from 2013-16. Division III teams cannot exist without being associated with a school’s Division I or Division II team (or, in some cases, a Junior College Division team). “The hope is you have a younger player or a bubble player from the club’s upper team who can develop at the Division III level and eventually make the jump up to
the top team,” Arizona State University program direc- again.” tor Nick Boyarsky explained. Eight teams are participating at the WCRHL DiviASU has had some very competitive Division III sion III level this season, including two from Cal Poly teams over the past 10 years, according to Boyarsky. San Luis Obispo. The Sun Devils recorded a runner-up finish at the At the semester break, Cal Poly Gold (8-0-0) and NCRHA finals in 2013 and notched Final Four national ASU (8-1-0) were tied for the Division III lead with 16 finishes in both 2012 and 2014. standings points. “We have had some very CSU Fullerton and West strong Division III nationals Valley College were tied for showings with our club usuthird place in the division ally ranked in the top four standings with 5-3-0 records throughout the season,” and 10 standings points, folBoyarsky said. “At its peak, lowed by the University of Arabout five years ago, we had izona (3-4-0), UC Santa Barthree Division III teams in one bara (2-4-1), Cal Poly Green season.” (2-6-0) and Cal Poly Pomona Schools can field as many (1-7-0). Division III teams as they ASU’s Paxton Parker wish, but only one can particiled the division in scoring pate at the NCRHA nationals. with 33 points at the semes“Most seasons prior to ter break. In fact, four of the the last one, we ran with two top five point-scorers at the teams -- Division III Black and semester break were Sun Division III Maroon, with Black Devils. Shaun McDonald always being the ‘stronger’ Colin McHugh controls the puck for Arizona State University ranked third with 27 points, team,” Boyarsky explained. in a recent Western Collegiate Roller Hockey Division III game followed by teammates “The two years prior to the against CSU Fullerton. Photo/ASU Roller Hockey Jordan Behm and Clint current one, we saw a bit of a drop off as the graduating Tapsell, both with 25 points. players were replaced by less skilled players, plus we ASU’s Garrett Ruby topped Division III goaltenstarted to roll with a larger Division I bench, taking some ders with a 2.44 goals-against average. of what might have been stronger Division III players The WCRHL resumes second semester play with a and moving them up. regular-season event Jan. 20-21 at the Barney Family “This season, with a large crop of freshman talent, Sports Complex in Queen Creek. Teams from Division we are finally fielding a strong Division III Black team I, Division II and Division III will be in action. AZRubberHockey.com
Hockey growth in desert booming at girls, women’s levels By Taylor Sedona Clark
here is no mistaking the strides that women’s hockey has made the past few years in Arizona. Last year marked the inaugural season of the Arizona State University women’s team and this year, Grand Canyon University joined their ranks. For the first time in history, there were two collegiate women’s hockey programs in the state. The coaches for both teams, Lindsey Ellis (ASU) and Natalie Rossi (GCU), are women. However, for many of the girls who make up each team’s roster, women coaches have been rare. “When I was younger, I played in Staten Island and I only knew one other girl who played hockey,” Rossi said. “Then I started playing in New Jersey for a girls organization and we still only had like two teams, but then I went to my first tournament. There were what felt like eight billion girls running around and it was just the most amazing experience to see other people like me. They were playing hockey - females playing hockey and having the same experience as me.” In Rossi’s opinion, women’s hockey in Arizona is currently at the state that it was almost 20 years ago in New Jersey. In Arizona, where the blazing temperatures and cactus contrast sharply with the cool ice inside rinks, it’s no surprise that it has taken a while for women’s hockey to gain momentum and start to grow. But now that it’s started, director of amateur hockey development Matt Shott and the Arizona Coyotes are making sure it doesn’t stop anytime soon.
When Rossi saw the opportunity to have more female hockey coaches helping out with local hockey, she approached Shott and he immediately made the possibility a reality. Thanks to the support and funding from the Coyotes, six females and four males from GCU, along with a few girls from ASU, were given the opportunity to take part in a USA Hockey Level One certification class. Through age-specific modules and Safe Sport
training, each player is now able to be an assistant coach on the higher-up teams and help coach all around different age groups. This means that some local players are getting the chance to give back to the systems that gave rise to their careers. Whether it’s because of her Twitter antics or performance on the ice, ASU goalie Jordan Nash-Boulden is arguably one of the most popular
Arizona women’s hockey players. She’s also one of the young women who got to be a part of this new initiative. “It’s really special for me and personally, it’s always been very important that I try to give back to the game and the community and this gives me the opportunity to do both through the game I love,” Nash-Boulden said. “They really emphasized that we’re trying to teach ‘hockey for life’ and no doubt you can see that some of these kids after their first skate are going to be hooked for sure in the same way that I was. That’s what really makes this worth it.” In April, the Coyotes, with Chandler native Lyndsey Fry leading the way, are launching their biggest women’s hockey initiative yet. The Small Frys program, an all-girls learn to play youth hockey program that was a huge success last year, is being expanded. This time around, four times as many girls will sign up for the initiation program where the biggest goal is to get more girls involved in hockey. Girls ranging in age from 7-12 will participate in three stages where they will be introduced to basic hockey skills, game play with body contact, and small-area games. “Our main goal with the program is really just to get more girls into hockey and excited about playing hockey,” said Fry. “I felt honored to be chosen by the Coyotes to spearhead this program,” Fry said. “It’s just, such a cool opportunity. Not only for myself but for the Coyotes to spearhead something like this for girls hockey. Hopefully we can do it really well and set the precedent. Just help grow the girls game nationally, not just here in Arizona.”
Taking a glance at the changing face of hockey retail S
eems like 10-15 years ago companies like Bauer and CCM could not open new dealers fast enough. The industry had a big trade show each winter in Las Vegas. Dealers and prospective dealers anxiously waited in droves outside Exelby the show for the doors to open on the first day. Prospective dealers pitched their new store ideas to the companies. The companies felt more dealers meant more dollars. They were right in the short term, but were proved wrong in the long term – lessons they would realize and regret years later. The Las Vegas show was always an exciting time. New companies were there each year. I remember years ago when Mission Hockey was launching, they actually had a submarine in their booth at the show that you could walk in. Warrior launched a few years later with their booth of models and a full bar. Each
show would add new companies to the BTM store mix. Eagle had their booth that changed the glove category. Their booth had hundreds of pairs of gloves in every color combination you could imagine. Eagle forced both Bauer and CCM to step up their glove game. One year, they came up with pro glow that people went crazy over, until the people realized the gloves stuck to the glass and ended up with players getting shoulder injuries. Their body kept moving and their shoulder stopped – not a good combination. Graf skates and Tackla pants were also very popular with retailers and consumers. Then things changed when there was not a waiting line to get in. Bauer was bought by Nike and CCM/ Reebok by Adidas. The smaller companies could no longer compete and fell by the wayside. The larger retailers kept expanding and the Internet hockey stores put the mom-and-pop dealers out of business. With less dealers and retailers, the show came to an end. As certain hockey retailers grew with multiple locations across the U.S., and the Internet grew wildly, the smaller retailers faded. During this period, BTM was part of The Hockey Group (THG) with Hockey Monkey, Hockey Giant, Total Hockey and Perani’s. THG used its combined group volume to get additional discounts and benefits other retailers did not receive. As a group, THG was a huge percentage of the U.S. marketplace.
As the Internet grew, people would come in and ask how we could compete with these huge Internet hockey stores, not knowing that we were part of the same group. Joining THG in 2002 was the best thing BTM had done. Larry Davenport started THG after serving as the vice president of CCM. Being asked to join the group was a great honor. The group continued until 2014 when it self-imploded. Members within THG had expanded so quickly that they were opening stores in other member’s territories. What started out as a group of retailers that each had their own marketplace simply grew out of control. But being part of a group allowed me to better understand retail. It made me a better retailer. It made me understand that I needed to update the stores, to expand to better locations. When THG began, Perani’s was the largest retailer in the U.S. by far. Perani’s was founded by former minor league goalie Bob Perani. Bob was the godfather of hockey retail in the U.S. Seeing that Bob and I were both goalies and from Toronto, we had an immediate bond. As nice of a person as I’ve met, Bob helped me understand both retail and hockey. I soaked in the information he provided. Without Larry Davenport, Bob Perani and THG, BTM would be light years behind where it is today. Bob passed away in 2012, but his industry legacy lives on.
Randy Exelby is the owner of Behind The Mask Hockey Shops. 20
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
PICTURE PERFECT The New Mexico Ice Wolves brought home the championship in the Pee Wee A division at the Colorado Cup tournament, which was contested New Year’s Weekend in Colorado Springs.
The Arizona Lady Coyotes’ 19U team captured the Bantam A championship at the AZ Coyotes Cup, defeating the Mission Arizona 14U team in the title game Dec. 31 at the Ice Den Scottsdale.
The New Mexico Warriors 14U team won championship in the Bantam A division at the Colorado Cup tournament, which was contested New Year’s Weekend in Colorado Springs.
The New Mexico Warriors 12U team captured the title in the Pee Wee B division at the Colorado Cup tournament, which was contested in Colorado Springs over New Year’s Weekend.
The Arizona Bobcats’ 2007 team captured the Pee Wee B championship at the AZ Coyotes Cup, defeating the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils 3-2 in the title game Dec. 31 at the Ice Den Scottsdale.
The Jr. Coyotes’ 14 U team out of Chandler team captured the Bantam AA championship at the AZ Coyotes Cup, defeating the Colorado Rampage 2-1 in the championship game Dec. 31 at the Ice Den Scottsdale.
The Arizona Hockey Union Black 1 team won the Mite Tract 2 banner at the AZ Coyotes Cup, defeating the AHU Black 2 team 4-2 in the championship game Dec. 31 at the Ice Den Scottsdale.
The Arizona Hockey Union Black team won the Squirt B banner at the AZ Coyotes Cup, defeating the Chandler Jr. Coyotes in the title game at the Ice Den Scottsdale on Dec. 31.
Back on Dec. 27 at Gila River Arena, 120 players graduated from the Little Howlers program, complete with a mini jamboree on the ice and a graduation ceremony in the media lounge.
The Arizona Hockey Union Purple team won the Squirt A championship at the AZ Coyotes Cup, defeating the Hyland Hills Jaguars (Colorado) 4-3 in the title game Dec. 31 at the Ice Den Scottsdale.
Submit your favorite hockey photos to email@example.com! AZRubberHockey.com
Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Belleville, Ontario, Canada Acquired: Signed as a free agent on July 1, 2015 Drafted: Colorado’s fifth-round pick (163rd overall) in 2003 NHL Draft Last Amateur Team: Owen Sound Attack (Ontario Hockey League) Age: 32 (turns 33 on Feb. 4) Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Brad Richardson: Growing up, it was probably going to that minor Pee Wee hockey tournament. It was great to have a chance to live with another family for a week. I went skiing and played in the Colisee (in Quebec City). It was pretty cool. I definitely have fond memories of that. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? BR: For sure, it was in 2012 and winning the Stanley Cup (with the Los Angeles Kings). That’s a pretty easy one. It was a great run and a lot of fun. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? BR: I would say family, for sure. No. 1 would be my dad. He coached me all the way up. Still tries to do that to this day. Yeah, he coached and put in a lot of time and effort as did my mom. It was my dad that did the coaching. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? BR: The one I try to live by every day is to have fun. If you work hard, usually good things happen. I always try to have a smile on my face and enjoy the moment. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? BR: That was golf and baseball. In fact, I continued to play hard ball. Things managed to get a little out of hand when guys started to slide hard into bases. At that point, I decided to pursue hockey. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? BR: I haven’t changed a lot of my gear since I was 14 years old. I still have the same shin pads and shoulder pads since I was in juniors. I don’t change my gear too often. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? BR: It’s pretty standard. Eat pretty much the same breakfast every day. I have eggs and pancakes on every game day. Try and have a nap and that doesn’t always work out. I throw some music on, just relax and get ready. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? BR: We were there for a party recently, and I really like SumoMaya (Mexican-Asian fusion cuisine). That’s my favorite. And then they just opened a new Vig around my house and I enjoy going there, too. There’s a Vig downtown, too, but the one in Scottsdale is closer to my house. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? BR: My underwear. Some guys don’t even do that. Toothbrush, oral hygiene stuff, of course. All the usual. I don’t bring anything crazy. Some guys bring a PlayStation with them, and I don’t do that. I make sure I have my headphones. That’s all I need. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? BR: It’s probably two. When I was little kid, it was Wayne Gretzky, 100 percent. When I got a little bit older, it was Joe Sakic. Sakic was my favorite from I was like 14 all the way until I was about 20. I got to play with him (in Colorado), and so that was pretty cool. Photo/Norm Hall
Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine
- Compiled by Mark Brown
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The January issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring Mission AZ Hockey on the cover has hit the streets!
Published on Jan 17, 2018
The January issue of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring Mission AZ Hockey on the cover has hit the streets!