California Rubber Magazine - September 2018

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For Eastvale native Cayla Barnes and Hermosa Beach native Dominique Petrie, wearing the ‘C’ for Team USA squads in prestigious international competition this past summer shows that not only is high-end talent coming in droves out of the Golden State, but top-quality leadership is as well




Tournament Series


FROM THE EDITOR September is here, and that only means one thing – hockey season


on’t get me wrong – I love summer. But when the calendar moves to September, the kids start school and the rinks start to move back into full swing. Yes, my friends, hockey season has arrived! I always find something special in seeing hockey players of all ages taking the ice and starting their seasons. For many of these players, playing the great game of hockey is more than a game – it’s a lifestyle and a passion. Same goes for coaches and staff in the various associations and junior, college and pro teams here in California. And in a society where far too often we see negativity and news that can sadden some people, hockMatt Mackinder ey has always been a positive way to escape all the nonsense we tend to deal with on a daily basis. Hockey is the greatest game in the world and it’s my pleasure to bring these pages to you 10 months a year and 365 days a year on our website and social media. So if I may hum a tune a few months ahead of time, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Ladera Ranch native Chase Di Bari will play NCAA Division III hockey this season for Bethel University. Di Bari skated the past three seasons in the NA3HL for the Granite City Lumberjacks, winning a Fraser Cup (then Silver Cup) championship in 2017. He also played in the NAHL for the Minot Minotauros during the 2015-16 season. “Chase really took advantage of his final year of junior hockey and played a big role in our success this past season,” said Granite City coach Brad Willner. “He’s probably the best skater we have had with the Lumberjacks and created chances with his speed every shift. Bethel University is a great place for him to continue his hockey career, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future.” During his youth career, Di Bari played AAA hockey with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings’ 16U and 18U teams and also high school hockey at JSerra.

California 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 California 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: @CARubberHockey

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Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Rippy


In a couple more player advancements, Las Vegas native and forward Gage Quinney signed a free-agent deal with his hometown Vegas Golden Knights after two seasons in the AHL and ECHL, while another Las Vegas product, forward Erik Atchison, inked with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. “We were very impressed by Erik at our training camp (last week),” said Chiefs GM Scott Carter. “He worked hard all year and it showed in scrimmages and our Red-White Game. He earned this opportunity and we are very happy to have him officially join our organization.” Former California Titans youth coach and Fresno Monsters (NAHL) coach Eric Ballard has been named an assistant coach of the 2019 U.S. Men’s National University Team. The team will compete in the 2019 Winter World University Games from March 2-12 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The Golden Knights announced over the summer that it has teamed up with the D Las Vegas to help fund the Lil’ Knights program, a cross-ice development program that focuses on individual skills and team elements of hockey. It serves as the final step in the youth hockey development pyramid before joining a team, following the completion of Learn to Skate and Learn to Play initiatives. Lil’ Knights will be offered at the City National Arena, Las Vegas Ice Center and Sobe Ice Arena. There will be a California presence at the 2018 All-American Prospects Game, set for Sept. 19 at Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild. Congratulations are in order to Tustin native and Jr. Kings grad Dustin Wolf, Anaheim Hills native and Anaheim Jr. Ducks grad Cam York and Los Angeles native Nick Robertson. The game serves as an early-season scouting showcase for 2019 NHL Draft-eligible prospects.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Valencia native and Anaheim Jr. Ducks standout Ethan Wolthers recently announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Massachusetts once his junior hockey career concludes. More on Wolthers on Page 11, while other commitment stories are inside this issue as well.

ON THE COVER California natives Cayla Barnes (Eastvale) and Dominique Petrie (Hermosa Beach) recently captained their respective U.S. Under-22 and Under-18 Women’s Select Teams that competed in a three-game series against Canada in Calgary. Photo/Andrea Mazzarelli/USA Hockey

Ducks, Kings, Sharks gearing up for start of new season nally the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers and played the last five seasons in Russia. “When I was making my decision, it was all about hockey because I have three, four years left in my tank where I can really play at a high level,” Kovalchuk told “I feel good. I’m a young 35, so we’ll see.” Kovalchuk becomes the so-called elder statesman

“L.A. has a great group of guys, great goaltending, great defense,” Kovalchuk said. “They have one of the or the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and best centers (Kopitar) in the league. I never have a San Jose Sharks, each team believes it has what chance to play with those type of guys, so it’s really it takes to still be playing meaningful hockey next exciting for me and it’s great. That was the reason why spring. I came, because they have guys who know how to win All three teams made impact moves this offseaand they are really hungry to win.” son with the intent to pay immediate dividends Doughty is one of the top players in the NHL and The Ducks signed goaltender John Gibhe’s locked up through the 2026-27 season. son and forward Adam Henrique to long“Drew Doughty is one of the best determ extensions, while the Kings won the Ilya fensemen in the world and we are obviously Kovalchuk sweepstakes and signed defenexcited to have reached this point in the proseman Drew Doughty long term and San cess in which he has committed to the Kings Jose will have forwards Evander Kane and long-term,” Los Angeles general manager Logan Couture well into the next decade. Rob Blake said. For Anaheim, general manager Bob MurIn the Bay Area, the Sharks have forward ray said having Gibson between the pipes is Joe Thornton for another season and made a game changer. two big moves with the Kane and Couture “I believe in John Gibson, as does everysignings. Tomas Hertl is a star up front, as one in the organization,” Murray said to NHL. is captain Joe Pavelski, defenseman Brent com. “This is obviously a major commitment Burns and goalie Martin Jones. by the club, but one we feel strongly about. The Kane signing could be one that puts John is equally committed to being a Duck. the Sharks over the hump in the spring. He is only now entering the prime of his ca“At only 27 years old, Evander has esreer, and we are all confident his best is yet tablished himself as one of hockey’s true to come.” power forwards and an impact player,” said Rickard Rakell, Andrew Cogliano, San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is one of the NHL’s best on the blue line San Jose GM Doug Wilson. “We think his Corey Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf all and is a perennial Norris Trophy candidate. Photo/Eric J. Fowler abilities mesh perfectly with our group of return up front, but Ryan Kesler may miss skilled, young players and veteran leaders. the season with an injury. Troy Terry could be an on the Kings, who return a half-dozen core players It’s extremely heartening to have Evander join a impact rookie. On the back end, Brandon Mon- from their Stanley Cup title wins in 2012 and 2014 in trend of elite players who have chosen to remain in tour, Luke Schenn, Cam Fowler and Josh Man- forwards Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, captain Anze San Jose. It speaks volumes as to how players view son are all stalwarts. Kopitar and Trevor Lewis, defenseman Alec Marti- this organization and further illustrates the continIn Los Angeles, Kovalchuk is back on an NHL nez and goaltender Jonathan Quick. All are at least ued commitment to our fans by our owner Hasso roster for the first time in five years. He was origi- 31 years old. Plattner.”

By Matt Mackinder




The New Wave

Barnes, Petrie leading the way for new crop of girls hockey standouts from California who was a longtime member of the Jr. Ducks’ 2001 birth year teams before playing a season of Midget 16U AAA with the Jr. Gulls last year. She played with Barnes hat California would have women make two different U.S. Women’s Select on the U18 Select Teams each of the past two seasons and on the U18 Worlds teams is impressive enough. team last year. Factor in that these two were selected the captains for USA Hockey’s Un“After we lost (a game at the U18 World Championships) she (Barnes) reder-18 and Under-22 teams tells us that not only is the state producing high-caliber minded us, ‘Fine, we’ll get them next time,’” said Petrie. “She didn’t want us to get players, but its programs also are helping develop some of the top players in the down. She led by example the entire time – she never took a shift off. women’s game. “I looked up to her. She’s very poised and her skill level is so high it’s hard to For that, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, believe some of the moves she makes. I want the conLady Ducks, California Stars, Los fidence to do that.” Angeles Jr. Kings, LA Selects and Petrie, who is a freshman at Harvard UniverSan Diego Jr. Gulls all should take a sity, was an alternate captain on the 2018 gold well-deserved bow. medal-winning team at Cayla Barnes led Team USA’s the U18 Worlds and put U22 squad, while Dominique up eight points in five Petrie wore the “C” for the U18 games. team. “She is a ball of enThe teams competed in the ergy,” Barnes said. “She three-game series against Canada loves to be around the in Calgary from Aug. 16-19 with the rink, and she brings an U22s going 3-0 and the U18s going infectious energy. 1-2, with an overtime loss and anoth“It was pretty clear er one-goal loss. she’s a good leader, and Barnes and Petrie have repreUSA Hockey made the sented USA Hockey in internationright choice. She shakes al competition multiple times, and off mistakes and is not those lists are bound to grow. afraid to speak up when Barnes, who played for the Jr. something needs to be said.” Ducks, Lady Ducks, Stars, Selects Petrie played boys ice hockey her entire time in and Jr. Kings, added to her already Eastvale native and Boston College freshman Cayla Barnes already has a gold medal to California, and her 2001 group with the Jr. Ducks impressive resume in February when her credit as part of the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic Games and looks to be a USA Hockey has had eight players make NCAA Division I commitshe helped Team USA win an Olym- mainstay for years to come. Photo/Nancie Battaglia/USA Hockey ments, and a handful more are expected to join them. pic gold medal at the 2018 Winter Just making that team is impressive enough, but she Games in compelling fashion, endwas a key member, said Jr. Ducks director of coaches ing Canada’s gold-medal run at four. Craig Johnson, who coached the 2001s with Scott A 1999 birth year and Eastvale naNiedermayer. tive who is a freshman defenseman “When she played for Boston College, Barnes played for us, she was on a very a regular shift in all five games and good hockey team, and was the team’s youngest player. she was well respected That Barnes led the U22 team at by everyone on the team,” age 19 is not insignificant. It’s also Johnson said. “Her comnot out of character. She also cappete level was really high, tained Team USA to a gold medal at and her care factor was the 2017 U18 World Championship, really high for the team. scoring six points and going plus-5 “She not only sought in five games. to improve as an individHer A-plus game is only one reaual but to help the team son she has added to an impressive improve. I have been collection of Cs, a pattern that bevery impressed with her gan in California. drive.” “She was the captain on our SePetrie, who had 10 points in 15 East Coast Elite lects Pee Wee AAA team (that won League games and seven points in 10 CAHA games prestigious Quebec International Dominique Petrie is just a 2001 birth year, but the Hermosa Beach native is starting her for the Jr. Gulls last season, has said for years her Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament in freshman year this fall at Harvard University and should be an impact player for the Crim- goal is to join some of the states women’s hockey son in the tough ECAC Hockey conference. Photo/Nancie Battaglia/USA Hockey 2012) as well as on one of our Jr. legends – Angela Ruggiero, Chanda Gunn and Kings Bantam teams,” said University of Denver freshman Cole Guttman, himself now Barnes – in representing her country at the Olympics. a former captain for the Jr. Kings and Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States “She’s very focused,” Johnson said. “From Day 1, she wrote her goals down Hockey League. “She was one of the best defensemen on our teams and she led and went to work, and she hasn’t stopped working. You can see where that has by example. gotten her.” “Her being a girl on a boys team really wasn’t an issue because it was obvious Barnes didn’t broadcast that, but playing with a group of players growing up how good of a player she was. She always has been tough. She never let people that includes NHL draft picks Jake McGrew, Jack St. Ivany, Sasha Chmelevswalk on her, and she would stand up for her teammates in a second.” ki, Ivan Lodnia and Guttman, as well as college standout Brannon McManus, The 2017 U18 World Championship team, which Petrie also was a member of, undoubtedly helped. marked Barnes’ third consecutive gold medal in that event and for good measure, “I’m not surprised at all by the success she’s had,” Guttman said. “We called she was named the tournament’s Top Defenseman in both 2017 and 2016, when it from the start. Her skating and vision were unbelievable when we are kids and she had six assists and was a plus-10. they’re even better now. She left an indelible impression on Petrie, a Hermosa Beach native and forward “You couldn’t ask for a better representative for our country.” By Chris Bayee



California Rubber Hockey Magazine


San Diego Lady Oilers made up of big smiles, pony tails By Valerie Andreassi


ou have to begin somewhere. The San Diego Ice Arena has begun a grassroots program of forming all-girl hockey teams – the Lady Oilers. We have always encouraged girls to play hockey, but the numbers of girl players have started to rise. Historically, SDIA has had a sprinkle of one or two girls on a given team per season, but lately something special has been happening. More and more girls who are new to the sport of hockey are starting to show up and are looking to join both house and travel teams. We even have a few figure skaters that are making the transition, too. This past spring/summer season, we had both a Pee Wee (12U) and a Bantam (14U) house team that was mainly made up of girls. This current uptick in girl participants could be due to the trickle-down theory of hockey economics created by the U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey team capturing the gold medal in Korea. Or it could be due to SDIA providing girls and boys an opportunity to try hockey for six weeks for free, along with a weekly all-girls workout

and tech-ice skills session that has helped spawn this most recent growth. Sometimes, our summer workouts even include a day at the beach.

SDIA is proud to have been the initial home to a few female NCAA college hockey players, including Keely Moy (Harvard), Tanner Gates (Colgate) and Kristina Kleshko (Rochester Institute of Technology). Currently, player Isabelle DiLiberti is try-

ing out for the 18U French national team and Sydney Costello is now a member of the 16U USA Hockey National Development Team. Erin and Michael Castelloe are part of the SDIA girls family, as they have twin daughters Jessie and Olivia on a 14U (mostly girls) summer league team, and have this to say about their experience at SDIA and the girls program: “What a great group of girls, parents, and coaches we have. Our girls love the practices, games, off-ice, and social gatherings. The hockey is always positive, inclusive, and fun, and it’s helped them stay active, healthy, and happy for all the years we’ve been involved.” Jon Berglin, lifelong player, coach and father to 12U player Marlie, is just as excited. “We are very proud to be part of this hockey family that encourages teamwork and leadership in such a fun atmosphere,” said Berglin. “This is truly an all-inclusive system that allows players of all levels to develop quickly while keeping the sport fun.” SDIA is also home to the only all-women’s league in San Diego. Photos/Steve Sidell, Jon Berglin, Valerie Andreassi


Heat recognized with USA Hockey Model Association status By Matt Mackinder


he California Heat has now accomplished something just 23 other youth hockey associations across the country have – attained USA Hockey Model Association status. With this designation, each has committed to fully implement programming dedicated to age-appropriate, age-specific skill development in accordance with USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) throughout the 8U, 10U and 12U age classifications. The California Heat joined the Los Angeles Jr. Kings (see Page 12) and McKinney (Tex.) North Stars last month in being recognized by USA Hockey. Based in the San Fernando Valley (Panorama City), the organization is one of the oldest in the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association. “Our former president, Jennifer Sprow, and I reached out to USA Hockey to express our appreciation for what was being done regarding the ADM and had a firm belief that if we implemented the ADM, our players and program would greatly benefit from it,” said Heat director of hockey Alec Benson-Dunn. “We were put in contact with Ken Martel (the technical director of the ADM and a USA Hockey regional manager), and he guided us through every step and task and presented us with valuable knowledge and insight. He went the extra mile to attend our practices, meet with and observe our coaches and teams. Without him, this would not have been possible. It has truly been such a pleasure working hand in hand with someone so skilled.” Sprow noted that being a Model Association is truly


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

an honor and “we are extremely proud of this prestigious accomplishment.” “The achievement of being a USA Hockey Model Association is beyond huge for the California Heat,” Sprow said. “We pride ourselves in providing the best experience for all our athletes and their families. I am extremely prideful of our receiving this unprecedented designation as a USA Hockey Model Association under my tenure as the California Heat president. Being one of 24 youth hockey associations to achieve the designation nationwide is an amazing accomplishment

that every member of the California Heat family is extremely honored and proud of. “We will continue our quest of exceeding the highest standards for youth hockey player development, continually plan for future improvements and maintain our commitment to the development philosophies, training guidelines and game play execution set by USA Hockey.” The California Heat joins the Jr. Kings, Anaheim Amateur Hockey Association and Ontario Jr. Reign as Model

Associations based out of California. So what was the process in applying for Model Association status? “Jennifer Sprow got us in contact with USA Hockey and facilitated our relationship with them and I took action in implementing the ADM,” said Benson-Dunn. “Our Mite director, Aram Defterderian, has been crucial in implementing the program to the youngest players. Our head coaches Smbat Defterderian, Colby Mead and Hunter Jensen were key in implementing the USA Hockey curriculum to our older teams. Now that we have fully implemented the ideas and philosophies that USA Hockey has provided, we firmly believe that our players will experience the most productive training needed to propel them in whichever path they choose in hockey in a fun and challenging environment.” “The California Heat philosophically agreed with and was committed to the implementation and execution requirements of USA Hockey to become a Model Association,” added Sprow. “Alec took the lead in the ADM implementation by adhering to the extensive list of requirements. His planning, preparation and execution of those requirement both on and off the ice, assisted by our age division coordinators and skill-specific coaches who were integral in implementing the USA Hockey curriculum, all contributed to the California Heat being named a USA Hockey Model Association. “Hosting of required events (i.e. Try Hockey For Free) run by our board, coaches, current and past California Heat players, and sponsors, brought the organization together to share our love and passion for the game of hockey with others.”

Jr. Gulls, Lions among first programs to join brand-new Jr. NWHL By Matt Mackinder


he San Diego Jr. Gulls and LA Lions are providing more proof that girls hockey is alive and not only well, but booming across California. Both programs recently joined the Jr. NWHL, the official youth affiliate program of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). According to the NWHL website, “By connecting the NWHL with community hockey programs, we strive to continue the growth of hockey at all age levels. Boys and girls youth hockey clubs across the nation are welcome to become affiliates free of charge.” Benefits of the Jr. NWHL include: • Free Jr. NWHL jersey patch for all players within the organization • Exclusive opportunities to skate pre-game, post-game and during intermission of NWHL games • Have your organization honored at your local NWHL venue where your uniform will hang and be displayed • Have your organization’s name, logo and a link to your site on the official NWHL website ( • Exclusive ability to nominate an honorary captain that will be introduced with the home team’s starting lineup • Opportunity to be recognized as the “Club of the Month” and have a picture of the team/organization on the NWHL site • Three months free of - “Built by former college athletes to empower student-athletes to pursue their dreams of playing collegiate sports.” • Discounted access for youth hockey administrators to utilize LeagueApps software for registration, payment collection and communication tools


SAN DIEGO JR. GULLS Gates, Moy, Smigliani helping to grow Jr. Gulls girls hockey By Matt Mackinder


irls hockey is growing at a rapid pace all across the country, and that growth has never been more evident in San Diego and with the Jr. Gulls youth program. Keely Moy, a local product who now plays NCAA Division I hockey at Harvard University, has helped with the boom in San Diego and along with fellow NCAA D-I women’s players and San Diego natives Tanner Gates (Colgate University freshman) and Samantha Smigliani (Colgate, 2019-20 season), helped with summer skates and girls events this summer for the Jr. Gulls. “I think it’s a monumental step in the right direction,” Moy said. “Getting more girls to play hockey, and other sports as well, is always awesome to hear, and especially awesome to see it happen right in front of you. I loved hearing about the start of the girls program at the Jr. Gulls, and wanted to be a part of it right away.” “The Jr. Gulls making the decision to put effort into growing their girls program is awesome for San Diego and for girls hockey as a whole,” added Smigliani. “It’s truly exciting to watch the program I played for put so much energy into expanding the game of hockey to all kids.” During her youth hockey days, Gates played boys hockey with the Jr. Gulls and is elated at the movement to promote girls hockey with the program. “I think it’s incredible how girls hockey is growing in San Diego and how the Jr. Gulls are helping spread this amazing sport to other female athletes who can grow up knowing that there’s just as many options for them as there are for the male athletes,” Gates said.


Let’s encourage – not discourage – today’s hockey youth T

here is a famous story about a young man that travels to California during the Gold Rush to dig for gold and spends considerable effort and time digging, to finally give up and move on. Later, he finds out that when he quit, he Ben Frank was actually only three feet from a substantial gold source. He vows to never quit prematurely again and goes on to massive success in the business world. Far too often, I see young hockey players quit too soon, not realizing what “riches” could lie ahead for them if they are willing to work hard at it through the good times and the bad. We have all heard the statistics of how many hockey players actually “make it” to the big time, or even get a scholarship for that matter. We hear about the .0001 percent chance when considering the number of players in the world compared to the number of jobs available in the NHL. What’s more, we realize that a large percentage who do make it, actually don’t last more than a handful of games or seasons.

It is important that young players and especially their families are aware of these stats because we hope that “making it” is not the primary reason for a kid to play the sport and for their family to “invest” in it. We want players and families to keep things in perspective and play for the love of the game and the life lessons and friendships it builds, to find something that they are passionate about and a vehicle to express themselves and have great life experiences. The rest is gravy. While, it is important that players and families stay “realistic” and are aware of how tough it is to play at the world class levels of an international sport like hockey, I think many times the talk of these statistics can actually hurt our chances of producing some great players down the road because they are used to discourage, rather than simply refocus families on what’s most important. Hockey is one of the latest development sports, with players reaching their potential not until 24-26 years of age. Even collegiate hockey players mostly don’t even start playing as a freshman until the age of 20. The crazy thing is that no one really knows who the best players will be until these late, late stages. The evidence is everywhere. Did you know that one out of every six NHL players is undrafted?

In youth hockey, the biggest dropout age is between 14 and 16, which means many kids quit well before their potential is reached. This is a real shame. Obviously, players quit for different reasons, often to pursue other interests which is totally fine, but if they play for the right reasons because they love it and they want to be the best they can be, they will have no regrets and will have many more great experiences, maybe having the opportunity to play beyond youth hockey and hopefully loving the game for life and sharing the same great experiences with their children in the future. The more players we keep playing, loving the game, and in a true development training model, the more chance we have to produce elite players, whether that’s in your club, your state, or our country. For the players that don’t end up playing at the elite levels, but continue working at it and pursuing their potential, they can be proud that they gave something they love all that they have. How many people in general can even say that about anything in their life? There is no failure in that. At the end of the day, focus on serving the players and encouraging their dreams while instilling a sense of excitement and endless possibility for their future.

Ben Frank is the president of the Ontario Jr. Reign, a USA Hockey Model Association. Interested in being a Chalk Talk columnist? E-mail Matt Mackinder at 10

California Rubber Hockey Magazine


‘Fierce competitor’ Wolthers decides on NCAA D-I UMass sized, and it really helped me develop my confidence - going against players who are bigger, stronger and or Ethan Wolthers, the road to playing NCAA Divifaster really helps you develop. I rolled into AAA with sion I hockey began in earnest in the L.A. Kings High that confidence, and I’m happy with where I am now.” School Hockey League (LAKHSHL). Jason McNamara, the president of the West The 5-foot-7, 160-pound forward is a high school Ranch Hockey Club, said that Wolthers was the first senior now, but when he first walked into West player from West Ranch to commit to a college proRanch High School in Valencia as a freshman, he gram. Earlier this month, Wildcats alum Jack Titter was even smaller and was overwhelmed by the size committed to play goalie for Cal State Northridge, of his teammates and opponents. But he adjusted which ices a team in the ACHA. quickly, scoring 25 goals and adding 22 assists dur“It starts with Ethan - no program or coach can ing his freshman season of 2015-16. take credit for the success he has had,” McNamara That success propelled him to two strong seasaid. “Ethan is a fierce competitor and he is successsons playing Tier I hockey with the Anaheim Jr. ful because he doesn’t just wish it, he works it. It’s Ducks (while also playing tournaments with West very satisfying for the West Ranch program and the Ranch) and last month, Wolthers committed to the Kings league to have been a part of Ethan’s journey.” University of Massachusetts (Hockey East) for the A former BMX racing prodigy who first sat on a 2020-21 season. bike at the age of two and went on to win two nation“In the last month or so, over a dozen schools al championships and three world championships for approached me about committing,” said the 2001Team USA, Wolthers eventually gave up his first love born Wolthers. “It was very hard to make a decision, to pursue hockey. He says a lot of what he learned as I had a variety of choices, from Ivy League to Valencia native Ethan Wolthers scored 25 goals and 47 points during his has translated from the bike to the ice. hockey powerhouses. It was very humbling to me. freshman season at West Ranch High School back during the 2015-16 “The work ethic and dedication to be the best When looking at all the schools, the hockey style, the season. in BMX racing has propelled me to where I am as coaching staff, the facilities, and academics all played a motivate me.” a hockey player today,” Wolthers said. “I owe all that huge part in my decision.” Playing in the LAKHSHL helped set the foundation drive and determination to my mom and dad (Marcel For the 2018-19 season, Wolthers will be playing for Wolthers and all the things he has achieved since. and Monica), who pushed me to be the best I can be. with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, and he “It played a major role in my development,” he said. In the end, I always wanted to do what my older brother expects to log one more season there before settling in “As a freshman playing against seniors, I was under- Nic was doing and do it better than him.”

By Greg Ball


at UMass. His next goal is to make it to the NHL. “I have not been playing hockey that long, and it’s been an exciting path to get where I am now,” Wolthers said. “I have the next six years planned out for me, and it’s a big dream but I think it’s something to aim for and



Model Association status a feather in Jr. Kings’ cap By Brian McDonough


ver since the Los Angeles Kings assumed operations of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings organization back in the summer of 2016, the NHL club has put forth a renewed and noticeable commitment towards nurturing all levels of hockey across Southern California. The fruits of their labors resonated loud and clear again last month when USA Hockey announced that the Jr. Kings had earned designation as a Model Association. With the recognition, the Jr. Kings have committed to fully implement programming dedicated to age-appropriate, age-specific skill development in accordance with USA Hockey’s American Development Model throughout the 8U, 10U and 12U age classifications. Nick Vachon, the Jr. Kings’ general manager of hockey operations, is confident the decoration will no doubt further enhance the head-to-toe developmental platform of the club. “Being recognized as a USA Hockey Model Association is both an honor and a privilege, and one our entire organization holds in the highest regard,” said Vachon. “As a club, we’ve always valued and fostered the age-appropriate teachings USA Hockey has instilled, and we look forward to championing that message even further to each and every one of our current and future players and coaches as they work toward reaching their full potential in both a positive and structured environment. “Everyone involved in our program - most notably our players, coaches and parents - will benefit tremendously from the added support and guidance from USA Hockey as we continue to bring our entire organization to new

mirror those of USA Hockey’s,” said Vachon. “We already heights, on and off the ice.” Kings president Luc Robitaille, also a member of the had a strong relationship with USA Hockey, but I really Jr. Kings’ board of directors, believes the designation will wanted to polish and fine-tune everything we were doing benefit hockey across the region. from a developmental standpoint, starting at the 8U level. “What’s most encouraging is that were already starting “This is an exciting and well-deserved recognition not only for the Jr. Kings, but the entire Southern California to see the results.” Along with the Jr. Kings, two other programs were deshockey community,“ said Robitaille. “Nick and his entire team of coaches have certainly done their homework and ignated as new Model Associations. The total number naworked extremely hard to earn this level of support from tionwide now stands at 24. “We’re pleased to welcome USA Hockey, and both our curthese new Model Associations rent and future players are sure and we’re excited for to benefit from their efforts as it relates to teaching the game in a the children who’ll healthy, positive, productive envibenefit from their passion and comronment.” mitment to age-apAs one of the many perks that propriate skill developcomes with being a Model Assoment,” said Kevin McLaughlin, ciation, the Jr. Kings will receive USA Hockey’s senior director of in-person coaches training, on-ice hockey development. “By taking instruction and parent resources this step, these new Model Asfrom USA Hockey’s national staff. Nick Vachon, the general manager of hockey opsociations are making a strong What’s more, the club will also erations for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, believes his move to offer the best possible receive equipment, signage and entire club will benefit tremendously from its recent designation as a USA Hockey Model Association. competition and training environeducational resources from the nation’s governing body of ice hockey. ment for their players.” Vachon, a longtime coach with the Jr. Kings who as“In the end, it all starts with the Kings and the support sumed his role as the club’s GM of hockey ops when the of our board of directors; they give us all the necessary Kings took over, was instrumental in spearheading the pro- resources to earn this type of recognition,” Vachon addgram’s efforts to bolster its ties with USA Hockey. ed. “It’s their vision to not only improve our program, but “As soon as I took the job, one of my priorities was to support and enhance all levels of hockey in Southern continue to align our coaching and teaching methods to California.”


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Jr. Sharks alum Cassetti credits association for success By Matt Mackinder


dvancing past AAA hockey is no easy task, but Joey Cassetti has succeeded the past number of years with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and in the USHL. Next season, the Pleasanton native will suit up for Merrimack College, an NCAA Division I school located near Boston that plays in the powerhouse Hockey East conference. “The opportunity to potentially commit and attend Merrimack College first presented itself late last season,” said Cassetti. “My team was playing the Madison Capitols, where (Merrimack assistant coach Curtis) Carr first noticed me. Ever since then, I had been in contact with him as well as the rest of the coaching staff. I visited earlier this summer and committed a few weeks later. “It has always been a dream of mine to play Division I college hockey ever since I have been a little kid. I expect the hockey to be faster and to be playing against bigger competition. I have taken a few classes in the past year, so I think I will be able to transition to school pretty easily, too.” Cassetti plans to major in Business at Merrimack. The 2017-18 campaign was Cassetti’s third in the USHL following two years with the NTDP. In 44 regularseason games for the Black Hawks, he recorded eight goals and ten assists. Cassetti also netted two goals and an assist in eight playoff appearances. “Playing for the NTDP for my first two years of juniors really helped me shape my game around to more of a two-

way player,” said Cassetti. “I was taught many of the fine on my character as well as on my development as a details to the game that I had not necessarily emphasized player,” said Cassetti. “Tom Nelson coached me when in my play in years past. I developed and matured as a I was playing for the Blue Devils and was always one of person and a player. Playing in Waterloo this past year, my favorite coaches. When I transitioned to the Jr. Sharks I continued to develop my organization, I was at the game tremendously. The hands of numerous coaches, coaching staff and everyone all which taught different on my team really pushed things that helped me develop me day in and day out. I into the player that I am today. Those coaches were Mike was fortunate enough to have the best group of guys Janda, Sean Castagna and surrounding me at all times, as Tyler Shaffar. They were well as the best coaching staff awesome coaches for me and I wouldn’t be where I am in the USHL. at today if it weren’t for them. “During my time playing “The Jr. Sharks junior hockey, I have had many organization was great for me ups and downs. What always and definitely gave me the made me want to keep going exposure that I needed.” was the possibility to fulfill With the USHL season my dreams of playing in the right around the corner, NHL. My teammates at both Cassetti has his immediate the NTDP and Waterloo were all awesome guys and they and long-term goals in place. always made it super fun and “My short-term goal in competitive coming to the rink Pleasanton native and San Jose Jr. Sharks alum Joey Cas- hockey as of right now is to win setti has lofty goals heading into his final season with the a Clark Cup with Waterloo,” every day.” As a youth, Cassetti USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. Photo/Stephanie Lyn Photography said Cassetti. “Following this blossomed with the San Jose Jr. Sharks after playing for year, I want to come into Merrimack ready to play well and the Tri-Valley Blue Devils. He later skated for the Oakland do well in school. My long-term goals consist of playing Jr. Grizzlies in suburban Detroit. in the NHL and further down the line, owning a business “I have so many coaches that were positive influences when it is time to hang up the skates.”



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Traditions taking hold at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy By Greg Ball


he new hockey season has barely begun, but it’s already obvious to everyone at Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy that things are different on the mountainside campus this year. As Tahoe sets sail on its third year of existence, the academy is finding that traditions are taking hold, camaraderie is prevalent and the student-athletes are forming a unique brotherhood than can only be experienced in a campus setting like Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy. “It’s already more than a team - it’s a brotherhood, and you can see the commitment that every kid has made to this program and each other,” said Chris Collins, the assistant coach of the school’s prep team. “You can see it the moment you walk into the dorm, and that extends from the prep team to the varsity team. It’s great to watch it grow so quickly.” Tahoe is once again icing two teams this season. The varsity squad opened the season by advancing to the championship game at the Los Angeles Jr. Kingshosted Labor Day Festival Tournament in El Segundo, and the prep team went 4-1 in the San Jose Sharks Jamboree playing against some of the top teams from Northern California. They scored 33 goals and allowed just eight in the five games. “It took a little bit of time to find out who we were as a team, but once we found out, no team was stopping us,” Collins said. “The guys were having a great

time.” The academy has 26 new student-athletes in its program for the 2018-19 school year and hockey season, and they have come to the campus from New York, Chicago, Colorado, New Mexico, Canada, and many other locales. Tahoe expects to have a waiting list for next year. “This past summer, we really experienced a surge in interest,” Collins said. “We do a lot of advertising in hockey communities across the country. On almost every single recruiting trip I went on, people knew about Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy.” Added Tahoe Prep Hockey Academy president and hockey director Leo Fenn: “We’re really excited and feel fortunate that this has caught on. It’s a tribute to what the coaches do day in and day out and the development program we have instilled. We sort of look at it as us guiding the train down the tracks, but the kids have to do the work, and a lot of credit has to go to them as well.” Fenn said that having Collins on board from the academy’s founding has been a major factor in its success - both in recruiting and in on-ice performance. “The blending of Chris, myself and (head prep

coach) Mike Lewis has really taken player development to a new level,” Fenn said. “Chris is a younger guy who understands what it takes to develop young players and has been a very important part of our program. He relates to the kids, and the kids love him. We always say that hard work isn’t hard work when it becomes fun, and Chris injects a lot of fun into our training.” Collins said that Tahoe’s recruiting philosophy has shifted recently, and the staff isn’t necessarily looking to bring in exclusively players who are already at the top of their games. “We re-evaluated the way we look at players in showcases,” Collins said. “With the amount of time we have with these kids on the ice compared to other programs and the development that we can offer, we can take a bit of a different ideology. Yeah, we want great players, but I’d rather have a kid who’s on the brink of playing Tier I hockey and is willing to put in the hard work to get to that level. “A lot of kids will chase a letter, and they’ll lose out on development by trying to survive rather than going to a place that knows exactly what they need and abiding by those guidelines.”



Special needs hockey stars take in Top Flight Program By THE RINKS Staff


ack on Aug. 2, members of the Anaheim Ducks staff, THE RINKS, Fox Sports, and the Albert Pujols Foundation came together to offer Southern California’s special needs community a unique introduction to the Anaheim Ducks Top Flight Program at The Rinks-Anaheim ICE. The program which encompasses street hockey, ice hockey and Learn to Skate classes, gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to play the sport of hockey in an environment they are comfortable in. After receiving the suggestions from families within the community, the Top Flight program was established as a street hockey league hosted at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline back in 2013. The first season made an immediate impact in the community as over 40 special needs players got together for the inaugural season. “Since the start, our players have embraced the sport of hockey and developed a passion for the game,” said THE RINKS marketing coordinator Tanner Privia. “Five years later, that passion has not faltered. The same kids that have been with us since Day 1 are still playing. It has been truly amazing to see not only the program, but the players develop.” As time went on, many of those same players got the hang of street hockey and wanted to challenge themselves more. They would look out at favorite hockey players on the ice and wanted to be just like them.

“It started with one player, then another player started asking, then another, and it got the point where we had to do something about it,” said Privia. In response to the growing demand, THE RINKS expanded the Top Flight program to The Rinks-Lakewood ICE and introduced ice hockey and Special Olympics Learn to Skate in 2017. “It got to the point that we had to do it,”

Privia said. “I do not think they would have left us alone if we did not, but we are sure glad that they did.” Today, the ice hockey program has seen over 20 participants registered in the program and playing on almost a weekly basis.


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Even though all three programs have been well-established for over a year, THE RINKS have never been able to give these players a time to do all three at once. “While the demand for an event to host all three aspects of our program has been there, we did not have the volunteer base to help run all three programs in a short time,” said THE RINKS marketing director Jesse Chatfield. That was until members of the Anaheim Ducks staff, Fox Sports, and the Albert Pujols Foundation wanted to come out and help. With 50 members of the special needs community wanting to try hockey, over 40 volunteers from the three companies made sure that it was possible. The day started with a 30-minute street hockey clinic for all the players to get a feel for the sport and to learn the fundamentals. Afterwards, all the participants and volunteers moved inside and got on the ice for more fun. While the event made a meaningful impact in the community, the volunteers also got to see firsthand the impact the program has on themselves. “I think I had more fun than some of the participants,” said volunteer Ryan Herrman. “To see the absolute thrill that these kids had throughout the day, whether they were playing street hockey, getting dressed in the locker rooms, or finally touching the ice for the very first time – just an amazing experience. Their joy and their excitement was contagious and definitely spread to all the volunteers.” For more information on the Anaheim Ducks Top Flight program or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit

ANAHEIM JR. DUCKS Like father, like son: Johnson commits to NCAA D-I Minnesota By Chris Bayee


ockey came full circle for the Johnson family in August. Longtime Anaheim Jr. Ducks defenseman Ryan Johnson committed to the University of Minnesota, the same school his father, Craig, played at in the early 1990s. “I went on a couple of visits there and just fell in love with the school,” Ryan Johnson said. “The campus is unbelievable, and the hockey history is unbelievable. All of the schools that recruited me were great, and it was a tough choice. “At the end of the day, I went with my heart.” That half of the family tree is planted in the Land of 10,000 Lakes didn’t hurt either. Craig Johnson, Ryan’s longtime coach and the Jr. Ducks’ director of coaches, grew up in St. Paul, Minn., and was a renowned high school player before scoring 135 points in three seasons at Minnesota. A 1994 U.S. Olympian, he then played 14 pro seasons, several with the Los Angeles Kings and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. “It was Ryan’s decision to go where he wanted,” Craig Johnson said. “He’s happy. I’m happy. Our family is proud of him and what he’s become.” Ryan Johnson is one of 18 players with ties to the Jr. Ducks to commit to an NCAA Division I school in the past four-plus years, a group that also includes recent commits Rory Herrman (RPI, see Page 21), Ethan Wolthers (UMass, see Page 11) and Jerrett Overland (Air Force, see Page 20). Johnson put up 60 points in 45 combined CAHA and Tier 1 Elite Hockey League games last season, but Alex Kim, his 16U co-coach, said points don’t tell the entire story. “Not only does he have a gifted skill set, but he works at it constantly,” Kim said. “That’s why he’s had the success he’s had already. He processes the game at a different level. That’s probably his best attribute. He has the ability to dictate play.” Johnson, the highest-drafted Californian ever in Phase I of the USHL Draft (third overall, 2017), will play for the Sioux Falls Stampede this season.



How NHL players train & why they choose HockeyShot By HockeyShot


obody knows how to keep their game sharp like an All-Star NHL hockey player. HockeyShot has a longstanding relationship with some of the best of the best in the NHL. We’ve gathered some of our favorite NHL hockey players to give us their thoughts on the HockeyShot Product Lineup. If you don’t know John Tavares, you may be living under a rock. After being selected first overall by the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL Draft, Tavares went on to become captain of the Islanders and one of the top players in the NHL. He recently signed a seven-year, $77 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his hometown team. Here is what he had to say about HockeyShot: “I’m always looking for an edge to my game. HockeyShot products, like the Passer Pro, are great to help keep my puck handling and shooting sharp during the summer. All of their products help me to prepare better for the next season” Next up, we have Aleksander Barkov, one of the darlings of Finnish hockey. Barkov was chosen as the second overall pick in 2013 by the Florida Panthers. He is an offensive threat and an absolute inspiration for any youngsters looking to get excited about playing ice hockey. One of the reasons Barkov plays with such high confidence is he knows the power of at-home training. HockeyShot has been right alongside Barkov, helping him develop his skills and get him ready for the NHL level.

His thoughts on HockeyShot: “I have always been a big fan of shooting pucks during the summer. HockeyShot products took it to another level. Now, I’m not only shooting pucks, I can dangle, pass, sauce and practice one-times. Allstar Tiles are

amazingly slick, and you just can’t get any closer to the real ice feeling. Overall, the products are a lot of fun and help preparing me for on-ice situations.” Continuing the pedigree, we have Jordan Staal. A native of Thunder Bay, Ont., Jordan grew up playing hockey with his three brothers on the outdoor rink built by

their father. All four boys later grew up to become massive ice hockey threats, with all of them making their NHL debut between 2003 and 2013. Jordan was selected at No. 2 in the NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006 and took home the biggest prize of all in 2009 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins. After six years with the Penguins, Jordan signed a 10-year, $60 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012, later being named co-captain alongside Justin Faulk. One of the only ways you can make it as far as the Staal brothers is with the help of proper training aids. Even if you have a backyard rink, there is no comparison to having the right gear. One of Jordan’s favorite Hockey Shot products is the Passer Pro. He said: “The HS Passer Pro is a fantastic training aid. I was impressed at the high quality and strong puck rebound, and it allows me to work on my passes and fire one-timers at home during the offseason. Their training aids are now an essential part of my off-ice training. Join the HS revolution, I did!” It takes passion, hard work and most importantly training, to achieve your goals of playing in the NHL – the Hockey Shot Product Lineup can get you there. For all the best hockey training products, visit www.



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NEVADA REPORT NHL’s Golden Knights reload, out UNLV squad chomping at the bit to prove ’17-18 was no fluke to get ’18-19 season underway By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



ast season was the easy part for the Vegas Golden Knights. This season will answer the ultimate question – are the Golden Knights legit players in the NHL or was their expansion season’s success a one-hit wonder? After going to the Stanley Cup Final in June and bowing out to the Washington Capitals, the offseason work began as the club re-signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and forward William Karlsson, added forward Paul Stastny and defenseman Nick Holden in free agency and then acquired forward Max Pacioretty from the Montreal Canadiens.. “This is a fair deal and I’m glad it’s done,” Karlsson told “It’s a relief and now we can focus on the season ahead. “I love playing in Vegas. I couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else. I’m hoping we can work out a long-term deal and I’ll be here for my whole career.” Selected by Vegas from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, Karlsson led the NHL last season with a plus-49 rating, scored eight power-play goals, four shorthanded goals and six game-winning goals, and won the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. Fleury was selected by the Golden Knights in the same NHL Expansion Draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins. “This team gave me a second opportunity in my career,” he said. “I’ll always be grateful for it. I love the organization. It’s nice to get (the contract) done before the season so it’s not on your mind all year.” Stastny finished last season with the Winnipeg Jets, losing in the Western Conference Finals to Vegas, ironically enough. “You kind of see what’s out there, you see what’s the best fit for you and your family, and I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where there were a couple of good options, but in the end, I think this one made the most sense for us,” Stastny told NHL Network. The addition of the underrated Holden will boost the Vegas back end. He skated for the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins last season.

ot only is UNLV’s schedule competitive this season but getting ice time will also be a challenge for the Rebels. “Honestly, I can’t wait for our home opener against Colorado (on Sept. 14 at City National Arena),” said UNLV head coach Anthony Vignieri Greener. “We have a deep team and it’s going to be tough to crack our lineup every night. “This is my first year here where my core kids outnumber my incoming kids. I think our leadership core has done a great job of setting the tone. The guys that came back, including Cody Williams, Jake Saxe, Jonah Pearson, Joe Kaszupski, Kameron Fink, D’Andre John, Ben Giesbrecht, Chase Torontow and Basel Assaf, will have a great year for me. To speak on our recruiting class is another subject, but we have speed and talent up and down the line. I’m excited to see what Jared Turcotte, Bryce Woodward and Paxton Malone bring with their skill and speed. Jesse Gordichuk is an incoming goalie who will fight for the No. 1 spot.” After last season’s success, Vignieri Greener wants to go above and beyond that for the 2018-19 season. “I think after last season, our bar is pretty high for the guys, which rightfully so, is the only way to do it in my book,” Vignieri Greener said. “I think continuing the things we did last year into the season is going to be key. Things like winning our home games we play in front of a huge crowd every night, so we want to make sure we can take care of home whenever we can. We’re very fortunate to have that support. If we play our style of hockey, fast north-south hockey, then we’re the hardest working team in the country. “The future is right here. I truly believe that.” After playing Colorado again Sept. 15, the Rebels remain home for two games against Arizona State on Sept. 21-22 before playing just one more series at home during the 2018 calendar year, hosting Grand Canyon University on Oct. 26-27.

FROM THE TRAINER’S ROOM Let’s look at at the current concussion law in California T

he current concussion law in California was enacted on Jan. 1, 2017. It is an amendment of a previous law that covered high school athletes that now covers all athletes under the age of 18. Its purpose is to provide specific safety protocols in order to protect athletes from injury. The law aims at making sports safer by using education and preparation in regards to the signs and Chris Phillips symptoms of concussion as well as proper management and return to play protocols. The bill states that educational material must be provided to all athletes, coaches and parents on a yearly basis. This material must include: head injuries and their potential consequences, signs and symptoms of a concussion, best practices for removing an athlete after a suspected head injury and steps for returning an athlete to school and athletic activity after a suspected concussion. Currently in California, an athlete suspected of having a concussion must be removed from play for the rest of the day or until evaluated by a licensed healthcare provider. The athlete may not return to athletic activity until they receive written clearance by a licensed healthcare provider. If an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, he or she must go through a graduated return-to-play protocol of no less than seven days under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider. For more information on the law, search “Assembly Bill 2007.” Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning Specialist with over 20 years’ experience in professional sports. Chris has worked in the NHL with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Washington Capitals and was also the head athletic trainer for the 2002 USA Hockey Men’s National Team. He is the founder of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Southern California.


Las Vegas native, current Jr. Duck Manhattan Beach native Brisson Overland chooses Air Force commits to NCAA D-I Michigan By Chris Bayee

By Brian McDonough



errett Overland is an old hand at keeping his bags packed. His next planned trip is to the wild blue yonder. The defenseman, who played in Las Vegas through Pee Wees before stops in Utah, the East Coast and Northern and Southern California, committed to the U.S. Air Force Academy on Sept. 5. “It’s really exciting,” Overland said. “Going to the Air Force Academy is a life-changing decision, and I am proud to make it.” Overland, a 2001 birth year, played this past season for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks’ 16U AAA team that won a bronze at the USA Hockey Youth Nationals in April. Overland, who will play for the Jr. Ducks’ 18U AAA team this season, welcomes the opportunity to remain in the same place for more than a year. “I’ve been a bit of a suitcase over the past four years,” he said. Overland played Bantams in Utah and for the San Jose Jr. Sharks before playing at prep school in the East during his age-15 season. He landed back in the West because of friendships he forged over the summer. “I knew Ryan (Johnson of the Jr. Ducks) and his dad (Craig) growing up,” Overland said. “Whenever I was at Pacific District and National (Select) camps, I would hang out with the California guys. “I saw up close how competitive hockey in California is now. Being in the Tier 1 (Elite Hockey) League was great for competition and being scouted.” Overland, who also played on Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s 2018 national championship team, had a strong season for the Jr. Ducks. He collected 11 points in 12 CAHA games and added 11 more in 36 T1EHL games. “He’s very calm, very poised with the puck,” said Craig Johnson, who coached Overland with the Jr. Ducks and SMCHS. “He understands the game well and likes to make plays. He can run a power play, too, and I’m sure that was appealing to the next level. “He was a big part of our team last season.”

rendan Brisson, a former Los Angeles Jr. King, has committed to attend and play his NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Michigan following his junior career. Brisson, a Manhattan Beach native and forward who played the last two seasons at Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota, began his youth hockey career with the Jr. Kings as a Mite and helped the program’s Bantam AAA1 team capture a Pacific District championship in 2016. “Michigan was always one of my dream schools,” said the 2001-born Brisson, who’s expected to begin his freshman season with the Wolverines in the fall of 2020. “Ever since I was a Jr. King, whenever we had the opportunity to visit the campus and watch a game at Yost Arena (the Wolverines’ home rink), I just loved the atmosphere.” Brisson, who’s participated in two USA Hockey National Select Festivals (2017 and 2018), was selected by the Green Bay Gamblers in Phase I of the 2017 United States Hockey League Draft and will play for the club this season. “Being a part of the Jr. Kings family gave me the opportunity to develop my game thanks to the sup- Brendan Brisson won a Pacific Disport from all the great coaches and teammates I’ve trict title with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings in 2016 and will play in the had along the way,” Brisson added. “It’s such a re- USHL this coming season. warding environment to learn and improve and I’m extremely fortunate to have grown, both as a player and a person, through those years of experience.” Led by head coach Mel Pearson, the Wolverines are members of the Big Ten Conference and have won nine national titles in their history - the most recent in 1998. Current California natives with Michigan include sophomore forward Dakota Raabe (Capistrano Beach) and junior forward Jake Slaker (San Diego).


St. Mary’s gearing up for inaugural season on the ice By Matt Mackinder


erek Eisler has been around the block, so to speak. Having coached at various levels over the past 25-plus years, including with the San Jose Sharks, he’s been part of start-up teams and programs and will bring that knowledge to St. Mary’s High School for the 2018-19 season. Located in Stockton, St. Mary’s is sponsoring hockey for the first time, and Eisler is excited to get started. “The goal in all of this is to put on the skates daily and get better,” Eisler said. “It is a process of building. We have mentioned to the players and the staff that in a year of all firsts it is great to just have the ability to define your direction on a daily basis.” The Rams will play in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) this season with a full schedule, something Eisler said will help his group in playing the league’s top teams right from the outset. “Blessed to be a part of the league, and we are looking at this league and the NAHL Prep League to be highly competitive for our team,” said Eisler. “Throughout the year, we will hopefully increase our rate of play so our league play just continues to move up the ladder. We want to be close to the top of the table in both leagues, and play good, efficient hockey at the level we can be solid with.” The St. Mary’s roster is a mix of talented freshmen, sophomore, juniors and seniors. And even with a handful of players new to this level of hockey, Eisler is ready for the challenge.

“We challenged our players already to be the right people to develop the St Mary’s hockey culture and so far during practice and other team-related activities, the staff has seen players connecting well and also competing well in the weight room,” said Eisler. “It seems minds are directed in achieving our commitment goals for the first year of the program. We have picked Titus 2:11-12 for our yearly Bible verse. We want to be a team that does thing differently, lives self-controlled, personally and together as a group. Challenge is there now it is up to the people here to accept it.” The 2018-19 season kicked off Sept. 8-9 with two games against Bellarmine and the Rams next play Sept. 2830 at the Fountain Valley Showcase in Colorado Springs. The Rams’ first ADHSHL games are scheduled for Oct. 1213 in South Santa Ana. Home games are played at Oak Park Ice Rink. St. Mary’s will venture to Minnesota and Michigan in the New Year for NAHL Prep League games and playoffs. “Expectations are pretty simple for Year 1 – we want to play competitive hockey and teach players that academics are very important in their athletic development,” Eisler said. “We think there are some players here now that with this program will achieve really good things in hockey because they are very smart students and can translate that into a high hockey IQ so we as a program can place players to the situations they want to go to out of high school. “St Mary’s hockey is not going to ever put the players’ academics at risk, very few days of school will be missed, and the seasonal development will be monitored well.” 20

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2018-19 ST. MARY’S HIGH SCHOOL ROSTER Anthony Alvarado, Fr. Joseph Banana, Sr. Itay Bonder, Fr. Clayton Brown, Jr. Maxwell Clark, Jr.

Stryder Davis, So. Alexander Gunnoe, Sr. Jack Hansen, Jr. Hunter Hayes, Fr. Sean Keough, Jr.

Kyle Lathan, So. Saar Medvedovski, So. Luca Petroni, Fr. Ethan Saldanha, Jr. Tristan Telles, So.

2018-19 ST. MARY’S HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE Sept. 8, Bellarmine, at San Jose Sept. 9, Bellarmine, at Stockton Sept. 28-30, Fountain Valley Showcase, at Colorado Springs Oct. 12-13, ADHSH L Games, at South Santa Ana Oct. 19-21, NAH L Prep Games, at Minnesota Nov. 2-3, ADHSH L Games, at San Jose Nov. 10, ADHSH L vs. Tahoe, at Tahoe Nov. 11, ADHSH L vs. Tahoe, at Stockton Nov. 30-Dec. 2, NAH L Prep Games, at Minnesota Dec. 14-15, ADHSH L Games (South), at Santa Ana Jan. 11-12, ADHSH L Games (North), at San Jose Jan. 18-20, NAH L Prep Playoffs, at Michigan Feb. 8-9, ADHSH L Games (South), at Santa Ana Feb 16-18, TB D Mar. 2-3, Tahoe, at Stockton Mar. 16-18, TB D TB D: CAHA State Championship & USA Hockey National Tournament

Stratton makes North Dakota Poway product Herrman decides his NCAA D-I college destination on NCAA Division I Rensselaer By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



his time next year, Murphy Stratton will be getting situated in Grand Forks, N.D. Over the summer, the Los Angeles native committed to attend and play hockey at the University of North Dakota, an NCAA Division I school in the NCHC. Last season, Stratton, who turns 19 Oct. 3, played for the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild and he’ll play there again this season. “I think it’s every kid’s dream to move on to the next level,” said Stratton. “After playing 16U AAA with the Jr. Kings, the opportunity presented itself to move on, and I had to take it. My first year away from home as a 16-, 17-year-old had a lot of adversity in it, but not only did it make me a better hockey player, but a stronger person as well. Playing for this city (Wenatchee) has been one of the biggest honors of my career thus far. The city really rallies around the team. It was extra special to win a championship in front of all of our loyal fans.” What appealed to Stratton about North Dakota and the Fighting Hawks? “So many things brought me to choosing North Dakota,” Stratton said. “They are an NCAA powerhouse every year, and they have Murphy Stratton was part of the the best facilities in college hockey to help Wenatchee Wild’s championship sea- young players like myself really grow and deson a year ago in the BCHL. Photo/Russ velop their game so you can get better each Alman/Digital Media Northwest and every day. But the main thing that led me to North Dakota was the professionalism and principles that are North Dakota hockey. You are there every day to grow both as a hockey player and as a student. “Every day is focused on making you a better all-around person and that to me meant a lot.”

hen one door closes, another one opens. Rory Herrman has seen this happen firsthand. Originally committed to Arizona State University, the Poway native decommitted from the Sun Devils earlier this year and reopened his recruitment. Enter the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “The assistant coach at RPI, Dan Jewell, called me and expressed their interest in me and explained the history of the school and hockey program,” said Herrman. “We had stayed in touch from then on and I eventually took an official visit mid-August to see the school and talk to the entire coaching staff. I loved everything about the visit and saw a strong future for myself there. I committed a few days after.” RPI is located in Troy, N.Y., and the Engineers play in the ECAC Hockey conference. “The hockey program is awesome,” Herrman said. “It’s the only Division I sport on campus, so the players are treated extremely well. I really liked the rink because it’s a classic college hockey rink that definitely gets rowdy during the games. The team is in a period of building and they see me as big part of that, which is pretty surreal.” Skating this season with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, Herrman grew up playing for the SDIA Oilers, San Diego Jr. Gulls, Los Angeles Jr. Kings and Anaheim Jr. Ducks. “All my coaches had a great influence on my game, but the few that stick out are some of my earlier coaches, actually,” said Herrman. “I started with roller hockey before ice. My first roller coach, Bob Gauthier, helped me get into the game of hockey at age five. At age eight, I transitioned into ice and my first coach was Craig Sterling at SDIA. I bring up these two coaches because now when I look back on those days, I can’t thank these two coaches enough. “I’m a huge advocate of the growth of San Diego hockey and they both promote youth hockey better than anyone I know. They made the game extremely fun for me and that’s kept me going so far.”

SAP Center to celebrate 25-year anniversary in style By Matt Mackinder


he SAP Center at San Jose, often called the premier sports and entertainment venue in Northern California, announced plans over the summer for a year-long celebration to commemorate 25 years of bringing world-class events to Silicon Valley. Included in the festivities will be multiple celebratory events including an exclusive, invitation-only dinner that was held on Sept. 14, a year-long concert series, and an indoor/outdoor three-day music festival planned for 2019. With the generous support of SAP, the naming rights partner for the venue, additional events, such as a series of public street parties, will be announced later this year. “Since 1993, SAP Center at San Jose has been the place to be and be seen in San Jose, bringing world-class entertainment - as well as the country’s top sporting events - to the South Bay,” said San Jose Sharks majority owner Hasso Plattner. “We take great pride in the undeniable positive impact this entertainment venue has made on this city and to the residents of San Jose. We look forward to many more years of bringing the world’s best entertainment to SAP Center at San Jose.” At a media event in May 2015, Plattner, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Sharks president John Tortora announced an extension of the lease agreement between the Sharks and the city of San Jose, paving the way for the franchise to stay in San Jose for 25 years through 2040. SAP Center at San Jose continues to be rec-

ognized as the biggest success story in the ongoing revitalization of downtown San Jose. Over the last 10 years, SAP Center’s economic impact on the city of San Jose has been almost $4 billion. In 2016, the Silicon Valley Business Journal estimated that one regular-season Sharks game contributes more than $2 million to the local economy. Pollstar Magazine consistently ranks SAP Center as a top venue in the United States and the world

The SAP Center at San Jose has become a staple in town and is the home to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. Photo/SAP Center

in terms of non-sports tickets sold during the past 10 years. Home to the NHL’s Sharks and the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, the SAP Center opened its doors on Sept. 7, 1993 when the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus performed the first event in the brand new, state-of-the-art facility.

Since that time, the venue has hosted many of the biggest names in the entertainment industry including Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, Adele, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Beyonce, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Jay-Z, The Three Tenors (Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras), Madonna, Lady Gaga, Prince, Los Tigres Del Norte, The Eagles and U2. Since 1990, 23 of the top 25 live touring acts have performed at SAP Center. SAP Center has also hosted several worldclass, championship sporting events, including the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, two Olympic Trials for USA Gymnastics (2012 and 2016), four NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Western Regional Finals (1997, 2002, 2007, 2017), the Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament (2003-07), the 1999 NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four and three U.S. Figure Skating Championships (1996, 2012, 2018). The facility also hosted the NHL’s All-Star Game in 1997 and will host it again in Jan. 2019. SAP Center will also launch a social media campaign to capture fans’ favorite memories from the last 25 years. The grand-prize winner will receive tickets to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game as well as to the SAP Center 25 Years Music Festival in 2019. With its distinguishing 10-story glass pyramid entry and unique stainless steel façade, the facility has provided a distinct identity for the city of San Jose for 25 years. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, SAP Center is an exemplification of the architectural excellence and technological innovation that defines the area.


FIRSt and Foremost USA junior men lead gold medal parade at summertime FIRS world inline championships quarterfinals), France (4-1 in the semifinals) and Italy (6-2 in a championship rematch). Boddy attributed the team’s success, especially in the championship game, to the players’ ability to implement the prescribed game plan. “Jim and I gave them a few things to focus on and they took it and ran with it,” Boddy explained. “The group became very close over a short period of time and every single player played for the guy next to them in the locker room. There was no selfishness at all. “Jim and I are very proud of how the group handled

of Santiago High School, who served as team captain. “From scoring, meeting other teams and winning gold, he United States junior men’s and senior women’s it’s been my favorite tournament and one of the best teams got a rare chance to participate in a times of my life. championship doubleheader when they took the floor “To get the opportunity to be the captain of the July 21 to conclude play at the 2018 International team was an honor and privilege that I’ll never take for Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) inline hockey world granted. Also, for this to be the first USA junior men’s championship tournament in Asiago and Roana, Italy. team to win gold in 11 years is very special and I hope The U.S. junior men’s team, braced by 12 this makes other kids throughout the roller hockey Californians on the 14-man playing roster, defeated community want to play for their country and strive to host Italy 6-2 to win its first gold medal since 2007. The be better hockey players.” U.S. senior women’s team completed “The overall experience was lifethe championship sweep when it changing to come together as a recorded a come from behind 3-2 family in just a week and build bonds victory against the Czech Republic. is something you never get to do, so The gold medal run was significant I’m beyond thankful,” added Edwards, for the U.S. junior men, who had who paced the team in scoring with not medaled in the international 14 goals and 18 points. event since 2013. The team’s large “Being one of the younger guys California ensemble contributed on the team, I thought it would be heavily to the team’s success. harder for me to connect with the San Jose’s Chase Edwards, team, but everyone on our team was Christian Acosta, Jaden open and easy to talk to,” explained Guzman, Derek Le, Joe Fordyce Guzman, who finished runner-up in and goaltender Ethan Bach team scoring with 14 points. “Since represented the team’s Northern most of the team was from California, California contingent while Southern it made it easier for us to connect Californians included Corona’s and have good chemistry as the Brayden Kohler and Cody tournament went on.” Vadenboncoeur, Tustin’s Grayson The team made a pact that if Yada and Hayden Maxwell and it won its quarterfinal game, thus Yorba Linda’s Max Reeves and earning a chance to play for a medal, Noah Auerlich. that all the players would bleach their Nevada’s Cody Printzen (Las The United States junior men’s inline hockey national team, braced by 12 Californians, broke an 11-year hair. Vegas) rounded out the team’s dearth by winning the gold medal at this summer’s International Roller Hockey Federation (FIRS) inline “When the players took their hockey world championships in Italy. Photo/FIRS significant West Coast presence. helmets off for the anthem in the New Yorker Jim Tamburino served as head coach itself on and off the rink and it was an amazing semifinal the crowd started laughing and cheering,” while Corona’s Steven Boddy further complemented experience from start to finish. Being able to win gold Boddy recounted. “The light mood going into the game the squad’s Golden State makeup as assistant coach. for the first time since 2007, then cheer on the senior was a big reason we played so well against France.” Boddy represented the United States at the 2008 women’s team right after as they won their second The championship game was scoreless until tournament in Philadelphia, capturing the silver medal. gold in a row was awesome. This trip was definitely the Edwards scored 20 seconds into the second half to The 2018 edition finished undefeated (4-0-2) best coaching experience of my life so far.” put the U.S. team ahead 1-0. in six games in Italy, starting off with a pair of draws The trip was pretty memorable for the players as “It really felt amazing to see all the fans go crazy and against Spain (2-2) and Italy (3-3) before finishing the well. all the boys excited,” Edwards said. “Not every day you tournament with convincing victories against Colombia “The experience of being able to play for my get to score with such a big crowd, so it definitely is (9-2 to conclude round-robin play), Sweden (6-3 in the country is like none other,” noted Kohler, a graduate something I will never forget.” By Phillip Brents


FIRS notes: USA women golden at world championships T

he United States filled out a full complement of four teams to participate in this year’s International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) inline hockey world championship tournament July 14-28 in Asiago and Roana, Italy. The U.S. junior men’s and senior women’s teams both skated away with gold medals, while the U.S. senior men’s team finished fifth while the U.S. junior women’s team finished ninth out of 10 teams. A total of 27 countries entered teams this year’s world championship event. San Juan Capistrano’s Celeste Loyatho, Linden’s Brooke Bryant, La Mesa’s Kendall Curtis, Corona’s Elise Pogu, Sonora’s Jenna Weeks and Capistrano’s Audra Smit (goaltender) represented California on the gold medal-winning senior women’s team. Loyatho, Bryant and Pogu each scored goals in the championship game, a 3-2 win over the Czech 22

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Californians on the roster included Newport Republic that avenged a 5-1 setback to the Czechs in Beach’s Matt Sarvak, Tustin’s Tristan Gonzalez round-robin play. The U.S. women finished 5-1 in its 14-team division, and Rancho Santa Margarita’s Jackson Faught, along with head coach Tyler Svoboda defeating Spain 3-1 in the semifinals (Tustin). Sarvak, who finished third in after claiming a tense 2-1 shootout win team scoring with 14 goals and 22 over New Zealand in the quarterfinals. points, led the Americans with two Bryant led the team in scoring with goals and two assists in the win over six goals and eight points in the team’s Colombia. six games. Californians on the junior women’s The U.S. senior men’s team finished roster included San Jose’s Kristin 7-1 in its eight games, dropping a 4-3 Vavaroutsos, Corona’s Lilie Pogu overtime decision to the eventual gold and West Covina’s Anamary Pulgar medalist Czechs in the quarterfinals before topping Spain 9-4 in the San Juan Capistrano native Ce- (goaltender). Las Vegas native Ashley Printzen consolation semifinals and Colombia leste Loyatho was a key player on the U.S. senior women’s team that led the U.S. team in scoring with nine 8-0 in the fifth-place game. The Americans had faced off the 22- won gold in July at the FIRS inline goals and 16 points. hockey world championships. team division with prodigious victories against China (30-0) and India (41-0). - Phillip Brents

Give Blood Play Hockey: A million reasons to celebrate By Phillip Brents


he Give Blood Play Hockey charity inline hockey tournament celebrated a milestone in 2016 with its 10th anniversary event. The organization is poised to reach a perhaps more meaningful milestone with this year’s tournament, which is scheduled for Oct. 18-21 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline. If all goes well, this year’s donation total to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) will surpass the $1 million mark – a figure tournament staff pledged in 2008 to achieve by 2019. “It was after our second tournament and I remember the day we committed to donating $1 million to CHOC Children’s and thinking how we will ever be able to make that a reality,” GBPH tournament co-founder Mary Korus said. “When we made that commitment, we were making $50,000 a year, so it was a pretty bold commitment. But we will surpass that goal. It is so amazing.” Funds generated by the tournament have already been put to good use. In 2011, Give Blood Play Hockey made a $50,000 pledge to CHOC to fund a medication station on the oncology floor of the new wing of the hospital. Korus said the combination of the tournament hosting a record-breaking 84 teams and the generous outpouring of donations and support from the hockey community allowed the organization to complete the pledge in a single weekend. The $50,000 donation made for the patient care room and medication station counts toward the overall

$1 million goal. “I remember that day so well,” Korus said. “We were so proud that we were able to make a tangible impact on the lives of the kids at CHOC. The community really rallied around the cause and all the energy that we put behind our tournament ambassador Casey Strale’s fight.” Blood donations, another key element of the GBPH platform, continue to rise hand-in-hand with the dollar figure amount. Last year’s event set benchmarks with $165,000

in funds raised and 495 pints of blood donated. The 11year total stands at $916,501 in funds raised and 3,068 pints of donated blood. “Our goal this year is to surpass 3,500 pints donated, which will bring our total potential lives saved to more than 10,000 people,” Korus noted. “As always, we love to encourage first-time donors.”

Give Blood Play Hockey has already held four community blood drives this summer. Pacific Premier Bank hosted the most successful remote blood drive to date with 92 pints collected. “They blew it out of the water,” Korus said. “Pacific Premier Bank is a title sponsor and has been committed to Give Blood Play Hockey since Day 1. Their success was unreal. We are still in shock.” Other pre-event blood drives include those hosted by the Lake Ariel (Pa.) Fire Department (46 pints), Team Niko and Monkey Sport (24 pints) and The Rinks-Huntington Beach (29 pints). “That brings our total to 186 pints going in to this year’s event,” Korus pointed out. “Our goal is to donate 500 this year.” A sold-out field of 115 teams is expected at this year’s tournament. A variety of food trucks will cater to the culinary tastes of guests. A silent auction and raffle are also scheduled, as is a “Million Dollar” celebration featuring a lineup of special guests on Oct. 20. “As always, our goal is to make this event fun for people of all ages – young players just beginning their hockey careers to adult teams that come together each year to play with old friends,” Korus explained. “We are so proud that this event has a place for the whole hockey community and it is something that everyone looks forward to each year to start the hockey season. “It will be a party from start to finish.” For more information, visit

California teams shine at State Wars roller tournaments By Phillip Brents


he State Wars United States Roller Hockey Championships continues to grow every year. The 14th edition of the event, held July 25-Aug. 6 in St. Peters, Mo., was the largest tournament to date with 346 teams competing from all over the world. As a point of reference, the tournament attracted 192 teams to its first event in 2005. “We have seen a healthy growth for sure,” State Wars Hockey national director Tim McManus explained. “We have seen tremendous international growth across the board at State Wars. At State Wars 14, we had teams from all across United States and Canada and the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Korea, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.” Teams from the Golden State continue to help set the standard at the birth-year structured event. Team Southern California captured three gold medals (2007 AAA, 2006 AA Black, 2002 AAA), seven silver medals (6U AAA, 2010 AAA, 2009 AAA Black, 2006 AA White, 2004 AAA, 2003 AA, 2001 AAA) and three bronze medals (2009 AAA White, 2008 AAA, 2005 AAA) while Team Northern California claimed two gold medals (2001 AAA, 2000 A), one silver medal (2003 AAA) and two bronze medals (2006 AA, 2000 AAA). California made it a clean sweep in the 2006 AA Division with Team SoCal Black capturing the gold medal, Team SoCal White earning the silver medal and Team NorCal securing the bronze medal. Team NorCal defeated Team SoCal 3-2 to win the 2001 AAA division title on an overtime goal by Jaden Guzman. In the adult divisions, the Pama Labeda Golden

Knights hit for the cycle with a gold medal in the 45 & Older AA Division, a silver medal in the Senior AA Division and bronze medals in the Women’s AAA Division and Pama Pro Division. “Each year, we are very excited and proud to have such a large group from Team Southern California and Team Northern California come out and support State Wars,” McManus said. “With California being such a hotbed for roller hockey, they truly add to the competition

Team Southern California captured the 2007 AAA Division championship at this year’s State Wars 14 United States Roller Hockey Championships in St. Peters, Mo. Photo/State Wars

level of the event and teams love playing the teams from out west. We love that we are the tournament that the California players, coaches and parents choose to travel to each summer.” Besides the team awards, players also were bestowed with individual awards such as the division Most Valuable Player, Most Valuable Goaltender, Best Defen-

sive Player, All-Tournament Team honors and skills competition accolades. Team SoCal’s Cooper Bell (6U Division) received multiple honors as the Best Defensive Player and Fastest Skater while Team SoCal’s Lucas Albarquez (2010 Division) earned distinction as the Best Defensive Player and Top Sniper. Team SoCal’s Julie Becerra won the MVG award in the 6U Division and also was the skills competition’s Top Goaltender winner in the 2009 Division. Meanwhile, Team SoCal’s Carson Woolcott earned AAA MVP and High Scorer honors in the 2007 Division. Of note, Guzman received awards as the 2001 AAA Division MVP and skills competition Fastest Skater. Division MVP honorees also included Team SoCal’s Blake Wozniak (2006 AA) and Anthony Oveido (2002 AAA) and Team NorCal’s Antoine Lavoie (2000 A). Best Defensive Player awards also went to Team SoCal’s Henry Kress (2007 Division), Ryan Newton (2002 A) and Grayson Yada (2001 AAA/AA) as well as Team NorCal’s Joe Fordyce (2000 AAA). Division High Scorer award-winners also included Team SoCal’s Rocket Welsh (2009 Division) and Team NorCal’s Dylan Franks (2001 AAA/AA). Skills competition Top Goaltender award-winners also included Team SoCal’s Matthew Lewis (2010 Division), Danny Tasigeorgos (2002 AAA/AA) and Pierce Thibert (2001 AAA/AA). Team SoCal’s Julian Ruiz (6U) earned the Top Sniper award in the skills competition and Fastest Skater award-winners also included Team SoCal’s Ethan Sung (2009) and Brandon Grant (2004 AAA). Scholarship award-winners for 2018 included Team NorCal’s Fordyce and Ethan Bach.



California Rubber Hockey Magazine



Position: Forward, Kingston Frontenacs (Ontario Hockey League) Hometown: Arcadia Youth Hockey Teams: Pasadena Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Jr. Kings


ason Robertson has emerged as one of the top scorers in the OHL, putting up 41 goals and 87 points during the 2017-18 season and adding 18 more in the 2018 postseason. It’s no wonder the Dallas Stars made the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder a second-round pick (39th overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. Though he lived in both California and Michigan growing up, he still trains with Mike Lind in the Golden State. California Rubber: Do you have a favorite memory from your time playing hockey in California? Jason Robertson: I remember the Brick Tournament was really fun. I played against (former Jr. King) Kailer Yamamoto. And I played with (U.S. Olympian) Cayla Barnes, (Minnesota Wild draft pick) Ivan Lodnia, (San Jose Sharks pick) Sasha Chmelevski, (Tampa Bay Lightning pick) Cole Guttman, (Sharks pick) Jake McGrew, and Brannon McManus – I think we made it to the semis. It’s funny I look back, some of the kids I played against have been teammates of mine in junior. It’s a great memory for me, playing in front of all those people at 10 years old. CR: Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the game after leaving California? JR: Getting drafted in the OHL was a big moment. It was a big step for me. Making the team as a 16-year-old was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That was a lot of work. CR: What is your offseason routine like? JR: This summer was different; I trained in Toronto with (former NHLer) Gary Roberts. Last year, I trained in Manhattan Beach at Velocity. Then I’d go to Anaheim to train with Mike Lind. I would drive to El Segundo at 4:30 in the morning so I could skate at the Toyota Sports Center with my little brother at 6:30 a.m. We’d go skate, then go work out at 11 and go back to the beach, have fun. It was a great time. CR: When you’re home in the offseason, what is your favorite place to eat? JR: Either Manhattan Beach or the Santa Monica Pier. Those two places are really nice. Wahoo’s fish tacos – every time I go to Manhattan Beach, I always go there.

CR: Did you have a favorite player and team growing up? JR: For a couple years, it was Jason Allison. The reason I liked him a lot was because his name was Jason. When I started to think about hockey and understand there were teams other than the LA Kings, I became a big New Jersey Devils fan. I like the colors and Patrik Elias was my favorite player. When I really started to think about it, my favorite player was Ilya Kovalchuk (now with the Kings). Right now, my favorite team is the Dallas Stars. CR: What is one thing that might surprise people about being an NHL draft pick? JR: A lot of it is being prepared and being professional. When I was 16, I didn’t think about it a lot. That’s what I’m learning is how prepared these guys are every day. It’s all about being and acting professional off the ice. On the ice, there are always things you can work on. Off the ice, taking care of yourself. Wherever you can get the edge on somebody. CR: What free-time activities do you enjoy? JR: I love going to the beach. My brother, Nick, and I do almost everything together when we’re in Los Angeles. Working out. At home, we’d always play floorball. We made the garage into a mini floorball arena. Going swimming. We do a lot of things with our family. Photo/Billy Kimmerly/Kingston Frontenacs


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Chris Bayee

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