California Rubber Magazine - September 2019

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S P R E A D I N G THEIR WINGS With a commitment to growing the game in Northern California, the Golden State Elite Eagles youth organization continues to flourish and provide opportunities for players of all ages and skill sets



FROM THE EDITOR The grind of the hockey season has arrived – embrace it, folks


ell, the kids are back in school, the rinks are all going full blast and families’ schedules will be packed for the next 6-7 months. Yep, hockey season has arrived. All levels of our great game are kicking into high gear with hopes for the players to gradually improve and develop this season. Any coach will tell you that trophies, banners and medals are second on the priority list – and a long second at that – to player development. Those championships are certainly nice, but if each player on a team improves over the course of a season, those special accolades will handle themselves. For the players out there – enjoy this game and Matt Mackinder give it all you got each time you’re at the rink for onice or off-ice training, practice or games. Be real with your decision to play the game of hockey. For the parents out there – relish every moment you have with your kids at the rink, in the car or just talking hockey at the dinner table or restaurant. Time flies. Take advantage of these days while you can. To everyone involved in any role in our game – enjoy the season, have fun, smile, and keep making memories. Congratulations to Cypress native Jackson Wozniak on earning the ‘C’ this season for the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Grand Prairie Storm! As a youth, Wozniak skated for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings. With Clayton Stoner joining the coaching staff of the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights’ 12U AA team this year, he becomes the second program coach with NHL playing experience, joining Brian Salcido, who coaches with the Jr. Golden Knights’ 10U and 14U AA teams. “The 2019-20 coaching staff brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience at all levels,” said Jr. Golden Knights executive director Darren Eliot. “As interest and participation continues to flourish here in Las Vegas, expanding and diversifying our program is a priority.” The Jr. Golden Knights have also added a new 12U girls team this season.

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


Manhattan Beach native Shane McColgan is back home as the new head coach and general manager of the Western States Hockey League’s Valencia Flyers. “I pledge to dedicate myself to build and coach the best possible team for this upcoming season,” McColgan said. “I plan to not only focus on building every player’s personal and team skills but to instill the necessary life lessons needed to succeed in this highly competitive world.” McColgan, who played youth hockey for the Jr. Kings, was a fifth-round draft pick (134th overall) by the New York Rangers in the 2011 NHL Draft. USA Hockey announced over the summer the 17-player roster for the 2019-20 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, and goalie Jen Lee (San Francisco) and defenseman Ralph DeQuebec (San Pedro) will represent Team USA. In addition, San Diego natives and San Diego Ducks forwards Sarah Bettencourt and Lera Doederlein made the U.S. Women’s Development Sled Hockey Team with Las Vegas natives and Vegas Golden Knights Sled Hockey team forward Brianna Atkins and goaltender Hope Bevilhymer. Las Vegas native and Golden Knights Sled Hockey forward Isaac Escobedo also earned a spot on the roster for the 2019-20 U.S. Men’s Development Sled Hockey Team. Congrats, everyone! We have several advancements to mention as Laguna Niguel native and former Jr. Kings, Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Wildcats goaltender Connor Duffy committed over the summer to NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He played last season for the Western States Hockey League’s Ontario Avalanche. El Segundo native Matt Millar is back home as goaltending development coach for the AHL’s Ontario Reign and former San Jose Jr. Sharks girls coach and program coordinator Amanda Long, a Ukiah native, is now the women’s hockey director of operations at NCAA D-I Minnesota State University.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Irvine’s Laura Veharanta led the gold medal-winning Team USA Senior Women’s Inline Hockey Team in scoring at the 2019 World Roller Games, which were held this past summer in Barcelona. More inline coverage on Pages 9, 10, 22 and 23. Photo/World Skate

ON THE COVER Players from the Golden State Elite program have the Eagles going in a positive direction as the 2019-20 season gets underway. Pictured back row, from left to right, are Carter Hathaway (16U-1 AA), Derek McGrew (16U-2 AA) and Alex Kowalewski (18U AA). Pictured front row, from left to right, are Noah Tano (14-1 AA) and Max Oppenheim (14-2 AA). Photo/Randy Lashinski PLAY OUTDOORS THE WAY NATURE INTENDED @ Town Of Mammoth Lakes Outdoor NHL Rink

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Flying High Golden State Elite program continues to shine, grow the game in Northern California Hathaway explained. “All the games are on the weekends from April-June, and kids have the option to practice with their teams or they can do skills clinics during the hen Chris Hathaway, Larry Cahn and William Stone first came together to week. start the Golden State Elite Eagles program back during the 2012-13 season, “We put that league together this spring, and it was awesome. We got tons of posnone of them could have imagined the success it would become. itive feedback. It allowed kids who were playing spring sports at their high schools to Of course, they put significant planning and forethought into it and set their goals show up and play games on the weekends. Or could show up on a Tuesday for a clinic high, but very little was certain. because they didn’t have lacrosse practice, for example. We made it a very flexible As the 2019-20 season opens and the program continues to thrive, the trio schedule.” can look back with great pride at what they have built while also Something else that will be new this fall for the program is looking forward to some even bigger and better things in “GSE Prospects.” At the 10U age group, coaches will the seasons to come. put on clinics at all of the member programs’ rinks. While roster spots on Golden State Elite teams are “We don’t want kids to be traveling all over the place open to any and all players, close to 90 percent of the and spending so much time sitting in cars,” Hathaway program’s tier players come up through one of GSE’s explained. “So we’re trying to come up with creative four member clubs - the Cupertino Cougars, Tri-Valley ways to get players of similar skill levels on the ice toBlue Devils, Vacaville Jets and San Francisco Sabergether. We’re looking to get the kids who at the top of cats. They’re building the foundation from the Squirt their age group in terms of skills on the ice with players and Mite levels for success at the higher levels, and Haof a similar skill level. thaway and his colleagues can see that their long-term “The plan is to do some clinics this fall and then put development plan is falling nicely into place. kids together on teams for some spring tournaments. This season, the Eagles will ice seven teams, all We think it will give us the chance to see what we might at the AA level. At the 12U, 14U and 16U age groups, have coming up the pipeline and help get the kids acthere will be a north and a south team, as well as one climated to what tier hockey is all about and educate 18U squad. The Eagles have rinks in the San Francisco them and their parents earlier.” Bay Area cities of Dublin and Vacaville - where the north If the trial run works as they hope it will, Hathaway teams practice and play - as well as Cupertino, near San and his colleagues will aim to alter the program’s strucJose, where the south teams are based. ture so players would practice at their local rink on week“When we started, there was certainly an element of luck in days and play games with their teams on the weekends. That us becoming successful,” Stone way, travel is limited, and players said. “The market was sort of and coaches can focus intently ripe for a program like this. There on skill development during the were some under-performing week while saving team contier programs in our area, and cepts for the weekends. the parents were hungry for an “We want to offer the best alternative like this. development program, but “But of course, we also at the same time find a way came into the first tryout with to make it practical,” Hathagreat coaches, and that’s alway said. “I just don’t think it ways the foundation of a solid makes sense for kids who live program. We had Mario Moin Sacramento to be driving risette, Mike Holmes, Larry down to Cupertino during the Cahn and Greg Rodriguez week. It’s just not realistic.” they were here at the beginning, The Eagles are a strong and they’re still here as part of AA program, and every once our program.” in a while, will find that some Within the program’s first of their players have outgrown two seasons, the Eagles had the level and are ready to two teams advance to the USA test themselves playing AAA Hockey Tier II National Chamhockey. Rather than encourpionships, and that quickly ceage them to stay for the betmented their reputation as one terment of the team they’re of the stronger programs any- From left to right, Colin Chan (12-1 AA team), Masaki Chien (12-1 AA team), Nicholas Taylor (12-2 AA team) on, GSE’s coaches will enwhere. That helped attract more and Ben Kevan (12-2 AA team) take great pride in donning Golden State Elite colors during the 2019-20 season. courage them to develop their players and their parents to the Photo/John Cadeddu skills at the higher level with program, and perhaps the thing that has made the founders most proud has been their another program. ability to sustain the Eagles’ level of performance over the course of seven seasons. On the other end of the spectrum, there have been times that they have sug“Getting your great coaches and players to stay with the program is a big part of it,” gested an undersized or overmatched player go back to one of their member Stone said. “But the other really big part of it is sticking with the approach you have set clubs to build their skills and be ready to compete at the AA level the next season. out to develop players and doing it in an ethical way that guides you each and every day.” It’s not uncommon for Stone, Hathaway, Cahn and Peter Korcsinsky - who Hathaway said that he and the other members of the Eagles’ leadership team have joined GSE’s leadership team last year representing the Sabercats - to be presbeen working hard on some new developments to enhance their offerings. sured to pursue the possibility of icing AAA teams as well. While the Eagles have GSE offered a spring program for the first time this year, and after seeing its suc- done it a couple times in their past, they will only consider it in years that they’re cess will plan to have it again in 2020. While they encourage kids of all ages to play certain they have enough players who are ready to compete at that level. other sports, they found that a lot of players were still looking to play some hockey in “Our core philosophy is to do what’s best for the players,” Stone said. “All our the offseason. Rather than traveling to far away camps, they’re now able to get on the discussions are based on that philosophy and are tested against it. That allows ice right in their own backyards. us to know that if our core group of founders is debating something, at the end of “This is not something that’s mandatory by any means, but we listened to our mem- the day, we’re going to do what is best for the players and their development - not bership and wanted to give them something to keep kids engaged in the offseason,” what feeds our egos or helps us make more money.” By Greg Ball



California Rubber Hockey Magazine


Extra Hour Off-Ice Training impacting NorCal hockey By Matt Mackinder


athy Andrade introduced Power Hour to the Bay Area in 1998, providing power skating for athletes of all ages and skill levels. Some 20 years later, in 2018, she launched the Extra Hour Off-Ice Hockey Training Facility to provide off-ice training. Along with her husband, Randy, Cathy traveled and toured the Midwest, East Coast, and Canada with the idea of offering comprehensive off-ice training to the Bay Area. She designed custom off-ice programs to directly influence on-ice performance by refining skating skills and developing motor patterns which are essential in today’s fast paced game. An additional point of interest with Extra Hour is Northern California’s only skating treadmill, something that has traditionally been a polarizing tool – until now with Cathy’s 35 years of skating experience. “The skating treadmill is proving to be a powerful and effective training tool,” Cathy said. “Players receive instant, continuous verbal and visual feedback. I focus on a repetitive and progressive training style to ensure consistent skill development and aim to establish the biomechanics of proper muscle movement that translates to on-ice speed. We have been overwhelmed with the positive player feedback and immediate results in a short span.” Extra Hour boasts California’s largest synthetic ice hockey skating and shooting lanes. Although their skate-

able surfaces are not real ice, they provide the closest feel to real ice by leveraging her husband’s background in protective coatings. Extra Hour has five skateable shooting lanes, goalie training and small space area, biomechanics, strength and conditioning, slide boards-stride training, power skater machines, stick handling tools, Boni puck machine, free stick demos, and the Bay Area’s top trainers and coaches. “It’s been great to take

development to a higher level with Cathy Andrade’s teaching and develop specific off-ice and on-ice training programs to help NHL players improve the skill of skating,” said San Jose Sharks director of strength and conditioning Mike Potenza. “Your off-ice training should complement what you do on the ice in the areas of speed, strength, balance, conditioning and coordination. Cathy provides the players that I work with in the offseason with specific drills that

improve weaknesses and strength in single leg positions.” Players that have utilized Extra Hour’s training include NHL Draft prospect and Bay Area youth player Sahil Panwar, a 2002 birth year who skates with the OHL’s London Knights but comes home during the summer to train. “This was my biggest offseason training leading into my NHL draft year, so I wanted to make sure that I included Power Hour and Extra Hour to enhance my on-ice and office training,” Panwar said “Cathy put together a comprehensive and customized training plan for me this summer. The results of the training are very encouraging for the upcoming season with my team in London. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will be back next summer.” Other specialized classes offered include a combination of skating treadmill-shooting-strength training and targeted custom stride-speed programming with a 1 to 4 coach-toplayer ratio. Extra Hour is currently releasing their team training and drop-in programs as well. “The importance of supplementing off-ice training with your on-ice training can’t be overstated,” said former Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan. “Growing up, I remember being in my backyard honing my skills by shooting thousands of pucks. The tools at Extra Hour allow you to practice and receive elite coaching. This is invaluable to any hockey player looking to take the next step.” Golf has driving ranges, baseball has batting cages. Bay Area hockey now has Extra Hour. For more information, visit and See the Extra Hour ad on Page 21.



Jr. Sharks, Tahoe Prep grad Larsson leaving mark in NCDC By Joshua Boyd/


oving East wasn’t much of a problem for South Lake Tahoe resident Erik Larsson. Moving - anywhere - is a skill that the Swedish-born forward has developed over the course of his 20 years, so it was no problem to pack up clothes, his hockey bag and stick and fly 3,000 miles to join the Boston Bandits in Bridgewater, Mass. Larsson is just entering his second season with the Bandits’ team in the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC). The NCDC is the United States Premier Hockey League’s (USPHL) tuition-free junior league that plays at the Tier II junior level. “I started playing when I lived in Sweden,” said Larsson. “I lived there until I was 8, then I moved to Canada, until I was about 15. I’ve only lived in California for two years.” Along with additional stops in Canada and in the Bay Area, Larsson has his miles. The same can be said for his skates, having played 60 games already in the USPHL between the 18U Division and the NCDC. “A lot of the top California teams play most of their games in the Eastern United States – that’s where the games are,” said Larsson. “If I’m playing games there anyways, why not join a team there and cut down on the travel?” Entering his third season with the Bandits, Larsson remarked on how special an organization he has joined.

“It’s just the way the key characters in the organization the Bandits’ league standing and get Larsson the college - the general manager and the head coach - make me see looks. “Jim Gaudet is obviously a phenomenal coach in the that they’re all for the players and the team,” said Larsson. “There’s also a lot of exposure here, as it’s a lot closer for way he’s running things for the Bandits,” Larsson said. “He has a great hockey mind, and he knows what he’s the college scouts to come and see games.” Larsson hopes to increase the offensive side of his talking about. You have to make sure you’re listening because he’s always saying things you game in 2019-20, after proving himneed to listen to. He’s always calm self as an intense two-way forward at and collected, which helps the team two levels. focus, and we don’t panic.” “My contributions on the ice are In California, Larsson cut his teeth typically my work ethic on the penwith the San Jose Jr. Sharks for a seaalty kill, and playing in key situations son, before joining the Tahoe Prep in the defensive zone, making sure Academy for the 2016-17 season. we get pucks out,” said Larsson. “This year, I’m focusing more on the With Tahoe, he showed his offensive flair, scoring 20 goals in 15 conoffensive side of the game to put up tests and totaling 32 points. Tahoe some points and get more attention has become a bit of a USPHL feedtowards college placement.” er program, as Larsson is one of five First-year Bandits head coach alumni to be on a 2019-20 USPHL Jim Gaudet brings college hockey coaching experience at the ACHA South Lake Tahoe resident Erik Larsson is roster. He still loves returning home to level, as well as the wisdom handed looking to make his final season of junior down from a Division I head coach for hockey a memorable one with the NCDC’s that big lake in the mountains, though. “In the summers, it’s obviousa father – Dartmouth’s Bob Gaudet. Boston Bandits.Photo/Joshua Boyd/ ly beautiful, and I love being outside, love going to the Jim also played under Bob at Dartmouth. Coming back to a team that changes their coach can ocean,” added Larsson. “When I was there, skating and sometimes be an unsettling situation for a veteran. How- going to the ocean in the same day was a luxury I did not ever, after the short time that Gaudet has been in the head take for granted. I loved being able to train while also takposition, Larsson is fully confident he can both improve ing advantage of the perks of California.”


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U.S., Californians bag double gold at World Roller Games By Phillip Brents


he United States Men’s and Women’s Senior National Inline Hockey Teams returned to what many in this country considered to be their rightful place – at the top of the world rankings – after winning gold medals at July’s World Roller Games in Barcelona. Both teams did so with a sizable assist from Californians. The men’s team showcased six players from the Golden State: Cody Kettler (Huntington Beach), Derrick Burnett (Corona), Jose Cadiz (La Puente), Nathan Sigmund (San Diego), Peter Kavaya (San Clemente) and Travis Noe (Thousand Oaks). The women’s team featured seven players from California: Ariane Yokoyama (Van Nuys), Audra Smit (Dana Point), Casidhe Kunichika (Fullerton), Elisa Pogu (Corona), Jennifer Friedman (San Gabriel), Kendall Curtis (Lakewood) and Laura Veharanta (Irvine). Both teams defeated the Czech Republic in the gold medal game. The U.S. men won 3-0 as Kavaya notched one goal while the U.S. women captured a 3-1 verdict as Friedman scored once and Yokoyama picked up two assists. The gold medal for the USA women was their third consecutive while the USA men returned to the top of the award stand for the first time since 2014 (in championship tournaments sponsored by the World Skate organization, formerly FIRS). Ladies first According to Veharanta, the goal was to leave Barcelona with the gold medal when the team’s roster was

first announced in February. “The team we had in Barcelona was by far one of the strongest we’ve ever had for Team USA,” she said. “Having a roster as deep as ours from forward to defense and down to the goalies gives us, as players, a lot of confidence but also puts a lot of pressure on us to succeed. “The level of skill and strength has improved immensely since my first world roller championships back

Californians proved a strong addition to the gold medal-winning Team USA Senior Men’s and Women’s National Inline Hockey Teams at July’s World Roller Games in Barcelona. Photo/World Skate

in 2009. You saw that this year, especially with a team like Italy knocking Team Canada out in quarterfinals.” The American women did not disappoint. They outscored their four pool opponents 20-2 before zipping through the playoffs. Team USA defeated France 3-0 in the quarterfinals and Spain, 5-1, in the semifinals Veharanta led the team in scoring with eight goals and four assists, followed by Arizonan Allison Era with six goals and five assists and Yokoyama with two goals

and five assists. “I think some key elements to the success of this year’s team was the ability for our group to come together,” Veharanta explained. “We had a mixture of players from different club teams and different areas of the U.S. We had a short time – just two practices in Spain plus a short Memorial Day Weekend training camp – to get familiar playing with each other and coming together as a group. Being in a place like Barcelona made it easy to do that, too. Our schedule allowed for a lot of team bonding around our games early in the tournament and I think that played an important part of that coming together process.” Back on top The U.S. men finished 5-1 in their six games in the tournament. The championship game victory avenged a 4-2 loss to the Czechs in pool play. The Americans displayed their power with a 7-0 quarterfinal win over Switzerland and a 7-3 semifinal win over France. State Wars Hockey president Tim McManus served as U.S. head coach. He underscored the significance of the gold medal showing by noting the Czechs had won three of the last four and five of the last eight world championships. Californians on the roster contributed 11 goals and 14 assists to the gold medal-winning effort. Sigmund finished second in team scoring with three goals and four assists while Noe collected two goals and three assists. Other contributors included Kavaya (three goals, one assist), Cadiz (one goal, three assists), Kettler (one goal, two assists) and Burnett (one goal, one assist).

West Coast Hockey Conference continuing to trend upward By Greg Ball


s it enters its 10th season of existence, there’s no doubt that the West Coast Hockey Conference is thriving. Perhaps the biggest indicator of the conference’s success is that it keeps growing - the WCHC will expand to 10 teams this season when it welcomes UC Irvine and Cal State Bakersfield to the fold. The addition of the two schools means the conference will be divided into two divisions for the 201920 season. Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara will play in one division, while the other division will be made up of Chapman, University of San Diego, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and Cal State Bakersfield. Having added three new schools last year, the conference has essentially doubled in size. “We’re not only growing in terms of the number of teams we ice each season, but the quality of the teams’ play is getting so much better year after year,” said Tyler Goeckner-Zoeller, the general manager for Loyola Marymount’s team, who helped start the LMU program back in 2006. “Since we started the West Coast Hockey Conference back in 2010, our conference has had the top team from California every single year. There’s plenty of good hockey throughout the state, but for the top team to come from our conference every year really makes a strong statement.” The 2019-20 season is set to open Sept. 20 with a matchup featuring Chapman taking on Cal State Bakersfield. Cal State Northridge is the conference’s

three-time defending champion, and while expectations are high for the Matadors, they should see plenty of competition throughout the WCHC. Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State are both expected to be strong teams this season, as are Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara. The regular season runs through early February and after playoffs, the champion will move on to the ACHA regionals in Boise,

Cal State Northridge players hold up three fingers after collecting their third straight WCHC championship during the 2018-19 season.

Idaho, at the end of the month. The strength of the conference is clearly evident in its postseason track record. Since its founding in 2010, the WCHC has sent a team to the ACHA Division II West Regional Tournament almost every year and has sent five teams to the Division II National Tournament. With eight teams for the first time last year, the WCHC’s winner received an automatic bid to regionals, and will do so again this season. “That’s the primary reason that we want to make

sure we continue to grow the conference - to ensure that we keep getting that automatic bid to regionals,” Goeckner-Zoeller said. “We want one of our teams from Southern California, which is under-represented for the quality of hockey we have here, to make it to regionals and face off against teams from Colorado, Utah and other states and show what we can do as a conference and a state. “It’s sort of a goal for everyone here to win this conference and knowing that you’ll get a chance to secure that coveted spot at the regional tournament makes it even bigger of a prize.” While Cal State Northridge would appear to be the favorite as the season begins, there is also some uncertainty because the Matadors have a new coach. Long Beach State will also have a new man behind the bench, as will Loyola Marymount. Other changes this season include some teams playing in new rinks. UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton will practice and play their games at the newly opened Great Park Ice in Irvine. “There are a lot of new faces around the league as far as new coaches and teams, and we’re really excited as the season starts and have high expectations, just like we do every season,” Goeckner-Zoeller said.


California teams show well at summertime NARCh events By Phillip Brents


he 2019 NARCh Finals once again proved to be a showcase for the sport of inline hockey. The two tournaments — the West Coast Finals in Irvine and East Coast Finals in Taylor. Mich. — attracted a combined field of more than 320 teams from around the globe, reaching as far away as Europe, South America and New Zealand. “Both Finals were great events this year,” NARCh president Daryn Goodwin explained. “About 25 of our 215 teams at the NARCh Finals in Irvine were foreign teams. The teams from France did particularly well.” Teams from California, as usual, performed exceptionally well. Best in the West The West Coast Finals took center stage July 12-21 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline, logging 588 games over 10 days. Platinum Division champions included the Mission Renegades (8U), Pama Cyclones 08 (10U), Angry Ducks (12U), Pama Labeda Golden Knights (14U), Sour Skittles 02 (16U), Mission Bo Dangles (18U) and Rink Rat Republic (Women). Gold Division champions included the Bulldogs Blue (6U), Labeda Jets (8U), Mission Renegades (10U), Lukas Uhler’s Vanquish (21U) and Hi-Chew Vets (Women). Silver Division champions included the Rancho Cucamonga FireDogs (6U), Konixx Voodoo/Quakes (8U), HB Militia White (10U) and Bulldogs Grey (18U), Club Division champions included the Labeda Jets (14U) and AKS 03 (16U). Hi-Chew defeated the Pama Labeda Golden Knights to win the Girls Division title while Mavin defeated the


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PNHL Killers to win the Men’s Bronze Division title. save percentage) for NCR Konixx Elite in the 16U Gold The Golden Knights, paced by division high scorer Division. Eddie Limbaga and division top goaltender Scott KeoCooper Bell (8U Gold/Silver) and Nick Woods (14U hane, won the 40 & Over Division championship. Silver) of the Jets captured Fastest Skater awards in the The Tour Roadrunners defeated Rink Rat to win the skills competition. NARCh Pro title at the West Coast Finals. California roller Santee’s Charles Baldwin topped the Men’s Gold hockey icon Itan Chavira finished as the division high Division in scoring with 13 points while younger brother scorer for Rink Rat. David Baldwin earned MVP honFrance’s Angels program capors in the Hoser Mad Dogs’ chamtured titles in the three divisions: pionship game victory against the 12U Silver, 14U Silver and 16U High Rollers from Canada. Silver. The Bulldogs’ Drake Staib Team USA (6U Gold) topped all division high Several players with connecscorers by averaging 5.2 points tions to Team USA squads that per game while Nael Hallads of medaled at the 2019 World Roller the Angels (14U Silver) recorded Games earned honors at this suma .939 save percentage to pace mer’s NARCh events. all division Top Goaltender awardIrvine’s Laura Veharanta, The Konixx Voodoo Quakes, seen here hoisting the winners. who won a gold medal with the 8U Silver Division championship trophy, were among Deserving honorable mentions the many California teams that excelled at this sum- U.S. Senior Women’s Inline Hockincluded Mavin’s Mike Erving mer’s NARCh West Coast Finals in Irvine. Photo/NARCh ey Team, finished as high scorer in (Men’s Gold) with a .938 save percentage and Republic’s the Women’s Platinum Division at the East Coast Finals Marisa Trevino (Women’s Platinum) a .929 save per- (Golden Knights) and West Coast Finals (Republic). centage. San Diego Jr. Gulls girls graduate Ella Park (Encinitas) won a silver medal while representing the United Eastern exposure States in Barcelona in the Junior Women’s Division. She The East Coast Finals faced off the pair of midsummer earned Top Goaltender honors (.916 save percentage) for events June 21-30. A sizable contingent of 12 California OMG USA’s runner-up team in the 16U Silver Division at squads made the cross-country trek. Five recorded runner- the NARCh East Coast Finals. up finishes: Labeda Jets (8U Gold), OMG USA (16U SilAfter winning a silver medal with the U.S. Junior Men’s ver), RinkRat Groove (Junior, Division 1) and Pama Labeda Inline Hockey Team, Huntington Beach’s Clay Bozanich Golden Knights (Women’s Platinum) (Sour Skittles 02) earned the 16U Platinum championship Jaisel Patel earned Top Goaltender honors (.896 Game MVP award at the NARCh West Coast Finals.


FA LL Learn To Play & Ball Hockey



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DWA foundation addresses mental health awareness By Brian McDonough


t’s okay not to be okay. That’s the message the newfound “Don’t Walk Alone: The Walker Tobin Memorial Foundation” is committed to embracing as it focuses on raising the awareness of the importance of mental health education and action amongst young athletes. The foundation, which was formally introduced last month at the Los Angeles Jr. Kings/LA Lions eighth annual Golf Tournament & Social at Mountain Gate Country Club in Los Angeles, will provide mental-health counseling for players in the Jr. Kings/LA Lions program free of charge, as well as designate funds to high-character student-athletes within the club whose families are in need of financial assistance. Don’t Walk Alone was named in memory of Walker Tobin, a South Bay resident and hockey enthusiast who took his own life a year ago. Tobin was close friends with Brett Beebe and Ryan Shaw of South Bay-based Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Both Beebe and Shaw spearheaded the Don’t Walk Alone initiative. “Walker was everything you could want in a friend,” said Beebe, a former Jr. Kings player who also serves as head coach of the club’s 13U AAA and 10U A2 teams. “He was loyal, energetic, passionate, empathetic and selfless. He was the life of the party, and usually the one who arranged the party. “He was the ultimate glue-guy; he brought people together from all walks of life and just made everyone feel good about themselves. He left us too soon because we

couldn’t see his struggle; he was the last one we thought was hurting on the inside.” Long-term, the foundation plans to create a platform and curriculum for all youth sports organizations to adopt in an effort to free young athletes from the current stigmas surrounding their mental well-being. That includes implementing a component in USA Hockey’s SafeSport protocol educating coaches and administrators how to identify children who might be struggling and help those players and their families address their issues in a comforting environment. “Being involved in athletics my entire life, you’re taught from a young age to be tough and fearless all the time and that nothing should get to you, mentally, and from my experience that’s not always a healthy approach,” said Beebe, who also played hockey in college and professionally. “A lot of times those feelings and emotions carry over into adulthood and what you’ve been told growing up about your psyche just isn’t realistic and oftentimes dangerous, so we created this platform for young athletes to share their experiences with professional counselors in an effort to aid their overall well-being.” Don’t Walk Alone was architected less than a year after the Ryan Shaw Group at Douglas Elliman Real Estate generously contributed $10,000 towards the Jr. Kings/LA Lions “Match Game” fundraising initiative. Those dollars were targeted straight towards eight members of the Jr.

Kings and Lions as recipients of the first annual Walker Tobin Memorial Scholarship. “The investment Brett and Ryan have put towards our club, specifically our players and our families, recently is inspiring,” said Jr. Kings executive director Kelly Sorensen. “To expand our relationship through this foundation speaks volumes about their character and commitment to the overall health and well-being of our players.” “Our end-goal is to reach young athletes, regardless the sport or talent level, and teach them the value of taking care of their mental health,” Beebe added. “We need our kids to realize it’s important to ask for help if they’re not feeling like their normal selves and need someone to talk to.” With an online platform expected to be live in the coming weeks, those interested in learning more about the foundation or contributing to the non-profit 501(c)(3) entity can contact Beebe at Both Beebe and Shaw will match donations up to $10,000 until the end of the calendar year and also donate a portion of their real-estate sales from the hockey community to the cause. “This issue hits close to home for both Ryan and I for obvious reasons,” said Beebe. “Asking for help regardless the circumstance isn’t a weakness or something to be ashamed of, and that’s what needs to resonate loudest through this initiative.”


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San Jose Success

Longtime Jr. Sharks prodigy Blais-Savoie putting girls hockey on the map in Northern California By Matt Mackinder


velyn Blais-Savoie has grown up in San Jose, not only helping her San Jose Jr. Sharks girls teams win state and national championships, but also developing her game to be NCAA Division I-ready in a couple years. The soon-to-be 17-year-old forward was part of the Jr. Sharks’ 19U AA team that won a USA Hockey Pacific District and national title back in 2017 and has been a regular

contributor to the program, on and off the ice. She notched the overtime winner at the USA Hockey Pacific District tournament final and then tallied a natural hat trick in the Detroit suburb of Troy, Mich., leading the Jr. Sharks to a 4-0 win over the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Cougars to garner the USA Hockey Tier II national title two seasons ago. “That was a fun game to be a part of,” said BlaisSavoie. “We all enjoyed the experience of being at Nationals and to cap it off with a championship is an incredible feeling.” Former Jr. Sharks coach Amanda Long, now working with the NCAA Division I women’s team at Minnesota State University, said in 2017 that BlaisSavoie was the total package.

“She’s special,” said Long. “Her ability to go out there and get goals when we need them the most is incredible. She’s physical, she plays big, and it’s hard to explain what she brings to this team. What she brings and her ability to put the puck in the net is huge. She’s got stamina, speed – she’s got it all. And being so young on top of it – she’s got such a bright future.”

Blais-Savoie has grown up around the game – literally.

“I started playing hockey when I was 6,” explained Blais-Savoie. “I had done figure skating beforehand and with my dad (Robert Savoie) working at the rink, I was always there. Going to Sharks games with my dad was always a nice surprise after coming home from school.” Playing for the Jr. Sharks youth program her entire career to this point, Blais-Savoie has made the move to Michigan this year to play for the Meijer Hockey 19U AAA association. That said, her time in San Jose has been a ride Blais-Savoie wil not soon forget. “Growing up at the rink with the same people really gave me friends for life,” said Blais-Savoie. “This season, our goal as a team is to make it to Nationals in April.” This past summer, Blais-Savoie attended the USA Hockey National Camp for her third straight year, participating in both the Select 16 and Select 17 camps and 18U Select Camp at St. Cloud State University. Blais-Savoie said she takes pride in helping to put girls hockey on the map not only in San Jose and Northern California, but in all of the Western United States. “Playing girls hockey in California definitely has its difficulties,” Blais-Savoie said. “Only having two teams in the entire state makes it very difficult to play games close to home and to have good competition growing up. Most girls who want to develop more usually join the boys organizations. I’ve seen big events bring more hockey into California, though. With Nationals being in Irvine this past year and having Team USA and Canada play each other in San Jose, it drew a lot of attention to girls hockey in California.” Down the line, BlaisSavoie has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Vermont, a Hockey East school in Burlington, Vt. She is tentatively slated to enroll there in the fall of 2021 to play for the Catamounts. After that, the sky is the limit for Blais-Savoie. “My dream since I was a little kid has been to play for my country,” BlaisSavoie.



Kern County eager to defend its LAKHSHL championship By Greg Ball


fter years of near-misses, the Kern County Knights finally reached the top of the mountain last season, not only winning the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League (LAKHSHL) championship but also taking home the title for Division 2B in the California Amateur Hockey Association. Defending their titles, however, will not be an easy task. The Knights lost 11 players from last year’s team to graduation, so as the 2019-20 season begins, expectations are high, but there is also a fair amount of uncertainty. It will take time for younger, less-experienced players to establish themselves as leaders and start to make significant contributions. Paul Willett, the head coach of Kern County’s varsity team, said he expects to use the first few months of the season to evaluate the squad’s strengths and weaknesses before ramping up for a strong finish to the regular season and, hopefully, a deep run in the postseason. “I think we’ll really start to understand what this team looks like once we get to Christmas,” Willett said. “We’re going to set our goals high because you never want to underestimate yourself, but it will take time for this group to establish an identity and show me who they really are.” The Knights’ 2019-20 roster includes Coleton Barulich, Nathan Bicknell, Tyler Brandt, Noah

Carpenter, Jacob Clanahan, Zachary Freedman, Jayden Hitt, Noah Houle, Joshua Jones, Kyle Lathan, Brady Nance, Emile Rodrigue, Cole Schroder, David Smith, Branson Sweaney, Matthew Timchenko, Conner Whitson and Noah Wiley. The Kings league championship last year was particularly sweet for the Knights, who had played in the title game each of the league’s first three seasons and came up short. The fourth time proved to be the charm, however. They went 21-0 against LAKHSHL opponents, including the postseason.

The Kern County Knights celebrate the 2019 LAKHSHL championship on the STAPLES Center ice after a 5-3 win over the Burbank Cougars on March 16. Photo/Tori Pizzuto

That means that as the 2019-20 season begins, there’s no shortage of confidence surrounding the program. Bringing home a championship banner can only help the program grow and attract more players who want to be part of a winning tradition. Willett, though, makes the point that past results are no guarantee of future success, and he’s not going to


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let himself or his players rest on their laurels. “Winning our first championship was great, but we have a challenge ahead of ourselves this season and can’t just expect that we’re going to end up in the title game again,” Willett said. “We’re going to continue to work hard and do all the right things, and hopefully put ourselves in a position where we have a chance to do something great again.” The Knights will have a core group of players that they’ll lean on to lend leadership to the group. Smith returns after winning the league’s Goaltender of the Year award last year and having him between the pipes should keep them in every game. Others that Willett will be leaning on include Rodrigue and Carpenter on the blue line and Nance up front. “Goaltender is the most important position on the ice, in my opinion, and there’s no reason why David can’t be ever better than he was last year,” Willett said. “He’s our strength going forward. We also have the foundation with a few veterans who are fitting in really well with the younger kids.” No matter the makeup of the team, the aim is still to shoot for the stars and for the Knights to find themselves playing in an NHL arena with everything on the line come March. “We’re going to be a young team, but we’re going to refocus and we’re still going to set our goals to make it to the STAPLES Center,” he said. “We’re going to take things day by day and try to get better with each week that passes. That’s our focus right now.”


Taking It To Tahoe Newcomers to Tahoe Prep Academy look to maximize their opportunities during 2019-20 season By Greg Ball


ith each new season, Tahoe Prep welcomes a handful of new players to its campus, and each brings with them plenty of talent and promise. Now in its fourth season, the program is attracting players from all over the country and beyond our borders, but there are still plenty of players from California’s top programs who are making the jump to Tahoe. Here’s a look at a handful of those players who could make big impacts for the program’s prep and varsity squads during the 2019-20 season. Blake Bishop Bishop, 16, is finding life at Tahoe Prep to involve considerably less time in the car than at his previous stop, and that translates to more time on the ice.

Blake Bishop

Aidan Brink

A junior defenseman, last season he traveled a couple times a week from his family’s home in the Pacific Beach community of San Diego to Los Angeles to practice with a Jr. Kings AAA team. That meant that he spent as much as four hours a day on the road and often would get home after 11 p.m. He first visited Tahoe for an L.A. Kings summer training camp, and quickly learned that skating at altitude is different. Beyond the opportunity to train at altitude, Bishop committed to Tahoe Prep after meeting and talking with prep head coach Chris Collins and varsity head coach Leo Fenn. “What made the decision easy for me was the coaching staff and development opportunities,” said Bishop, whose goal is to play juniors or at a Division I college. “I wanted to sail pass other programs.” So far, the Tahoe experience is teaching him more than just hockey. “The people at the high school are pretty amazing and living in the dorms with all the boys is crazy fun, but you also learn to rely on yourself more and make your own decisions, and having chores is a little different,” Bishop said. Of course, the chance to make strides on the ice has been attractive as well. “I’m looking to improve my endurance and explosiveness this season,” Bishop said. “I’ve already seen improvements in my skating, stick handling and shooting.”

Bobby Doukov Academics have always been important to Doukov, and as his hockey career advanced to the AAA level with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, he found that finding the time to pursue both with the passion he wanted to was increasingly difficult. A junior from Burbank, he has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and has aspirations of attending an Ivy League college. His decision to transfer to Tahoe Prep was centered equally on academics and hockey. “I’m happy that at Tahoe Prep I’m on the ice every day while I still have the opportunity to take advanced placement-weighted classes this year to improve my GPA,” Doukov said. An only child, Doukov said living in the dorms has been a positive new experience for him.

Bobby Doukov

Jonathan Gunn A 16-year-old junior, Gunn first caught the hockey bug while watching a matchup between Canada and Russia in the Olympics on TV at his family’s home in Fresno when he was 7. He soon started playing hockey and has been passionate about the sport ever since. Coming to Tahoe has taken that passion up a notch. The defenseman on Tahoe Prep’s varsity team is now working toward his goal of playing NCAA hockey. “I felt that Tahoe Prep would give me a good chance to develop my skills on and off the ice in a good environment,” Gunn said. “It is designed for players to excel at hockey and school, so why not come here?” After just a month on campus, Gunn said he knows he made the right decision.

Jonathan Gunn

“I’m doing well, and living with the boys is really different, but I like it and we all just click really well together,” he said. As for his hockey skills, he has already seen significant improvement. “I’ve learned different shot techniques and zone-entry patterns,” Doukov said. “The coaches care a lot about you and want you to succeed.” Drew Mazza Another transplant from the Jr. Ducks program, Mazza was attracted to Tahoe Prep by the opportunity to get nearly twice as much ice time as he was used to. That’s even more important for him than for other players, as the 16-year-old junior has switched from playing forward to playing defense. Moving to Tahoe was a little easier with several of his former teammates joining the academy. “I toured in June, and I thought the school was breathtaking and the coaches were awesome,” Mazza explained. “The schedule is tough and tiring. I’ve been going to bed early with everything that I have to do, but it’s what I came here for. I have never had such a good time with my coaches.” “I’ve had friends here from the start, so that helped with leaving my family. It was kind of hard seeing them for the last time for a while, but, it’s really fun living in the dorms. It’s a lot better than I imagined.”

Drew Mazza

“The coaches want you to be better,” he said. “They want you to succeed, and they are helping me improve the areas I needed to work on.” Aidan Brink Brink came to Tahoe Prep this season for the combination of great hockey training and strong academics. A 16-year-old junior playing goal on the varsity team, he felt a move to Tahoe was a smart decision for a lot of reasons. “I choose Tahoe Prep because I felt the development would be unreal, and they take academics seriously,” Brink said. “I toured in May, and the high school was insanely nice. It looks like a college campus, and the dorms were amazing. My dream is to play NCAA hockey, and I felt this was my best shot to play.” Brink is in his third season in net after having started his hockey career as a forward. He said his strengths of tracking the puck and keeping a good mental game were already intact but like many athletes, he found that training at altitude meant he needed to step up his cardio game. “It’s getting better now - all of the coaches and trainers have been really helpful,” Brink said. “It’s a busy schedule but I’m starting to get used to it. My goal for this season is to go to the championship with the team and hopefully build relationships and make some lifelong friends.”



Ducks Foundation puts sled, Warrior Hockey on display By Anaheim Ducks Staff


n any given day, the beautiful and sprawling Great Park Ice facility’s four rinks are bustling with hockey players and ice skaters of every skill level. But on Aug. 17, the rink hosted a sport of a different kind - one that most people in Orange County probably don’t know much about yet. The Anaheim Ducks Foundation hosted a sled hockey festival, which consisted of an exhibition tournament featuring adult and youth teams representing several NHL organizations as well as a Try Sled Hockey clinic for close to 100 participants of all ages. Among those teaching new players the basics of the game was Sarah Bettencourt, founder of San Diego Ducks Sled Hockey and a member of the U.S. Women’s Development Sled Hockey Team. Bettencourt suffers from a rare neurological disorder that forced her to retire as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps almost a decade ago. But she first learned about sled hockey in 2014 and quickly fell in love with the sport. “At the time, the Ducks didn’t have a sled hockey team and there was no sled hockey in the San Diego area,” Bettencourt said. “So I founded the San Diego Ducks with the help of the Anaheim Ducks because I saw the potential and I love this sport so much. This sport just makes me smile and happy and brings us all together. I love it, and I wanted to give that energy, that joy, that passion to so many other people.” Her goal through events like the sled hockey festival

is to make other people with disabilities aware of the joys Hockey disabled Warrior rep who himself is a military veteran who’s found solace in the game. of sled hockey. “All over the United States, there are teams popping “Everyone sees that they can play a team adaptive sport where no one looks at you and says, ‘Oh, you’re dis- up for disabled veterans, but in Southern California, with abled. Poor you. Can I help you? What can I do for you?’” so many military bases close by, this is a great opportunishe said. “Instead, I look at you as a hockey player, and ty to build a bridge in the relationship between the military if you’re my opponent and you have the puck, I’m gonna and the civilian population,” said Vaccaro. Vaccaro said that every Warrior team has at least check you. If you’re my teammate, I’m gonna get open and you’re gonna pass it and I’m gonna score. That’s a few players who “really stick out with a story of how what it’s about. It’s a great equalizhockey has changed them to the better.” er and we love that so much. Now His own story starts when he with this amazing free Try Sled came home from a tour in Iraq and Hockey clinic, we have so many ultimately elected to enter into people telling me, ‘They’re asking therapy through the VA. detailed questions about getting a “That wasn’t working, but I sled, getting sticks.’ It’s amazing. found this hockey program in They felt the energy and the pasWashington D.C., started playing sion and the love of this sport, and hockey with them, started helpyou can see it on their faces.” ing out with sled hockey, and it While sled hockey was going on one rink, Great Park Ice also Sled hockey participation is on the rise in Southern helped me,” Vaccaro said. “My hosted a Try Warrior Hockey clin- California. Photo/Anaheim Ducks medication went down, my family ic. USA Hockey’s Warrior Hockey discipline is dedicated life improved, everything just came together. Now every to injured and disabled U.S. Military veterans discharged time I’m on the ice, it’s like there’s nothing else out there. under honorable or general conditions. As one of the Dis- When I’m on the ice, nothing bothers me, nothing can go abled Hockey Section’s newest disciplines, the Warrior wrong. I’m in my comfort zone. “All our veterans feel that solidarity is just another Hockey discipline is growing across the country. While some of the participants played hockey prior to being in- example of how programs like Warrior Hockey and sled jured, many try it for the first time for therapeutic reasons. hockey expand well beyond the confinements of the ice Heading up that clinic was Michael Vaccaro, a USA rink.”


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ANAHEIM JR. DUCKS ADHSHL enters ninth season in ’19-20 with talent, confidence By Chris Bayee


he Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) heads into its ninth season bigger and stronger than ever. What started with just a few teams in 2011 has grown to a 51-team varsity and junior varsity colossus. And with Santa Margarita having won three of the past five USA Hockey National Championships in the high school pure division, and other programs such as JSerra having won multiple CAHA titles, its strength isn’t in question. Those are the most visible pieces of evidence of the league’s rising level of play. “Not only is the high school hockey environment growing, but our level of play is growing,” ADHSHL commissioner Matthew Blanchart said. “Our teams that go to tournaments around the country all do very well. Teams no longer take us lightly.” The ADHSHL surpassed the half-century mark for teams for one big reason – the opening of THE RINKS’ Great Park ICE facility in Irvine. “We wouldn’t have the luxury of growth without the new facility,” Blanchart said. “We didn’t add any teams last year because we would have been short on ice. With four new sheets of ice, that helps us grow, gets us back on the path we wanted. It’s where everyone wants to play. “The model for our high school league is for most games to be played at one facility. That used to be Anaheim ICE, now it’s the Great Park. It’s great for scheduling. People know where the games will be and can plan for it.” Another priority is creating more opportunities for ADHSHL players to be seen, Blanchart said. To that end, the league also will hold a showcase in Las Vegas for the third season in a row, from Dec. 13-15, and it’s introducing a second showcase in Irvine in late January. “The first one gives the Las Vegas teams in our league a chance to have a few home games, and it fills up as soon as we announce it,” Blanchart said. “It’s well scouted.” The league also has hired Saddleback coach Mike Perkins to serve as its director of player advancement.



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


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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.


WSHL’s Thunderbirds bringing local talent to Vegas for ’19-20 By Matt Mackinder


hen the Las Vegas Thunderbirds take the ice this fall for their inaugural season in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL), the team will do so with a number of local players on the roster. Entering September, the Thunderbirds had signed forwards Darion Conaway, Caleb Day and Joe Terrana and J.J. Williamson, defensemen Sean Kedra, Caesar “Sammy” Redoble and Gabe Testa and goaltenders Rhett Bruckner and Blade Taylor. Kedra played youth hockey for the Nevada Storm and last season, was a member of the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights 16U team that captured the USA Hockey Tier II national championship in April. “Sean brings more depth to our defense,” Thunderbirds head coach Dave Hyrsky said. “Sean plays with a lot of heart and character and enjoys the physical part of the game. His skating is a great asset. We look forward to helping Sean round out his game and continue to develop as a player.” Williamson was a teammate of Kedra’s last season. “J.J.’s speed, tenacity and work ethic are what caught my eye,” said Hyrsky. “He’s a character kid that has quite an upside. We look forward to helping J.J. develop into a solid, two-way player, as well as preparing him for the college level.” A two-year junior hockey veteran, Testa also played youth hockey for the Storm. Testa began his junior career in 2017-18 as a member of the WSHL’s Fresno Monsters.

“Gabe is another experienced player who has good first pass and seems to know his way in the ‘D’ grown to become a very useful asset to the Thunder- zone,” said Hyrsky. “He played a responsible game and birds,” said Hyrsky. “We look forward to him playing on will definitely be an asset to our team.” both sides of puck. He showed me good instincts on Conaway was at that same Tri-City camp. “Darion has explosive speed and moves the puck the offensive side and is responsible defensively. With well,” said Hyrsky. “He is one of some work, I feel he can be a leadthose players that can play deer for us. fense on the power play and play “We will pay close attention to a good two-way game up front.” Gabe as we feel his skill can get Terrana skated for the Jr. Goldhim to the next level. With some en Knights last season and Hyrsky guidance on when and where to is excited to have him in the fold. take chances, he could be a real good junior and university player.” “I believe Joe’s best hockey is Day played last season with the in front of him,” Hyrsky said. “Playing junior will bring out the best in NA3HL’s Gillette Wild and is comhim. With his skating ability and ing home this season. the fact he plays with an edge, he “Having a year of junior unwill bring another asset to our lineder his belt always helps,” Hrysup.” ky said. “After watching Caleb in The two goalies will push each two showcases in Vegas, he has other for playing time. grown on me. He does the small “Blade is another young talent things well, getting the puck in and with good upside,” Hyrsky said. out at the right spots, understands “Our eastern scout had a chance what the high forwards job is, cycles the puck well and knows who Caesar “Sammy” Redoble is a Vegas Jr. Gold- to see Blade play on a number of to pick up coming back into the ‘D’ en Knights graduate who will make the jump to occasions and really liked his foot junior hockey this season with the WSHL’s Las zone.” work, quick glove and his second Vegas Thunderbirds. Redoble is a 2019 Desert Oaeffort. sis High School graduate and Jr. Golden Knights alum “Rhett brings us experience in goal. He’s someone who was at a recent Tri-City Storm (USHL) camp. who has played at the junior level in our league (Las “He made good decisions with the puck, made a Vegas Storm) and has had some success.”

Corona Bulldogs honor Kuno for stellar inline career By Phillip Brents


the Woodbridge Warriors during the Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic Hockey League spring season. He scored a goal in Woodbridge’s 5-4 loss to Damien B in the Division 3.1 championship game. Barrett said Kuno, who plans to study accounting in college, was one of his favorite players to coach. “He always gave you 100 percent on the floor, was

anything,” Kane assessed. “He is the ultimate team-first player. What has been best for the team is what he has always been willing to do. He should be proud of everything that he has accomplished in his playing career with the Bulldogs. This young man is pure heart and I love that about him.” “This September will be very weird without Takeo coming in for tryouts,” Barrett duly noted.

akeo Kuno concluded his lengthy career with the Corona Bulldogs at July’s NARCh West Coast Finals in Irvine as the Bulldogs won the Midget Silver Division championship. For more than a decade, he was the face of the Bulldogs program, starting at the 6U level through his second year of 18U play this summer. To mark the end of one of the greatest caBark and bite reers by a Bulldogs player, the organization has, Overall, the Bulldogs turned in a very successperhaps fittingly, chosen to retire Kuno’s No. 24 ful 2018-19 season, capping it with a number of jersey. A banner bearing his number will be disage-group championships at the Amateur Athletplayed at The Rinks-Corona Inline, the Bulldogs’ ic Union (AAU) West Coast Nationals, Western practice rink. Inline Hockey League (WIHL) Finals, AAU Junior “Starting out with us in Anaheim in 2007 and Olympics and NARCh West Coast Finals. making the move with us to Corona, he has played Spread over the last two weekends in June every year since,” Bulldogs president Ben Barat the Corona Inline and Huntington Beach Inline rett explained. “The commitment and loyalty that rinks, the WIHL finals proved especially rewardhe and his entire family has shown to us is someing for the Bulldogs’ 6U and 8U Blue teams as thing very special to us and means more than I they captured gold medals while the Bulldogs’ think they will ever know. The pure thought of one 10U Blue, 12U Blue, 14U Blue and 16U White player ever playing their entire career with one Takeo Kuno finished his entire youth inline hockey playing career with the Corona Bull- teams each took home silver medals. team or organization is unimaginable nowadays.” dogs, and a banner bearing his iconic No. 14 will be displayed at The Rinks-Corona Barrett called it “a great performance by the Inline to denote his years of service while representing the Bulldogs program. The honoree was obviously honored by the entire program.” gesture. the hardest worker on the group and led with his acThe Bulldogs further excelled at the Junior Olympics “It’s such an honor and an unexpected surprise,” tions,” Barrett noted. “He’s a very quiet player but he July 5-14 in Kapolei, Hawaii, by winning gold medals in Kuno said. “It’s pretty cool being the first Bulldog to have never needed to say anything – he just went out and did the 8U division and the 10U Tier 2 bracket. their number retired.” it. Takeo was always the player you started your teams “It was so much fun to get to play teams from HaStrictly a roller hockey player, Kuno participated in around, the cornerstone of a great group of kids. When waii, New Zealand, South Korea and Maui,” Barrett said. house leagues, travel teams and skated for his high your leaders are your hardest workers everyone else falls “This year’s event was truly an international event. Along school. in line.” with the Club division, a number of our Bulldog players He finished his senior year with 19 goals and 23 Bulldogs coach Taylor Kane echoed those words. played for Team USA during the international portion of points in 11 games to rank second in team scoring for “I have never heard him talk back or complain about the event.”



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F E AT U R I N G . . . • • • • • • • • • • •

Skating Treadmill Training Shooting & Stick Handling Lessons Goalie Training Team Training Stick Demo Program Drop-In Shooting Lane Rentals Biomechanics Analysis Strength & Conditioning Training Girls – High School Hockey – Adult Programs Skills Series- Skating Treadmill, Shooting/Stick Handling, Speed/Strength Stride & Speed Series- Skating Treadmill, Speed/Strength




Entering Year 2, St. Mary’s brimming with confidence plan on mentoring new players on how to handle the rigorous schedule and schoolwork load. Last year, we spent fter getting off the ground in 2018-19, the St. Mary’s many hours in vans, hotel rooms and at the rink. We used High School hockey program is looking to take the this time to become a family away from our own. Off the jump to the next level in 2019-20 as a second-year team. ice, this helped us to build a synergy that moved to the Playing games this season in the NAHL Prep League ice. “A successful season would be one that brings in and Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL), the Rams have their eyes on improved results new faces and creates exposure for current players.” Anthony Alvarado is anon the ice while developing on other returning sophomore forand off the ice. ward, and the Stockton native is “Playing high-level hockey in amped to get the Anaheim and in the NAPHL last new season year helped us to improve our underway. hockey ability and IQ,” said St. “We finMary’s sophomore forward and ished last captain Luca Petroni, an Oakyear with dale native. “This year, we are a lot of inhoping to use this to be more competitive from the beginning. tensity and Our goals are to make states, it carried over into this year,” add more wins, and continue Alvarado said. “Practices are to open future opportunities in really intense, and we are getSt. Mary’s High School sophomore captain Luca Petroni junior hockey.” will have a bigger role with the Rams this season as the ting ready for the games. We Wearing the ‘C’ will not team enters its second season of existence. definitely want to finish higher in change Petroni’s game, but it’s both leagues and make a playa role he does not take lightly. He served as a co-captain off run in the ADHSHL. We also want to showcase how good we can play on the ice and being great individuals last season. “Last year was our learning year,” he said. “This year, I off the ice.

By Matt Mackinder


“We were brothers last year and we are starting to get really close already this year. It’s really important to have chemistry on and off the ice because we play better as a group and we have a great time during the year.” The Rams defense will be led by returning senior Ethan Saldanha, a native of Tualatin, Oregon. “We had a strong year of development, and for us guys that were here for our first year, I feel like we’ve developed a strong leadership core for the incoming freshmen and sophomores this year,” said Saldanha. “We hope to do way better this year than last year, especially now that we have a larger team. I know I definitely want to get past the first game of playoffs in the ADHSHL and make it to playoffs for NAHL Prep. “Even though I’m not returning as captain this year, I am still going to try and fill a leadership role this year as a senior. This year, we are all really gelling with each other and I hope the road trips will be as fun as they were last year, if not more. On the ice, our chemistry is good – we’re getting used to each other. One thing I really liked about past year was that any problems off ice did not translate to on ice. I hope we can carry that trend on this year. Saldanha is optimistic about the season ahead as well. “I think what will make this year successful is if we listen and follow our leadership and coaches,” said Saldanha. “Last year, I struggled with corralling the team and leading them to victories, but I know that our new captain, Luca, won’t have a problem with that.”

Give Blood Play Hockey event going strong in 13th year However, he eventually lost his battle at age 16. His impact through the GBPH tournament was major. More than 1,000 members of the Southern California hockey community attended his celebration of life service in July 2013 at the Irvine Inline facility. The importance of the connection is not lost on the Strale family, in particular.

expressed similar sentiments. “Chris and I have been extremely blessed and hont’s business as usual for the 13th annual Give Blood ored to be a part of Give Blood Play Hockey since the Play Hockey charity inline hockey tournament, which Quayles first approached us in 2009,” Traci Strale said. means the focus is raising money for research to eradi“Casey was able to attend and play at the event from cate pediatric cancer. 2010 to 2012 and he always had a massive smile on “Our goal is to raise $165,000-plus this year,” tourhis face. He loved playing hockey, always representing nament co-founder Mary Quayle Korus said. No. 13. “We are currently accepting sponsorships for this “We are excited that year No. 13 will be year’s event and are calling for in-kind donations played in Casey’s memory. We honor Casey evto fuel our silent auctions and are always in need eryday, but when we are at The Rinks-Irvine Inline, of volunteers.” we are a little closer to him because Give Blood The annual event remains one of the largest Play Hockey was his first love and we know he is hockey tournaments of the year in Southern Calithere.” fornia. This year’s dates are Oct. 25-27 at The Blood donations remain a driving force behind Rinks-Irvine Inline. the GBPH event. According to Korus, this year’s Registration is currently open. All fees must be tournament holds special importance. paid in full by Oct. 7. “We are we striving to exceed 500 pints,” she To date, the event has raised $1,077,441 in said. “It is a huge goal and we need everyone to monetary donations to Children’s Hospital of Orgive to help us get there. Five hundred pints of ange County, its primary beneficiary, and collectblood has the potential to save or impact 1,500 ed 3,565 pints of blood. people. We are encouraging all donors to bring a While last year’s event reached a milestone friend and to spread the word.” by passing the $1 million figure in donations, this Last year’s event collected 497 pints. year’s 13th annual event will be significant in its The 2019 Give Blood Play Hockey inline hockey charity tournament will honor Korus said this year’s tournament slogan is longtime ambassador Casey Strale in celebration of its 13th year. Photo/GBPH “Save the Humans.” own right. Thirteen is the jersey number of Casey Strale, an “At year No. 13 of Give Blood Play Hockey, I am Teams will vie for the annual Blood Cup on the rink. avid youth roller and ice player who brought awareness excited to be there honoring my brother – it was his Divisions range from 8U through adult, including a pro to the event’s cause through his own battle with cancer. favorite event and this is a special year since 13 was division. “We are calling this our Casey Year,” Korus said. his number,” Kyle Strale said. “In memory of Casey, Food vendors and live entertainment will round out Casey squarely helped place the tournament’s fo- CS13 Supply will be showcasing our great hockey de- the event’s festive carnival-like atmosphere. cus on pediatric cancer while battling a rare form of signs (on apparel items). Our goal with our brand is to The Rinks-Irvine is located at 3150 Barranca Parkcancer called adrenal cortical carcinoma. He served as carry on Casey’s legacy and to give back. We are com- way in Irvine. the event’s ambassador while courageously fighting the mitted to helping find a cure for ACC.” For more information, visit terrible disease. Casey and Kyle’s parents, Traci and Chris Strale, or the organization’s Facebook page.

By Phillip Brents



California Rubber Hockey Magazine


November 29 - December 1, 2019 Clearwater Beach, FL U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 A, AA, B


January 17 - 20, 2020 Clearwater Beach, FL U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 A, AA, B | 877-702-5701 |

FROM THE TRAINER’S ROOM Looking at different ways to vary your in-season hockey training F

or most, the hockey season has begun. This means intense practices, private lessons and games. Now you have to mix in off-ice or dryland training into the equation, but how do you do that? A comprehensive in-season training program must include modifications throughout the season in order to maximize performance while reducing injuries. Different portions of the season may require different types of training. These sessions must to have a purpose and not just a workout that makes Chris Phillips the player want to puke or be so sore they can’t walk the next day. Each team or athlete may have different needs that have to be addressed, but typically our programs will begin with movement-based exercises and conditioning. The movement exercises are implemented so that the athlete moves properly and can get into the positions they will find themselves in during competition. Early in the season, the conditioning is important so the athlete is prepared for the rigors of the upcoming season as fatigue will lead to poor performance and an increase in injuries. As the season evolves, the focus will change more to a strength, power and injury prevention phase in order to continue to stay strong and healthy. Mechanics are still a key during this phase and movement-based exercises are still included, especially if they are not mastered yet. The season is full of ups and downs, harder times and easier times, and your off-ice training must adjust for the rigors of the season. As a strength coach, it is imperative that there is contact with the coach to see where the team is physically and schedule wise, so they can make the necessary modifications. A well-rounded program will produce a player who performs well, feels good and resists injury.

Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with over 20 years’ experience in professional hockey, football and soccer. He is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County.



Optimism abounds as Tahoe Prep opens 2019-20 season By Greg Ball


all is always the best time of year for the student-athletes, coaches and administrators at Tahoe Prep Academy, and it’s not just because a chill in the air has returned to most mornings and evenings and snow will soon be falling on an almost daily basis. Autumn signals the beginning of hockey season, and after all, the sport is a passion for everyone involved with the program and the main focus of their everyday existence. With the 2019-20 academic year and hockey season off and running, Tahoe Prep’s student-athletes are as busy as ever, dedicating most of their time to their education and development as hockey players. Year 4 of the growing program’s existence is on tap, and the forward momentum gained in those first three years has been nothing short of remarkable. Needless to say, expectations are higher than ever before. Players from both the prep and varsity teams are now spending at least five days a week on the ice, and when they don’t have skates on their feet, they’re taking other steps to advance their careers – like working out in spin classes led by coach Mike Lewis and working with former Division I college athletic trainers at the Barton Center for Excellence. “I think during the first couple of weeks of the hockey season, we’re able to open the boys’ eyes to the realization that to get good at something, it takes a lot of

work and dedication,” said prep team head coach Chris Collins. “The reward for the players and for us as coaches is when we see all that hard work pay off in terms of their improvement. We’re already starting to see that, and we know we’ll witness even more of that in the coming weeks and months. “We have a lot of new players this year, and as a way of getting them all on the same page as far as our goals and how we approach teaching them the game, we implemented a lot of team-building activities. I think those things that we have done have really pulled them together, and it definitely showed in their first scrimmage games. The chemistry was there.” Tahoe’s prep team has a busy schedule of games on their slate in both the North American Prospects Hockey League and the East Coast Elite League. Facing the type of top-notch competition they will see in those two leagues can only help Tahoe’s players get better and do so rapidly. “Our first NAPHL tournament is this month, and I think the way our kids play as individuals and as a team


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

will give us a good feel as coaches how well this group is comprehending what we are teaching them,” Collins said. Meanwhile, Tahoe’s varsity squad, coached by Leo Fenn, is preparing for a full schedule playing in both the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League and the San Jose Sharks High School Hockey League. The schedule is definitely a grind, but all the players knew what they were signing up for, and they’re eager to be on the ice as much as possible – in practices and games. Collins said this year’s prep schedule puts that squad up against consistently high-performing opponents like Boston Advantage, a program that has a strong record of placing players with Division I college teams. “All of our players are responding to what we’re teaching them, and they’re working really hard,” Collins said, adding that taking on the new role of the team’s head coach this season carries responsibilities and duties that extend far beyond the ice. “It’s fun. It has been really rewarding, but it’s more about the mentorship and life lessons they are learning than the X’s and O’s of how the game is played.” Photos/Ed Fritz

Exceeding Expectations Grizzlies’ BCHL California camp proves to be a success; Jr. Ducks benefit from exposure By Jake Arcangeli


his past summer, the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies held a prospect camp south of the border for the first time. Elite prospects from all over North America took to the ice at Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena in Irvine to impress junior teams in attendance. Along with the Grizzlies, 10 other junior hockey teams across the United States and Canada sent scouts, coaches and GMs. The camp was well attended with teams from the BCHL, NAHL, AJHL, SJHL, WSHL and VIJHL. In total, 136 prospects laced up their skates for the Grizzlies’ inaugural California prospects camp. Throughout the weekend, prospects participated in an educational meeting, fitness sessions, as well as on ice practices run by the Grizzlies coaching staff. Head coach Craig Didmon ran drills accompanied by Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) head coach Jon Vaillancourt, Grizzlies assistant/goalie coach Jason Reimer, and current Grizzlies forward and California local Henri Schreifels. The goal of this camp is to establish a pipeline of prospects throughout the West Coast, expanding the pool of talent, while providing an opportunity for prospects to make the team right out of camp. Grizzlies president Lance Black spoke further on the opportunity he wants to provide with this camp. “We had a camp game plan to have eight teams comprised of elite talent from the West Coast and throughout North America attend the Grizzlies California camp,” Black said. “We wanted every player attending the camp to compete for a spot on our team.” The camp had a successful first installment with the Grizzlies announcing the signing of Anaheim Jr. Ducks forward Benjamin Biester. Didmon touched on how the Biester was able to stand out from the crowd. “Biester was very consistent with his play,” said Didmon. “He showed a lot of offensive awareness and good hockey IQ. His speed and shot were tops among forwards at the camp. During the all-star game, Biester really stood out and showed us that he was ready for the BCHL now.” The newest Grizzlies player spoke about his experience at camp and the excitement of joining the team. ”I enjoyed my time at the camp,” Biester said. “It was fun to see kids I’d played with and against last season. I wanted an opportunity to be seen by Junior A teams. I had multiple offers coming out of the Grizzlies camp and it was a hard decision for me. This camp was an excellent opportunity to work on my offensive game, helping me translate my play into next year’s regular season. I am very

excited to be a member of the Victoria Grizzlies.” The Grizzlies were not the only team taking home new acquisitions. Westshore Wolves GM Clay Carson had a great camp, walking away with three new players for his VIJHL club. He spoke about the opportunity the camp provided his team. ”I was very fortunate to be included in the Grizzlies trip to Irvine for the summer ID camp,” Carson said. “It was a great experience for me to be able to learn from a top-notch BCHL organization on how

to make things as professional as possible. I was very impressed with the quality of players at the camp. The players we picked up in Alex Villa, Cory Mater and Isaac Schuster all come from a high-end program, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, and will come in as impact players to our team next season.” Villa expressed his excitement to be joining the Wolves. He spoke about his experience at camp, and how he capitalized on the opportunity. “The experience this camp provided me was amazing,” said Villa. “This camp provided myself and others to be looked at by not just one team from one league, but many teams in different leagues throughout the U.S. and Canada and gave myself a chance at being seen, which

is hard coming from California. I am extremely excited that I will be able to play with the Westshore Wolves next season and have a chance to move on and pursue my dreams and goals in hockey. I cannot wait to get started next season.” Villa’s parents, Angela and Mark commented on what it means for their son to be taking the next step in his hockey journey. “Alex’s goal in hockey is to play and compete at the highest level possible, whether it’s Junior A or NCAA Division I or Division III college,” they said. “After Alex spoke to Clay, he knew he was excited for this opportunity to develop as an individual and as a team player.” Vaillancourt was at ice level and was able to get a first-hand view of the skill in Irvine. “The talent level of the players was outstanding,” said Valliancourt. “California youth and AAA programs are developing extraordinary skilled players, and this showcase provided our organization an opportunity to scout and recruit those young athletes that we would have otherwise not have been exposed to.” Overall, the talent displayed on the ice impressed many in attendance. Ron Walchuk, owner of the Grizzlies, was very pleased with the outcome of the camp. “The overall talent exceeded our expectations, so much so that we committed to a few players overall for the next couple of years,” Walchuk said. “The 14U, 16U and 18U organizations in that area run some very good programs. We received a ton of very good feedback from players and their families saying it was one of the best-run camps that they have ever attended.” The Jr. Ducks had a great camp with four of their own players moving on to play in Victoria. The director of player development for the Jr. Ducks, Alex Kim, commented on the impression the camp had on his players. “The players thought the camp was great and it was professionally run,” Kim said. “The talent level was solid and there were quite a number of younger prospects that have a lot of potential. I am very happy to hear Ben Biester signed out of the camp as he is well deserving of this. He is a great young man and has a great work ethic. We wish him the best of luck in his new venture with the Victoria Grizzlies this upcoming season.” Biester’s former coach, August Aiken, shared his thoughts on the camp and the Grizzlies’ new pickup. “It was a great camp and it was good for the Grizzlies staff to see our young players in person,” said Aiken. “The talent was great – players displayed the speed and skill of California hockey. I feel there will be players that will have the opportunity to play for Victoria and other teams in the league. It’s a great opportunity for Ben Biester as he is a great player and kid.” With the success of the inaugural Grizzlies camp, it is clear that this will be an ongoing program for years to come. This season’s camp produced 4-6 players that have been signed by various junior teams. The Grizzlies also identified a very strong 2003 and 2004 birth year group and will be looking to sign future Grizzlies based off established relationships with these players and their families that were formulated at this camp. The team plans on making the trip to Southern California for years to come. Photos/Joe Naber



Position: Forward, San Antonio Rampage (AHL) Hometown: Alameda Last Amateur Team: St. Cloud State University (NCHC, NCAA Division I) Youth Teams: Oakland Bears, Berkeley Bulldogs, Santa Clara Blackhawks, LA Selects, LA Jr. Kings California Rubber: You made your pro debut with San Antonio in the spring and this summer attended your fourth NHL prospect camp (in St. Louis, two in San Jose and one in Montreal previously). How did that go? Robby Jackson: It went really well. There was a lot of buzz in St. Louis, obviously. You could feel the energy that whole city has for the Blues. I’m glad I got to see that. There was a big group of college guys there, specifically from the NCHC, so we tried to play together on the ice and hang out off the ice. My first couple years in San Jose, I didn’t really know anyone else. In Montreal, there were a few of my St. Cloud teammates. This year, a couple of my San Antonio teammates were there and guys I knew. It takes the pressure off. You have more confidence to make plays and shoot the puck. CR: And you ran into a familiar face from Northern California there. RJ: Yeah, (longtime San Jose Jr. Shark and NCHC rival) Tyson McLellan. It’s funny. You never really know how development camps are going to go. You battle against these guys for your school, then you have to go be friends with them for a week. I had to feel things out. Were we going to be friends this week or was I going to be off in the corner by myself? Tyson and I reminisced about playing as kids in NorCal, so we had that bond. CR: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up? RJ: My first year of Bantams (2011) with Santa Clara, we won state and took home silver at the national championships in Buffalo. That was pretty special. We didn’t even know if we were going to be a AA team at the beginning of the year. We upset the California Wave for the CAHA title. I scored my first goal at Oakland. Playing in Berkeley before that rink closed. We won state my first year of Pee Wee with Santa Clara. Winning state championships. There are a lot of special memories. CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice? RJ: My parents (Bob and Chris) are at the top of the list. My dad coached me a lot. I can’t thank them enough to get me where I am now, whether it was car rides to practice or the financial help. There are so many coaches. Ray Kellam coached me a couple of years in Santa Clara. Rick Kelly, Louis Pacella and Bill Comrie down in L.A. I’ve been everywhere. I went to four different high schools. So there are a lot of names I could list. You have to be a sponge when you’re bouncing around. CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? RJ: I played baseball growing up until my sophomore year in high school. We got to take batting practice at Busch Stadium during development camp, so I was reliving the glory days. I love basketball. I’ll play that a little bit at the gym. I’ll toss the football around. I like to watch all sports and play all sports. I love to golf, too. CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant? RJ: In-N-Out is pretty much a staple. Everyone on the West Coast prides themselves on that. There is a little brewery and kitchen place called Monkey King in Alameda. They specialize in chicken wings and garlic noodles, and they are so good. CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up? RJ: Mike Ricci. I have his bobblehead in my room in California. It’s crazy – the first year I went to San Jose’s development camp, he was one of the main coaches. I was starstruck for the whole week. I wanted to play like him. Photo/Texas Stars


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Chris Bayee

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