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Only in its infancy, the LA Lions program is already making significant strides growing and improving girls hockey in Southern California

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International Hockey Events


5th Annual Orange County, CA Thanksgiving Hockey Festival November 24 - 27, 2016 (no games after 2 PM on Thanksgiving Day) U10 A through U18 - A & AA, High School Varsity & JV divisions

Condorstown Winterfest Outdoor Tournament Series at Bakersfield Memorial Stadium December 21, 2016 - January 7, 2017

Best of West Invitational, Orange County, CA January 13 - 16, 2017

Compete against the top U12 AA, U14 AA & U16 AA competition from the Pacific and Mountain Districts

2017 Orange County, CA Presidents’ Day Hockey Classic February 17 - 20, 2017 U10 thru U18 - AA, A, BB , B, High School Varsity & JV divisions

U8 thru U18- Track 1 & 2, AA, A, BB & B, High School Varsity & JV, Adult divisions

For more information and to register, visit


FROM THE EDITOR You know, the start of hockey season is just like December 25th


very year about this time, I have to admit, I still feel like a small boy on Christmas morning. And while the holiday season is still a little while from kicking into full swing (some retail stores will have you believe otherwise), the start of hockey season - youth, high school, junior, college and pro - is enough to make this 38-years-young editor giddy with anticipation. Why not? In a state where hockey continues to grow, gain more and more exposure and see so many success stories come from it, California is on its way to becoming a hockey hotbed, if not already there. We’ve got unbelievable youth programs at all levels and youth programs continue to see regisMatt Mackinder tration numbers rise, three NHL teams and a statewide smattering of AHL squads that can all draw fans and excitement on weekends. Folks, hockey in California is here to stay. And that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you what else is a good thing – having California kids listed on NHL Central Scouting’s “players to watch” list for the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago next June. Four players with Los Angeles Jr. Kings ties - forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Jake McGrew, defenseman Jack St. Ivany and goaltender Evan Sarthou - were recognized, along with former San Jose Jr. Sharks forward Joey Cassetti and goalie Jacob Acton, in addition to California natives Ivan Lodnia, Brannon McManus, Sasha Chmelevski and Patrick Khodorenko – all forwards. California was well represented Sept. 22 at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia. Chmelevski, Lodnia and McManus (with two assists) all out up points for Team (John) LeClair, which took a 6-4 win over Team (Mark) Howe. Yamamoto had two assists for Team Howe. Khodorenko suited up for Team Howe, but did not figure in the scoring. The Los Angeles Kings are turning 50 this season and are celebrating all season long. The regular-season home opener on Oct. 14 will be a reunion of the original 1967-68 Kings. The evening will also feature a number of surprise special guests and the Kings will wear their original vintage gold uniforms for the only time this season. The Legends Night Series will return and the players to be honored this year are Ziggy Palffy (Dec. 31), Tomas Sandstrom (Jan. 7) and Jari Kurri (Jan. 14). In addition to the Legends Night Series, throughout the season the Kings will host five additional 50th Anniversary Heritage Nights recognizing several former All-Stars over five Saturday home games – Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, Nov. 26 and Dec. 10. The Kings will also soon announce major community-based initiatives in six Los Angeles-area locations: Long Beach, Woodland Hills, San Pedro, Redondo Beach, Valencia and downtown Los Angeles. The celebration will conclude with the 2017 NHL All-Star Game at the Staples Center on Jan. 29. Congrats to Laguna Hills native and Lady Ducks alum Annie Pankowski on being named to the U.S. Women’s National Team that will compete in the 2016 Four Nations Cup from Nov. 1-5 in Vierumaki, Finland. As part of the ongoing development process, Corona native Cayla Barnes and two other players will participate in the pre-tournament camp only. Barnes recently competed for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Under-18 Select Team at the Under-18 Series against Canada and helped the 2016 U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team earn a gold medal in January at the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship. The camp will be held at the Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, N.Y., from Oct. 24-28 before the team departs for Finland. Pankowski is currently in her junior year at the University of Wisconsin (WCHA), which started the season ranked No. 1 in the national polls.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

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Back on Sept. 24, the Santa Barbara Royals unveiled their 2015-16 Los Angeles Kings High School Hockey League championship banner at Ice in Paradise in Goleta before shutting out the Kern County Knights by a 5-0 count. More on the LAKHSHL on Page 11. Photo/Sam Goldman

ON THE COVER Members of the LA Lions girls program, from left, Kiana Sievers (12U team), Tara Milhorn (8U) and Soleil Jamani (10U). Photo/Tori Pizzuto

Lady Ducks alum Johnson leaves mark on NCAA, NWHL By Matt Mackinder


uch is made, and rightfully so, of high-end players coming out of California and moving on to the NHL and NCAA ranks. Anaheim Lady Ducks graduate Kaliya Johnson is certainly doing her part as a talented women’s player. In the spring, she graduated from Boston College and recently signed to play in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) as she inked with the Connecticut Whale. “I am not really sure what to expect this year,” said Johnson, a native of Chandler, Ariz. “I just want to enjoy the experience and have fun playing professional hockey.” As a youth player that showed above-average talent, Johnson played with the Lady Ducks and then once in high school, played at the North American Hockey Academy (NAHA) in Stowe, Vt. “The Lady Ducks was the first girls program I ever played for,” remembered Johnson. “I started playing for them when I was seven years old. Being able to travel and play for that program really helped my development at a young age.” Once she made the move to NAHA, it was opportuniAfter four years at NCAA Division ties galore. I Boston College, Chandler native and DYHA alum Kaliya Johnson “NAHA helped me get a lot of exposure to college is off to play pro hockey in the coaches that typically wouldn’t have seen me play on the NWHL. Photo/John Quackenbos West Coast,” Johnson said. “My now-roommate and former Lady Duck teammate, Jessica Hon, went to NAHA the year before me. Annie Pankowski, who I played with on the Lady Ducks and now plays at Wisconsin, attended NAHA the year after I started.” And to think that Johnson started playing hockey because of the “Mighty Ducks” movie franchise. “I first saw the movie when I was two and I loved the idea of Julie being the only girl on the team,” Johnson said. “I have been skating ever since. If you’re always having fun and enjoying what you’re doing, I think that should be enough motivation to continue playing every day.”


Concussion education continues as top priority for CAHA By John B. Spigott


oncussions continue to be one of the most important issues facing the California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). While concussion protocol has been in place within CAHA since 2012, the organization continues to grow and refine its strategy on dealing with concussions in the hopes of mitigating the effects of head injuries among minor hockey players. CAHA board member Chris Hathaway said it’s important to constantly monitor concussion awareness in the whole of CAHA by training and educating players, parents, and coaches so that all parties are on the same page. “Our training within CAHA is a lot more stringent than what USA Hockey mandates,” said Hathaway. “We frequently lead the country in education and awareness, but when it comes to concussions, coaches aren’t doctors. We take all the measures we can to ensure kids are assessed properly, but it’s still up to all of us – coaches and parents – to make sure kids are monitored for symptoms both at the rink and away from it as well.” Part of what makes concussions so difficult to diagnose is that symptoms vary from person to person. While some may exhibit symptoms immediately, for others it can take up to 48 hours for players or parents to realize that something might be wrong. “I’ve seen it happen so many times where a kid is fine eight or nine hours after the game, and then I find out

24 or 48 hours later that they started vomiting and were completely out of it,” said Hathaway. “That’s the scariest part for me, the fact it can take until that long after the incident for symptoms to show up. I think that part of it gets overlooked a lot. “Ultimately, nobody knows these kids better than their parents. Because concussion symptoms don’t always show right away, it’s important that parents are paying attention to how their kids are responding away from the rink.” With such an increased focus on awareness, preven-

tion, and treatment of concussions, there are indications that both coaches and players are becoming more adept at recognizing the signs and symptoms of head injuries. CAHA president Tom Hancock referenced a recent story involving a team that a CAHA board member’s son plays on that illustrates the way players view concussions is evolving. “This kid had gotten his bell rung and they took a look at him on the bench and he was responding appropriate-

ly and wasn’t showing any signs of a concussion,” said Hancock. “But the coaching staff sat him out just to be safe. The player was mad, but what makes it a neat story is that his teammates went to him and told him that he could really risk further injury if he went back on the ice. “That just goes to show that the message is starting to trickle down and some of these kids are understanding the implications of concussions and how they can be dangerous even when you aren’t sure if it’s a concussion or not.” Meanwhile, CAHA continues to refine a system of baseline testing for players over 12 years of age so that in the event of a head injury, there is at least some data that can serve as a barometer for how bad the injury is, or how quickly the player is recovering. This is a novel concept for parents and coaches who grew up in an era of going back onto the ice after ‘getting your bell rung,’ but Hathaway is adamant that this kind of testing will play a pivotal role in CAHA’s concussion strategy going forward. “I’ve played hockey and rugby my whole life, long before there was any sort of concussion awareness or protocols at all,” said Hathaway. “Can you imagine how many concussions I’ve had? There wasn’t anything like baseline testing back then. It has really caught on here to get all kids over 12 baseline tested at the beginning of the season. If something happens during the season and they suffer any sort of head trauma, they won’t be cleared to return until they return to the levels they were at prior to the injury. “This testing has saved – and will continue to save – a lot of kids from re-injuring themselves, or worse.”


Lion Kings

Slowly but surely, the second-year LA Lions are solidifying their footing in the local girls hockey scene “He wasn’t living in L.A. at the time, but would always make time to work with them,” said Rivera. hey say timing is everything. What’s more, “Black & White,” a program that airs on FOX Sports West, featured When it came to architecting the newly minted LA Lions girls hockey program, the Lions last season in a segment produced by Kings Vision that included on-ice that cliché couldn’t ring truer. instruction from Kings head coach Daryl Sutter. Bring together a Los Angeles Kings employee who played NCAA Division I girls “How many youth hockey clubs - girls or boys - get that kind of support?” said hockey - Megan Rivera - and a passionate mother of an equally-passionate hock- Rivera. ey-playing daughter - Becki Winckler - along with the backing of a NHL club - those And the response from the Lions’ players and their families has been nothing but same Kings - and safe bet you’re going to see results. enthusiastic. Not only are girls driving to TSC from the South Bay and nearby L.A. The idea began to unfold early last season when a small group of girls was operat- communities, but also areas like Anaheim, Santa Barbara, Pasadena and Valencia. ing under the Los Angeles Jr. Kings’ umbrella as a tournament team and participating Amy Meyer, the mother of 12U Lions player Judy Meyer, travels from Ojai - a in twice-weekly skills clinics at the Lions’ now-home rink - El Segundo’s Toyota Sports minimum four-hour round-trip commute - but has few complaints considering all the Center (TSC). perks the program provides her daughter. Between the on-ice development, success and friendships built over the first cou“The Lions, with the help of the Kings, are doing something really great for these ple of months, more and more girls started to take interest. girls,” said Amy Meyer. “Seeing how much they love spending time together makes That’s when Winckler, who credits then-Jr. Kings president (now a member of the drive worth it. the organization’s newly-formed Executive “Playing with just girls has rejuvenated Committee) Steve Yovitech for his support (Judy’s) love of the sport and given her more in helping get the venture on its feet, spitconfidence, both on and off the ice.” balled to Rivera - also a part-time coach at And as the girls improve as hockey playthe time - the idea of launching an all-out, ers, they’re having a blast along the way. all-girls program in an area where so many “All the girls are so nice and helpful on hockey-playing families are in striking disthe ice,” said Judy Meyer. “The drills are hard, tance, geographically, of TSC. but fun, and push us to be better players. “I sort of took that idea and ran with it,” Playing on an all-girls team, my teammates said Rivera. “Frankly, it’s all a huge blur beare more supportive than what I experienced cause we launched it so fast.” playing with boys.” Fast and effective. Less than a month “It’s so much fun,” added Soleil Jamalater - thanks to the efforts of Winkler - the ni, a member of the Lions’ 10U squad. “Our program blossomed from 10 families to 30 team has so much energy and is always exand the Lions were out of their cage. cited to play, especially against the boys; I Today, the Lions boast of three teams have two older brothers who play (hockey), 8U, 10U and 12U - and carry the look and so it’s cool for me to be on a team with just feel of a tried-and-true girls hockey club built girls.” to last. That camaraderie amongst the girls is An account executive in the Kings’ hockparamount. Rivera, for one, can speak firstey development department, Rivera took a hand given her experience reaching the highpage out of the LA Kings High School Hockest level of college hockey as a female. ey League startup playbook - the fledgling “It’s why we play,” said Rivera. “I rememcircuit is now in its second year experiencber going to my own end-of-the-year baning tremendous success thanks in part to quets as a player and crying that the season its structure and professionalism - and put was over, and it had nothing to do with the that into motion for the Lions last spring, behockey; it was because of the sisterhood. ginning with tryouts, followed by an equip“A lot of girls come to us saying they’re ment-fitting event and scheduling Southern Thanks to a passionate group of families, along with the support of the Los Angeles Kings, the LA tired of the boys because the social element California Amateur Hockey Association Lions are positioning themselves as another viable option for girls looking to develop both as hockey of boys teams left them feeling isolated. Now, players and young women in a fun, competitive atmosphere. Photo/Tori Pizzuto games and tournaments. they can get the same caliber of competition “(Our families) wanted everything and, in my mind, that’s how you build a legitimate while also having the sisterhood that comes with being on an all-girls team.” program,” said Rivera, who played at Boston College. “Treat it the same as you would Winckler couldn’t agree more. any program; girls or boys, it shouldn’t matter.” “As the mother of a daughter, I can’t begin to explain all the differences between And the Kings’ support was unwavering. Sure, Rivera’s role with the two-time playing with the boys and playing with the girls,” said Winckler, whose daughter, Lily, Stanley Cup champions - along with her passion for growing girls hockey at the local skates on the Lions’ 10U team (Lily continues to play for the Jr. Kings’ Squirt BB boys level - helped move that needle of legitimacy, but figures like the Kings’ president of team coached by Dimitri Voulelikas). “From the parents to the locker rooms - it’s business operations Luc Robitaille and chief operating officer Kelly Cheeseman, just different. along with Brad Berman (president of American Skating Entertainment Centers, “My daughter is a leader on her girls team, whereas on the boys team she’s just which owns and operates TSC) and Brad Sholl (general manager of TSC), were also another player. She has a bond with the girls she’s never had with an entire team of firmly behind the upstart. boys. It’s an invaluable experience for these girls.” “I remember going to our vice president of hockey development at the time when And of course there are the selfless Lions coaches, who put in hours of time, effort we were considering the project, as well as talking to higher executives about the pro- and passion to help deliver a positive, healthy and encouraging learning environment, gram, and being so excited by their unconditional support,” said Rivera, who serves at on and off the ice. the Lions’ president. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is insane.’” That staff includes Bill Mendes (head coach of the 8U Mite Track II team) and The Kings’ marketing department came up with the Lions’ name and designed Richard Gomez (assistant); Adam O’Neill (head coach of the 10U Squirt B team) their logo, and Kings alumni like Daryl Evans - a popular figure at TSC and the NHL and Christen Keogh (assistant) - the club held an impressive 4-1-1 preseason reteam’s radio color commentator - would skate with the girls in the afternoons on Kings cord as of mid-October; and Whitney Schaff (head coach of the 12U Pee Wee B game days, then hop in his car to STAPLES Center to get on the airwaves. team) and Tori Pizzuto (assistant). Another Kings alum, Derek Armstrong, would also fly into town and skate with the girls as often as he could. Continued on Page 8

By Brian McDonough



California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Condors get by with a little H.E.L.P. from their friends some former NHL players. Van Gompel convinced them to leave behind hockey equipment for children who couldn’t afford it to use at the sports center next to his home in Antwerp. He later became the lead skater in Europe’s biggest show, and during a tour of the United States, decided to settle in Southern California. Van Gompel transitioned into a career with a title company, but hockey remained a hugely important part of his life. He worked a side job for more than 30 years as a timekeeper with the Los Angeles Kings, and began

Ann Maskery was to keep H.E.L.P. going. Maskery was introduced to the Condors in 2008 he California Condors will celebrate their tenth by a former student and assistant of Van Gompel’s anniversary in November, and the fact that the and saw in them the potential to carry forth his leghockey program for youth and adults with developacy. Through her efforts, H.E.L.P. arranged for a domental disabilities has thrived for a full decade is a nation by the NHL Players Association of 18 sets testament to the hard work and dedication of countof gear. Then, thanks to its official sponsorship by less individuals. H.E.L.P., the Condors became a 501(c)(3) charitable But as the leadership of the program - started organization, a key step toward helping them support at the Valley Ice Center in Panorama City and now themselves financially and major factor in the longevbased at Iceoplex in Simi Valley - looks back at all it ity they have enjoyed over the last decade. has achieved, it can’t help but recognize “The Condors have taken Ronny’s prothe critical role in the Condors’ success gram and kept it going,” Eagle said. “His that was played by the Hockey Equipment goal was to give kids who couldn’t afford Lending Program (H.E.L.P.), a non-profhockey a chance to play, and we feel we’re it organization created by Ronny Van doing something very similar by making Gompel in 1992. hockey accessible to kids with developVan Gompel passed away in 2007, just mental disabilities who otherwise would as the fledgling Condors were struggling have no place to play, while also providing to develop their program, but through the the equipment.” support of H.E.L.P beginning in 2008, the Now including approximately 30 playCondors have grown and thrived, proudly ers, the Condors are supported by a carrying forth his legacy. group of exceptionally dedicated volunteer “I don’t think we’d be here without coaches, the L.A. Kings Chariot program Ronny’s support,” said Rita Eagle, the and ongoing fundraising, with the help of The California Condors is a thriving hockey program based at the Iceoplex in Simi Valley Condors founder, manager and ‘Mother that is for youth and adults alike with developmental disabilities. the Condors’ parents and friends, Eagle, Hen,’ her preferred title. “It amazes me Maskery and executive secretary Christhat we’ve been doing this 10 years.” coaching youth hockey in the L.A. area in the 1950s - tine Fleeger. The Condors players are also assisted Van Gompel was a well-known figure in Los An- a time when the sport was largely foreign in the area. on the ice by kids from local youth hockey programs. geles-area hockey circles, though his story began far Van Gompel often found ways to provide equip“I think Ronny would be very happy with how from Hollywood. Born in Belgium in 1927, he couldn’t ment for kids who couldn’t afford it and in 1992, H.E.L.P. has been able to support the Condors,” said afford to play sports as a child. He served as an in- officially started H.E.L.P. to give low-income kids a Maskery, who is now a member of the Condors staff. terpreter during World War II and discovered hockey chance to play hockey. When he died in 2007, his “I think he’d be impressed at what the Condors have while working with the Canadian forces, among them last wish to his longtime friend and companion Mary become and proud to be a part of it.”

By Greg Ball



Upstart Lions helping open more doors for local girls Continued from Page 6 Rivera says either herself, Domi DiDia or Schaff and Pizzuto will guide the Lions’ 14U tournament team this season. “If I could hug them every day, I would,” Rivera said of the Lions’ coaching contingent. A seasoned mentor - he’s been at the trade for over 20 years at the youth levels - Mendes has been with the Lions since Day 1. He’s been nothing but impressed with both the girls’ attitudes and willingness to learn. “It’s been exhilarating to see the growth in these girls’ skills over the last two seasons,” said Mendes. “And maybe even more importantly is that they’re extremely receptive to training and eager to master and learn new things. “They’re having fun and have developed new friendships among themselves; they’ve learned how to bond and work together. They have a special trust and friendship amongst themselves and spend a lot of time together at the rink. Their enthusiasm for the sport is contagious.” And while finding ice time is a challenge given the well-documented growth of amateur hockey across the state, so, too, is convincing prospective families that high-level opportunities present themselves in women’s hockey these days as the girls grow older. “It’s showing girls players that girls hockey is, in fact, a thing,” said Rivera, who notes that the Lions are also working on recruiting more girls through the Kings’ Lil Kings Learn To Play Program, which attracts close to 200 new girls a year, as well as hosting all-girls camps and showcases at TSC. “Women get paid to play hockey professionally now (in the National Women’s Hockey League), and some of 8

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

the best colleges in the country have women’s hockey Down the road, Rivera would like to expand the Lions’ programs; I received an amazing education from a top- team offerings to all age groups - from 8U to 19U. She’d 30 university because of where hockey led me.” also like to to create a “Lion Cubs” program, of sorts, to Promoting the Lions’ brand is equally important, says develop girls who might not be ready for travel hockey, Winckler. but need to experience it in an all“Really, it comes down to the girls environment. families,” said Winckler, a Lions “I also want to develop a college board member and the club’s coorprep program that exposes girls to dinator of managers and fundraiscollege hockey and the college-aping. “We’re the ones driving around plication process, and develop a with the decals on our cars; our girls leadership program that discusses are the ones wearing the T-shirts all of the important commitments to school; the parents are the ones you need to make if you want to keep approaching parents of ‘new’ girls playing hockey as you get older, like in hockey gear at the rink and telling juggling school and sports, being a them about the program. We’re the leader, proper nutrition, off-ice trainsoldiers doing the footwork; we’re ing - those types of things,” said Rithe grassroots. vera, who’d also like to expand the “But honestly, the biggest chalprogram to other area rinks in an lenge we face is changing the culeffort to cut down on commutes for ture of girls hockey and girls sports families traveling long distances to El in general. So many parents place Segundo. an emphasis on their son’s hockey The LA Lions are icing three teams this Winckler is on board, and also development while their daughter’s season at the 8U, 10U and 12U levels, and plans to set up a financial aid and scholdevelopment gets left behind. Hock- plan on expanding their base in the com- arship program to help families that ey is an expensive sport and it’s hard ing years. Photo/Tori Pizzuto can’t afford for their daughter to play, as to get parents to understand that, for their daughter to well as see more coaches at TSC offer girls-only clinics. be competitive, they need to invest in their development In the end, the birth of the Lions is another monumenbeyond just team practices.” tal step forward for California hockey, especially for local And while the Lions are still in their infancy, Rivera and girls - many of whom are sure to thrive in an environment Winckler have no plans on pumping the breaks when it they can call their own. comes to building the program into something special, “We’re off to an incredible start,” said Rivera. “People both on a state and, eventually, national level utilizing a stop me all the time - and I’m sure Becki, too - and say, realistic, slow-and-steady blueprint. ‘Finally; we’ve been waiting for this.’”

Talented trio develops with Heat from Mites to Midgets “I stuck with the Heat because of the great coaches and family feel throughout the organization,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t have it better anywhere else.” It’s a common practice in the youth hockey world for players and their parents to always be on the lookout for their next move, with players moving to new programs regularly to pursue opportunities to play at

where there are plenty of other rinks closer to home than the L.A. Kings Valley Ice Center. here’s something special going on with the Califor“The families that are part of the Heat make our nia Heat in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles, organization what it is,” she said. “That people are willand it has been a decade in the making. ing to drive from Tehachapi, Bakersfield, Huntington The Heat’s 16U AA team has three players on its Beach and other far-away cities to Panorama City defiroster than have been with the program for 10 seanitely says something. There’s really a personal touch sons, and the trio has developed a chemistry - every player and every family matters, and noover the years that has truly made them a band body gets lost in it. It’s wonderful.” of brothers. Because they have played together on so Hayden Goldstein, a 16-year-old right many teams for so long, Goldstein, Hada and wing; Trevor Hada, a 16-year-old center; and Sprow have developed not only a unique chemBlake Sprow, a 14-year-old goalie, say they istry that helps them in games and practices, but wouldn’t want it any other way, and playing for long-lasting friendships off the ice. the Heat has been a huge part of their upbring“Blake and I have become really close this ing. year as we have matured, and for Trevor and I, “It has really been fun for me to be with the our friendship can’t be put into words,” GoldHeat my whole youth hockey career,” Sprow stein said. “I personally think it reflects on the said. “I don’t think moving to a new organizaice.” tion every year is that great, because not only Added Hada: “Since we have known each would you have to adjust to all new teammates other for so long, it would be a crime to not and coaches, but also a whole new organization. know what their playing style is. I know how The Heat have been a family for me.” each of them play, and it makes it easier to work Hada said the Heat program has become Trevor Hada, Blake Sprow, Hayden Goldstein (left to right) have developed with them because I know what they are going like a second home to him. The level of competi- chemistry not only on the ice with the California Heat, but off the ice as well. to do.” tion is just right, so he gets plenty of playing time Photo/Jennifer Sprow Andrew Goldstein, the Heat’s vice presiand is always improving his skills. higher levels or for different coaches. To have a group dent, who also handles apparel and communications “What makes this program great is it allows you of players stick together with the same program from for the club, has been involved with the program since to get better as the years go on, make new friends, their first travel hockey team as Mites all the way to the Hayden started playing hockey at seven years old, and and ultimately create memories that will last forever,” Midget level is exceedingly rare. has enjoyed every minute of it. he said. Heat president Jennifer Sprow said that speaks “It’s a very inclusive organization,” he said. “The Goldstein’s experience has been similar, and over volumes for what the Heat offer to young hockey play- families that want to be involved really feel like they’re the years he has come to think of everybody associat- ers and their families, and noted that many of the play- part of the club. We love it when the same kids are on ed with the Heat as family as well. ers come from far-flung parts of Southern California the teams year after year.”

By Greg Ball



Motivated Hamacher eyeing progress in USHL rookie season Prior to Dubuque, Hamacher spent two seasons in the NAHL, debuting as a 17-year-old in Wenatchee. After landing briefly with the Minnesota Wilderness to start last season, Hamacher was traded to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he emerged as the team’s

I need to play my game to be successful here, and that means using my vision and my hockey sense. acob Hamacher’s stock continues to rise. “I feel like those are my best attributes – I’m able The 19-year-old winger had a breakout seato see plays develop, and I’m looking forward to makson last year in the North American Hockey League ing plays and getting the puck to my teammates.” (NAHL) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and that Stepping into an organization that has chamsuccess has translated to the Corona native pionship aspirations is a challenge Hamacher making the jump this season to one of the prewelcomes, and he says he was quickly immier franchises in the United States Hockey pressed with what Dubuque had to offer, and League (USHL), the Dubuque Fighting Saints. has high hopes for the Fighting Saints. “I think Jacob is a really gifted mind and is re“It’s a premier organization, no question,” ally creative in the way he plays,” said Dubuque said Hamacher. “They treat us incredibly well coach-GM Jason Lammers. “We were lookhere. As a team, you always want to finish first ing for a player like that – someone who can in the division, get that home ice for the playoffs make plays and has good vision. He has really and hopefully, make a run at a title. That’s what good hockey sense, and he does a good job we’re looking at accomplishing this season.” of knowing where and when to move the puck. Meanwhile, Hamacher is on the hunt for a “He’s a very cerebral player who has a treproductive first season in Dubuque and a Divimendous skill set.” sion I scholarship, something Lammers feels is The Fighting Saints – who have advanced to only a matter of time. the USHL final three times in the past six sea“Something is going to happen for him sons – had their eyes on Hamacher last seascholarship-wise,” said Lammers. “He’s just son while he was in the midst of putting up 40 too good and there’s been too much interest points in 46 games in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for him not to have several offers at some point and accepting an invitation to the NAHL Top this season.” Prospects Tournament. Dubuque then selected Corona’s Jacob Hamacher is looking to make a big impact in his first year “I’m a very driven person,” added HamachHamacher in the fifth round of Phase II of the with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. Photo/Dubuque Fighting Saints/Stephen er. “In the past, I’ve been cut from teams and Gassman Photography USHL Draft. passed over, and all that does is make me want “We were really excited about the opportunity to leading scorer. it that much more. I control what I can control and for get Jacob in the fold,” said Lammers. “We’ve done a “Playing in the NAHL was a great experience for me right now, that means playing my game, putting lot of studies on what makes players successful in our me and it taught me a lot,” said Hamacher, who played up points and being an impact player, being a good league, and he certainly met our criteria. We had seen 16U hockey with the California Titans. “The jump from teammate. him play and his analytics made sense to us, so we 16U to the NAHL was huge, but jumping from the “I want to be able to say that I’ll be playing Division drafted him. We’re expecting him to be a very import- NAHL to the USHL is huge as well. I thought the pace I hockey. I know that I can play at that level, I just need ant piece to our success this year.” in the NAHL was fast, but in the USHL, it’s even faster. to prove it by earning that opportunity.” By John B. Spigott


Putting injuries aside, Owre wants productive WHL year By Chris Bayee


teven Owre has been skating nearly as long as he could stand up, but remaining standing has been the problem for the talented Medicine Hat Tigers center. Owre has never had a problem producing points at any level, including the past four seasons with the Western Hockey League (WHL) franchise. But serious injuries have derailed the 1996 birth year’s past two seasons. “I’ve had interest from pro teams, but the injuries the last two years put a damper on that,” said Owre, whose family moved to Rocklin (near Sacramento) from Edmonton, Alberta, when he was just a year old. “Two years ago, a broken jaw put me out six weeks after I took a couple of pucks in the face and had to have surgery. “Last year, I had a hot start then broke my leg and missed more than 20 games. It’s been a couple of short seasons.” When Owre has been in the lineup, he’s been nearly a pointper-game player. He had 47 points (16 goals) in 49 games last season and 52 points (20 goals) in 55 games, plus eight more in 10 playoff games in 2014-15, when he centered a line with Trevor Cox (109 points) and Cole Sanford (95 points). Owre played youth hockey for the Capital City Thunder in Roseville, the Oakland Bears and the Santa Clara Blackhawks before spending Pee 10

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Wees with LA Hockey Club, flying weekly from Sacramento to Southern California to play CAHA games or elsewhere to meet the team at tournaments. His Bantam years were spent at the Lemieux Hockey Academy in Phoenix. He played his Midget 15U season with the Chicago Fury before deciding to return to

Chicago, and he said his former roommate’s goal of pro hockey is achievable. “He has the skill to do it,” Slaker said. “He has awesome hands and good composure with the puck. “When he has the puck he can set the pace of the game, and those guys are tough to play against. The other thing he has is a high hockey IQ.” Owre has added other tools during his years in junior as well. “I’ve put up some good numbers despite the injuries,” he said. “But I’ve learned it’s defense first. If you’re not sound defensively, you’re not going to move on. his fam“I want to be considered ily’s roots in Ala two-way centerman. I’m alberta after attendways working on the offening USHL and WHL sive stuff, but my defense camps. has improved the most.” “I knew I’d develop Owre didn’t have to look more as a 16-year-old in the Rocklin native Steven Owre has produced at near- far for inspiration, he said, Western League than playing ly a point-per-game clip the past two seasons in noting his parents, Todd Medicine Hat (WHL) despite dealing with a wave of another year of Midget,” he said. injuries. Photo/RJF Productions and Wendy. “It’s been really good for my de“All of my coaches have velopment and I matured a lot. I want to play at the been pretty helpful in developing me, but it’s mostly highest level possible and this was the path that been my dad and my grandpa, who still lives in Edworked best.” monton. He’s pretty happy I’m playing up here, so he University of Michigan freshman Jake Slaker can watch a lot of games.” (San Diego) played with Owre in Arizona, LA and Hopefully, this is a season full of them.


From the floor to STAPLES Center, Royals find success By Sam Goldman


t was déjà vu for the Santa Barbara Royals on Sept. 24: a shutout win versus the Kern County Knights. While this one was not at the STAPLES Center — the home of the Los Angeles Kings, who administer the 10-team Los Angeles Kings High School Hockey League (LAKHSHL) — Santa Barbara’s 5–0 regular-season home opener still featured all but four of the players who won the league’s inaugural championship over the Knights at the iconic LA venue in March. Coached by former Boston Bruin and Los Angeles King Steve Heinze, the Royals consist of students from San Marcos, Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara high schools. The crew racked up a 14–0–0–1 record during their maiden season before winning the LAKHSHL title 4–0 over Kern County. “I absolutely love it,” the former pro said of coaching the teenagers. “The biggest part is that I get kids who are willing to work hard and listen. It’s my first experience coaching at this level, but it’s been nothing but positive, good reactions from the kids, and we’re just enjoying each other.” Fans packed the second-floor bleachers at the oneyear-old Ice in Paradise venue in the neighboring city of Goleta to cheer on the Royals for their home opener and watch the unfurling of the giant banner commemorating the 2015–2016 team and its finals win. Royals gear was on sale, a silent auction was offering a signed jersey from Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, and tickets to a raffle were collected in the cup of the Royals’ champion-

ship trophy. Long before they were in high school, many of the Royals played roller hockey together in Santa Barbara, and first took to the ice several years ago in Oxnard — 40 miles away at what was then the closest available ice rink. The Royals played their first “home” game there before Ice in

The Santa Barbara Royals celebrate a goal during their 5-0 season-opening win Sept. 24 against the Kern County Knights at Ice in Paradise in Goleta. Photo/Steve Solomon

Paradise finally opened 12 months ago, after years in the works. “We had this great group of kids who all of a sudden were going to have no place to play, and it was just like destiny,” Heinze said. “The rink got built, the league got formed, and the Oxnard rink closed — all in the same six months.”

“It’s really cool just to be able to say I play at home,” added Royals team captain Chris Ewasiuk. “My friends can come out and watch me now; it’s the first time that’s ever happened.” Twice a week, the Royals are on the ice practicing, with another two dryland sessions thrown in. “We try to sneak in any extra ice or tournaments we can, but that’s the program right now,” Heinze said. The players’ shared history and chemistry paid off earlier this year when Santa Barbara entered the playoffs ranked first in what was then an eight-team league. “We’ve never had anything like it,” defenseman Ryan McMullen said of the championship game. “We’re excited that it came together in one of our last years in high school.” The Royals lost only four players in the time between lifting the trophy inside the STAPLES Center and blanking the Knights for the second consecutive time. Five more joined the squad in their place. “We’re pretty much the same team,” said alternate captain Collin Del Bonis. “We’re all still on the same page.” That means that along with championship experience, season two comes with high expectations — something that doesn’t faze the players. “We’ll take it game by game,” defenseman Jack Johnson, last year’s league MVP, said. “And obviously, the championship is our end goal — for sure.” Roster spots are still available on seven varsity and junior varsity teams in the LAKHSHL. Players interested in joining can call (310) 535-4472 or email hockey@



Jr. Kings grads making waves at game’s higher levels By Brian McDonough


hen it comes to advancing players to higher levels of the game, few do it better than the Los Angeles Jr. Kings organization. Over the years, thanks in part to its experienced and well-connected coaching staff, the program has helped dozens of its players reach the professional, NCAA and elite-level junior ranks - and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. “I don’t think there’s any question we have some of the best in the business when it comes to our coaching assets,” said Jr. Kings executive director Kelly Sorensen. “These guys have so much knowledge and, the way they teach the game and run their practices, it’s no wonder we have so many of our players moving on to bigger and better things, on and off the ice.” Among the Jr. Kings graduates skating in the NHL are forwards Beau Bennett (New Jersey Devils) and Bobby Ryan (Ottawa Senators) and defenseman Kevan Miller (Boston Bruins). Bennett celebrated a Stanley Cup championship last summer as a member of Pittsburgh Penguins, becoming the first born-and-trained California player to hoist the coveted trophy. Others toiling in the professional ranks this season include forwards Mitch Callahan, who’s skating in the Detroit Red Wings organization, and Shane Harper, a member of the Florida Panthers organization; Chad Ruhwedel, a defenseman in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization; and Thatcher Demko, a goaltender in the Vancouver Canucks organization. A handful of other Jr. Kings alums are also playing profes-

defenseman Jack St. Ivany - all members of the Jr. Kings’ sionally in the ECHL, as well as overseas. “Wherever you come from, reaching professional hockey Pacific District-champion 16U AAA team last season. is no easy task, so we’re proud to see a few of our own earn Both Guttman, a St. Cloud State recruit, and St. Ivany, the right to compete at that level,” said Sorensen. “And I have who will play his NCAA Division I hockey at Yale University a feeling we’ll see a few more find their way there in the not- following his junior career, are playing in the United States Hockey League (USHL) - Guttman with the Dubuque Fighttoo-distant future.” Plenty of grads are also playing in the NCAA Division I ing Saints; St. Ivany the Sioux Falls Stampede. McGrew is with the Western ranks - three of whom are just startHockey League’s (WHL) Spokane ing their college careers: forwards Chiefs, and Stratton is skating for the Nick Rivera (Minnesota State UniWHL’s Calgary Hitmen. versity-Mankato) and Josh Wilkins Forward Rory Herrman, who (Providence College) and goaltender Gavin Nieto (Brown University). also played for the Jr. Kings, is in his Others playing NCAA Division first season with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. I hockey this season include sophFormer Jr. Kings returning to the omore forwards Garrett Gamez WHL this season include forwards (Providence), Robby Jackson (St. Evan Weinger (Portland WinterCloud State University) and Filip hawks), Keanu Yamamoto (SpoStarzynski (Northern Michigan University); Miami University-Ohio junior St. Cloud State University recruit Cole Guttman, a for- kane), Kailer Yamamoto (Spoforward Ryan Siroky; and Bowling mer Los Angeles Jr. King, is in his first season with the kane), defenseman Keoni Texeira Green State University senior goal- USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. Photo/Hickling Images (Portland) and goaltender Evan Sarthou (Tri-City Americans). tender Tomas Sholl. New Jr. Kings general manager Nick Vachon is nothing “For these boys to be able to earn an education and, at the same time, play at the highest level of college hockey is but excited where the program is headed from a player develan opportunity of a lifetime,” said Sorensen, who played col- opment standpoint. legiately at Ferris State University. “The experience is second “I think we’re just scratching the surface,” said Vachon. to none.” “Between our coaching staff and all the other resources we And a number of former Jr. Kings are making their first have at our disposal, not to mention the added support of the foray into high-level junior hockey. Among them are forwards Los Angeles Kings, I expect to see a lot more of our players Cole Guttman, Jake McGrew and Murphy Stratton and recruited to the higher levels in the coming years.”


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Jr. Sharks add NHL vet Zettler to stable of youth coaches By John B. Spigott


he wealth of knowledge the San Jose Jr. Sharks continue to add to their coaching staff just keeps growing. Rob Zettler is the newest Jr. Sharks coach with pro experience to jump into coaching at the youth level, as the ex-NHL defenseman – who was part of the inaugural San Jose Sharks team of 1991-92 and has nearly 30 years of playing and coaching experience in the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL) – has taken on a new role as bench boss of the 10U Jr. Sharks. “It’s been humbling,” said Zettler. “Selfishly, it’s been really fun because I’m coaching my son, and it’s given me an opportunity to spend a lot of time with him and then help out the team as well. When you go back to coaching at the grassroots level, you have to teach everything, and it really makes you dig in and make sure you’re showing these kids the right way to do things.” After retiring from the NHL in 2002, Zettler began a coaching career that lasted 14 years – as long as his playing days. Starting as an assistant in San Jose with the Sharks in 2002-03, Zettler moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs as an assistant in 2008-09 before joining the Tampa Bay Lightning organization where he was named an assistant coach with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse prior to the 2012-13 season. When Syracuse head coach Jon Cooper was promoted to Tampa Bay in March of 2013, Zettler became the head coach in Syracuse until he was let go at the end of last season. “When you’re bouncing around as a coach or a player, it’s really hard to establish a sense of community,” said Zettler, whose wife Shannon is from Belmont, about

halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. “This has given me an opportunity to be involved in the community and give back to the community. We always knew we wanted to get back here at some point, and the timing worked out for that to happen.” Zettler joins a growing list of former pros that are

Owen Nolan is working with the wingers and Curtis Brown (former Shark with 736 career NHL games) is working with the centermen. “I was stunned. These are guys who all had great pro careers, but not only that, they are all great people who want to help. The best thing is that these guys aren’t just there to help their own kids, they are helping everyone and they want the whole program to succeed.” There’s no doubt that hockey in the Bay Area has changed dramatically since Zettler first came west for the 1991-92 season. “The fun part to me when I first got out here was being a part of growing something,” said Zettler. “You could see how passionate the fans were back then and how much interest they had right helping grow the Jr. Sharks. from the start. The challenge From 18U AAA head coach was finding all the people Rob Zettler Kyle McLaren, to 12U AAA who weren’t hockey fans to head coach and Jr. Sharks director Curtis Brown, to begin with and get them involved in playing and watching 12U girls head coach Mike Rathje just to name three, the game. the Jr. Sharks organization is awash with ex-pros. “That’s something the Sharks and the Jr. Sharks have “I dropped my son off for his first practice and I looked done a great job of, and now that I’m at the rink all the out on the ice and ‘Nabby’ (former Sharks goaltender time I can really see just how much interest there is in Evgeni Nabokov) is out there with the goalies,” said hockey – not to mention how much talent there is – at Zettler. “Then I look over and (former Sharks captain) these younger levels. It’s just great to see.”



Tahoe Hockey Academy ‘ecstatic’ to get season started By Greg Ball


fter months and months of planning, the doors finally opened at Tahoe Hockey Academy last month, and things finally started to seem real when the academy played its first games in late September. Donning its purple and white uniforms for the first time, the team traveled to Winnipeg the last weekend in September and opened their inaugural season in the first WPHL showcase against some of the top teams from the Western United States and Canada. “It was exciting for the boys, and all our hard work was worth it when we saw how excited they were,” said Leo Fenn, the academy’s president and chief operating officer. “Their desire to compete after having spent only three weeks together training was absolutely amazing. It was incredible to see them compete at that level, and it only inspires us to get better at the Academy and provide an even greater experience with greater opportunities for development for these kids.” The team opened its inaugural season with a win Sept. 30, beating Fountain Valley 5-4 in overtime. Tahoe led 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second. They extended their lead to 4-0 in third, but Fountain Valley rallied and tied the game with seven seconds left in regulation. Forward Eric Larsson scored on an assist from Riley Fenn with 1:36 left in overtime to lift Tahoe to its first victory. Larsson totaled two goals in the victory, Jared Shuter scored a goal and Shane Gilbert also

scored. Jack Birecki scored the team’s first goal, walking in on a 1-on-2 and blasting a shot in from just inside the blue line past the goalie only six minutes into the game. Alan Garcia added two assists. On Oct. 1, Tahoe fell to SISEC, an international hockey academy out of Calgary, 4-1. Gilbert scored the team’s only goal, assisted by Jack Tuszynski and Matt Odom. Later that day, Tahoe fell to the Pilot Mound Buffaloes, the host team, in a very physical game by a 6-3 mark. Larsson scored two goals in the defeat and Shuter added another. Zach Dill had an assist, as did Zack Savarise. With a very short turnaround time between games, Tahoe was without three players against Pilot Mound. “The highlight for me was really the heart that this team showed,” Fenn said. “We have 20 guys that have never played together before, from different parts of the country, and in our second game, we had 26 shots blocked. That’s an amazing figure, and in the other games, they were averaging 15-16 blocked shots. These kids were diving to block shots - it’s really amazing how they battled together and refused to give up. The inspiration and the heart that these kids play with is contagious.


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We’re very excited about an incredible first effort for a very young team.” More than half the team’s roster is freshmen, so Fenn knows there is room to grow as the season goes on and into future seasons. Tahoe is scheduled to open its Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) schedule the weekend of Oct. 15-16 with games in Orange County against JSerra and Santa Margarita. The following weekend, they’ll travel west a few hours to the Bay Area for league games against Bellarmine and Orange Lutheran. And the first weekend in November, Tahoe will fly to Chicago to compete in the prestigious Bauer World Hockey Invitational, where they will face teams from all across the United States. “We’re ecstatic about it,” Fenn said. “The first weekend exceeded all our expectations, and now we’re really excited to go play in the ADHSHL and to compete in some great tournaments. The boys were thrilled to get their uniforms and equipment, and it’s really coming together. “It’s great to see the culture developing at Tahoe Hockey Academy.”


Walnut Creek’s Durflinger makes NCAA plans with Denver By Chris Bayee


drove our team (Amarillo in the NAHL) crazy at times and got our guys off their games. “He’s an emotional player. He lives right on that line of being effective and taking himself out of the game at times.” Durflinger, a 1997 birth year, played for the now-defunct Berkeley Bull-

ou blankety blank, blank, blank!” “Why, I ought to clobber you!” Jake Durflinger has just about heard it all during his four seasons of junior hockey, most of the past two with the Bloomington Thunder of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Through it all, the forward from Walnut Creek has done whatever it has taken to be a valued member of his teams, and at times a reviled opponent. His combination of skill and snarl no doubt made him attractive to the NCAA Division I powerhouse at the University of Denver as he dogs, the San recently committed to the Jose Jr. Sharks and the ArizoNCHC school. na Bobcats before beginning “He’s one of those guys his junior career at 16 with you hate to play against, Corpus Christi of the NAHL but you love him when he’s in 2013. One year later, he on your team,” said forwas with Sioux City in the mer Thunder captain Jake Jake Durflinger helped the Bloomington Thunder reach USHL. the second round of the USHL’s Clark Cup playoffs for the Slaker, a San Diego native. first time last season. His roll continued this season as he “Ron Filion of the BobThunder coach Dennis committed to the University of Denver and was selected cats in particular was huge for Williams, who traded for one of the Thunder’s assistant captains. Photo/Niki Vincent/ my development,” Durflinger Durflinger early last season Niki D. Photography said. “He got me to the next after previously coaching against him in the North level. I was trying to get junior experience at a young American Hockey League (NAHL), welcomes the hav- age. That made my jump to the USHL easier.” oc his newly minted assistant captain brings, most of Despite checking in at just 5-foot-8 and 167 the time. pounds, Durflinger jumped into the USHL with both “He’s a fearless competitor,” Williams said. “He feet, and both hands, racking up 208 penalty minutes

while scoring 22 points. “I played a couple of roles, depending on what the team needed,” he said, adding that skilled Boston Bruins agitator Brad Marchand is his favorite player. Therein lies the beauty of his game, Williams boasted. “That showed he could adapt to any role,” said Williams. “That’s what makes him so great.” And such an appealing trade target. “He was what we were missing,” Williams said. “He could do it all – power play, penalty killing, win faceoffs, get pucks out. He’s a big reason we got out of the first round of the playoffs.” Williams moved Durflinger from wing to center, yet another instance of his ability to adapt. “He became a good faceoff guy, which is saying something because it was an adjustment for him going from wing to center in a league as tough as the USHL,” Slaker said. “He was a big part of our power play.” Durflinger combined for 31 points in the regular season and playoffs after the trade, and his expanded role did wonders for him. “More power-play time, being on the penalty kill – it was good for my confidence,” he said. “It’s my third year in the league and I’m feeling good. “Getting that commitment early was good. The one thing that stood out to me about Denver was they make the NCAA tournament every year, just an unbelievable tradition.”



Hairy weekend at The Rinks all part of Movember support By Jonathan Watanabe


ften times as a reader, one may find themselves thinking about the words on the page or otherwise adding additional commentary to what is being read. Staying in line with the natural tendency to engage and be thoughtful about literature, here is a question. How many of you know a male? OK, now that may have been extremely elementary, but bear with me. I’d like you to consider all the male figures you may know. Now think about how many of them have been affected by some sort of physical or mental health issue. Chances are, the majority of people you currently know or have known an individual that has encountered one of these in their lifetime. Let’s take things one step further and consider how this individual overcame this obstacle. Some may be able to recover simply by following a doctor’s orders. Others may have been able to make lifestyle changes that dramatically impacted their health for the better. The support of friends and family may have been enough to help others overcome whatever they were facing. However, at times these things can come up short. The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, and longer lives. One of the major challenges facing the male demographic is that in many ways, men’s health has been overshadowed. To be clear, in no way I am saying that other demographics should take a back seat or are less important. What I am saying however, is that promoting healthier living, shining

on a light on health issues men face, and fundraising to eryone happy and energetic, The Rinks will make food and help fund lifesaving research and projects is something beverages (of both the regular and adult variety) available that should be a priority to keep all those male friends and to participants and spectators along with having live music for everyone to enjoy throughout the afternoon and evefamily members in our lives for a long time. In support of this mission, The Rinks and The Movem- ning. So, there are two hockey tournaments going on, a ber Foundation are teaming up for a second year. This November, The Rinks is hosting their second beard and mustache competition, live music – what could annual Movember Charity Tournament and Event at The make all of this better you ask? A second day of more fun, mustaches, and hockey, of Rinks-Irvine Inline on Saturday, course. Nov. 12. Last year, right around On Sunday, Nov. 13, The 25 adult teams participated in the inaugural inline and ball hockRinks-Huntington Beach Inline ey tournament that featured four will be hosting Part II of The divisions, including a Novice diviRinks Movember weekend with sion geared towards individuals its first annual Stache Dache. just starting their hockey career. This 5k, 10k and kids run is open In addition to the return of the to anyone with the desire to get inline tournament, The Rinks is active and support a great cause. looking to beef up their ball hockFollowing the conclusion of this ey tournament this year with the race, racers can join fellow paraddition of several adult teams ticipants at the post-race party. and a youth division, calling on Over the Nov. 12-13 weekend at The Rinks-Irvine Inline and This celebration of being active Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline, roller hockey and ball will feature live music and great those youngsters looking to get The hockey tournaments will be played in support of the Moveminvolved and support the cause. ber Foundation, which brings awareness to men’s health. prizes for best mustache, team Apart from the inline and ball Mustache and beard contests will also be part of the events spirit and many more. Those over 21 will have the chance to enjoy hockey tournament, The Rinks Photo/The Rinks will also play host to Orange County’s 4th Annual Beard one complimentary beverage at the beer and wine garden, and Mustache Competition, presented by Dubs Stache courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Company. For more information or to register, visit www.the-rinks. Wax. Last year, nearly 50 competitors came out to show their growth and compete in eight categories. To keep ev- com/movember.


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ANAHEIM JR. DUCKS Jr. Ducks’ 18U AAAs roar out of the gate in Tier 1 play By Chris Bayee


ny coach will say they’d gladly take a fast start, particularly in a league where points are tough to come by. Such is the case with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks Midget 18U AAA team, which went 4-0 in a Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL) showcase at Windsor, Ont., Canada, over Columbus Day weekend. That ran the 18s’ record to 8-0 in the T1EHL, making them the only undefeated squad in that age division. “I’m extremely happy with the way the team is playing,” coach August Aiken said. “We had some tight games going into the third period over the weekend and the boys found a way to persevere.” Four players are averaging a point or more per game in Tier 1 play – Paul Selleck (13 points), Ryan Gil (12), John Elliott (8) and Daniel Chladek (8). “Our captain (Selleck) and assistant captains (Gil, Brandon Bergado and Greg Lee) have stepped up and helped our players who are in their first year of Tier 1 18U competition,” Aiken said. Goalies Maxim Sidelnik and Landon Pavlisin each have goals-against averages of 2.00 or lower and save percentages of .927 or higher. “The goaltending has been pretty consistent,” Aiken said. They’re the backbone of a team defensive effort that has yielded just 15 total goals through eight games, tied for fourth fewest in the 24-team league. “Our defensive core has been doing well,” Aiken added. “There are always areas we need to improve but we’ll take this kind of start.” Another Jr. Ducks team, the 2004 Pee Wee AAA team coached by Alex Vasilevsky and Scott Niedermayer, also had a successful weekend, sweeping all five games in a showcase in Detroit. They defeated the Ohio Blue Jackets, 1-0; the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, 5-3; Thunder AAA, 8-5; Detroit Belle Tire, 3-1; and Fox Motors, 4-3.


Grassroots hockey development – why it’s the best H

ow do you teach the most difficult sport in the world to all children and adults? It’s easy. You make it fun and you bring it to them every day in their communities. Hockey is contagious; I have experienced many new hockey families that Rick Hutchinson try it, fall in love and never look back. The game has evolved immensely. A hockey player, once perceived as an outcast in some regions, is now looked upon as one of the most elite athletes in the world. The lack of exposure of our sport in some areas has inhibited potential hockey players all across the United States, however.

Grassroots & Growing a Program The best and most obvious place for this to begin is in the school systems. We have witnessed great strides within the NHL and our local teams, starting with the Anaheim Ducks offering free learn-to-play hockey and street hockey programs. In 2007, the Anaheim Ducks created a high school league that now includes over 50 teams. In the north, the San Jose Sharks programs continue to flourish and most recently, the Los Angeles

Kings have jumped into the high school arena.

The Pyramid - There’s No Shortcut The idea of building “from the ground up” is not new. Ice hockey, for some reason, has not yet reached out to the potentially huge numbers of children who have never played our game. Street/floor and roller hockey are inexpensive ways to develop hockey skills without ever stepping on the ice. Street and roller hockey players making the transition to ice hockey seem to have better individual puck skills than an average ice hockey player does. This is probably attributed to frequency of practice by being able to just “play anywhere.” A grassroots hockey program is recommended to follow USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) for all their player development. These types of programs build confidence in their players and allow them to reach their full potential. Furthermore, a parent that is well informed is more likely to understand the benefits from long-term player development and is less likely to chase an elite level until their child is emotionally, physically and socially ready to purse the highest competition. Challenges & Education A philosophy must be established so that those teaching understand how to make learning as productive as possible and so that parent involvement can be a positive, not a pressure-filled experience. Grassroots

development requires widespread exposure with the emphasis on fun and fundamental skills. Higher-level training can be sought once a player shows greater interest and desire for such. The Right Stuff - Find Coaches That Can Relate Think like a player. Actually, think like a kid! Would you be having fun at your practices or games? Follow the most basic rule: Keep it simple and make it FUN. Conclusion The observations of this player, coach and student of the game has revealed certain “do’s” and “don’ts,” many from learning along the way. I’ve kept an open mind and embraced a willfulness to always improve my approach to development. The development of an athlete is a phenomenon that can, have and will be challenged for decades to come. Every year, the game evolves, changes and adapts to ever-improving athletes. Let’s face it, the athletes are bigger, stronger and more educated than ever before. Coaches and teachers have replaced the parent in some cases as disciplinarian and motivator of the household. The lack or decline of parental guidance over the past 30 years has challenged today’s coaches and youth leaders. The longevity of our coaches reflect not only their skill and dedication, but the ability to and keep it simple and make it FUN! As Bob Johnson said, “It’s a great day for hockey.

Rick Hutchinson is the director of hockey for The Rinks/Anaheim Ducks and has spent the past 25 years developing hockey programs that produced thousands of hockey players in Southern California … and he’s just getting started with the Great Park Ice facility in Irvine on the horizon.

Interested in being a Chalk Talk columnist? E-mail Matt Mackinder at



Development is the name of the game for NV Storm youth By Matt Mackinder


hen a growing youth organization keeps adding players and as such, adds new teams at all levels, expectations continue to grow. And while championships and wins and losses are certainly a bonus, the Nevada Storm places a heavy onus on taking each and every player in its program and developing them to be able to see the next level of the game. Dell Truax coaches the Storm 12U AA team and is on board with the development aspect of the program set forth by hockey director Gabe Gauthier. “Every day, we gain more strength as an organization because of the line of communication and the dedication and passion from the coaches and staff,” Gauthier said. “I am very happy about what has been accomplished since I first came here in March 2014.” “The expectations that I have for the 12U AA team this season are to give all my players the foundation to be successful at the AA level and beyond,” Truax added. “We want to be a very competitive team that is well schooled and plays disciplined hockey. We are looking to become efficient at pushing the pace and attacking quickly with a quick transition game to lock down both the neutral zone and defensive zone. “We want to have people talk about us and always know they were in a tough game when they play us.” At the high school level, Jeff Bruckner coaches the Storm team that will skate in the ultra-competitive Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) in the Di-

vision 3 Varsity Division. “During the recent Labor Day weekend tournament in Southern California, the Storm high school team was able to compete against a number of teams within the Ducks League,” explained Bruckner. “Based on the performance of the team and the opportunity to view a number of other league participants, the Nevada Storm high school team

Starting off the year in style, the Nevada Storm Squirt A team celebrated a tournament victory in Southern California over Labor Day weekend.

will be working on challenging for a Varsity D3 championship this season.” Wally Lacroix is the 16U AA coach for the Storm and said positive things are on the horizon for his club this year. “We feel very good and have positive feelings about

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our season,” said Lacroix. “Our goal is to compete at the highest level possible for our age group. We have given ourselves until Christmas to fully develop a new system for the boys and feel strong about the back end of our season. “Success for our team will be based on how much we learned throughout the season and if we have we taught our young men new, more advanced skills.” And while the Storm’s Squirt A team won the Early Bird Tournament over Labor Day weekend, also in Southern California, and more tournament championships may follow suit this season, learning the game and developing a continued passion for the game is at the top of the coaches’ priority lists. “Success to me is that all my players improve and love the game,” said Truax. “The goal is to teach through a competitive environment to give all these players the tools to succeed at high-level hockey. “A successful season means we improve with every touch, and always better than the last time.” Bruckner is on the same page with Lacroix and Truax. “The success of this team will be based on how the players develop, both on and off the ice this season,” said Bruckner. “We are looking for our players to be respectful and mature with everything they encounter in life. This includes being positive role models within the organization and within their school environment. In addition, our goal is to provide a positive and safe atmosphere which will create a foundation for our players to be successful as they transition to college and or business life.”


New NHL team sells out season tickets, gains practice ice By Matt Mackinder


he new NHL franchise in Las Vegas still doesn’t have a name, but it is moving forward with plans for a practice facility in the Summerlin community. And the 16,000 season tickets for the inaugural 2017-18 season are sold out, showing a commitment from the area in supporting the new team that will play at the T-Mobile Arena. The 31st NHL franchise was awarded to Las Vegas back on June 22. “We launched a season ticket drive in February 2015 to demonstrate the long-term viability of an NHL franchise in Las Vegas and were able to surpass our initial goal within months,” said team majority owner Bill Foley. “Since then, we have hired an outstanding general manager (George McPhee), assistant general manager (Kelly McCrimmon), director of player personnel (Vaughn Karpan), director of amateur scouting (Scott Luce), capologist (Andrew Lugerner), director of analytics (Misha Donskov) and many highly-qualified scouts. This is a truly historic event for the Las Vegas community, the NHL and all of our fans.” Kerry Bubolz was also named team president on Oct. 4. The season ticket sellout was announced Sept. 19. More than 5,000 tickets were sold within two days and 9,000 season tickets were sold within a month of the launch of the ticket drive. Fans may still place deposits on season tickets, which will be fulfilled as season tickets become avail-

able. A limited number of game-day tickets will be made available before the team begins play in the fall of 2017. As for practice ice, Foley’s company Black Knight Sports & Entertainment will build a two-rink facility on a 4.6-acre parcel located in Summerlin, a master-planned community in Las Vegas developed by The Howard Hughes Corporation. Summerlin has ranked among the bestselling master-planned communities in the country for much of its 26 years and was named in 2014 by Money magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in America.” Groundbreaking on the new facility is expected to take place later this month with a tentative completion date set for August 2017. “It’s an honor for our area’s new NHL team to establish its practice facility in Downtown Summerlin where the community can easily connect with the team, as well as enjoy youth hockey, men’s tournament hockey, figure skating and more,” said Summerlin president Kevin Orrock. “The addition of our city’s first professional sports franchise is a great fit for Downtown Summerlin and further strengthens Summerlin’s position as southern Nevada’s premier community.” “Our hockey club is very appreciative of the commitment made by The Howard Hughes Corporation in conjunction with the development of our practice facil-

ity,” added Foley. “This facility will be a giant step in the development of an expanded youth hockey and adult league program in Clark County. We would like to thank and acknowledge the leadership of the Clark County Commission and in particular, chairman Steve Sisolak and commissioner Susan Brager for their support.” Sisolak said that “a new ice age is dawning, and it isn’t just hockey fans who will rejoice.” “This practice facility is where Bill Foley’s athletes will learn to gel as a team and work toward eventually bringing the Stanley Cup home to Las Vegas,” he said. “During the offseason, it will serve as another kind of community jewel as an ice skating center open to the public, right next to an enticing array of restaurants and shops at Downtown Summerlin. They complement each other perfectly, and all of Las Vegas benefits. I can’t wait to see the doors open.” Brager, who has a grandson on the UNLV hockey team and another who played hockey in college, noted how pleased she was about future team practices being held in Summerlin. “I am so proud that a facility of this importance to Clark County is being constructed here in District F,” she said. “Having a professional sports team right in our own backyard is a point of civic pride and an effort the entire community can rally behind.”

FROM THE TRAINER’S ROOM What you need to know about in-season training T

he youth hockey season can be a grind with many clubs playing upwards of 50-60 games, not to mention all of the practices, lessons and travel. A proper in-season strength and conditioning program is vital in staying healthy and maintaining performance throughout the year. The program must be built around the team- or individual-specific needs, such as strength or speed, and also include specific exercises to help prevent injuries common in Chris Phillips the sport, like groin strains and low back pain. A qualified strength and conditioning specialist also needs to be able to modify the program throughout the season to account for a busy or slow part of the schedule. For example, if a team is coming off a tournament weekend where it played four or five games in a weekend, the session needs to be modified and based on recovery. This may include more stretching, mobility, injury prevention and core exercises with the goal being to decrease soreness and help the athlete recover from the heavy schedule. On the contrary, if the session is later in the week and the team does not have any games coming up, the intensity can be increased to maintain anaerobic capacity. This may include more short sprints or plyometric type exercises. There is no one program that is perfect for every team or individual and modifications need to be made to address age, level of athletic ability and what type of equipment is available. One team may have a great facility with room for speed and agility and a weight area, whereas another team may have to train in a parking lot where they only have the use of bodyweight exercises or use bands for resistance. Both situations can be effective, but the programs may be drastically different.

Chris Phillips ATC, CSCS, is a former athletic trainer in the NHL with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Washington Capitals and currently owns Compete Sports Performance and Rehab.


At the Starting Line

Always-competitive WCRHL collegiate league to kick off its 2016-17 season in San Jose By Phillip Brents


he Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) will face off its 2016-17 season Oct. 22-23 at San Jose’s Silver Creek Sportsplex. Both the late October date and Bay Area location have become traditions in recent years. Additional regular season events are scheduled Nov. 12 in Las Vegas and Nov. 19-20 in Huntington Beach to close the first semester. According to WCRHL director Brennan Edwards, it looks to be another competitive season leading to the WCRHL regional and National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournaments.

in 2015-16 with a 13-2-1 mark, thought Arizona shaded Fullerton 4-3 in the regional championship game. Division III members include Arizona State, Arizona, Cal Poly SLO, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Fullerton. ASU defeated Cal Poly in last season’s regional championship game. West Valley College returns as the WCRHL’s lone JC Division team after placing runner-up at last season’s NCRHA national championship tournament. Division IV members include Claremont, University of San Diego, Sonoma State, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and West Valley College.

New horizons

Pomona from Division III; and the University of San Diego from Division IV. Fullerton, as one of the top Division II teams, proved it could be competitive with some of the WCRHL’s Division I teams by cobbling together a 1-1-1 preseason showing. “I think this upcoming WCRHL season is a big one for our club due to our lack of performance at nationals last year and the amount of seniors we have this year,” explained new club president Ron Best, whose team posted a 13-3-0 regular-season record in 2015-16. “Being the only team to beat eventual national champion UMass last year showed us that we had the potential to make a title run. With some of our new additions this year as well as a fair amount of players in their final year of play, this year looks to be our best chance to win a national championship.” Cal Poly Pomona club president Taylor Paerels said he and his teammates are excited to be back for the club’s second WCRHL season. “We have received significant interest from the student body with 27 people

This season’s league alignment will feature five divisions: Division I (five teams), Division II (nine teams), Division III (seven teams), Division IV (six teams) and Junior College (one team). Teams in Division I through Division III compete in the WCRHL regional championship tournament in early March. Teams in those three divisions, plus the JC Division, compete at April’s NCRHA finals. Teams at the Division IV level compete in selected events. skating in our first tryout,” Paerels noted. Division I members in 2016-17 include “After having just one team last year, there’s Arizona State University, UC Santa no reason why we shouldn’t have two teams Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Long this year. The preseason event gave us our Beach State and the University of Nevadafirst opportunity to skate together with our Las Vegas. UNLV is the defending WCRHL regional The CSU Fullerton Titans’ Division II team gathers prior to hitting the court in the West- teams in game situations. Over the following champion and advanced as far as last ern Collegiate Roller Hockey League’s preseason tournament Oct. 1 at The Rinks-Irvine three weeks, we can refine our play and find Inline. Photo/CSU Fullerton Roller Hockey the best line combinations before heading season’s Division I national championship Preseason preview to San Jose (to start the season).” game, placing second to Neumann University. UC The WCRHL offered a preview of its upcoming Pomona’s Division II team finished 6-10 in its return Santa Barbara was last season’s WCRHL regional 2016-17 season by holding a 10-team preseason to WCRHL play last season (and finished 2-1 in the Division I runner-up. preseason event). The Broncos plan to field teams at This season’s Division II lineup includes Chico tournament Oct. 1 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline. Teams from four different competition tiers both the Division II and Division III levels this season. State University, UC Berkeley, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU USD and UC Santa Barbara both had impressive Fullerton, UC Irvine, Northern Arizona University, UC participated along with a WCRHL alumni squad: Long San Diego, University of Arizona and University of Beach State, Arizona State and UC Santa Barbara 2-1 preseason showings while ASU’s Division I team from Division I; CSU Fullerton, UC Irvine and Cal Poly went undefeated (3-0) and its Division III team finished Southern California. Chico State topped the regular season standings Pomona from Division II; Arizona State and Cal Poly 2-1.

Site selection for NCRHA nationals beginning in earnest T

he 2017 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournament will take place in early April in Ft. Myers, Fla. The 2016 tournament took place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The site of the 2018 tournament will be announced next spring. The annual site change makes the trek to the national championship tournament an exciting adventure for qualified teams. According to NCRHA executive director Brennan Edwards, who also serves as league director for the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL), the site selection starts as much as two to three years in advance for each tournament. “We meet with convention and visitors bureaus and sports commissions all over the country,” Edwards explained. “We receive several bids and our 20

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board of directors works to determine the one to be selected. We may have one to three site visits that are needed in order to make this decision. Typically, this is done by Rob Coggin, who serves as NCRHA director of league operations. “Approximately one year out we announce the next year’s dates and location.” Edwards said the majority of preparation takes place from January to March. The NCRHA announces its team selections typically the first or second Monday in March. The actual national championship tournament takes place the first or second week in April. Edwards said several agenda items need to come together to secure a successful bid. The bid needs to make sense financial to all parties – the venue, local convention and visitors bureau, the

NCRHA and its teams. Event planning highlights include hotel housing (preferably with an online portal for teams to register), the layout of the venue site lobby with NCRHA information, tournament schedules on large television screens and areas for photo and video vendors. Also the building/rink decoration should include event logo stickers at many places within the arena. “From the front door down to the face-off dots,” Edwards noted. Edwards said event production on-site is another key hurdle to clear. “It’s about what can we do in the arena that will make the event exciting,” he explained. “The last two years we have stepped it up with full player intros, letting them select their own warmup music, and using the spotlight at the arena for player introductions.” - Phillip Brents

Getting Schooled

Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic League back to meet the grade for ’16-17 campaign year competing in the fall-winter season and we have a very successful record, so everyone’s expectations chool is back in session and so is the Anaheim are high.” Ducks Inline Scholastic Hockey League (ADISL). Impact returners for Pacifica include sophomore The Orange County-based league is set to roll out goaltender Tyler Kitchen (who also plays ice hockey its fall-winter season on Oct. 30 following a full slate for Orange Lutheran High School in the Anaheim of preseason games. Ducks High School Hockey League) and sophomore Preseason games faced off Oct. 2 at The Rinksdefenseman Sawyer Pomeroy. Impact freshmen Irvine Inline. Each team is scheduled to play six games include Dylan McFall, a speedy forward with good – two games per night for three weeks – prior to the hands and a terrific shot, according to Evans, and start of the regular season. Preseason games are used tenacious defenseman Tyler Belthias. to set the skill level divisions for regular season play. Team goals are not unlike the other 21 teams in the “It’s going to be a challenge to split teams up into fall-winter league. four divisions since – other than a few teams at the top “I suppose the ultimate goal is to win the and bottom – there is a great deal of parity throughout championship for whatever division we play in,” Evans the league, with some of our strongest assessed. “My personal goal is to be teams having lost players to out-of-state competitive in every game and balance programs,” ADISL coordinator John that with the fun that is intrinsic to playing Paerels explained. “We’ll have a better hockey. We will do some team building idea of how things will shake out after the events like a miniature golf tournament preseason games.” and pizza parties. I remember from my Regular season play continues through playing days that the fondest memories February, followed by championship I have of team competition is the playoffs in each division. camaraderie you develop when you play with people you enjoy being with. The bond that grows is just as important as Roll call any trophy. So our goal is the same this A total of 22 teams are competing in year as all the previous years – have a the 2016-17 fall-winter season. fun, successful season.” Edison High School is fielding three Troy Benson manages the El Toro teams while Beckman, Marina and Chargers roller hockey program in Lake Santiago High Schools are each fielding Forest. As in any new season, teams two teams. Other participating high are dealing with the loss of several schools include Canyon, Capo Valley, El Toro, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fountain Valley, Canyon High School skated to the Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic League’s 2015-16 fall-win- key members of the varsity team to ter league’s Division 1 Tier 2 team championship. Photo/ADISL graduation. Laguna Hills, Mater Dei, Mission Viejo, “The goal this year is to blend some younger Newport Harbor, Northwood, Pacifica, Villa Park and He said in Pacifica’s case, that annual turnover can be players from our junior varsity team with our returning substantial. Woodbridge. “This season we have five returning players who varsity players,” Benson explained. Laguna Hills won last year’s Division 1 Tier 1 Returning team captain Travis Alexander should fall-winter league championship, while other division were freshmen last year,” Evans said. “The remainder champions included Canyon (Division 1 Tier 2), of last year’s team graduated. They have been spark the team offensively, while two seniors step up Fountain Valley (Division 2), Newport Harbor (Division replaced by three freshmen and an entry-level senior. into bigger roles in forward Brady Agor and defensive 3), Villa Park (Division 5) and Mission Viejo (Division At this point, I am not sure what division we will be anchor Eddie Wolbert. Defenseman Jean Luc Cazalis returns as the placed in, but I am confident it will be appropriate for 5). team’s puck mover, while junior Noah Saavedra Paerels said Beckman I rates as the ADISL’s our skill level. “The new team has real enthusiasm for the season steps up into the lead goaltender role. Saavedra’s solid strongest team entering the preseason while Marina I, Canyon and Laguna Hills Combo are “also in the mix,” to start. These kids love to play hockey. This is our sixth play will be one of the keys to the team’s defense. By Phillip Brents


he noted. Pacifica coach Steve Evans called the ADISL a “first-class, top-notch” organization. “Much of the credit should go to John Paerels for tirelessly trying to improve each league season,” Evans explained. “One example is that we now have six preseason games to help determine the division placement of each team. We have remarkable parity, which makes it much more fun for everyone involved. The entire league is run professionally, so hat’s off to the league.” Evans said Pacifica has one of the smallest student bodies among the participating schools and is subject to the usual turnover (graduating seniors and incoming freshmen) that all schools experience.

ADISL set to ‘spring forward’ to wrap-up 2016-17 A

fter the conclusion of the fall-winter season, the Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic League (ADISL) will roll out its popular spring season that provides an added opportunity for ice hockey players and teams to participate in scholastic inline play. The 2016 spring league featured 37 teams. Championship playoffs wrapped up June 5. The ADISL thus provides participation opportunities for approximately eight months out of a 12-month calendar year. “We had 24 teams for our fall-winter season last year and 25 each in the two years before that, so we’re down slightly, but in the spring we will go way up again when all of the ice players and teams come in,” league coordinator John Paerels explained. Last spring’s edition proved extremely competitive. Only one point separated first and second place and only two points separated third and seventh place in Division 6. Three points separated first through

fifth place in Division 4. Four points separated first through fourth place in Division 1 and first through

The Huntington Beach Oilers captured the Anaheim Ducks Inline Scholastic League’s spring league Division 1 team championship. Photo/ADISL

fifth place in Division 5. Five points separated first and fifth place in Division 3. The playoffs were very intense with 28 games

played in a three-day stretch, including all eight championship games on the final night. Spring league champions included Huntington Beach (Division 1), Beckman I (Division 2), Mater Dei (Division 3), Chino Hills/Ayala (Division 4 Tier 1), Aliso Niguel (Division 4 Tier 2), Trabuco Hills (Division 5), Mission Viejo (Division 6 Tier 1) and Woodbridge (Division 6 Tier 2). Combined with the 2015-16 fall-winter season, 13 different schools won championships last year. Scoring leaders during the spring season included Mater Dei’s Blaise Johnson (24 goals, 45 assists), Irvine’s Ruslan Patterson (32 goals, 44 points), Northwood’s Jacob Margolin (36 goals, 42 points), Tesoro’s Wyatt Allen (31 goals, 39 points) and Laguna Hills’ Paul Selleck (26 goals, 39 points). - Phillip Brents


A Perfect Ten

Give Blood Play Hockey celebrates milestone 10th anniversary event By Phillip Brents


he Give Blood Play Hockey inline hockey charity tournament has reached a milestone with its tenth annual event scheduled Oct. 20-23 at The Rinks Irvine Inline. In celebrating that milestone, this year’s event will be chock-full of family-friendly activities. “This year we hope to hit the $750,000 mark on the way to our goal of $1 million dollars donated to Children’s Hospital of Orange County for research into clinical trials and the genomics of diseases like cancer and blood disorders,” explained tournament co-founder Mary Quayle. Tournament organizers are expecting another sold-out field of more than 100 teams. Divisions include 8U-18U youth, high school varsity, JV-A and JV-B, college, women’s and men’s/ coed divisions. Skill levels range from beginner to advanced. But the pursuit of the coveted Blood Cup is only part of the event. As part of the event’s tenth anniversary, GBPH tournament organizers have launched a $10 for 10 campaign. The goal, Quayle said, is to encourage supporters to recruit 10 other people to each donate $10. All funds go directly to the children’s hospital. “We encourage everyone to participate,” she said.

inaugural “blood drop” is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. Quayle explains: “At Give Blood Play Hockey 2015, we started tracking our blood donations hourly by filling our GBPH bloodometer (with colored red beads) to visually represent the pints of blood collected at the event, with each one getting us a little closer to our goal and eventually exceeding it. “This year, we had four remote blood drives hosted prior to our main Give Blood Play Hockey event. We are proud to kick-off our blood drive this year with a special event. Leadership from each of our community blood drives will join us at the rink to drop in the blood donations from their individual drives.” Community leadership includes Pacific Premier Bank, Jabil Engineering, Hybrid Apparel and the Lake Ariel Fire Department. Pacific Premier Bank has been an avid supporter

Other highlights

Blood drives

Blood donations have quadrupled since the tournament’s founding in 2007, including the 418 pints collected last year. Quayle noted that this year’s GBPH tournament will surpass the 2,500th pint of life saving blood collected. “We have first-time donors to donors who have given all 10 years,” she said. Blood mobiles will be on site Oct. 21 through Oct. 23. A special event is planned to commemorate this year’s multiple community blood donations. The

is celebrated throughout the annual event and this year his hometown in northeastern Pennsylvania banded together in his memory to host two blood drives organized and led by his daughter, Heidi Clauss. Heidi will be making the trip from Pennsylvania to drop pints raised by the Lake Ariel Fire Department into the bloodometer. Jabil Engineering in Anaheim has hosted a blood drive for the past three years. This year’s drive collected 22 pints. Timothy Corcoran, grandson of Peter Clauss, also a Jabil Engineering employee, was inspired to found the drive within his organization. Stemming from the passion of one of the GBPH tournament’s young volunteers, Samantha Mayer, Hybrid Apparel held its inaugural drive on Oct. 13. “At this year’s event, we will encourage other Give Blood Play Hockey supporters to host a blood a drive,” Quayle explained.

and title sponsor of Give Blood Play Hockey since the tournament’s founding. The bank has hosted an annual blood drive and this year collected a record 55 pints – what Quayle called “our largest remote drive to date.” Quayle founded the GBPH tournament as a student project to help pay forward blood donations following the death of her grandfather, Peter Clauss, from a rare form of cancer. Clauss’ memory

Tournament organizers are adding a bit of fun this year with their newest sponsor in Taco Bell. The company’s street team will be attending the event on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 22-23) while helping with the skills competition. Additionally, the company will be sponsoring a photo booth. This year’s GBPH event will once again feature a delicious line up of food truck vendors, the TLC Sidewalk Cafe, an exhibition game by the Anaheim Ducks Top Flight Street Hockey League, skills competition events for 8U, 10U and 12U divisions, as well as appearances by the CHOC Choco bear, Ducks mascot Wild Wing, Power Players dance team and the Ducks street team. Several awards will also be presented: the Keeper Award for team that raises the most money for CHOC, the Volunteer of the Year Award and the Partner of the Year Award. For more information, visit www.givebloodplayhockey. org.

Give Blood Play Hockey tournament all about giving back T

he Give Blood Play Hockey inline hockey charity tournament isn’t just about receiving; it’s also about giving back to the community. GBPH grants two major scholarships each year. The Casey Strale “Who Do You Play For?” scholarship is named in memory of tournament ambassador Casey Strale, whose courageous fight against a rare form of cancer inspired numerous tournament-goers and placed a human face on the tournament. The Peter Clauss “Bleed By Example” scholarship is named in honor of tournament co-founder Mary Quayle’s late grandfather, whose passing proved to be the inspiration for the founding of the GBPH tournament. Both scholarships carry $500 awards. Quayle said the main goal of the scholarships is to inspire young people to make contributions to their individual communities and charities while providing awards to those who are currently making a positive 22

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The No Hair Don’t Care ceremonial hair-cutting difference in their own schools, towns and cities. The Peter Clauss scholarship was set up by his is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 23. Sponsored by Vogue Salon to benefit Locks of Love, wife, Jane, to recognize a high school all hair donations will be used to make senior who is setting a positive example wigs for people in need. in their community. Casey Strale Day is scheduled Last year’s recipients were Andrew Saturday, Oct. 22. The all-day tribute Hernandez (Casey Strale scholarship) will be topped by the release of sky and Michael Wong (Peter Clauss lanterns that evening. scholarship). Candles and eco-wire with free Hernandez is currently a student at sky lanterns will be sold at the event. Orange Coast College, while Wong Attendees are invited to light their graduated from Woodbridge High School and now attends the University candles and lanterns in the evening of Southern California. ceremony to honor Casey, those Two more scholarships will be currently battling cancer and others Casey Strale awarded to deserving youths at this we have lost their lives to this horrible year’s GBPH event. disease. All proceeds will benefit the CHOC Other highlighted activities include the ninth Foundation for Children. annual No Hair Don’t Care donation and Casey Strale Day. - Phillip Brents

Chico State inline president Claunch ‘stoked to be back’ By Phillip Brents


an Jose native Zac Claunch is the new president of the Chico State University roller hockey team. Claunch brings international experience to the Wildcats after competing in the last two FIRS inline hockey world championship tournaments as a member of Team USA’s junior men’s national team. This is Claunch’s second year on the Chico State team. He contributed 20 goals and 31 points in 16 regular season games last season to finish third overall in scoring. Including playoff games, he tallied 25 goals and 42 points in 23 games. “This is my second year playing college hockey and am super stoked to be back,” he said. The Wildcats are looking forward to another standout season after posting a 13-2-1 regular season finish in 2015-16 and trip to the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) national championship tournament. “We lost one player and will be losing another half way through the season, but also pick up a returning player halfway through, so it kind of evens out,” Claunch explained. “Our team has had four practices at this point and is looking just as strong as last year. We are looking to go to nationals for the third year in a row and hoping to do better than last year.” Top returners, besides Claunch, include defenders Cole Euell, Cole Wilsie and Carly Marquiss, and forward Ben Scott. Euell led the team with 51 points last season. “We are looking forward to having another very successful year and picking up where we left off,” Claunch said. “Overall, we’re just really excited to get

this season up and running and have another successful year.” Claunch grew up playing inline hockey in San Jose, starting with the Mustangs club team when he was 11 and then moving over to the NorCal Riot when he was 13. He joined the Silicon Valley

San Jose native Zac Claunch represented the United States junior men’s national team at both the 2015 and 2016 FIRS inline hockey world championship tournaments.

Quakes as a second-year Pee Wee and played with that club until he aged out of youth hockey. Claunch said he stuck mainly with the same core group of players, including Marquiss, through his youth hockey experience.

Team USA

Claunch journeyed to Argentina two summers ago

and to Italy this past summer. A fourth-place finish at the 2015 tournament was a personal highlight. “Both experiences were experiences of a lifetime that I will never ever forget,” he explained. “I loved playing at such a competitive level and meeting new teammates each year.” Claunch said the Team USA players were treated like celebrities by the local citizens in Argentina. “Everyone was obsessed with Team USA and always begging for our hats, jerseys, T-shirts and sweatsuits,” he explained. “Kind of felt like a celebrity over there.” This past summer’s tournament took place in picturesque Asiago. The U.S. team had a tougher draw and a much more difficult run in the playoffs. “Everyone was super nice (there),” Claunch said of the trip to Italy. “Loved the pizza and gelato.” A recurring theme at the international level is getting a team to bond with minimal practice time. “It was very difficult to get acquainted with the players in one 45-minute practice,” Claunch said. “It is also a very nerve-racking practice because you are trying to prove yourself and set yourself up with a good spot on the team for the tournament. It is also nerve-racking because lots of teams would come out to watch us practice. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that since we have such a large country, we can’t meet halfway in our own country to go practice whereas smaller countries like Switzerland, Spain, France and the Czech Republic, for instance, can get together multiple times, often months in advance, to get ready for the world tournament. That’s a little unfair, but it is what it is.”



California Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT Newport Beach native Brannon McManus makes a play for Team LeClair at the 2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which was showcased Sept. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Photo/Len Redkoles

Walnut Creek native Patrick Khodorenko looks to get open while skating for Team Howe at the 2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which was showcased Sept. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Photo/ Len Redkoles

Huntington Beach product Sasha Chmelevski makes a move on a defender while playing for Team LeClair at the 2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which was showcased Sept. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Photo/Len Redkoles

On a recent day that was clearly too nice to be indoors, the Las Vegas Storm junior team in the Western States Hockey League ventured outdoors and worked out at The Gardens Park at Summerlin. Photo/Gabe Gauthier

Santa Barbara Royals goalie Matthew Park makes a stick save on the Kern County Knights’ Kiel Nance during their LAKHSHL opener on Sept. 24 at Ice in Paradise in Goleta. The Royals won the game 5-0. Photo/Steve Solomon

Central Cathedral High School co-captains, pictured from left, Jack Radley, Drew Jones and goalie Patrick Henson are all smiles after CC’s championship win over JSerra Catholic High School at the Orange County Labor Day Hockey Festival on Sept. 5.

California Rubber Magazine staff writer Greg Ball and his wife, Lindsey, welcomed their daughter, Avery, into the world on Sept. 2 in Encinitas.

Anaheim product Ivan Lodnia assesses the play for Team LeClair at the 2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which was showcased Sept. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Photo/Len Redkoles

Los Angeles Jr. Kings graduate Kailer Yamamoto makes a play for Team Howe at the 2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which was showcased Sept. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center in PhiladelphiaPhoto// Len Redkoles

Chris Sutter, son of LA Kings head coach Daryl Sutter, took a trip down to Angels Stadium on Oct. 1 on behalf of the Pujols Family Foundation and spent time with LA Angels slugger Mike Trout. Photo/LA Kings PR

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Position: Forward, Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) Hometown: Whittier Age: 27 Last amateur team: University of Nebraska-Omaha (then WCHA) Youth teams: Beach City Lightning, Huntington Beach Sun Devils, L.A. Jr. Kings


hite went to his first NHL camp this fall with the Nashville Predators after playing well for their American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee last season after being called up from the ECHL. The fourth-year pro scored at least 22 goals in each of his first three seasons and he has represented Team USA multiple times in international inline hockey competitions. California Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up? Matt White: One of my favorites was during my first season playing ice hockey with the Beach City Lightning when we won a CAHA championship. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play ice hockey then, but what kid wouldn’t want to win a state title. CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving California? MW: For me, it’s the first game at every level. Going into junior the whole year was great – we won the whole thing at Omaha (USHL’s Clark Cup in 2008). The year before, I played at Cushing Academy, which was a mini-college experience and my first time away from home. My first college game at UNO was memorable. CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice? MW: My older brother, Ronnie, got me started, taking me to roller rinks. He and my grandma drove me everywhere. My AAA coach, Nelson Emerson, taught me a lot about the game at higher levels. Mike Hastings at Omaha helped, that was my biggest transition, from being a kid to playing junior and becoming a young man. Brad Broadhead was my first coach with Beach City. CR: What advice would you give young hockey players? MW: Enjoy the game. Don’t be too serious and enjoy your time with your friends. And stay positive. You never know what could happen. Just keep playing if that is your dream. CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? MW: I enjoyed baseball, and I played soccer as a kid, but I always went back to hockey. CR: What is your ideal pregame meal? MW: Usually something with chicken, either rice or pasta. CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about? MW: My sticks. You don’t mess with those. It takes time to customize it how you want it. CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip? MW: I’ve always got to have headphones. It’s important to enjoy some quiet time before you get to the rink. A pillow and a little snack. CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant? MW: There are a lot of nice local places around Orange County, but In-N-Out is my favorite place to eat. CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up? MW: Jeremy Roenick. The first game I saw in person at the Great Western Forum was when Chicago played the Kings and he had three or four points and was all over the place getting into scrums. When you’re a kid, the guy who scores the most is usually the favorite.

Photo/Milwaukee Admirals.


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Chris Bayee

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Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

California Rubber Magazine - October 2016  

The October 2016 Issue of California Rubber Magazine, California's & Nevada's Authoritative Voice of Ice & Inline Hockey!

California Rubber Magazine - October 2016  

The October 2016 Issue of California Rubber Magazine, California's & Nevada's Authoritative Voice of Ice & Inline Hockey!


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