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Palo Alto’s Fleming elated with St. Olaf College choice By Jim DenHollander/


alo Alto native Raymond Fleming spent two seasons perfecting his game at the junior level with the USPHL’s Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings. Next, he is taking his act to St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minn. The 20-year-old defenseman first laced up his skates as a youth in the Silicon Valley, but moved on to hockey in British Columbia, with the Okanagan Valley Hockey Academy as a Bantam and then to the Wenatchee Wild for his Midget seasons from 2015-17. In the summer of 2017, Fleming met Marty Quarters, head coach of the Riverkings, and the next two seasons were massive for the blueliner who transformed into a complete player who was a threat at both ends of the ice. The 10 goals (five on the power play) and 24 assists Fleming put up this past season was his highest total since Minor Midgets. “Raymond really matured,” Quarters said. “When he came in, he was pretty introverted, but very driven. He has a very strong inner drive. He works extremely hard. You know, he took it upon himself that one of the main reasons he wanted to come back was that he saw Eric Schuette, Tom McManus and Austyn Quarters give so much more back to the community, and that really meant a lot to him.” Schuette, McManus and Quarters are all former Riv-

erkings players themselves. Schuette played last sea- Fleming. “I did it last year, so I might as well do it again. son at Concordia University in Wisconsin and Quarters I got the rookies and a couple of returners from the year before to do it with me.” played at Robert Morris in Illinois. Quarters said when the season ended for the River“Raymond wasn’t sure who was going to do that if he didn’t come back, so he really made that a priority,” kings, one win shy of a return trip to the USPHL Premier National Championship Tournasaid Quarters. “He bought into our ment, Fleming was one of the playbelief of giving more than you reers that spoke in the locker room, ceive in life. He really bought into something he is not normally comthat and he commanded it from the fortable with. He urged the returnplayers. His first season, he was ers to follow the same aggressive just trying to find his own place and off-ice routines in future seasons in the second year, he was a leadthat has made the Riverkings so er. He was on guys in a positive popular with the fans and commuway, but in a way that there was no questioning it. nity in general. Fleming is also a 3.9 student “He’s a player that’s out earwho scored a 1480 on his SAT. ly and stays late at practice. He He started looking at schools pushes guys at practice. He’s reearly on and performed in front of ally cautious about his eating. He Fleming spent two seasons with the scouts at three different USPHL has a belief that everything you do, Raymond USPHL’s Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings and is you earn, so to eat food, he would now off to play NCAA hockey in Minnesota. Showcase events with the Riverkings during the season. work out to earn his meals. He’s a Photo/Nieman Photography “Yeah, I looked at some other schools, but St. Olaf guy that wouldn’t just work out hard after practice, but was the first one that kind of met academically what I he would work out after games.” Fleming agreed he learned from the players in his was looking for,” said Fleming. The Oles are coached by Mike Eaves, a former rookie junior season and he was ready to fill that role when he returned, adding he wasn’t sure if any of the NHL player and former coach at the University of Wisconsin, winning a NCAA Division I national championother returners were interested in taking that role. “I thought, you know what, I can just do it,” said ship under his watch.

Tahoe Prep taps Collins as head coach for ‘19-20 campaign By Greg Ball


his long-held admiration for the new athletic director has only grown during their time together in Lake Tahoe. “When I was growing up in Southern California. you always saw him (Lewis), and you always knew about him,” Collins said. “He was always ahead of the

ince it first opened its doors along the shores of majestic Lake Tahoe in 2016, the Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy has grown to sign its first international player and join two new leagues. Next season the academy will again have two independent teams at the prep and varsity levels. To ensure that the academy’s growth is supported and to open doors for continued growth into the future, former prep team head coach Mike Lewis has been elevated to Tahoe Prep’s first full-time athletic director, while Chris Collins, a veteran coach who has been with Tahoe since the academy was still in the planning stages, will take over the reins as head coach of the prep team. “This gives us the best of all worlds now, with Mike heading up the academy as athletic director and still helping Chris on the bench as an assistant coach with the prep team,” said Leo Fenn, Tahoe Prep president and varsity coach, adding that the change will also help with the addition of a women’s volleyball prep program scheduled to begin in Aug. 2020. “Chris brings energy, passion and youth- Chris Collins brings ‘energy, passion and youthfulness’ to the Tahoe Prep fulness to the bench that is incredible. This is Academy bench, according to TPHA president Leo Fenn. the role we have groomed him for. We all complement curve in terms of coaching, which is why he has had each other with our coaching strengths.” so much success. There is a lot that he brings to the Collins joined with Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy table, and there are a lot of things that he has taught in its inaugural season back in 2016, after previously me away from the game – how to carry yourself as a coaching the Tahoe Icemen, a Junior A team in the head coach, how your demeanor matters, how not to Western States Hockey League. He came on board talk too much so when you do talk, your players listen.” with a lot of respect for Lewis and his reputation, and Along with these lessons, Collins said Lewis has

encouraged his creativity. “What we do a really well at Tahoe is not just teach skill but teaching skill in a way so the players understand how to utilize it correctly,” Collins said. “Our emphasis is on teaching skills in the context of the game, so players will understand when a certain move will work in a game situation and when to use it.” Collins has a deep-seated passion for hockey. “I spend a lot of time being a student of the game, which includes a lot of late nights watching hockey - not NHL so much, but junior hockey,” Collins said, admitting he does it so much he drives his wife a little crazy. “We know our development model works. We see it in the improvement our kids achieve in as little as one season. What I love the most is how excited a player is to go home at Christmas break and skate with his old team to see how much they have improved in a short time.” Looking forward to the 2019-20 season and his first year behind the bench in the head coach’s role, Collins said he’s especially happy about the additional exposure that Tahoe Prep’s players will get by playing Hockey in the Tier I East Coast Elite League in addition to the NAHL Prep League. Between the two leagues, the academy’s athletes will get to face top-level programs from across the country, and the added element of competition will only help them develop their skills. Collins lives in South Lake Tahoe with his wife and two daughters, who are three years old and one month old.


Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

California Rubber Magazine - May 2019  

The May edition of California Rubber Magazine, featuring the San Diego Jr. Gulls on the cover, has hit the streets!

California Rubber Magazine - May 2019  

The May edition of California Rubber Magazine, featuring the San Diego Jr. Gulls on the cover, has hit the streets!