FROM THE EDITOR Even though it’s the February grind, still plenty of hockey left
ere we are – well into February. The holiday break has long been gone and for teams at all levels, it’s either time for the playoffs or time to start gearing up for the playoffs. What a great time of year, yes? Teams are leaving it all on the ice, players are finding that extra gear to make a play for the good of the team and coaches are preparing teams for the grind that can lead to new banners being raised to the rafters in their home rink. Yes, what a great time of the year! It’s hard to believe, but it seems like it was just late August and teams were starting to come together. Now, it’s February and teams are more like families at this point.
Enjoy the rest of the ride! Earlier this month, the Anaheim Ducks fired head coach Randy Carlyle and inserted general manager Bob Murray as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. Ducks team owners Henry and Susan Samueli sent a letter to season ticket holders and said they see positive things ahead. “This has been a surprisingly difficult season,” reads the letter. “We supported Bob Murray’s previous decision to allow the players and staff to battle out of this situation. While no one person should take the blame for our current predicament, recent results dictated that Bob needed to make this move. “We are a proud organization with a great winning tradition. Our current performance is very disappointing and therefore we have given Bob permission to do whatever is necessary to get us back to our winning ways. By placing Bob behind the bench for the remainder of the season, he will gain unique insights into the team which will enable him to best determine the changes that need to be made. “Changes are always difficult, but you can rest assured that ownership and management will do a thorough and thoughtful assessment of our team and make decisions that are in the best interests of the team for both the near term and long term. We are confident that we can turn this around quickly.” In junior hockey news, Laguna Niguel native Wiggle Kerbrat was named the Eastern Hockey League’s Forward of the Month for January. Kerbrat and the New Hampshire Avalanche won eight of nine games last month as Kerbrat tallied eight goals and 17 points. San Jose native Matt Vernon was tabbed the NAHL Goaltender of the Month for the second straight month. Vernon posted an 8-0-0 record during the month for the Aberdeen Wings and allowed just 12 goals in eight games during the month, which included 216 saves on 228 total shots, good for a 1.47 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage. He also had two shutouts in January. More on Vernon on Page 10. In the USPHL NCDC Futures Draft on Jan. 31, four members of the Jr. Kings were selected – forwards Danny Minnehan (New Jersey Rockets) and Riley Ruh (Twin City Thunder), defenseman Brandon Plaga (South Shore Kings) and goaltender Alex Bonrouhi (Connecticut Jr. Rangers) – in addition to Anaheim Jr. Ducks’ 15U AAA forward Luke Ellis (Rockets) and California native J.T. Halliday (South Shore), who is playing prep school hockey this season at St. Paul’s. The rosters for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held from Feb. 18-19 in Attleboro, Mass., include California natives Dante Zapata (Huntington Beach), Sam Anzai (Los Angeles) and Jared Christy (Cypress). Over in the NCAA realm, two California natives – Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, University of Wisconsin) and Luke Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Fredonia State University) – are finalists for the 2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented annually to college hockey’s “finest citizen” for leadership in community service. The winner will be announced on April 12 at the Frozen Four in Buffalo, N.Y. Congratulations to the Anaheim Jr. Ducks (18U, 14U), Los Angeles Jr. Kings (16U) and San Jose Jr. Sharks (15 Only) on capturing CAHA Tier I state championships Feb. 10 at Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena in Irvine! The 11U, 12U and 13U Tier I state championships will be played March 1-3, also in Irvine. The Tier II state playoffs go March 15-17, A/B playoffs March 29-31 and high school playoffs March 1-3.
Contact Matt Mackinder at email@example.com 4
California Rubber Hockey Magazine
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San Jose native Egan Wolford has played hockey in California, Saskatchewan and this season, in New York City. His experiences at each stop go beyond the ice, however. More on Wolford’s journeys on Page 24. Photo/Stephen Spencer/Action Photography
ON THE COVER Players from the new One Step Sharks - a program for special needs individuals that want to learn to play the great game of hockey - along with coach Chris Topham and S.J. Sharkie gathered recently at Solar4America Ice at San Jose. Photo/Brandon Magnus
The February issue, featuring the One Step Sharks on the cover, has hit the streets!