Arizona Rubber Magazine - October 2017

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USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program boasts three players on its Under-18 Team with Arizona backgrounds – Adam Samuelsson, Erik Middendorf and D.J. King – and the talented trio certainly has a bright future this year and down the road ASU, JR. SUN DEVILS GROWING GAME WITH THRIVING PARTNERSHIP




Visit the Jr Sharks website to register


FROM THE EDITOR And we are off and running with the new 2017-18 hockey season


o you smell that? It’s the smell of the ice, the Zamboni fumes, the coffee from the concession stand. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of young hockey players loving the game, parents shouting encouragement from the stands, the public-address announcer with a goal announcement. Do you feel that? It’s that feeling that hockey is back, the thrill of being on the ice, the thrill to get to cover and write about hockey – at all levels – on a daily basis. Yes, my friends, we’re back to early-morning practices, tournaments with 4-5 games in three Matt Mackinder days, and as shown across the hockey community thus far, coming together for the Las Vegas community – and sadly, U of A grad and former Tucson Roadrunners intern Christiana Duarte – that was shocked by the unfortunate events of Oct. 1. The puck has been dropped, so away we go. Happy hockey season! The Arizona Coyotes unveiled a new outdoor DEK hockey rink, in conjunction with The Boys and Girls Club, at Laguna Elementary School in Scottsdale last month. The Coyotes, along with the NHL and the NHLPA, launched an initiative last April to build several new DEK hockey rinks around the Valley and state. The Coyotes previously unveiled a DEK hockey rink at Luke Air Force Base in April and the Northwest YMCA in El Mirage in August. The Coyotes have identified a number of additional sites in the Valley where the next DEK hockey rinks will be constructed. In more great news from the Coyotes, the club announced earlier this month that the Coyotes will invest $2.1 million over the next three years into the development of youth hockey in the state as part of the league’s Industry Growth Fund. The Coyotes’ four new programs that will introduce the sport of hockey to over 100,000 boys and girls include a street hockey PE curriculum, a three-step introduction to hockey program for girls, financial support to local ice rinks, and the sponsorship of the Valley’s local high school hockey league.

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

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Dave Spina, one of the first standout players to ever come out of Arizona and make a name in junior, college and pro hockey, recently announced his retirement from the game at age 34 due to concussions. “I am very fortunate to have played as long as I have, have endless people to thank for helping me achieve the level and longevity in this wonderful sport, and never imagined it would provide, teach, and shape my life the way it has,” Spina, a Mesa native, wrote in an Instagram post. “What began as a passion only grew stronger as the years went by. The support from fans, teammates, and staff across the globe made the last 13 years interesting, exhilarating, challenging at times, but most of all, fun.” Bill Mosienko, coach of the CAHA Jr. Coyotes 13U team in Chandler, has earned a huge win off the ice by defeating cancer. Last spring during a CT scan, results revealed a small spot on his left kidney and on June 18, a biopsy revealed it was indeed Stage 1 cancer. The good news? Doctors caught it very early. “There are very good odds (95 percent) that this is done and over with,” Mosienko wrote on Facebook. “I believe in God and believe that he works in mysterious ways.” Mosienko’s team took it upon themselves to tape their sticks orange – the color used for kidney cancer awareness. “I had no idea this was coming until they stepped out onto the ice for a game,” continued Mosienko. “It was a touching moment and it moved me beyond words that these young men did this. I’m so proud to be their coach and be part of an awesome organization. It’s a moment that I will never forget. Hockey is the best; hockey people are the best!”

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Ian Bast is among the top returning players this season for the Arizona State University inline hockey team. More inline coverage can be found on Page 19. Photo/NCRHA

ON THE COVER USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program has three players with Arizona ties skating on its Under-18 Team this season. Pictured, from left to right, are Adam Samuelsson, Erik Middendorf and D.J. King. Photo/Rena Laverty/USA Hockey

Coyotes veteran Ekman-Larsson: ‘Good things will happen’ By Mark Brown


ith designation as one of the elite players in the game, there is a clear responsibility that comes with distinction. For Arizona Coyotes’ All-Star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, that duty remains the upmost desire to get better, improve and find ways to help his team win. In the early part of the season, the Coyotes failed to win their initial four games, but the spirit and ability which moved Ekman-Larsson to the front of NHL players has not abated. While he continues to receive accolades for both his past performance on the ice and leadership skills in the dressing room, the 26-year-old Swede remains quiet and unassuming. Behind the smile and easy disposition lays the beat of a hockey player draped in skill and overwhelmed by desire. The fact the Coyotes have not qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs since the spring of the 2012 is, to Ekman-Larsson, both frustrating and challenging. Above all, the stellar defenseman remains the heart and soul of this team. When captain Shane Doan retired this past summer, rumors started that Ekman-Larsson would assume captaincy of the Coyotes. Just a few days into training camp, coach Rick Tocchet informed players and the media that no captain would be immediately named. Instead, Ekman-Larson would retain the “A” for alternate captain, and share the responsibility with new defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. For now, Ekman-Larsson described the importance of placing of the “A” with both pride and accountability. “With the ‘A,’ they expect me to show up every day,

do my best and that’s do all I can do,” he said. “At the death of his mother. same time, help everyone around me to get better. I This season did not start any better. think being a good teammate is important, and looking After the first four games, he was at minus-4 and after all the players is all I can on the ice for three of the do. That’s why I’m wearing four Detroit goals that exthe ‘A’ on my jersey.” tended the Coyotes’ winless In the desire to imstreak to four at the start of prove his overall game, Ekthe season. man-Larsson is the first to Still in his mid-20s, Ekrecognize the search for exman-Larsson is playing his cellence is neverending. eighth NHL season, but “I’ve taken steps to imgleans the perspective of a prove every year, and last veteran beyond his years. year was a tough year for By his own acknowledgeme,” he said. “I think I can ment, he celebrates the youth learn something from that of the present Coyotes and, and move forward That’s at the same time, recognizes what I’m looking for right a learning curve at work. If now. I know I have a good the Coyotes collected anyfirst pass, and look to get thing through the opening even better on that. Just get weeks of the current season, want to get better everyit is the need to put teams where in my game, and help away. Despite losing their inithis team win.” tial games, the Coyotes had Regarded as a swift carleads in several games, and rier with the puck and one Ekman-Larsson is the first to of the most dangerous derecognize that a change in fenseman with the disc in- Oliver Ekman-Larsson is in his eighth NHL season and direction is needed. side an opponent’s blue line, though off to a slow start, is confident that good fortunes “We need to close out Ekman-Larsson’s offensive will soon come to fruition.Photo/Norm Hall games,” he said. “That’s the skills are nearly without parbiggest thing. If we have a allel. It’s the defensive side of his game that needs to lead, we can’t sit back, but keep going for the next goal. be polished. We have several new guys, a new system, and it takes Last season, Ekman-Larsson recorded a minus-25 time. We need to be patient, work hard and I think we’ll rating, and missed the final three games due to the get better. Yes, good things will happen.”


Glory Days

USA Hockey’s NTDP has a talented, rich Arizona flavor with King, Middendorf, Samuelsson Middendorf’s uncle, Max, played 11 seasons of pro hockey, which included 13 NHL games with Edmonton and Quebec, while Derek King, D.J..’s father, played yebrows used to be raised when a talented hockey player was said to be from 830 NHL games with Toronto, Hartford, New York Islanders and St. Louis, and SamArizona. uelsson’s father, Ulf, played almost 1100 NHL games, winning Stanley Cups with Then Zac Larraza and Auston Matthews burst onto the scene and people be- Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992, and also served as an assistant coach with the Phoenix gan to realize that amazing hockey players could indeed come from the desert. Coyotes from 2006-11. But even as Matthews, a Scottsdale native and reigning NHL Rookie of the Year Max Middendorf also played for Team USA at the 1986 IIHF World Junior Chamnow in his second season with the Toronto Maple Leafs – and picking up this year pionship. where he left off last season – skated two seasons for USA Hockey’s National Team Samuelsson’s brothers, Philip and Henrik, are playing pro hockey after being Development Program (NTDP) in suburban Detroit, as did Larraza, also from Scott- high NHL draft picks. A sister, Victoria, is a junior this season at NCAA Division I Penn sdale, three more phenoms have emerged from Arizona to make an impact with the State University. NTDP in D.J. King, Erik Middendorf and Adam Samuelsson. “My dad (Matthew) played growing up, but decided to go play college football,” The trio was named to the NTDP’s said Middendorf. “My uncle decided to Under-17 Team last season and have keep playing and growing up, me and continued with the Under-18 Team for my brother (Connor) had the choice the 2017-18 campaign. of playing football or hockey and it was Just Middendorf was born in the always hockey for us. My uncle will state (Scottsdale) – the other two played text me once in a while to ask how I’m youth hockey there for long stints – but playing and to tell me he’s watched my all three are leaving their mark with two games, so that’s a pretty cool feeling.” of them already committed to NCAA DiAnd with King and Samuelsson bevision I powerhouses for the future. ing immersed in the game since birth, Middendorf has chosen to play for the choice was an easy one for them the University of Denver, the 2017 nawhen it came to sports. When it came tional champions, while Samuelsson, to positive influences as coaches in Arwho was injured much of last season, izona, the trio mentioned names such is off to Boston College. King said he as Shawn McCosh, the late John is keeping all of his options open for the Koper, Brian Savage, and all three 2018-19 season. fathers. Still, having three players with desert “They all put a great group of playties on the same national team is a feathers together and we had some pretty er in the cap for Arizona. good teams down there,” said King. “It’s pretty cool to have three of us “Hockey in Arizona has really grown a here,” Middendorf said. “Ever since lot. When I was there, guys were mostZac and Auston came here, it’s kind of ly playing football and baseball – not a opened the world to Arizona hockey. lot of people were talking about hockThere are a lot of young guys coming out ey down there, but now, you’re seeing of Arizona and I keep hearing that a lot of more and more players coming out of skilled guys are playing there right now, Arizona and playing high levels of junior so that’s huge for Arizona.” hockey and like we’ve all seen, Auston All three skated for the Jr. Coyotes Matthews in the NHL. during their youth days, with King and “My dad and I talk every day and Samuelsson plying their trade there from he gives me tips on how to be a good 2004-09. Once King and Samuelsson pro and that it’s all about doing the little left Arizona for other opportunities, the things right. He’s been a huge influence trio was reunited in the spring of 2016 on me and my career so far.” at the NTDP Evaluation Camp where “I always had options on which Adam Samuelsson, Erik Middendorf and D.J. King all come from Arizona-related hockey backgrounds the top 40 United States-born players and each has found a home with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, a prestigious sport I would play, but with hockey, I fell born in 2000 were invited to showcase organization located in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, Mich. Photo/Rena Laverty/USA Hockey in love with it right away,” said Samutheir talents with hopes of playing for the elsson. “I just grew into it, really, and I NTDP. don’t even know how I started playing.” Each player was dynamic at the camp and was offered spots in the program. All Another similarity all three players have in playing for NTDP is living away from three accepted. home. “I came to the top-40 camp with all the best players in our age group (2000 birth “It really hasn’t been that bad,” said Middendorf. “I thought it would be a lot different years) and I got to see a lot of my old friends, especially guys like Samuelsson and coming out here, but we’re all so busy, so you never really have time to miss anything King, and I got a call one day before school and said I had 24 hours to decide,” re- from back home. Everybody here is going through the same thing and if you’re ever membered Middendorf. “I had a lot of great people call me, like Danton Cole, who having a bad day, you just look to the guy next to you. There are 21 other guys doing coached here (now the head coach at Michigan State University), and then Auston exactly what you’re doing, so it’s not that bad at all. And it’s easy to stay in touch with Matthews called me later that night. I decided I wanted to come here pretty quickly my family with FaceTime and stuff these days, so it’s really easy not to get homesick.” after that.” The biggest goal for the NTDP Under-18 Team is to win the World Under-18 “Obviously, it’s a huge honor,” said King. “You get to represent your country every Championships next April, a tournament where Team USA has had gold medal sucday – that’s pretty awesome.” cess in recent years. “It’s a huge honor to get picked to wear this jersey and I take pride in doing that,” “You just take it day by day here,” said Middendorf. “Every day is a challenge and added Samuelsson. they give you everything you need here; you just have to take advantage of it. Just use After leaving Arizona, King skated in the Toronto area for the Mississauga Rebels all the resources here and work hard every day.” AAA organization and Samuelsson went out East to play for the Connecticut Jr. Rang“Worlds is a big thing, but you just want to get better every day,” King said. “For ers. everyone here, it’s about getting better each day in practice and then being successful The three NTDP players all have a history in the game with family members. in games.” By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

OneHockey arrives in California with four holiday events By OneHockey Staff


t’s taken 14 years, but the hockey tournament industry’s undisputed international leader is finally going to introduce its home state of California to what the highly-acclaimed OneHockey experience is all about. OneHockey CEO Sebastien Fortier, a Laguna Hills resident, is excited to announce that OneHockey will bring four OneHockey holiday weekend spectaculars to the Golden State during the 201718 season. These three-day hockey festivals will take place at Icetown Arenas in Carlsbad and LA Kings Icetown Riverside during the Thanksgiving, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July weekends.

Both arenas are owned and operated by the Dunaev family and the Riverside location is a community partner with 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 and operates the 25-plus year-round tournament organization from his home office. A OneHockey event is anything but your everyday tournament at your neighborhood ice rink. From its festive music and playful mascot streaming throughout each venue to its bus-

tling lobby featuring a multitude of hockey vendors as well as its popular red-carpet social media interviews, all culminating with its trademark championship ceremony – complete with a OneHockey Cup raising and non-alcoholic champagne celebration – the OneHockey experience cannot be equaled. For more information on the new OneHockey California events as well as the rest of the 201718 in-season OneHockey schedule across North America, visit

ONEHOCKEY CALIFORNIA EVENTS: Thanksgiving - NOVEMBER 2017 Dates: November 24-26 Category: Boys - 4 Games Div/Level: Mite A, Mite B, Squirt B, Peewee AA LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Presidents’ Day - FEBRUARY 2018 Dates: February16-19, 2018 Category: Boys - 5 Games Div/Level: Peewee A, Peewee B, Squirt B LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Memorial Day - MAY 2018 Dates: May 25-28, 2018 Category: Boys - 5 Games Div/Level: Bantam A, Bantam AA, Peewee AA LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Fourth of July - July 2018 Dates: July 5-8, 2018 Category: Boys - 5 Games Div/Level: 2008 AAA, 2008 AA, 2007 AA LOCATION: Ice Town Carlsbad

Div/Level: Peewee A, Peewee B, Bantam AA, 16AA/JV High School, 18AA/Varsity LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Div/Level: Squirt A, Bantam B, Bantam A, Bantam AA, U16 AA/JV High School U18AA/Varsity High School LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Div/Level: Mite A and B (half ice), Squirt A, Squirt B, Peewee A, Peewee B, U16 AA/HS JV, U18 AA/HS Varsity LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside

Div/Level: 2002 AAA, 2002 AA, 2004 AAA, 2004 AA, 2005 AAA, 2006 AAA, 2006 AAA, 2007 AAA LOCATION: Ice Town Riverside



AHU once again hosts successful Ice Breaker Invitational By Bryan O’Sullivan


or the last decade, the Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) has hosted the Icebreaker Invitational tournament in the Valley. This year, the tournament took place Oct. 6-9 at AZ Ice Gilbert and Ice Den Scottsdale. A total of 37 teams entered in eight divisions and there was plenty of excitement to fill the weekend. The AHU 16U AA Silver Knights went into the weekend with high expectations. Their first matchup pitted them against the McKinney North Stars out of Texas. The first two periods were defensive clinics with both teams being stifled at every attempt. Early in the third, the North Stars took the lead. Not to be outdone, Zac Yurkanin buried a feed from Max Chase, with Loren Lieberg assisting on the back end to tie it up. Seconds later, the North Stars again took the lead 2-1 and the Knights fell into penalty trouble, getting tagged for seven penalties in the third. With a short bench, they fell to the North Stars. This, however, would be their last taste of defeat. Over the next three games and into the championship, goalies Guy Blessing and Nathan Tepas dominated, allowing only two goals and posting a combined goals-against average of 0.80 throughout the weekend. In the final game, AHU Silver drew the Jr. Sun Devils. They continued their strong defensive play and secured the championship with a 2-0 win. Forward Frankie Demicco led the team in scoring with a goal and three assists, while the goalten-

ders each posted shutouts, giving up only two goals each. The team scored nine goals while surrendering only four and seven different Knights tallied a goal throughout the weekend. In the Pee Wee A division, 12U Black went undefeated on the way to the finals where they met the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights. Vegas finished their round-robin play not only undefeated as well, but without giving up a goal. The stage was set for a new rivalry to form. AHU Black started the scoring with a goal from Nathan Mclure and a shorthanded goal just over two minutes later from River Lewis. These were the first goals scored on the Golden Knights in over 12 periods of play, but Vegas responded in under a minute to quickly slow any momentum AHU Black was gaining going into the second. The second period proved to be even better than the first. AHU Black came out firing on all cylinders scoring two more unassisted goals from Jeremiah Girnt and Matthew Benzing before Vegas potted one of their own. With 37 seconds remaining in the second, Kai Hohoff teamed up with Lewis and Benzing to put AHU up 5-2 heading to the third. Much of the third was a defensive battle with AHU holding the Golden Knights to seven shots before giving up two quick goals in the last minute of


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

the period. AHU Black not only scored the only goals of the tournament on the Golden Knights, but came together as a team, having five different players score in the game and capturing the Pee Wee A division championship. Hohoff led all scoring with nine goals and five assists, Lewis finished second with five goals and six assists, while goaltender Nathan Graybill stepped up and posted a 1.64 goals-against average for the weekend. The team scored 30 goals while only giving up 10. AHU Squirt Black, led by head coach Erik Brown, went undefeated for the weekend and won their first banner as a team in the Squirt 1U0 division. The other division champions included the Iowa Wild (18U AA), McKinney North Stars (16U A), McKinney North Stars (14U), Jr. Coyotes (12U B) and the Arizona Hockey Union thanks all the teams, from near and far, that helped make this tournament a success. Honorable mentions to the AHU Squirt White and Purple teams. Both entered the tournament in the Pee Wee B division, testing their players against bigger and stronger competition. White posted an impressive 4-1 record, falling in the finals and taking second place. Purple went on to secure third place in the division.

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION Northstars strive to leave every game with champion mindset

NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY NAU brimming with confidence, momentum in new ACHA season

By Heather Gearhart

By Matt Mackinder



in or lose, the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA) is dedicated to providing every interested Flagstaff youth with an affordable, quality instructional athletic program that focuses on character development, on and off the ice. Their model works to promote teamwork, build self-confidence, develop and encourage sportsmanship, teach fundamental skills and improve the standard of youth sports in a safe, non-threatening environment. It begins with the organization’s board of directors and all-volunteer coaching staff, and continues through each level of hockey. FYHA facilitates a “Student Coaches” program for players ages 13-17 to mentor younger kids, and promotes team camaraderie between Major and Minor players with integrated practices. Many FYHA coaches take it a step further, like Matt Gibbs, head coach for FYHA’s 10U Major and 10U Minor teams and 14U team. “I didn’t like the idea of calling teams Major and Minor, so I gave them names of Blue and Gold,” said Gibbs. “We’re really approaching this season as one team.” Gibbs has both teams on the ice for practice so that the more skilled Major players can help push players on the development team. He also started the season with players developing an additional code of conduct for themselves. With Gibbs emphasizing character and heart, the FYHA 10U Minor team earned respect during their AHU Icebreaker Tournament play for never giving up despite losing significantly to a more skilled 10U AHU Black team. “Our kids didn’t quit for two reasons,” said Ryan Gearhart, FYHA board member and parent of a 10U Minor player. “One was their heart and two, because their coaches didn’t quit on them.” FYHA embraces a quote from Alexander Den Heijer: “Champions don’t show up to get everything they want. They show up to give everything they have.”

n paper, both Northern Arizona University ACHA teams look to have solid rosters. Both the Division 2 coaching staff (Travis Johanson, Kris Walsh, Colin Hughes) and Division 3 staff (Ryan Smith, Billy Brennan, Brandon Schinzel) have their teams out to positive starts as each squad went undefeated in the early part of October, the D-2 team going 4-0 and the D-3 team 2-0. “The coaching staffs have really stepped up this year,” said Johanson. “We’re expecting big things out of both teams this year. Our numbers were down for tryouts, but the talent level was way up this year. It made for a very competitive camp.” The IceJacks’ D-2 team opened with four wins and outscoring their opponents 40-2. “This is by far the deepest team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Johanson. “We can roll four lines and with the defensemen, we know that any of the six or seven we put out there and going to be solid for us. Our goalies (Jaxson Gosnell and Josh Nolan) are both returning and had three shutouts in our first four games. “We’re really excited to see what the future holds for this team.” In the first quartet of games, NAU swept both Colorado State University and Arizona State University’s maroon squad. The IceJacks also defeated the Phoenix Knights junior team in a preseason exhibition on Sept. 23. On the D-3 side, Johanson said the team looks to be “a lot better than last year.” “We have a young team with the D-3 team this year, but the leadership group is back and will help the younger players, help them adjust to college hockey, and what college hockey is all about,” he said. “With the strong group of returning players, we expect a lot from this team.”


Being a leader within the game means just being yourself T

St. Clair

here are two types of leaders in hockey. First, you have the vocal, loud intense player and then you have the quiet leader who leads by example. Both serve a different purpose and can be effective if the

leaders go about it the right way. Some leaders have the ability to do both. When you are the vocal leader, you may not be as skilled, but your work ethic is off the charts. The vocal leader can say what he sees, but may not be able to perform what he sees on the ice, but he or she will at least try. It all depends on what level the person is at. If the person is a vocal leader on a junior team, he may be able to hold the kids to a higher standard. This may even cause getting in someone’s face or

even calling that person out. If the team needs to be more physical, you better believe this person is going to go out and do just that. The leader who leads by example is someone who can generally change the game with a big play or a goal whenever the team needs it. This person is a player that loves the pressure and can show guys how to play the right way. These guys or girls are generally the leading goal scorers or point getters on the team and consistently want the puck to make a difference. There are times when a team has a guy or girl who can do both. These players are rare, but usually a team will have one. Generally, this person is very passionate and wears their heart on their sleeve. That is how they got to be so good – they didn’t have any talent to start and worked to become that leading goal scorer and that allows them to be vocal as well and have the ability to perform what message they are relaying to the team.

All this said, being a leader is not for everyone. For some people, it puts too much pressure on them and it takes away from their ability to play the game. When the team is going through a hard time, the coach will generally put a lot of it on the leaders in order to find out what is going on with the team and that is part of the reason why the task is so hard.. The leadership group is the most important on the team because they are generally the core group and if you have a good group of personnel, the team will always follow because the leaders need to be doing the right things on and off the ice, and that is contagious. If you are a leader and the team picks you to be a leader, you have to be yourself. The team or coaching staff has already picked you for a reason and if you try too hard or try to be a different form of a leader, the team will sense that and they will lose respect for you and you will have no control of the locker room. In the end, be yourself. You are a leader for a reason.

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.



DYHA, ASU growing the game with flourishing relationship By Jack Harris


ntering its second season as a full NCAA member, Arizona State hockey is becoming one of the fastest growing programs in the country. Coach Greg Powers has been able to attract young talent from around the nation, helping to build a sturdy early foundation for his young program. And as his team develops, he hopes Arizona’s local youth hockey system does as well. The first step in that process is getting involved in the community, something ASU’s players have begun doing by helping out at Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) practices this fall. “We are thrilled to get our players out in the community and give back to youth hockey,” Powers said. “Our goal is to make sure that every young player in this state grows up wanting to be Sun Devils and our guys being positive role models in the community is a great way to do that.” By lending a hand to the Jr. Sun Devils program, ASU’s players have shown a commitment to get involved with youth hockey and help its young players get to where they are now, playing top-level college hockey. “When you have players of that caliber that can come out and practice, just having them on the ice is a treat,” DYHA director of hockey Brad McCaughey said. “Just having that caliber on the ice helps the coaches; they can ask questions of players in front of the kids.” Having an NCAA Division I program in the state has

been a boon to youth hockey in the state, giving aspiring players an up-close look at the sport at the highest amateur level. With what ASU is doing now, kids in the state are getting to develop rare, personal connections with the players they look up to. “It brings a level of realism to it,” McCaughey said. “A lot of these kids don’t get to meet pro players or D-I college players. Here, they get not only the chance to meet

Arizona State University NCAA Division I players routinely join DYHA practices in an effort to help the game thrive in the desert.

them, but get to know them over the course of the year. “It makes it real. It makes that person real. Here is a guy that is playing D-I and said he had to work really hard, so that’s what we’ve got to do. It helps out in all regards.” ASU is starting this process with just DYHA, but Powers hopes to soon see his players across the Valley


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

helping cultivate the sport he and his team have centered their lives around. “It’s only natural that we would start this with DYHA as we share a rink with them,” he said. “As we grow our outreach, we want to work with as many youth organizations as possible to strengthen our relationships in the community.” The early returns on the involvement look good not just for kids playing the sport around town, but for the ASU players getting to experience the bond as well. “It’s good for [the ASU players] in regards to giving back to the community,” McCaughey said. “For a lot of those players, D-I is where their career is going to stop. Hockey will always be part of them and they may decide that they really enjoy working with kids and showing kids what they’ve learned. “No matter what you are doing, it is always good for college-aged kids and young adults to get out and work with the young kids and teach and give back a little bit. It’s a good growing experience.” Even if only a handful of the kids the ASU players are working with make it to the next level, just being on the ice with the next generation is moving the Sun Devils program – and the Arizona hockey community – forward. As McCaughey said: “It’s a win-win on both sides, and maybe we can get a few Sun Devils hockey fans out of it, too, and help fill the arena for years to come.” It might help put a few future players on the ice for them to watch, too.

Bobcats graduate, USPHL goalie Dickson commits to D-III Utica By Matt Mackinder


t’s still early in the 2017-18 season, but Sean Dickson already has next season’s plans set to go. Dickson, a California native who played for the Arizona Bobcats’ 14U and 16U AAA teams from 2013-15, has committed to play NCAA Division III college hockey for Utica (N.Y.) College. He began this season with four straight wins, an 0.75 goals-against average, .969 save percentage and two shutouts for the United States Premier Hockey League’s (USPHL) Hampton Roads Jr. Whalers’ Premier team. Dickson is coming off an outstanding season last year with the Whalers where he posted a record of 26-7-0 with a 1.52 GAA, .928 save percentage and 10 shutouts en route to the USPHL Elite finals. During his 16U season with the Bobcats, Dickson recorded a 2.59 GAA in the North American Prospects Hockey League. “We are thrilled to hear the news that Sean has committed to Utica,” said Jr. Whalers head coach Rod Taylor. “For him to be offered this so early in the year is a testament to Sean’s great dedication and determination the last two years. In addition to his strong performance in goal, Sean has really worked hard to improve his overall skills and athleticism, and came in prepared to play to his full potential this year.” “I really enjoy playing for the Hampton Roads Jr. Whalers and they have helped me attain the goal of committing to my No. 1 choice school in Utica,” added Dickson. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance from Coach Taylor and (Jr. Whalers GM) Mr. (Patrick) Cavanagh. I’m extremely excited to further my education and compete for a championship at such a great school, and I’m thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way.” Cavanagh said seeing Dickson commit is a “prideful day for Whaler Nation.” “Sean has done all that can be expected of a student-athlete as a member of the Hampton Roads Jr. Whalers,” Cavanagh said. “He represents the hard work, commitment and excellence that we expect of our players.”

IN A DEVILISH MOOD Such a treat to see that hockey is booming in the Valley W ith the addition of the Las Vegas NHL franchise, I find myself wondering what the state of youth hockey will look like in 25 years in Las Vegas. Coming from the housing industry and knowing the similarities between the McCaughey Vegas market and the Valley, I feel pretty confident in saying that I know that answer. I was introduced to the Valley of the Sun 25 years ago when I came here to play for the Phoenix Roadrunners. The ice hockey scene was pretty thin back then. Our home arena was Veterans Memorial Coliseum, AKA the Madhouse on McDowell, and I remember finding it kind of strange that we, as professional hockey players, found ourselves often driving to the Coliseum, getting dressed in our gear, and then getting in our cars and driving to one of the other two rinks in the Valley for practice. After practice, we would get in our vehicles, smelly and still in our gear,

and drive back to the Coliseum to shower up. You see, the two other rinks in the Valley (Oceanside Ice Arena and Tower Plaza) did not have adequate shower facilities for us prima donna minor leaguers, or something like that. It was a long time ago! The point is that there were only two other hockey facilities in the Valley. I believe between the three facilities, there were two youth hockey associations – VOSHA and DYHA – and high school hockey did not exist. This landscape is probably very similar to present-day Vegas. Everything changed in the Valley in 1996 when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Phoenix Coyotes. Two years later, the Valley of The Sun finally got recognized as a big market in sports with professional teams in the four major sports when the Diamondbacks and Coyotes joined the Cardinals and Suns. While the Roadrunners had a long history in the Valley and a decent following, it was the hockey at the NHL level with the Coyotes that started Phoenix on its way to becoming a top-notch youth hockey location. Let’s take a look at what has happened in 25 short years. While there is no longer hockey played at the Coliseum, the other two rinks are still around and thriving. Tower Plaza is now known as AZ Ice Arcadia and is home to one of the Valley’s two Tier I programs, the

Arizona Bobcats. Oceanside is much improved and is not only the home rink for the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils, one of the Valley’s six travel associations, but also for the ASU D-I men’s program, two men’s ACHA teams and one women’s team. Who would have imagined 25 years ago that there would be professional and D-I hockey in the desert? In addition to the original two facilities, the Valley has added nine sheets between four new facilities that also brought four house leagues, providing hockey for kids of all skills. The four new facilities also paved the way for the emergence of the Arizona High School Hockey Association, which started in 1999 and has grown to 34 teams competing in four separate divisions. The other big improvement we have seen in recent years is the quality coaching we have for our kids. With the Valley being such a popular relocation destination, it has attracted a ton of ex-professional and college players as well as knowledgeable hockey people, both men and women. The first pick of the 2016 NHL Draft was Scottsdale’s Auston Matthews. He scored four goals in his first professional game and his bio states that he grew up watching the Coyotes. I think it is safe to say that he won’t be the last draft pick who calls the Valley his home. Yes, sir, I would say that hockey in the Valley in BOOMING and is only going to get better.

Brad McCaughey is the director of hockey for the Desert Youth Hockey Association.



Collins fits well with THA as prep team’s assistant coach By Greg Ball


t takes a special type of person to take on the time commitment and level of dedication that’s required to coach at the Tahoe Hockey Academy, and there’s no doubt that Chris Collins fits the bill. The assistant coach of Tahoe’s prep team, Collins is as passionate about hockey as he is about helping kids. “It’s obvious we made the right decision in hiring him because he truly lives and breathes hockey,” said Mike Lewis, the head coach of Tahoe’s prep team. “He thinks about it when he wakes up in the morning and before he goes to bed at night. To do what we do here, being on the ice every single day, you really have to be a person who’s in tune to the game. It’s a perfect marriage to have someone who loves the game so much and to have a program that demands that from a coach.” Collins joined Tahoe Hockey Academy in early 2016, jumping on board to help launch the program’s inaugural season. He had previously coached with the Tahoe Icemen, a Junior A team in the Western States Hockey League, and worked with kids in a private-lesson environment during the summers. He said his experience with Tahoe Hockey Academy has been even better than he could have imagined. “It’s always nerve-wracking when you’re a part of something new because for a lot of people, new is uncomfortable,” Collins said. “It has been great being a

part of something that has caught so much momentum in Texas. He was done with competitive hockey at the and being part of a program that believes so strongly age of 19, and when he looks back at his experience, in what it’s doing. I couldn’t be happier to be working he realizes that he wasn’t working with the same rewith Mike Lewis, (varsity head coach) Leo Fenn and sources that are available to Tahoe’s players to aid in the other amazing guys we have on our coaching staff. their development. “At that time, you either went Division I college or It’s a great environment - this is one of the greatest group of guys I’ve been around in hockey, from the Major Junior,” Collins said. “I always tell the guys here to get their education. After coaching staff to the players. that, they can go try to play in Everybody has bought into the ECHL or Europe, and if all the program.” else fails, you can come home In addition to his duties and you’re ready to start the with the prep team, Collins next phase of your life.” spends plenty of time on Lewis met Collins a few the ice with Tahoe’s varsity years ago through coaching squad, working on skill development or whatever else circles, and when it came time to assemble a staff in the players need. He said it Tahoe, it didn’t take long for has been a breath of fresh him to realize he had found at air working with the types of least one of the right guys in kids that are drawn to Tahoe Collins. Hockey Academy. As Cali“What’s great about Chris fornia’s first prep boarding school for hockey players, Tahoe Hockey Academy assistant coach is what head is that he understands what Tahoe attracts the type of coach Mike Lewis calls ‘a great asset for our program.’ we’re trying to do for our kids because he’s been through student-athletes who are fully Photo/Tahoe Media Collective committed to getting the most out of their potential, it,” Lewis said. “He grew up playing in SCAHA, and he both on the ice and in the classroom. has said how much we would have been appreciated Collins grew up playing across Southern California back then if there was a program like ours out there. for teams in Panorama City, Burbank and Valencia be“He can speak to our players from experience. fore playing part of one season for an 18U AAA team He’s a great asset for our program.”



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

17-18 season.


Ice Den Scottsdale unveils state-of-the-art video room By Matt Mackinder


see examples of strong players, they tend to grasp and learn the skills quicker. Hockey is a fast-paced game and video review allows coaches to slow it down, to analyze and teach concepts in a way the players understand.” The Ice Den staff worked cohesively with its IT partner Leverage Technology Group and Coyotes video coach Steve Peters on the design of the video room. “Our program is designed to ready these players for the very

ith technology advancing seemingly daily, the Ice Den Scottsdale is right at the forefront in keeping up with modern trends. Recently, the Ice Den revealed its new high-quality video room, which will be utilized by all the facility’s tenants, including the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes and the booming Jr. Coyotes youth program. Jr. Coyotes Elite Program hockey director Marc Fritsche said the new room is a benefit to all who use its resources. “Coaches will use video review as an additional tool to help players visualize and analyze game play to see what is working and where there is room for improvement,” said Fritsche. “Our program is fortunate that our home rinks are state-of-the-art facilities. In the times of instant footage and the tech generation, it sets us apart and shows that we are willing to do what it takes to evolve with the game and put an emphasis on developing not only great athletes, but smart athletes as well.” Fritsche added that when he describes the video The American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners, the top affiliate of room, “seeing is believing.” the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, recently utilized the new, top-quality video “When a coach can visually communicate to a team room at the Ice Den Scottsdale. or player making good plays and bad, the players are able highest levels, junior hockey in the U..S or Canada, colto process and make adjustments much faster than the lege and for a very select few, the pros,” Ice Den presitrial-by-error method that is normally used,” Fritsche said. dent Mike O’Hearn said. “Tools such as this video room “This generation of young players has been raised on will give them every opportunity to meet their goals while technology and are extremely visual learners. When they taking excuses off the table. Upgrades like this begin with

ownership. The Burke family, owners of Ice Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler, is the family that brought the Coyotes to the Valley in 1996. While they may not have a direct stake in the team today, they have maintained a leadership role in the community and a responsibility for continued growth of hockey at all levels for young men and women as well as the many thousands of young skaters that enjoy ice sports. This upgrade in Ice Den Scottsdale is just one of many that have been added over the years. These improvements are a commitment by ownership and management to provide the best possible facilities, the most competitive programs, while all the while ensuring the safe, healthy environment that has become the hallmark of the Ice Dens.” On the NHL side, Peters said the Coyotes will use the new video room for all of their game-day morning video meetings. “Most of our team special-teams play will be done in the mornings in the video room at the Ice Den and having a permanent location makes things much easier for us, and much more professional,” said Peters. “For the Ice Den to have a top-notch video facility like this makes it a true home away from home for the Coyotes when it comes to presenting our meetings to the players. “Today’s game is all about technology and visuals – this new video room gives us a place to educate our players in a first-class environment.”

l Practice Facility ia c ffi O e th e b to d u le is pro es can be found The Ice Den Scottsda m ti d n a s te a d e c ti c tes. Pra na-coyotes of Your Arizona Coyo zo ri /a m o .c le a sd tt o nsc online at www.icede

Photos: Norm Hall/Arizona Coyotes

Featuring officially licensed NHL merchandise including Arizona Coyotes Adidas gear.

9375 E Bell Road Scottsdale, AZ 85260



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IHAAZ sees changes to format for upcoming ’17-18 season By Brian Lester


hange is coming to IHAAZ this season, and it’s for the good. One of the most notable changes on the horizon is the way the league will be run in the regular season. The 8U and 10U divisions will remain the same to a degree, but the 12U, 14U and Midget/high school divisions will track the overall records of each team throughout the festival season, which will result in a regular-season champion being crowned at each of those three levels based on the standings after the festival in Prescott in April. Tracking the standings will take the place of handing out gold and silver medals and individual awards at each festival. The 8U and 10U divisions will still have medal ceremonies at each festival, but like the older divisions, their records will be tracked as well and regular-season titles will be awarded. Nick Boyarsky, who is the league’s new tournament director and remains the president of IHAAZ as well, is excited about the changes that have been put in place as they will benefit the league. “IHAAZ has been run like four to five stand-alone tournaments that end in a state finals tournament since the late 1990s, but in reality, it’s turned into more like a league or series over the past five years,” Boyarsky said. “Teams and programs make a season-long commitment and attend each event now, so it’s the same event each

time as far as who you’re playing, which is a lot more like a league or series anyway.” In the older divisions, more meaning will be added to each game under the new format. “They will treat their five festival events like a super series and have their win-loss-tie points go towards earning the regular champions cup,” Boyarsky said. “Having teams fight for each point should hopefully make each game mean a lot more to these teams.”

The 2017-18 IHAAZ festival season kicks off Dec. 15-17 at the Peoria Sportsplex in Peoria.

As for the state finals tournament, the older teams will only get medals in that event, the hope being to ignite the competitive juices a little more in that tourney, but ultimately, the changes will benefit the league. “We’re going to go all out with an awards ceremony for the regular season cup presentation, as well as

recognizing some individual awards from the season,” Boyarsky said. “And we’ll be naming each age group’s first- and second-team rosters to highlight the play of those that stood out.” David Lieb, who is the treasurer this year and also the administrator for the league, added that for the younger players, the league is looking into creating a series of pins that the players will receive at each festival. Lieb said the plan is to continue with new designs each season so that it’s clear which festival each kid participated in. Also new this year will be the fact that league is creating a state finals pin. The commemorative pins will be given at each festival and a special pin will be produced for the state finals. There have also been a few changes made to the participant program-run IHAAZ board this season. While Boyarsky remains the president, Erik Dahl from the Tuscon Jr. Wildcats is now the vice president of the board. Jeanine Hannon from the Prescott Storm is the still the league secretary. Boyarsky, of course, is no stranger to IHAAZ. He has been coaching teams since the 1990s and is looking forward to his new job, although he admits he’ll miss coaching. “This will be one of the few years that I will not be coaching individual teams in the series,” Boyarsky said. “As much as I will miss being behind the bench, I think there’s a lot I can offer both behind the scenes and at the events.”



Bobcats get exposure at NAHL’s Future Prospects events By Greg Ball


t may be early in the 2017-18 season, but players from the Arizona Bobcats have already found themselves playing in some big games with plenty of influential eyes on them. That’s because the Bobcats sent their 18U, 16U and 15U squads to Blaine, Minn., from Sept. 21-24 to play regular-season and showcase games in the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Future Prospects Tournament at the massive Schwan Super Rink - providing an early opportunity for Bobcats players to be seen by top college and junior coaches from all over North America. “The NAHL is one of the two best junior leagues in the United States, and the league manages and owns the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL),” said Bobcats hockey director Ron FIlion, explaining why he aligned his program with the prestigious organization. “The NAPHL is a really great feeder for the NAHL, which produces a large number of players each year who move on to play Division I college hockey.” Because the Bobcats are members of the NAPHL and play a regular schedule of games against its 50 teams spread across three levels, they are invited to participate in showcase events like the Future Prospects Tournament, considered one of the top Tier I tournaments held anywhere in the country each season.

Jason Oliver, the head coach of the Bobcats’ 16U squad, said the level of talent displayed at the September event was incredible. The High Performance Hockey League sent most of its teams, as did the NAPHL, and the USA Hockey National Team Development Program’s Under-17 Team was there. The Junior A-level NAHL also sent all its teams. In addition to that, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of scouts from college programs, the Western Hockey League, the United States Hockey League, the NAHL and the NHL. “It’s a huge opportunity for these kids to get some really important exposure,” Oliver said. Brent Gough’s 18U team attended the showcase, as did Pat Conacher’s 15U squad. And while it may have been more useful for the older players who are closer to committing to playing at the next levels, the younger players got a chance to feel what it’s like to compete with the pressure of knowing you’re being watched by some of the top talent evaluators around. “At these ages, you don’t want to put too much pressure on them,” Oliver said of preparing Bobcats players to perform their best.. “At their age, I don’t think the NHL scouts are really looking at our kids, but the NAHL teams, the USHL scouts and the universities are all watching our guys.


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

“I spoke personally with a handful of USHL scouts and coaches about some of our guys, and I spoke to other scouts from the other leagues and some colleges. They’re getting seen. The exposure is huge, and the competition is very good so guys can really shine in big situations.” Oliver emphasized that the level of play in the NAPHL from week to week is outstanding and only helps players improve as they strive to be competitive with other top kids from around the country. The Future Prospects Tournament offers a rare opportunity, however, to get all the top players under the same roof at the same time. “It’s a great way for the boys to see what level they’re at and what they need to do to become more competitive with other players,” Oliver said. “That’s something that’s really important to us as coaches, to help in their development. “The whole philosophy of the Bobcats program is to develop kids for the higher levels. You can go one of two ways - you can build a program that focuses on winning teams, or you can focus on promoting and pushing kids to move on to the next level. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to work with the Bobcats - we want to win, but we’re not winning at the expense of development.”


Mission AZ moving to establish ‘Mission Special Edition’ By Greg Ball


or the last five years, Brandi Goltz has fostered a dream of starting a hockey program for children with special needs, and after many stops and starts, she believes that “Mission Special Edition” is nearing reality. “I worked in special education earlier in my career, and I realized early on how much these kids were left out of the mainstream activities,” said Goltz, the co-executive director of Mission AZ. “I was thinking about it even before Mission started, and it just took a few years before I could find a way to make it happen.” To get the program started, Goltz and her team knew they need to take the first step of collecting equipment and estimating how many kids they could serve. During the first week of October, Mission held an equipment drive at AZ Ice Peoria, asking parents to donate used gear. The response was overwhelming, with 90 pairs of skates, 75 pairs of gloves, 68 helmets, 67 pairs of pants and countless other pieces of equipment donated in just five days. Plenty of parents who couldn’t make it reached out to the program via Facebook asking when they could drop off even more gear. “We decided to just pick a date and give the equipment drive a try because otherwise, we knew we’d find a million reasons not to get started,” Goltz said. “The response was incredible.” The next step in building the program will be an orientation for players and their families sometime in No-

vember, and then Goltz expects to get players on the port from Jared Woosley, who founded the One Step ice within a week. She said Rodney Rihela, an avid Bobcats special needs hockey program approximately supporter who also has a child with special needs, will a year ago. She read about his program earlier this year serve as the head coach, and Mission will require each in Arizona Rubber Magazine and was shocked she of its teams to work with the Special Edition players didn’t know about it, conceding that she’s so involved in Mission that she sometimes on a rotating basis. With on-ice sesmisses what’s happening outside sions likely to be held once a week, the rink walls. each team will volunteer once every She reached out to Woosley month or two and dedicate the final expecting that she may not receive 30 minutes of their practice to mena response simply because his protoring Special Edition players. gram was so developed that he may “It’s a way to promote that inclusion, so all our kids are involved not have time for her. Instead, he and invested in some way,” Goltz responded almost immediately and began a dialogue to help however said. “We’re pretty transparent from he could. He has even gone as far the get-go – we expect our kids to as to assist in applying for grants give back and perform community through his contacts with USA service. I know our players, and I Hockey’s disabled program. can’t imagine anyone not being on “This is really a collaboration beboard.” tween Mission and the One Step Rihela has been by Goltz’s side throughout the entire process of A request for used hockey equipment the first Bobcats,” Goltz said. “We couldn’t taking the program from concept to weekend in October to benefit ‘Mission Spe- do it without them. cial Edition’ turned up an amazing amount of “On one hand, you don’t want reality. “I knew he’d play an important gear for a new special needs hockey program. it to be different than other teams in role in the program,” Goltz said. “We’ll have all kinds of the (Mission AZ) program, but on the other hand, you people volunteering, but we need one consistent per- want to celebrate and highlight the differences. What son that we can count on and has something invested is our definition of success? Whether we have nine in the program.” players or 90, we’ll try to give them the best experiGoltz also said she has received overwhelming sup- ence possible.”




NEW MEXICO REPORT Albuquerque product Gretz a key Mustangs use summer activities component of Flint’s OHL future to build momentum for ’17-18

By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



ust six months ago, Marcus Gretz was weighing his options – Major Junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) or keeping his NCAA Division I commitment to Ohio State University. Once the decision was made to report to the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, the team that selected the Albuquerque native in the second round of the 2017 OHL draft, offseason preparations began in earnest. “This summer, I trained every Monday through Friday from 1-3 p.m.,” said Gretz. “I skated every day with various different coaches.” During his youth days back home, Gretz played for the New Mexico Scorpions, New Mexico Renegades and Team New Mexico. He said his most memorable coach was Todd Ganshaw. “He always let me play up on the team and show what I could do with the older kids,” remembered Gretz. Gretz then left New Mexico at the age of nine to play AAA hockey in Colorado for the Colorado Evolution and then the esteemed Colorado Thunderbirds, where he played in the prestigious Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament in 2013-14, before moving to the Detroit suburbs to play for Belle Tire. This year in the Flint area, Gretz is living with a host family – the Stolicker family – and said he’s not homesick one bit. “I’ve known my billet family for a few years now and it’s like living at home,” Gretz said. “They have been unbelievable to me.” On the ice, Gretz is excited to see what the Firebirds can do this season, on and off the ice. “We will be very young, but also very competitive with a bright future ahead,” said Gretz. “As a team, we are determined to be the best we can be and as long as we keep working, the sky is the limit.” The Firebirds love to be involved in the community and Gretz said “giving back is a great feeling.” “Here in Flint, we treat others the way we’d want to be treated,” he said. “Being involved with the community is also amazing because we get to know our fan base on a more personal level.”

fter a busy summer, the New Mexico Mustangs girls program is primed for a successful 2017-18 season. Mustangs president Jeff Schultz is elated with how the growth and progression of the game is coming along in the state. “There is a lot going on, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” said Schultz. Over the summer, the Mustangs held a four-week program for new girls looking to play the game and join the association. “The registrations are not complete yet, but we don’t use a shotgun approach – we go with more of a rifle approach,” said Schultz. “We don’t bring in 100 kids and hope for a 10 percent conversion rate. This year, we had 22 kids come out and more than half have registered with the Mustangs for this season, which is great for our program.” Simultaneously, for returning Mustangs players, Saturdays in August saw professional figure skating coach Michele Jakubowski run a skating clinic – the Performance Edge Clinic – for two reasons: players can always use work on their edges and skating form, and it was the perfect lead-in to get the players back on the ice in preparation for the upcoming season. “We did that for four weeks and that was a great thing for the girls,” Schultz said. “It was just pure skating – no pucks. It really helped out with the strides or our kids and their edges, stopping, tight turns, that kind of stuff.” Then to cap the summer, U.S. Olympian and Arizona native Lyndsey Fry came to town for the third year to run a camp over the Sept. 9-10 weekend. “We divided the kids into two groups – one with newer players and one with the more experienced players,” said Schultz. “She tailors her instruction to the different levels and ran some high-paced drills. That was a lot of fun and really kicked off our season and we started practicing a couple times a week after that. Schultz added that on the horizon moving forward is more excitement for the Mustangs, “more excitement for New Mexico hockey.”

Parents, beware: Stay away from online message boards


bout six years ago, as a first-time hockey parent Behind the guise of anonymity, parents attack of a Mite house player, I recall asking a couple other parents, clubs and governing bodies and of the veteran travel parents if they had any recom- it’s not uncommon for these adults to spend time mendations for information about different hockey arguing over the over/under scores of children’s clubs and the tryout process. hockey games every weekend. One parent was vocal about Further, parents will actively the wealth of resources you refer in vague terms to players could find on the hockey mesor families whom they feel are sage boards. The other parent not worthy to play with their was equally as vocal and statchildren or whom they feel will ed in no uncertain terms that I never perform at the level that should avoid those sites like they (referring to the collective the gaps in the mats at hockey message board community) berinks. I found myself fascinated lieve they should reach. by these differing opinions and This was most beautifully ilbegan to scour the internet to lustrated by the torrent of meslearn more about hockey messages regarding the California sage boards. Amateur Hockey Association These message boards are board decision to implement an mostly populated by “adults” evaluation protocol to help dewho have little or no understandtermine placement of teams for ing of the impact of their conversafety purposes. If one agrees Trevor Small sations on their children. These or disagrees with the impleboards contain page after page of adults disparag- mentation of this policy is an individual’s choice, ing children and their performance in hockey. Visit but the message boards erupted with such vitriol the first-year Mite message board and clearly see and angst equal to hot lava being poured upon the the most upsetting comments imaginable regard- Stanley Cup. Furthermore, almost every individual ing the athletic prowess of a child who probably on the board went to great lengths to discuss the learned to ride a bike less than two years before. appropriateness of ranking one team or another in I cannot even begin to describe the level of hate a division and the heresy of certain teams being often expressed toward certain coaches whom par- included or not included. ents will openly accuse of things that range from It is crystal clear that the manner in which these tax evasion to bribery. adults are sharing their thoughts DOES impact the Yet to their face, they say nothing. manner in which their children integrate the game 18

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

and their attitude toward other players and clubs. Hockey as a sport is clearly one that brings people together and provides children with a long term, incredibly healthy after-school activity, which promotes friendship, discipline, and positive habits. What can easily erode the positive impact of hockey, however, is the negative filters and unresolved maladaptive manipulations of the parent, which is seen most clearly in the messages posted upon these boards. Some parents have asked for my suggestions regarding the messages posted on the boards (because regardless of disclaimers, the children ARE reading these boards and hearing other adults speak negatively about them). What I tell them is to inform their players and children that there will always be people who are negative and there will always be people who search for an anonymous forum to display their unresolved mental health issues. And, most importantly, to consider what it felt like to hear or read something negative about their club or team and hold that memory for the next time they consider making a rude or inappropriate comment on social media. It might be too late to help the “adults” on these message boards integrate a different mindset, but there is a chance for the players of today to become the responsible and positive hockey parents of tomorrow. Trevor Small, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist who is the Safe Sport coordinator for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, the clinical director of Bridges to Recovery, and is in private practice in Santa Monica, Calif. He has provided mental health services to adolescents and adults for almost 30 years.

Sun Devils inline program gearing up for 2017-18 season did last season.” Boyarsky believes that Bast, a sophomore, could rizona State University will once again have two produce a breakout season in 2017-18. teams competing in the Western Collegiate Roller With the graduation of goaltender Braxton ShulHockey League (WCRHL) this tz, the Sun Devils will rely season — Division I and Divion Gittings, a sophomore, to sion III Black. brace the team. The ScottsThe Division I team feadale native suffered a near fatures eight returning playtal (non-hockey related) injury ers: forwards Wes Fry, Jabefore the start of the second kob Romo, Cy Jewel and semester in 2016-17 and has Ian Bast and defensemen spent the better part of eight Ryan Cotton, Jayme Havemonths recovering. man, Trevor Weinstock “Gittings is very close to and Aryeh Richter. They are being back at 100 percent, joined by new additions Aarand honestly when he gets on Bland and Kyle Friedman there, he should be one of the (up from the Division III team) top five goalies in the counat forward, defenseman Troy try,” Boyarsky noted. Grahl and goaltender Aaron ASU’s Division I team finGittings. ished 17-11-1 in 29 games “With Bland and Grahl, we last season. The Sun Devils have two very seasoned ice advanced as far as semifinals hockey veterans who will have in the WCRHL regional chamto transition their ice skills to pionships and absorbed a loss the game of roller hockey and, to eventual national champiassuming they can do this as on Farmingdale State in the we believe they can, the com- Ryan Cotton is among the top returners this season quarterfinal playoffs at April’s ing season should see one of on the back end for the Arizona State University inline National Collegiate Roller the more balanced ASU Divi- hockey team. Photo/NCRHA Hockey Association (NCRHA) sion I rosters in recent memory,” ASU program coach national championship tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Nick Boyarsky said. “We went to nationals last year with the goal of “We’ll continue to rely on our big guns like Have- reaching the Elite Eight, which we accomplished by man and Cotton on defense and Fry and Romo on the winning all three of our pool games and beating Bethel front end to set the tone and lead by example as they in the Sweet Sixteen,” Boyarsky said. “Having to face By Phillip Brents


Farmingdale in the Elite Eight was a tough one for us. “We’ll be going into this season with the goal of winning out both the regular season in the WCRHL and the WCRHL regional championship. Doing this will earn us a spot in the top pool at nationals, where hopefully we can reach our goal of nothing less than Final Four and a chance at a national championship.” ASU’s Division III Black squad will undergo a “changing of the guard,” according to Boyarsky, with its core group in 2017-18 consisting of six freshmen and four sophomores — all of whom have extensive roller hockey backgrounds and a strong pre-built chemistry together. Paxton Parker, Miguel Cazares, Jordan Behm, Collin Mchugh, Clint Tapsell and goaltender Garret Ruby all come from the Arizona-based Konixx Outcasts travel program. Parker, Cazares and Ruby were part of the Outcasts team that won the 2017 NARCh West Coast Finals Midget Gold championship in San Jose. “This year’s Division III team has the most highend roller experience of an Division III Black team in club history,” Boyarsky said. “The freshman and sophomores on this club are young and hungry, which is what we’ve been missing.” Olympian and local heroine Lyndsey Fry, who is in her second year of post-graduate studies ASU, will provide a leadership role on the young Division III squad. “Lyndsey’s roller game has come a long way since her first go at it with ASU two seasons ago,” Boyarsky said. “She’s played a good amount of roller on stages all over the world and I feel can both offer the leadership and talent this young team will need to make a run at nationals this year.”

Wildcats, Lumberjacks battle for WCRHL D-II supremacy By Phillip Brents


he University of Arizona defeated Northern Arizona University in overtime to capture last season’s Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) Division II championship. Both teams should once again contend for the division title. The Wildcats finished with an overall 16-6-3 record in 2016-17. Included was a 2-1 loss to the Florida Gators in the Sweet Sixteen round of last April’s National Collegiate Roller Hockey National Championship Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. The Wildcats have a number of great additions for the upcoming season, according to club president-goaltender Brett Bushnell. Freshman Ben Jackson will be a player to watch, according to Bushnell, due to both his size and quick release. Junior goaltender Kenny Eakle returns to the team after taking year off to focus on academics to further buttress the team’s netminding foundation. Top returners include sophomore Jacob Toro, senior Jared Johnson, junior David Santos and Bushnell — a solid core group that should help the team make another run at nationals. “Overall, I believe the Division II team will perform very well in WCRHL play, with a strong veteran group and a larger bench this year, adding on two more players for a nine-man bench,” Bushnell said. “Last year, our biggest issue was guys getting tired due to our seven-man bench. To put that into comparison, most high tier Division II or Division I teams will carry a bench of 10-11 guys, which makes all the difference when going into the fourth or fifth game of the season.

“Last year’s loss to Florida in the Sweet Sixteen A..J. Wright. Defenders Austin Cannon and Camwas a tough one for us. A few of us felt we should den Taylor, along with goaltender Anders Hultgren, have won that game, so we are definitely looking at are also top returners. going deeper into nationals this year.” “A.J. is a solid stay-at-home defenseman for us NAU piled up some incredible numbers in its first who we will need to play well for us to succeed,” season back on the rink in 2016-17. The same can be Riffey said. “Anders should keep us in contention evsaid about NAU forward Trevor Riffey. ery game we play this year.” The Lumberjacks Newcomers to posted a 12-10-3 the inline team inrecord, inclusive of clude Danny Diaz, a 3-1 showing at the who crosses over national championfrom NAU’s ice ship tournament. program and is exRiffey was an pected to add to offensive force for the team’s scoring NAU with 58 goals punch, and freshman and 75 points, 11 Josh Roff, who is power-play goals, well adapted to the two shorthandroller hockey style of ed goals and five play as a member of game-winning goals the Konixx Outcasts in 24 games. program. “I am excited for “Our expectathe second year of tions are high this NAU roller hockey to University of Arizona goaltender Brett Bushnell is among the Wildcats’ core year,” Riffey said. get going and to see group of returning players. Photo/NCRHA “We are able to what our team can do this year,” Riffey said. practice on campus now in the field house where the The Lumberjacks, bolstered by a large tryout group ice rink will be put up soon. It is concrete but there are and returning class, should be a team to watch once nets and a rink lined out so that helps; we are able to again in 2017-18. practice all year long now. “We have almost everyone returning except for “One of our main goals is to win the WCRHL Dithree players,” Riffey noted. vision II title at regionals and lead our conference all Top returners include Riffey, who is in his final sea- year long. We plan on getting a bid to nationals again son of collegiate roller hockey, as well as fellow senior and surprising some teams out there as well.”



Bauer World 17 shines light on new, exciting products B

ehind The Mask was recently invited to Toronto for Bauer World 17, an event that was held over the Oct. 13-14 weekend. Bauer invites select dealers from the United States, Canada and Europe. Exelby The summit was held in downtown Toronto at the Westin Harbor Castle hotel located on Lake Ontario, a couple blocks from the Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Having grown up in Toronto as a kid, but not having been downtown in years, I could not believe the number of high-rise apartments and construction sites. You can hardly see the Rogers Centre (home of MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays and located at the base of the CN Tower) entering the downtown area. It is a truly metropolitan city and the center of Canada’s financial district.

The Friday evening opening ceremonies for Bauer World 17 were held at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The HHOF is a truly unbelievable look into hockey’s past, covering over 100 years of NHL history and much more. In the trophy room, Bauer had six-time Stanley Cup winner Mark Messier talk about his years in Edmonton and New York. Regarded by many as one of the best captains ever in any sport, Messier shared insights his into experiences and how they related to the team goal of winning a Stanley Cup. Also, former NHL goalie and Hockey Night in Canada commentator Glenn Healy was on hand to host the event and tell some funny stories. Healy is now on the board of the NHL Department of Player Safety. In between the two was the most storied trophy in team sports – the Stanley Cup. Also in the trophy room were all the NHL trophies from the Vezina, to the Hart, to the Norris. Just reading the names etched on these magnificent trophies sends chills down your spine. If you haven’t been to the HHOF, it is definitely a bucket list item on any hockey player’s or fan’s list. Bright and early Saturday morning, we got a glimpse at new Bauer 2018 products and business ideas. One product already out in Canada, but not in the USA, that intrigued me was the NeuroShield. The NeuroShield is a collar worn around

the neck. It uses the body’s own physiology to help stabilize the brain by applying light pressure to the neck. It works by applying light pressure, slightly increasing the blood volume in the venous structures of the brain, an effect similar to a yawn or lying down.. This helps reduce the movement of the brain within the skull. It is the result of over seven years of testing. A helmet protects your head from the outside; the NeuroShield protects your head from the inside – truly an amazing revolutionary concept in a world of concussions and sports. Bauer is hoping to have this available for the U.S. market in the near future. Other cool new products were shown that will be launched in 2018. Local phenom Auston Matthews was plastered on most of the product images. It seems the local guy has made quite a splash with Bauer. He is now the face synonymous with the brand. It just so happened he scored the overtime winner that night against Montreal. Quite a few dealers asked about him and if we knew him or if he ever came in to our stores. I arrived back in Arizona excited for the new products and direction Bauer was going, and Bauer’s commitment to being a strong partner to BTM. In the past, it always seemed like Bauer told us, but this time, they asked and listened. Bravo, Bauer!

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

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT The Arizona Hockey Union’s Squirt Black team went undefeated in three games and took home the championship banner in its division at the Arizona Hockey Union Ice Breaker Invitational, which was showcased Oct. 6-9, culminating with the championship game Oct. 9 at AZ Ice Gilbert.

Arizona Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair (with jersey) came out to Luke Air Force Base on Sept. 28 to offer support for the 2017 Thunderbolt Cup - a tournament with various different competitions such as ping pong, pool and running. Duclair is with the championship-winning dek hockey team.

Players, friends and family from the One Step Bobcats went tailgating and took selfies prior to attending the Arizona Coyotes’ home opener on Oct. 7 at the Gila River Arena.

The New Mexico Warriors’ 12U team went 4-0-1 en route to capturing the championship in its division at a tournament in El Paso, Tex., culminating on Oct. 8. Photo/ Randi Archuleta

The Jr. Coyotes fashioned a 5-0 mark to win the Pee Wee B division of the Arizona Hockey Union Ice Breaker Invitational, which was showcased Oct. 6-9, culminating with the championship game Oct. 9 at the Ice Den Chandler.

Albuquerque native Marcus Gretz is in his rookie season on the blue line with the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds and registered his first point – an assist – on Oct. 6 against the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo/Terry Wilson/ CHL Images

The Arizona Hockey Union’s Pee Wee Black team captured the championship in its division at the Arizona Hockey Union Ice Breaker Invitational, which was showcased Oct. 6-9, culminating with the championship game Oct. 9 at the Ice Den Chandler.

The Arizona Hockey Union’s 16U Silver team took home the championship in its division at the Arizona Hockey Union Ice Breaker Invitational, which was showcased Oct. 6-9, culminating with the championship game Oct. 9 at the Ice Den Chandler.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (in back, wearing backwards hat) and Howler (far left) were part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony as a new dek hockey rink was unveiled earlier this month in Scottsdale. Photo/Janelle Etzel

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Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Hastings, Minn. Acquired: Traded to the Coyotes from New York Rangers on June 23, 2017, along with goalie Antti Raanta in exchange for the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo Age: 27 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Derek Stepan: I don’t know if there is one, per se. I grew up in Minnesota – we had a lot of frozen ponds. We had late nights on the ponds, the freezing weather and cold. I had a high school buddy that I’ve been real close to for a really long time, and his dad always built a big rink. The best memories are the ones playing late at night with my friend and his little brother out on the ice. We’d play until 2, 3 o’clock in the morning and our parents would roll up the window from their bedroom, and say, “You have to get up here. It’s getting late.” Those are the best memories. When you’re a kid and growing up, it’s all about playing pond hockey late at night. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? DS: I would say the World Junior Championships. I was able to play in an NCAA championship (with Wisconsin), too, and had a lot of fun, but the World Juniors during the Christmas break in my college career stands out for me. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? DS: I really look up to my parents and my parents are people I really respect a lot. The advice they give me was terrific. My dad was more of a hockey dad, and I relied on him a lot with the hockey aspects. My mom is more life stuff. So they are the two that I really looked up to and respect. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? DS: My thing is to play as many sports as you can. Just try to be an athlete and try to get yourself involved in everything until you get older. Just don’t be hockey right away. It’s a great game, but you have to be athletic and enjoy all other sports. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? DS: I try and get a nap in if I can. Obviously, I have two kids, so it’s a little bit harder. My wife has been the rock star of the house, and allowed me to sleep. I like to eat my meal, take a little nap if I can, and get to the rink early. I tape sticks, go over things with my linemates and just kind of chat hockey. Try to jump a little rope, tape the stick handle, and get the body ready to go. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? DS: No, I have not had an opportunity to explore the area. Been to the aquarium a few times with my kids. My son enjoys the fish and has a shark obsession right now, so we’ve been to the aquarium a few times. Not the San Jose Sharks, just the aquarium sharks. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? DS: That’s a tough question. I really like Steve Yzerman in his Detroit days. He definitely was one of my favorite players. AZR: What are your thoughts about coming to the Coyotes? DS: It’s a real young group and exciting to be part of this. It’s almost like I’ve come into a different atmosphere in a sense that I’m the old guy. It’s great to gain some energy and feed off this youth. It’s also great to talk with them and get a chance to spread my knowledge. Right? Wise in my old age. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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