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Just three youth programs in all of California have been honored as USA Hockey American Development Model Associations and the latest – the Anaheim Ducks triumvirate of the Jr. Ducks, Lady Ducks and The Rinks – has long been a great example of growth, development and advancement JR. SHARKS CONTINUE TO GROW, ADD ANOTHER 10U TEAM FOR ’16-17




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FROM THE EDITOR With a new season comes renewed confidence, sky-high optimism


hen September rolls around at the start of each season, in hockey terms, it’s the equivalent to Jan. 1 and resolutions being made with the goal of improving one’s life. Once the Labor Day tournaments conclude, most youth hockey teams have already set goals to still be playing meaningful games in late March and early April. Alas, it’s a long season. Talk to any coach at any level in September and their confidence is through the roof and their team is one that should “be there at the end” in March and April. This season is no different and that’s why the games are played. Matt Mackinder That said, I offer three things to all those coaches and players this season – 1) Play the right way, 2) Be safe and respect the game, and 3) Game on! As the summer drew to an unofficial close, USA Hockey announced the 42 players who will compete in the fifth annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game set for Sept. 22 at Wells Fargo Center, home of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. California natives Sasha Chmelevski (Huntington Beach, Wildcats), Patrick Khodorenko (Walnut Creek, Oakland Bears, Santa Clara Blackhawks, LA Selects), Ivan Lodnia (Anaheim, Wildcats) and Brannon McManus (Newport Beach, LA Selects), in addition to Los Angeles Jr. Kings graduate Kailer Yamamoto, have been named to the roster. Each year the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game assembles the top U.S. players who are eligible for the upcoming NHL Draft. Following last year’s game, 25 players that participated in the contest went on to be chosen in the 2016 NHL Draft, including a record 10 first-round selections.

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publisher: Brian McDonough senior editor: Matt Mackinder inline editor: Phillip Brents senior designer: Julie Wilson


The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) have signed forward Taylor Urch for the upcoming 2016-17 season. Urch, an Anaheim native, comes to the Gold Miners from the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 18U AAA team that won a California state championship this past spring. During the last nine years, Urch has helped his teams win or tie 72 percent of their games, including winning two California state championships, a USA Hockey Pacific District AAA championship, a high school championship with Villa Park High School, participating in a U.S. National Skills Competition and playing in the USA Hockey Youth Nationals twice. “I am excited to come to Kirkland Lake and play for coach Marc Lafleur and the Gold Miners,” said Urch. “They have an excellent program and I look forward to helping the team bring home the NOJHL championship trophy to Kirkland Lake again this season.” Over the summer, six California natives represented the United States at international tournaments and gained valuable experience and in some cases, hardware. Laguna Hills product and Lady Ducks grad Annie Pankowski, who played for the U.S. Women’s Under-22 Select Team in a three-game series against Canada from Aug.17-20 at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta, was part of the Team USA squad that lost two one-goal games and won the third game by a single goal. Pankowski, who will be back at the University of Wisconsin this fall, tallied two goals and an assist in Calgary. Corona’s Cayla Barnes captained the U.S. at the Under-18 Series, a threegame series versus Canada that features the U.S. Women’s Select Team. Team USA took two of three in Calgary from Aug. 18-21 and Barnes recorded two assists from the blue line. Lodnia, Chmelevski (who led the team in scoring with five goals and 10 points) and McManus then took silver at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic from Aug. 6-13 before Slava Demin, a Cypress native and Jr. Ducks grad, registered a goal in four games as Team USA went undefeated and won the U17 Five Nations Tournament, which was held in Frisco, Tex., from Aug. 9-13.

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

The HB Militia played extremely well en route to recording a runner-up finish in the Pee Wee Platinum Division at July’s NARCh East Cost Finals in Florida. More inline hockey coverage this issue starting on Page 22. Photo/NARCh

ON THE COVER To celebrate the distinction of being named a USA Hockey Model Association, players from the Anaheim Ducks youth association gathered recently at The Rinks-Anaheim Ice to honor the program’s achievements. Pictured, from left to right, are Trevor Connelly (Jr. Ducks Pee Wee AA), Ben Fox (Jr. Ducks Bantam A), Ben Sherman (Jr. Ducks Bantam AA), Presley Hutchinson (The Rinks Rec Mite), Joseph Puls (The Rinks Rec Bantam), Emme Hayes (Lady Ducks 14U AAA) and Mila Advani (Lady Ducks 8U). Photo/Joe Naber


Role Models

USA Hockey honors The Rinks, Jr. Ducks and Lady Ducks as Model Associations The ADM was years of research in the making, and its implementation has coincided with a surge in hockey’s popularity and an increase in the amount of players he Anaheim Ducks youth hockey program scored its most impressive hat trick of all levels, not the least of which is professional and college, in the United States. yet, but the real winners are young players in the region. “Obviously, our numbers in-house to the Jr. Ducks to the Lady Ducks, if there is Back on Aug. 16, USA Hockey announced that The Rinks, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks any club capable of doing this, it’s us,” said Johnson, a longtime NHL player who and the Anaheim Lady Ducks received American Development Model Association spearheaded the Jr. Ducks’ successful transition into Tier I hockey. designations. It was the first time USA Hockey has honored three programs within The Jr. Ducks have sent AAA teams to the USA Hockey Youth Nationals the past an organization as such. three years, and have had numerous Pacific District and CAHA state champions. The Ducks youth program is the 21st honored overall across the country. “USA Hockey will help us get better,” Johnson added. “They’ve studied the top The acknowledgement means the programs have committed to implement pro- models from all over the world to come up with this, and for us to be able to implegramming dedicated to age-appropriate, age-specific skill development in accor- ment this will only help. dance with USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) throughout the “When they were here, they went through practice plans, and they do a great 8U, 10U and 12U classifications. job with those – they keep kids moving The recognition is an affirmation of and developing skills while having fun.” the approaches The Rinks, the Jr. Ducks The youth programs will receive and the Lady Ducks have espoused support from USA Hockey to further throughout their histories, said Art implement the ADM, including in-perTrottier, vice president of The Rinks son coaches training, on-ice instruction and president of the Jr. Ducks. and parent resources from USA Hock“We have been doing a lot of it aley’s national staff. Additionally, the youth ready, so we figured, ‘Let’s apply and programs will receive equipment, sigsee what happens,’” he said. “We have nage and educational support from a good relationship with USA Hockey and they know what kind of organization we USA Hockey. have.” That also will augment The Rinks’ wildly popular Learn to Play and Hockey InitiThe approach of The Rinks’ massive in-house program, under the leadership of ation programs. longtime hockey director Rick Hutchinson, the Lady Ducks, under longtime direcFor all the programs have accomplished, it might be just the tip of the iceberg tor Kathy McGarrigle, and the Jr. Ducks, under Trottier, and director of coaches for the teams with a webbed foot on their jerseys. Craig Johnson is simple: Grow the game by creating as many opportunities as “When The Rinks’ four-sheet facility is built in the Great Park, think about the possible for young people to experience it. impact of that,” McGarrigle said. “It could double our participation. “We’ve been trying to “We could not do this without grow the game for as long (Anaheim Ducks owners) Henas we’ve existed (nearly 20 ry and Susan Samueli’s supyears),” Trottier said. “A lot port and passion for growing the of people thought we should game.” have gone into (boys) AAA The synergy from the top down long ago, but we weren’t in the Ducks organization is makwilling to give up the grass ing a deep impression, McGarrigle roots.” added. McGarrigle has wit“Whether you play for The nessed that first-hand as the Rinks, the Jr. Ducks or the Lady Lady Ducks have grown from Ducks, every player gets two two teams to 13 in this milDucks jerseys,” she said. “It could lennium. be the first game you’ve played or “It starts with Art,” she you could be a AAA player who’s said. “He was adamant that played 400 games. Regardless, we were going to keep kids you can say, ‘I’m a Duck.’ playing, grow the game and “That speaks volumes about never give up the in-house, the growth we’ve had and how which is the basis for this, to we’re making progress on the task have elite teams. That is the of how do we get people to love message from the top down, the game for the rest of their lives.” to provide kids incredible opThe honor is humbling, but the portunities. organization’s leaders say it only “’Hutch’ is the lynchpin. As the 21st USA Hockey program to be deemed an American Development Model Association, the Anaheim Ducks youth adds fuel to make them work even He built up the Jr. Ducks as program has shown the country what it means to develop its players and to keep “doing the right thing,” according to The harder going forward. They know well as running The Rinks Rinks hockey director Rick Hutchinson. Photo/Joe Naber what’s at stake. programs. He and other coaches who don’t get a lot of recognition – the Barry “I’m always looking over my shoulder because we’ve got to keep improving,” Sherers, Jeff Noviellos and Dan Adams of the world and others who continued McGarrigle said. coaching in-house and with the Jr. Ducks after their kids aged out.” Added Hutchinson: “We want to continue to do skill development and training The scale of the programs is impressive. the right way. We’re not putting an emphasis on numbers. We want to teach these The Rinks alone has about 50 in-house teams, Hutchinson said, plus growing youngest players agility, athleticism and complement the values their families are Hockey Initiation and Learn 2 Play programs that can include as many as 70 players teaching.” per session. Johnson said the honor also ups the ante for the coaches. The Jr. Ducks will have between 25 and 30 teams this season, and the Lady “As a club, we can always get better,” he said. “As coaches, we can help players Ducks stand at 13 and counting. even more. We need the buy-in to what USA Hockey is giving us. When everyone “USA Hockey told us this is the perfect model for three clubs,” Hutchinson said. is on the same page, we can do great things.” “We’re the first in the nation to get this honor. We knew we were doing the right The Rinks-Jr. Ducks-Lady Ducks triumvirate becomes the third organization in thing all along. We’re thankful for their acknowledgement. California to be honored as a Model Club Association by USA Hockey, joining the “We want USA Hockey to be more involved in Orange County and beyond.” San Jose Jr. Sharks and the Wildcats Hockey Club. By Chris Bayee



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SafeSport focuses on off-ice safety and communication By John B. Spigott


he California Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) isn’t solely focused on the training and development of their players on the ice – off-ice safety is also a high priority. SafeSport is a program designed to look out for players by implementing child protection safeguards within both CAHA and USA Hockey. Ensuring the safety of hockey players off the ice is the objective, and creating a culture where personnel, children and CAHA members feel confident and comfortable speaking out on issues ranging from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse to bullying, hazing, and other threats and harassment will help eliminate dangerous situations. Ultimately, SafeSport provides training and guidance to help protect players, coaches, and volunteers alike. “Everyone has to do an online module in addition to having a written SafeSport policy and procedure,” said Chris Hathaway, board member for CAHA and president of the California Cougars hockey program in Cupertino. “Everyone that’s on the roster or that comes into contact with the kids has to take this training module. We also took it one step further, so just like your in-person coaches and referees seminars, we require at least one representative from every team in the state to attend the SafeSport meeting, which is put on by CAHA member and SafeSport coordinator Lance Burrow.” The Safesport program brings together various policies and procedures already in place within USA Hockey that are specifically designed to protect participants. These ex-

isting policies are then combined with several components to make a comprehensive program that includes training, reporting and follow-up, response protocols, as well as monitoring and supervision procedures. The program is designed to provide clear guidelines and expectations for all players, coaches and organization members on abuse or misconduct prevention strategies, appropriate behavior, effective response to concerns, and training and education. “It’s sometimes hard to draw a line between kids being kids and having fun and doing a little bit of teasing, and something that would be constituted as hazing,” said Hathaway. “But when in doubt, we definitely err on the side of caution. If nothing else, SafeSport makes it a huge deterrent for a coach or someone with questionable intentions to come into our sport knowing the protocols that are in place, and that’s good.” Hathaway points out that while SafeSport does its job when it comes to preventing potential coaches or managers who are known offenders from getting involved, it’s still important for parents, kids, and CAHA coaches and managers to be working together to constantly have clear lines of communication. “Between background screening checks and SafeSport policies and procedures, anyone that’s been convicted

of any sort of crime has zero chance of getting on a roster in any capacity,” said Hathaway. “SafeSport is 100 percent fail-proof, unless somebody doesn’t have a record yet. But we like to stress that just because we go to extensive measures to protect players, parents still need to be talking with their kids and paying attention to what their kids are doing.” Implemented prior to the 2013-14 season, Hathaway says the program has consistently been used as a benchmark for other hockey associations across the country, and CAHA regularly works with USA Hockey to provide examples for how the program has taken off in California. “The seminars we did this year were videotaped, and USA Hockey is going to start using that as additional training for everybody,” said Hathaway. “So, we’re kind ahead of the curve. And what’s nice is we have someone heading it up in Lance who knows the law, and knows what you can and cannot do. Some people would be surprised what you can’t do.” For more information on CAHA’s SafeSport policies and procedures, visit and click on the SafeSport link. You can also contact SafeSport coordinator Lance Burrow at or Laura Cahn at


Whether books, pucks or waves, Drexler keeps her balance By Chris Bayee


f an opponent derisively asks Manhattan Beach’s Kara Drexler, “Where’s the surfboard?” she’d probably tell them, “In the garage ’til summer.” In addition to being a top-four defenseman for Yale University and a two-time ECAC Hockey All-Academic pick, the junior moonlights as a surf camp instructor during her summers at home in California. “I like working with kids and being able to teach them something I enjoy,” she said. “It’s great seeing kids being active and having fun. I started teaching at 14 as a junior instructor and then again the past two summers.” Her pleasant demeanor – “She has a big smile on her face all the time,” Anaheim Lady Ducks director Kathy McGarrigle said – belies an ultracompetitive streak. And that, as much as anything, is why the 5-foot-4 economics major is making waves in college hockey. “She experienced tremendous growth from her freshman to sophomore years and became one of our top-four defensemen,” Yale coach Joakim Flygh said. “She shows up every day and competes hard. She always has the same compete level. “She’s a great teammate, and one who is well respected.” Drexler began skating at the age of eight in the Toyota Sports Center in-house league. Two years later, she began playing travel hockey with the Lady Ducks. Over the next eight years, she and a host of her Lady Ducks teammates developed to the point that a majority of them now are playing college hockey.

“To be able to keep playing and pursue a great dent-athlete at Yale,” Flygh said. “During midterms, education is the best of both worlds,” she said. “I we as coaches try to back off a bit. But these kids really connected with those Lady Ducks teams. come in with great time management skills.” We had a lot of good teams, and we became close Drexler was a four-time captain for the Lady friends.” Ducks, and those attributes are moving to the foreHockey proved to be the perfect challenge for front at Yale as well. Drexler’s combination of drive and intellect. “She’s a leader for us,” Flygh said. “Her class has “She has a lot of talent eight girls in it and they are and is super smart, but she the core of our team. We worked hard at improvexpect a lot from them from ing her shooting and stick a production standpoint. skills to get where she is,” They’re a very tight-knit said McGarrigle. “Anything group, and one that will take she felt she was behind on, us where we need to go.” she’d work on it.” The next step for the Drexler’s work ethic was Bulldogs is finishing in the at least as apparent in the top eight of the competitive classroom, where she exECAC in order to reach the celled during her four years conference playoffs. From at Mira Costa High and has there, their sights are set continued to do at Yale. higher. “It takes up a lot of time, “Obviously, the ultimate so there’s not much free would be a national chamtime between school and pionship,” Drexler said. “We hockey,” she said. “But I like have some steps to take bewhat I’m doing, so it’s not a fore then, starting with getburden.” ting into the playoffs and the But it can be a sacrifice. NCAAs. Drexler’s situation isn’t dif“We have a hard-workferent from that thousands Manhattan Beach native and Anaheim Lady Ducks grad Kara ing team, that’s one of our of other NCAA athletes Drexler is excelling on and off the ice as a true student-athlete at biggest assets, and it’s a face, though the ante is NCAA Division I Yale University. Photo/Sam Rubin/Yale Athletics great building block.” upped at an Ivy League school. And it’s one that reflects Drexler’s progression “(Balancing academics) is hard for any stu- through the game.

AHL rosters to be fully loaded after NHL training camps By Phillip Brents


y all accounts, the American Hockey League’s (AHL) inaugural 2015-16 Pacific Division campaign was a smashing success. It accomplished all its goals, and then some. Fans can look forward to the 2016-17 AHL season when it faces off Oct. 14. All five California-based franchises return: the Pacific Division champion Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings), division runner-up San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks), playoff qualifier San Jose Barracuda (San Jose Sharks), Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers) and Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames). The division proved extremely competitive last season, with the Barracuda securing the league’s final playoff berth in the final game of the AHL’s regular season schedule. The five California teams join the San Antonio Rampage (Colorado Avalanche) and Texas Stars (Dallas Stars) as returning members in the division. Those seven teams are joined this season by the transplanted and renamed Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes. During the offseason, the Coyotes purchased their AHL affiliate in Springfield, Mass., and moved the team to southeastern Arizona to better serve the parent club with a pipeline of readily available talent. The Roadrunners face off their inaugural AHL season Oct. 14 when they visit San Diego.

New horizons

NHL training camps traditionally open in mid-September, often with a rookie camp preceding the main camp. All players under contract to an NHL team, includ8

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ing those on two-way contracts, compete for jobs on opening day rosters. Players also can be signed to a pro tryout (PTO) and participate in the main camp. The NHL season faces off Oct. 12. NHL teams usually make cuts in a series of stages. Players assigned to AHL teams will practice with their respective AHL clubs prior to the start of the AHL season. All 30 active NHL teams have AHL affiliates. Key points in training camp include conditioning and

Goaltender Peter Budaj led the AHL’s Ontario Reign to the Western Conference Finals last season and re-signed with the Los Angeles Kings during the offseason. Photo/Phillip Brents

assessment of skills for young prospects. The Kings will hold an intra-squad game Sept. 25 at Citizens Business Bank Arena, home of the Reign. The Sharks will participate in the 2016 Rookie Showcase, a three-day rookie tournament along with the Ducks and Avalanche, Sept. 17-19, at the Ice Centre at the Promenade in Westminster, Colo. Among the Ducks’ pool of 39 top prospects, 16 played in San Diego last season.

Monster mash

The Reign entered the 2015-16 season as the defending Calder Cup champion, paced the Pacific Division with a 44-19-4-1 regular season record and defeated the Barracuda (division semifinals) and Gulls (division finals) to reach the Western Conference championship series. Despite posting the conference’s top record, the Reign was swept in four games by the Central Division playoff champion Lake Erie Monsters, who went on to claim the 2016 Calder Cup championship with a four-game of the Hershey Bears in the finals. Lake Erie won the opening two games in the best-ofseven series in California by scores of 4-3 and 3-2 and deposed Ontario as AHL champions 4-0 and 2-1 (in double overtime) in Cleveland. The catalyst of Lake Erie’s championship run was goaltender Anton Forsberg, who went 9-0 with a 1.34 goals-against-average in closing out the Monsters’ epic championship run. Reign netminder Peter Budaj led the AHL in regular-season totals for wins (42), GAA (1.75) and save percentage (.932). He has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kings.

Puck drops

San Diego and Ontario will face off twice in the preseason: Oct. 6 in Ontario and Oct. 10 at the Honda Center in Anaheim. San Jose will host Tucson (Oct. 6) and Bakersfield (Oct. 9) in a pair of preseason games at Sharks Ice. The Sharks made their history-making Stanley Cup playoff trek chock-full of players developed over the past several years through their AHL affiliate (nine original draft picks). The Barracuda will be looking to continue that trend this season.

College Hockey, Inc. Returns to Southern California

Advocates of the NCAA route educate local players, parents last month in Anaheim “Events like this bring college programs to the players and parents,” said Eigner, whose Falcons have two California natives on their roster. “Because of the location, it’s difficult for California players to attend college campuses and games, so at these seminars players and their parents can at least begin to get a feel for what certain schools are about. “We’ve had a California player on our team at Bowling Green for the past six years, and I really hope that continues. The skill level of players in California is very evident, and hopefully we’re able to recruit some of the high-end talent I’ve seen over the past couple of years.” Powers, whose Sun Devils will enter their first season as a full-fledged Division I program this year (it played a hybrid NCAA-American Collegiate Hockey Association schedule in 2015-16), believes College Hockey, Inc.’s presence in the region is vital. “They do an incredible job educating prospective players on the value and benefits of pursuing college hockey, and (the Anaheim seminar) was a tremendous experience to be a part of,” said Powers, who boasts three Southern California recruits in goaltender David

more motivation for Max - already a college hopeful. “It was great to be able to hear from college coachith the abundance of emerging hockey talent es and former players about what it’s really like to play coming out of the West Coast these days, playat the NCAA level and what’s needed to succeed,” ers and their families are forced to make some tough he said. “It was also really cool to be able to ask them decisions relating to their futures at a young age. questions and then play in front of them. It made it all Advocates of the college hockey experience real and makes me want to work even harder to get namely College Hockey Inc., an organization designed there.” to ensure those players and their families are in-tune Last year, 57 student-athletes from California with the NCAA route and all it has to offer, on the ice, played NCAA Division I men’s hockey - more than any academically and socially - converged on Southern other state outside of the more traditional hockey hotCalifornia last month to make their case. beds of Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan This year’s College Hockey Showcase, which was and Minnesota. held at The Rinks-Anaheim Ice and run in cooperation “It wasn’t long ago that you could count that numwith the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Los Angeles Jr. Kings, ber on one hand,” Snee said of California’s presence was tailored for the region’s top 2000-, 2001- and in the NCAA. “And based on the caliber of players we 2002-born male players and their families and featured saw this year in Anaheim, the numbers are only goa series of on-ice sessions and educational seminars. ing to grow. The NHL’s success throughout the state, Players from six programs were represented at coupled with USA Hockey’s vision of growth in places the event: the Jr. Ducks, California Titans, Jr. Kings, like California, is sure paying off.” Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, San Diego Jr. Gulls and Wildcats Approximately 30 percent of NHL players in 2015Hockey Club. 16 toiled in the NCAA ranks and, this past offseason, “California is a crucial area for us,” said College a record 66 NCAA players signed NHL contracts Hockey, Inc. executive director - soundly surpassing last sumMike Snee, who was in attendance mer’s 55 who inked NHL deals. along with deputy executive director That and the graduation rate Nate Ewell and director of eduof NCAA hockey players is 90 cation Brent Darnell. “The overall percent, which ranks near the growth of hockey across the state is top of all NCAA Division I men’s tremendous, and it’s not surprising sports. that some of the players are turning From a local perspective, out to be very skilled.” forward Beau Bennett, a forThe evening included Q-and-As mer Jr. King from Gardena who with three former NCAA players: played his college hockey at the Craig Johnson, the Jr. Ducks’ diUniversity of Denver, became rector of coaches who played at the the first-ever California bornUniversity of Minnesota; Alex Kim, and-trained player to hoist the the Jr. Ducks’ director of player perStanley Cup when the Pittssonnel and co-head coach of Anaburgh Penguins staked claim heim’s 16U AAA team (with Johnto the coveted trophy over the son) who skated at the University of summer. Miami-Ohio and Colorado College; “College hockey has never and Montreal Canadiens defensebeen in such a good spot,” said man Greg Pateryn, who played at Snee. the University of Michigan (Pateryn And with all the burgeoning is a Michigan native who trains in talent coming out of the region, Southern California during the offCollege Hockey Inc., which season). presents in person to players Two NCAA Division I coaches and families across the U.S. and Arizona State University head coach From left, the Montreal Canadiens’ Greg Pateryn (University of Michigan), Anaheim Jr. Ducks’ director of player Canada about 50 times a year, personnel Alex Kim (Miami (Ohio) University/Colorado College) and Jr. Ducks’ director of coaches Craig Johnson Greg Powers and Bowling Green (University of Minnesota) addressed a group of talented 2000-, 2001- and 2002-born players and their families absolutely plans to return to CalState University assistant Ty Eign- about their college hockey experience during last month’s College Hockey Showcase, which was held at The ifornia for a fourth visit in 2017 er - also addressed the players and Rinks-Anaheim Ice. Photo/Scott Eckstein - most likely at Toyota Sports their families, and Darnell delivered an detailed educa- Jacobson (Calabasas) and forwards Rory Herrman Center in El Segundo, says Snee. tional presentation. (Poway) and Jakob Romo (Fullerton). “As a program “They just get better every year,” said Snee, who “Our message to the players and parents is, first, located out west, we’re obviously excited to push the also noted that College Hockey Inc. hopes to add an learn all that you can about college hockey,” said Snee. NCAA message to California players.” event in Northern California in the near future. “From how good it is on the ice to the educational and Scott Eckstein, the father of Max Eckstein - a Powers wouldn’t be surprised if College Hockey social aspects of it; it’ll play a vital role in allowing an 2001 birth year playing in the Los Angeles Jr. Kings Inc.’s presence out west helps ignite more NCAA Diaspiring player to reach his full potential, both as a organization - was impressed with the wealth of infor- vision I programs to form in the region in the not-tooplayer and a person. mation delivered by all the presenters. distant future. “But we recognize that many players and their par“They did an outstanding job,” he said. “The pre“As hockey grows out west, it’s our hope ASU will ents feel certain pressures at very young ages and sentations clarified a number of questions I had relat- be the first of many dominoes in the area to go Division can be tempted to artificially attempt to speed up the ing to my son’s goal playing Division I hockey, and the I, and getting the very-talented state of California more process, so in addition to gathering information, we questions asked put straight some misnomers regard- educated on college hockey through any means necstress the importance of understanding what’s normal ing what coaches are looking for and how the process essary is a huge priority.” for a hockey player’s development and that patience really works. “It’d be exciting to see a few schools in California is vital.” “The skate the boys had in front of college coaches offer NCAA Division I hockey,” Snee added. “With so Powers and Eigner were also on hand to watch the was very good, too. All in all, it was a very worthwhile many good players in the state, the school could literon-ice scrimmages, which were broadcast live via the evening.” ally win a national championship with a roster made up Internet for other NCAA coaches to survey. From a player perspective, the event offered plenty entirely of California players.” By Brian McDonough



ADHSHL expansion due in large part to San Diego growth By Andrew Turner


f you build it, they will come. The Anaheim Ducks embarked on a mission to jumpstart the growth of youth hockey when they started a high school league in 2008. Once considered a longshot at best, the sport of hockey has a firm foothold in Southern California. This season, the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) has expanded from 48 to 51 teams. Much of that growth has come from the San Diego area. With the assistance of the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ American Hockey League affiliate, additional ice rinks have become available for league play. “I think the big deal is that with the advent of the growth in San Diego, we have three slots down in San Diego every weekend for games,” ADHSHL commissioner Matt Blanchart said. “It’s really taken some of the pressure off the scheduling in Orange County. “We can play a good portion of the games in San Diego that we were short on here. Playing 12 or 15 games a month in San Diego is going to be a big help.” High school hockey games will be played up and down all of Southern California. The Ducks’ Varsity Division 3 has become so large (14 teams) that league organizers have decided to split it into two seven-team conferences – Coast View and Crescent. Coast View Conference teams reside in Orange County. The Crescent Conference is aptly named for the shape its teams make geographically surrounding


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the Coast View teams. cause we had to fight our way through the playoffs. The size of Division 3 has allowed Blanchart and By the time we got to the semifinals against Edison, company to tinker with the league’s playoff structure which was a team we had beaten before, our guys a bit. Every team will be entered into the postsea- were so tired that that extra week of rest would have son single-elimination tournament. For the first time, been huge for us.” though, there is added incentive to There will be a new Dido well in the regular season. vision 3 champion this year. “For conference play in Division The previous divisional 3, we’re going to have each conchampion, St. John Bosco of ference winner get a bye for the Bellflower, has moved up to playoffs,” Blanchart Division 2. Teams that play said. “There will in Division 2 must achieve be a single brackpure-team status, meaning et, so there will that all of their players attend be one Division 3 the same school. champion, but the Blanchart said that the two conference league allows teams to dechampions will cide what division they want get byes in the to start the season in. After first round.” evaluating a team’s perMike Marshall, formance through the first an assistant coach month, the league reserves at Servite in Anathe right to place a team in heim, remarked that the division it deems most the first-round bye can competitive. only serve as added motivation Expansion has also to shoot for the top of the confer- Servite High School senior defenseman Nic Rut- reached Division 1, and it koski will be looked upon as a leader for his team ence. He invoked his team’s own in ADHSHL play this season. could have implications for experience to reiterate the signifithe national tournament. Precance of going for the Coast View Conference’s No. viously, California’s four Division 1 teams – Orange 1 seed. Lutheran, Santa Margarita, JSerra, and Bellarmine of “It increases the commitment level of the players,” San Jose – all received entry into the CAHA state he said. “Every game counts, and a chance to move tournament. up in the division and have that bye week and have The ADHSHL has also added the brand-new that rest is huge. I think we realized that last year be- Tahoe Hockey Academy for the 2016-17 season.”

Gulls’ first-year success leads to Coyotes hiring Segal By Phillip Brents


hile the American Hockey League (AHL) serves as a developmental league for the NHL, there was certainly nothing “minor league” about the San Diego Gulls in their inaugural AHL season in 2015-16. The Gulls, under the leadership of president of business operations Ari Segal, ranked second among the AHL’s 30 franchises with an attendance average of 8,675 fans. Moreover, the Gulls were recognized at July’s AHL Excellence Awards with the award for business excellence after becoming one of the league’s leaders in season tickets and group ticket sales, thus setting a standard of excellence for other franchises new and old to strive for. The hockey world took notice of the Gulls – and, specifically, Segal. He enters the 2016-17 season as chief operating officer of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. It’s a big – and well-deserved -- move up for the 2005 University of Virginia graduate. Segal’s primary responsibilities as the COO of the Coyotes will be to oversee the front office and revenue generating functions of the NHL club (e.g., ticket sales, corporate partnerships, premium sales, marketing), the Coyotes’ new AHL club, the Tucson Roadrunners, and the Coyotes’ third-party partnerships. Segal said his experience with the Gulls was critical in preparing him for his new position. “It would be nearly impossible to overstate how important that experience was in preparing me for this new role and opportunity,” Segal explained. “On a very basic level, as the president of the club,

I was exposed to every aspect of club operations percent renewal rate among season-ticket holders at a very deep level — sales, marketing, public rela- with 90-plus percent for multiple seasons. tions, communications, league governance, sched“In November, Nathan Beasley, our director of uling, etc. ticket sales, and I attended AHL meetings in Char“Also important, though, was that as a new fran- lotte (N.C.),” Segal recalled. “At those meetings, chise, we were building all we quickly realized how far of those functions from the behind we were in planning ground up. There was, thereour renewal campaign. It’s fore, no playbook to build not that we were entirely from — everything was a new unprepared, but we realbuild. This forced our team ized that at that moment, to educate itself about what we were falling short of the was successful in our league, high standards we set for in our sport, in our market, how we would do business in sports/entertainment genand serve our customers. erally, and even outside the “We created the San sports industry, and to then Diego Gulls Service Detry to cherry pick the best partment and established a practices that we felt would new mission: to provide the be the right fit for our product best customer service of and our market at that point any entity – not team – in in time, given the resources San Diego. We were going available. to lean into our most loyal “I wasn’t able to just infans, and make sure they crementally make tweaks or knew how much we apchanges or gradually layer preciated their loyalty and Ari Segal on additional responsibilities commitment to us. to my job description or role; I really had to help “I’m really proud of how we dealt with a bump in research, design, create, and execute every aspect the road. We saw it as an opportunity to rethink our of club operations. That experience, I believe, was business, to be flexible when flexibility was required invaluable.” and to think deeply about how we could better poSegal listed the team’s reorganization of its tick- sition ourselves for short and long term success. It et sales department as one of his proudest accom- was that thinking, combined with real organizational plishments from the Gulls’ inaugural season. After flexibility and, of course, great people that allowed the reorganization, the Gulls achieved a 90-plus us to achieve historic success last season.”


Outdoor youth tournament set for Bakersfield this winter By Greg Ball


t’s no secret that outdoor hockey has taken off in popularity over the last few years. The NHL’s Winter Classic and Stadium Series have been overwhelming successes, bringing the game back to its pond hockey roots and delivering added visibility for the sport. This winter, youth hockey players from across the Western United States and beyond will get to experience the thrill of bringing the game outdoors, as International Hockey Events will bring an outdoor tournament to Bakersfield. Produced by Golden State Hockey Rush and hosted by the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Bakersfield Condors as part of their Three-Way Chevrolet Condorstown Winterfest, the USA Hockey-sanctioned event will run from Dec 21-Jan. 7 and will be punctuated by an outdoor game between the Edmonton Oilers affiliate Condors and L.A. Kings affiliate Ontario Reign on its final night. “We’ve had an overwhelming response already from kids, parents and coaches,” said Barry Sherer, president of International Hockey Events. “The uniqueness of getting to play hockey outdoors is definitely going to be the biggest drawing card. “It’s a great location just north of L.A., and it’s driving distance from San Diego and Northern California. It gives all the California players an opportunity to experience this. Bakersfield also has direct flights from Phoenix and Colorado, and it’s close to Nevada and Utah, too. We’re hoping to get representation from all those statParents and coaches can find more information about the tournament at and can register there through

Nov. 15 or until the event sells out. While the AHL game will be the centerpiece of the 18-day hockey festival, event organizers knew there was a great opportunity to get youth hockey players involved and make the most of the resources it will take to build a temporary outdoor rink in Memorial Stadium, the 20,000-seat home of Bakersfield College football. Sherer is expecting 120-130 teams to participate. Teams will be guaranteed four games, with at least two of those outdoors and all division championship games outdoors (weather permitting). In addition to the Memorial Stadium rink, games will be played at the home of the Bakersfield Jr. Condors, the SJCH Ice Center. The tournament will feature divisions for nearly every age and skill level, with many offering two separate sessions, which Sherer said was designed to accommodate different school vacation schedules. ACHA Divisions II and III will take the ice first from Dec. 21-23. There will also be a 16U AA tournament on those dates, and a second tournament for that division Jan. 2-6. An 8U track tournament will be offered from Dec. 26-28 as well. From Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 2-6, the event will fea-

ture tournaments for 10U A, BB and B; 12U A, BB and B; and 14U A and B. From Dec. 29-Jan. 1, the event will offer tournaments for 12U AA, 14U AA; high school varsity D-I/18U AA, D-II and D-III/18U A; and high school junior varsity/16U A. While International Hockey Events has put on youth and adult tournaments dating back to 1994, this marks the first time the company will organize an outdoor tournament. Sherer said he’s looking forward to the experience, especially since many of the participants will be playing outdoors for the first time in their lives. Condors president Matt Riley said the Winterfest will include all types of activities to keep players busy and families entertained between games - public and family skates, obstacle courses, a kids play area, a zip line, snowman building area and more. “We used to joke that it would be cool to have an outdoor rink here in Bakersfield,” Riley said. “It was half in jest, but we kept it in the back of our minds, and then when we saw the Kings and Ducks play down at Dodger Stadium, we started to think it was a real possibility here. We’re excited for the AHL game and for the opportunity to host a large-scale youth tournament.”

International Hockey Events

2016-17 TOURNAMENT SERIES 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 JV

Condorstown Winterfest Outdoor Tournament Series at Bakersfield Memorial Stadium December 21, 2016 - January 7, 2017 U8 thru U18- Track 1 & 2, AA, A, BB & B divisions Adult and ACAHA divisions

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

For more information and to register, visit 12

California Rubber Hockey Magazine


Kings, TSC assume operations of Jr. Kings program By Brian McDonough


ver the last couple of years, the Los Angeles Kings have put forth a renewed and noticeable commitment towards expanding and developing the local youth hockey segment. That pledge took another significant step forward recently as the NHL team announced it, along with El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Center (TSC) - the official training facility of the Kings - will now operate the Los Angeles Jr. Kings program. The news broke to Jr. Kings membership at the club’s Annual General Meeting, which was held on Aug. 25 at TSC and included a presentation from the Kings’ president of business operations and alternate governor Luc Robitaille - a member of the Jr. Kings’ newly-formed Executive Committee - and the introduction of Nick Vachon as the organization’s general manager. A seasoned coach within the Jr. Kings’ program he’ll lead the club’s Pee Wee AAA2 team and assist the Midget 18U and 16U AAA squads this season - Vachon will oversee the hockey operations and player development structure of the Jr. Kings with the guidance and support of the two-time Stanley Cup champions. For Vachon, who for the past 15 years has owned and operated his own video production company, the chance to shift gears, professionally, made perfect sense all things considered. “I was looking for something new and wanted to get back into hockey full-time, so for the last year I’ve been

getting more involved with the older (Jr. Kings) teams in standing reputation in the local hockey community and addition to our (2005 Pee Wee AAA2 team),” he said. I have no doubt he, along with all of the other coaches “I was really enjoying coaching and being at the rink in the program, will help the club reach new levels, on more and involved with more teams, and when this op- and off the ice.” Vachon’s new role will concentrate on communicatportunity popped up I thought it was perfect timing.” Born in Montreal, Vachon played two years of NCAA ing and working directly with every coach within the Jr. Kings program in an effort to Division I hockey at Boston map out a proper and realistic University before skating two developmental blueprint for seasons with the Western each of its teams and players. Hockey League’s Portland “We’re going to have a Winterhawks. customized plan of what the The son of Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender RoMite-level kid is going to need gie Vachon (Rogie will be into work on and accomplish before they get to Squirts, and ducted into the Hockey Hall of with that help guide our coachFame in November), Nick then es as it relates to ideas and enjoyed a five-year professional ways to run their practices to career playing in the American make sure those expectations Hockey League, International are being met,” said Vachon. Hockey League and ECHL. He “And if we can execute that also dressed one NHL game plan - again, tailored specificalwith the New York Islanders Nick Vachon ly to each age group and team during the 1996-97 season. Robitaille, for one, is nothing but certain Vachon, - hopefully we’ll have more kids ready for the next level who’s been affiliated with the Jr. Kings since 2002, is the following year.” the right guy for the job. And delivering a clear, positive line of communica“Nick’s experience and passion for the game are tion to the club’s coaches is what will ultimately dictate tremendous assets, and his coaching and teaching ex- success in terms of architecting a healthy player develpertise will go a long ways as we continue to grow and opment model, according to Vachon. enhance the Jr. Kings organization from a player develContinued on Page 16 opment standpoint,” said Robitaille. “He has an out-



Jr. Sharks see uptick in 10U interest, expand program at nine years old isn’t the best kid at 16. It’s not that we cut them because we didn’t like them – we just didn’t have the space.” And it’s not just the boys’ side that’s growing – the girls’ game is just as strong with an 8U team at the youngest age and two 10U teams. “Based on the sheer number of kids that play the sport, the girls’ side is definitely growing as well (as the

there is always room for more coaches, the bulk of the coaches within the Jr. Sharks are non-parents, something he San Jose Jr. Sharks organization is full to the brim. Janda chalks up as a byproduct of the environment With 29 teams set to take the ice this season parents of hockey players in the Bay Area grew up in. ranging in all ages from 8U to 18U AAA, interest in “We’re a little short on coaches, and part of that hockey and in the Jr. Sharks has never been higher, as stems from where we are in that there’s not a lot of evidenced by the organization’s decision to expand the adults that are from here that have played the game,” number of 10U teams for the second consecutive year. said Janda. “So we’re always struggling to find those Now with four boys teams at the 10U level extra coaches. It’s a big-time commitment – two 2006-born teams and two 2007for people, and you have to have a passion born teams – the Jr. Sharks are sowing for volunteering as well because these the seeds for organizational success at the coaches aren’t getting paid. To have ground level. someone volunteer the amount of hours “You don’t build a foundation by that’s required, you have to really love the focusing all your attention at 16U or 18U game.” levels,” said Mike Janda, the director of But despite some growing pains here player development for the Jr. Sharks. “You and there, Janda remains confident that the build a foundation by starting at Mites and Jr. Sharks are going in the right direction Squirts. If we keep more kids here and by strengthening their younger age groups. keep these kids happy, we have a major “I think the quality of the product influence on their development and as an the Jr. Sharks are putting out is getting organization, the Jr. Sharks are going to be better every year,” said Janda. “We’re so more successful down the line as a result.” concentrated on developing skills and It’s not as though the Jr. Sharks had fundamentals and what validates what we to scramble to find players to fill four 10U are doing at the Mite and Squirt levels is teams either. Nearly 70 kids arrived to try what’s happening at the higher levels. This out for the two 2007-born teams, which For the second consecutive year, the San Jose Jr. Sharks have responded to increased demand by add- year, we had eight guys from our 18U AAA me“Whether they are top-end or bottom- ing another 10U boys team. team move on to junior hockey, and the end kids, you don’t ever want to create a situation where boys),” said Janda. “We have nine girls teams this year, rest of the kids that age just wanted to go to college you cut a kid and then they quit hockey when they’re and every time we run a Give Hockey a Try event, we where they will play on club teams somewhere. That’s nine or 10,” said Janda. “You want to foster that love of have 90 girls come out.” how we measure what we’re doing – when those things the game, but unfortunately, we just don’t have the ice to With a surge in teams comes an increased demand happen, we know we’re doing things right at the Squirt take everyone. It’s hard, because obviously the best kid for coaches within the organization. Janda says while level.”

By John B. Spigott



California Rubber Hockey Magazine


Class is finally in session at the Tahoe Hockey Academy By Greg Ball


he date of Sept. 12 will mark an important day in Tahoe Hockey Academy’s history. After years of conceptualizing and months of planning, the academy will officially open to its first class of student-athletes. Academic lesson plans have been prepared, games have been scheduled, and the hundreds of other details have been put in place to set the foundation for the first hockey prep school in the state of California. While it has been a long and winding road to reach this point, the staff at the school couldn’t be more excited to get its inaugural team on the ice and in the classroom. “We’ve had a tremendous response from players interested in Tahoe Hockey Academy, and we’ve been fortunate enough to sign some really high-end talent in just our first year,” said J.J. James, the academy’s vice president and head coach. “To see players who’ve competed at some of the top AAA programs in the Western United States call THA home this year is a testament to our focus on player development.” As with building any successful program, getting the Tahoe Hockey Academy from concept to opening its doors has been all about attention to detail. The academy’s leadership feels that careful planning and its overarching focus on long-term stability should have lasting results for the program. Mike Lewis, the academy’s athletic director, said that from the beginning, the staff’s goal has been to de-

velop an on-ice curriculum that emphasizes player development, which will in turn enhance team success. “We may be a first-year program, but by no means is this our first year in creating a program,” Lewis said. “We want to focus on developing better players, first and foremost. We believe that if we make that our emphasis, and we provide the necessary tools to reinforce and promote the concepts that we teach our players on a daily basis, our approach will have huge benefits for these young men down the line.”

The Tahoe Hockey Academy, after many months of planning getting each and every detail finalized, will officially welcome its first class through the doors on Sept. 12. Photo/Joe Naber

And Tahoe Hockey Academy won’t be shy about putting its best foot forward from the start. Armed with a schedule that will feature 60-plus games during the 2016-17 season, the team will play a highly-competitive league schedule and will supplement that by participat-

ing in a number of top-level tournaments across the country. The academy’s team will play in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL). The league’s full 2016-17 schedule hasn’t been released yet, but THA will play in Division I with JSerra, Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran and Bellarmine Prep starting in midSeptember. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but I doubt we’d be this far without the support of so many people and leagues,” said Leo Fenn, the academy’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re very thankful for the assistance of and the opportunity presented to us by Art Trottier and Matt Blanchart of the ADHSHL, as well as Tom Hancock and William Stone from CAHA and NorCal.” From Day 1, the coaches will be tasked with bringing players from multiple states and styles to come together to compete as one. With trips to the Bauer World Invite and Silver Sticks, as well as events planned in Manitoba, Colorado, Calgary, Minnesota and Southern California on the horizon, work will need to begin in earnest on opening day. “Competing in the Western Prep Hockey League and the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, as well as the top tournaments in the U.S, will let us challenge ourselves and see where we stand,” Lewis said. “We’re proud to call Tahoe home for our academy,” Fenn added. “The people and the city are great, and we’re excited to represent the community.”


Vachon named Jr. Kings’ GM as program transitions Continued from Page 13 “We by far have the best coaches around,” he said. “They have so much knowledge, and if we can create a consistent message at every level, we’re going to help more players progress through the system so they understand the right things they need to focus on - and it’s not always being the top scorer. “It’s not always about being the top player; it’s about your attitude and how you think in terms of being an athlete and, ultimately, a good person. It’s about being a team-guy, a hard-worker - things like that, and we’re going to create consistency as it relates to what’s being said and preached and I think that will go a long ways.” Vachon believes it’s building that foundation of consistency - especially on the coaching front - that will pay dividends down the road for Jr. Kings players and their families. “We want to stress similar philosophies and teaching methods where, if a player has a chance to move on to the next level, especially when they can jump into the higher levels like junior hockey, those coaches are like, ‘Wow, this guy has all the habits already. This is a hockey player,’” said Vachon. “Again, it’s not being the No. 1 scorer in the nation; there’s more to it. And a lot of (our coaches) already have that philosophy in place, but we’re going make it more transparent and more status-quo.” Given his recent professional background, it’s no surprise Vachon is bullish on mentoring players through video analysis and review. That component 16

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

will also be enhanced in his role as GM. “Kids are visual learners, so we as coaches over the last year have been really lucky being able to take advantage of our Education Center (which is located inside TSC and includes a video screen), and we’re going to utilize that even more. “Last year, most of our coaches were using it by the end of the year - and not just the older guys, but the younger kids, too. And they love it, because they get to see themselves - see what they’re doing right and what they need to improve upon - and the coaches can talk to them in a calm, constructive atmosphere.

“And we’re going to integrate more tools and resources for the coaches to pull from, so when they go up there (to the Education Center), it’s going to be easy for them to show (video) clips; we’re going to have a lot of different tools that are going to make things easier for them. “And they’re all into it,” Vachon said of the Jr. Kings’ coaches. “They’re talking a lot to each other and helping each other out and they’re looking for different drills and watching each other’s practices, so it’s really cool and that’s what we want to continue

to grow on an even larger scale.” The other members of the Jr. Kings’ new Executive Committee include: Rob Blake (the Kings’ vice president and assistant general manager); Mason Donley (the Kings’ vice president of ticket sales and service); Chris Crotty (the Kings’ director of hockey development); Brad Berman (president of American Skating Entertainment Centers, which owns and operates TSC); Brad Sholl (general manager of TSC); and Steve Yovetich (current president of the Jr. Kings). Vachon firmly believes the Kings’ proactive involvement in the Jr. Kings program will be a game-changer when it comes to elevating local youth hockey at all levels. “They’re fully-invested,” he said. “They want to be a part of the day-today operations, they want to be a part of the decision-making process in certain areas and obviously they have a lot resources that can help us, and we’re just starting to pass that along to our coaches and families. “They want to grow the game. They want to help our club, but ultimately they want to really develop more hockey throughout Southern California.” Kelly Sorensen, who will continue to serve as the Jr. Kings’ executive director, is nothing but enthusiastic about what the transition represents for the program, both on and off the ice. “It’s exciting to say the least,” said Sorensen. “And the Kings’ added support won’t just benefit our program, but youth hockey across region which is even more encouraging.”


Storm’s ’16-17 forecast relies on talent, professionalism ers from all over Sweden and Scandinavia before heading to Colorado for the CCM Showcase. Allegrini attended hile most of the focus in Las Vegas hockey circles the Global Showcases in Chicago and Las Vegas. has been on the new NHL team, and deservedly After the departure of assistant coach Matt Johnson so, the Nevada Storm youth program is readying for the to NCAA Division III Tufts University, Gauthier and Allegriupcoming 2016-17 season and going full steam ahead. ni hired Jeff May as a new assistant coach. May played There will be 11 teams representing the Storm this 5 years in the Western Hockey League and eight years of year from Mites through high school – Mite Track 1 professional hockey, including three with the nowand 2, Squirt A and Squirt B, Pee Wee A and Pee defunct Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. Wee AA, Bantam A and Bantam AA, Midget 16U “I think the playoffs are definitely in our reach AA, high school and retuning to Tier I status in Las this season,” said Allegrini. “We have a great core Vegas, the Midget 16U AAA. of returners, as well a solid group of recruits that are Five of the Storm teams will be participating in going to allow us to compete with any team in the the Arizona Youth Hockey League (AZYHL), while league on a nightly basis. The WSHL has elevated the others will play an independent schedule of to a level that the top teams as recently as six and elite tournaments and home exhibition games. The seven seasons ago would be in the bottom half of Las Vegas Ice Center and Storm organization were the league today.” named this past summer as the hosts of the Tier I Gauthier said he sees “a bright future” for the Pacific District tournament for the 15U and 16U diWSHL team. visions next March 9-12. “Player movement to higher levels and college “All of our Storm teams are set up to have a very commitments are the main focus for me as a coach successful year on and off the ice with the help of Jake McKenna (left) and Joey Allegrini are both back with the Las Vegas Storm for the each year when working with these young men,” a great coaching staff,” said Storm hockey director 2016-17 season as the team looks to keep making significant strides in the WSHL. said Gauthier. “I have been working with most of Gabe Gauthier. and goaltender Andre Spens. Gauthier will continue to these players since the middle of August. We will also see Head coaches for the Storm this season include coach the Storm. Jeff Morgan be a player that will be a factor in every situBrian Fox (Mite Track 1), Mike Milton (Mite Track 2), The summer proved to be a busy offseason for Gauth- ation this year, along with Taylor Karr to add the physical Rick Berninger (Squirt B), Bo Lackas (Squirt A), Tom ier and new general manager Scott Allegrini. Gauthier presence with his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame.” Lackas (Pee Wee A), Dell Truax (Pee Wee AA), Evan spent a week in Sweden with Bill Muckalt, who led the Two local 1999 birth year players – Brenden Fehlig Zucker (Bantam A), Eric Lacroix (Bantam AA), Wally Tri-City Storm to a United States Hockey League champi- and Kyle Molony – will be making their junior debut this Lacroix (Midget 16U AA), Micah Sanford (Midget 16U onship last spring, holding a showcase for high-end play- season with the Storm. By Matt Mackinder


AAA) and Jeff Bruckner (high school). The Las Vegas Storm Tier II junior team will be entering its third year in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) and has eight returning players from the 201516 season in forwards Vito Carlo, J.C. Lachapelle, Isiah Lentendre and Weston Walker, defensemen Joey Allegrini, Jake McKenna and Tino Nummela

F o r m o r e i n f o r m a ti o n p l ea s e g o to w w w . l a s veg a s i c e. c o m o r em a i l S c o tt A l l eg r i n i ( S c o tt@ l a s veg a s i c e. c o m )



Going back to school also means going back to The Rinks By Jonathan Watanabe


or many families, August is a month where back to school seems to be all that anyone can talk about. Whether it’s doing back to school shopping, getting new supplies for the upcoming year, or trying to squeeze in every extra second of sleep, most Southern California kids are in some way preparing for that first day of school. The Rinks homeschool families, however, know that when the majority of kids are headed back to school, it’s time they get back onto the rink. August 17 marked the official kickoff to The Rinks 2016-17 homeschool programming lineup with a session of Learn to Play at Lakewood ICE. Both August and September have shaped up to be very exciting months for the homeschool programs as they will be starting three sessions of Learn To Play at Lakewood ICE, Huntington Beach Inline and Yorba Linda ICE, two semesters of Learn to Skate comprised of five different classes and two Spotlight Events featuring Try Hockey for Free Days, skating lessons, public skating, and street hockey. Last month, The Rinks hosted their first inline Homeschool Spotlight event at The Rinks-Huntington Beach Inline and saw right around 30 homeschoolers making their first trip out onto the rink. Since hosting their first Spotlight Event for the homeschool community in August of 2015, The Rinks has seen participation in their programs increase in popularity. Recently, a second Spotlight Event took place at The

“Our homeschool initiatives have continued to grow Rinks-Anaheim ICE. This particular event featured a Try Hockey For Free Day, a free Learn To Skate group lesson and gain momentum,” Watanabe added. “As we continand public skating. The excitement about hockey and skat- ue to learn and grow, we have been able to better tailor ing within the homeschool community was palpable with our programs to this audience and help a new group of over 65 participants taking part in the hockey portion of the Southern California kids and families experience the sport event and over 100 skaters taking the ice for the Learn to of hockey and skating.” Now an approved vendor for eight charter schools Skate group lesson. These numbers only further reinforce across Southern California and the level of interest in hockey and Orange County, families are able skating within the Southern Calito use funds given to them by the fornia homeschool community. school to participate in The Rinks Jonathan Watanabe, The programming. Rinks marketing coordinator, has “Becoming an approved venbeen involved with the homedor has been great not only for school programming segment The Rinks, but for our customers since its inception in late 2014. “It’s been a learning process as well,” noted Watanabe. “We have numerous families that befor us as we have continued to long to charter schools we have grow and expand our program been approved for. As we all offerings,” said Watanabe. “The Spotlight Events have proven For those children that are homeschooled, The Rinks of- know, hockey and skating can fers programs at all levels and has seen great growth in the to be extremely beneficial for us years since the programs have been offered. Photo/The Rinks become very expensive sports to participate in, especially at the in terms of giving families a nostrings-attached opportunity to come to our facilities and higher levels. Our approved vendor status really helps to get a taste of our programs. The relationships we’ve made alleviate some of the financial burden for those families.” The Rinks 2015-16 season of homeschool programs and our unofficial brand ambassadors have been instrumental in the growth we’ve seen. In fact, it was the recom- was extremely successful, giving them the momentum mendation of a homeschool parent that caused us to host to continue the growth seen in their first year. Since the our first Spotlight Event.” segment’s start-up in Nov. 2014, The Rinks has seen over When asked to speak about the homeschool programs 1,000 participants take advantage of homeschool opportunities within The Rinks. as a whole, Watanabe exuded excitement.


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

ANAHEIM JR. DUCKS Jr. Ducks’ Petrie following in Barnes’ USA Hockey footsteps By Chris Bayee


ominique Petrie moved one step closer to crossing off a goal in mid-August. Petrie, who has played five seasons with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 2001 team, made the U.S. Women’s Under-18 Select Team that won two of three exhibition games against Canada on Aug. 18-21 at Calgary. Petrie picked up an assist in the third game. Former Jr. Duck and Lady Duck Cayla Barnes, a ’99 who has won gold at the past two U18 Women’s World Championships, captained the U18 Select Team. Barnes undoubtedly will make the World Championships team a third time, a feat that resonates with Petrie. “I’ve written my goals down,” she said. “I want to make the U18 National team three times. Next, I want to play NCAA Division I hockey. Third, I want to play in the Olympics. Knowing what you want and going for it will help you get there.” Petrie will be in good company if she accomplishes that. Barnes, a Boston College commit, joined Petrie at the U.S. Women’s National Festival in Lake Placid, N.Y., in early August. As did former Lady Duck Annie Pankowski, who captained the U22 team during its series in Calgary, where she had two goals and an assist. That Petrie served notice in women’s hockey after playing boys hockey growing up (she will play on the Jr. Ducks Midget 15U AAA this season) doesn’t come as a surprise to her longtime coach Craig Johnson, also the club’s director of coaches. “She wasn’t just a contributor, but a big contributor for us,” Johnson said. “Her big strength is her skating. “She’s one of our hardest workers. She’s a pleasure to coach; she listens, applies what she learns and works hard. She’s a great person, too.” Petrie, who was born in the Bay Area, has played boys hockey her entire career. “I never struggled with the physicality or being a step behind,” she said. “I had good coaches and teammates. “My development is due to playing with a good team these past five years and us playing against premier competition around the nation.”


The two most important questions a coach should ask “D

id you l e a r n anything?” “Did you have fun?” These are the two most important questions coaches should ask their players from Mites to Midgets, house to AAA and beyond. If you arMatt Guffey en’t learning and having fun doing it, you’re in the wrong place. Players who skate for me in private and team settings—competitively, recreationally, at regional or developmental camps alike, all hear those two questions and I’m proud to say that a vast majority of the time, answer ‘Yes’ to both. Coaches, how do we go about eliciting these responses on a regular basis? Know your audience. I often see and hear coaches treat their Squirt house players as if they play Bantam AA. Understand that your diction and tone play vital roles in how your message is received.

As a private coach, I deal with kids as young as five who can hardly stand up on ice, Midget AAA players with college hockey aspirations and even beer leaguers nearly twice my age (back-to-backto-back sometimes!). If I spoke to them all the same way, I think we’d all agree that I’d look and sound fairly silly. Make sure you and your players know the appropriate expectations at that particular level. Before the season begins, clearly outline what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. Once you’ve established those guidelines, stick to them. The second you deviate, you lose trust. Once trust is lost, it becomes difficult for a child to learn because he or she will constantly second guess your messages. Be prepared. At the AAA level with three or more practices per week, I like to work on one general theme along with a variety of station-based sub-themes in mind. By planning all three at once, there’s a certain flow to the week and I avoid disjointed practices. For example, one practice we’ll spend time focusing on specific odd-man situations (2v1, 3v2, etc.) with a couple of small games at the end that give the kids a chance to use what they’ve learned in a competitive setting. In the next practice, we might focus on creating odd-man situations during even strength—on ‘line rushes for’

let’s say. From there, I generally introduce man-advantage concepts during the following skate in order to stay within the same thread. On the other hand, be flexible. Learn how to change the rules on the fly to obtain the appropriate responses from your team. We all have drills that get stale quicker than we’d like from time to time. If your players aren’t grasping a certain concept the way you’d like, change the way the game or drill is executed in order to evoke the targeted behavior. We like to play a game at center ice that essentially amounts to two 3v1’s within or very near the center circle. The drill is meant to develop quick passing habits and goal scoring ability in small space. Inevitably, players end up handling the puck far too long, erasing any scoring chances they may have had. To avoid this, we added a two-second time limit—hold the puck too long? Turnover. New puck. Finally, aim to inspire, not just motivate. Motivation comes from an external stimulus. Inspiration is internal. An inspired player (or coach) is self-driven and needs no ‘dangling carrot’ in order to put in the work. This is a difficult concept to pinpoint, understand and execute as a coach, but if you are bold, confident and show you care about your players’ development both on and off the ice, you should learn quickly what it feels like to inspire someone. Best of luck this season!

Matt Guffey is the head coach of the San Jose Jr. Sharks’ 11U AAA team and a private skating and hockey instructor under Cathy Andrade’s Power Hour program. Interested in being a Chalk Talk columnist? E-mail Matt Mackinder at


NEVADA REPORT Las Vegas’ Brooks bringing his LVFFYH takes the ice, raises funds for local Payton family talents to ECHL’s Gladiators By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



enny Brooks is a Las Vegas native that is excited to see the NHL game take root in town. For this coming season, though, he’ll be doing it from afar as he’ll be playing for the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Brooks completed his four-year career at NCAA Division I Penn State University (Big 10) last spring and is excited to keep developing in the pro arena. “I got a call from my agent notifying me that Atlanta was interested in me,” said Brooks, a forward. “After my family and I talked it over, we decided that Atlanta would be a great fit for me and we then moved forward with the process of signing.” At Penn State, Brooks said his time there was very productive in multiple facets. “I was very fortunate to have spent four years at Penn State as a student-athlete,” Brooks said. “My experience at Penn State taught me lessons on and off the ice that helped prepare me to play professional hockey.” With the Nittany Lions, Brooks compiled 14 goals among 48 points in 120 games. During his youth hockey days, Brooks played for the Las Vegas Outlaws and Nevada Stars (now Storm) before spending three years with the United States Hockey League’s Tri-City Storm. “Those years in Vegas were a lot of hard work and a lot of fun,” remembered Brooks. “Hockey wasn’t the largest sport, so I got to play with the same teammates every year and formed some friendships I still have today. Some of the Influential coaches I had were Pokey Reddick, Ken Quinney, and so many others. I was given the opportunity to get a lot of ice time.” And with the NHL coming to Las Vegas in 2017, Brooks is anxious to see the game keep growing in his hometown. “The new NHL team will help youth hockey in this town a lot,” Brooks said. “I can’t wait to watch it grow and start seeing top hockey prospects consistently come from Las Vegas.” 20

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

iving back to local communities has long been a staple of the hockey world and that was never more clear than last month in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Firefighter Youth Hockey Foundation (LVFFYH) held its fourth annual charity hockey game featuring NHL and ECHL players and Las Vegas Valley firefighters on Aug. 20 at the Sobe Ice Arena and raised $6000 for the foundation and for the family of Wesley Payton. Wesley was a seven-year-old boy diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia a year and a half ago and unfortunately, lost his courageous battle on Aug. 11. The funds raised were donated to assist the family with the expenses incurred from Wesley’s treatment. The LVFFYH was founded to assist Las Vegas area youth in becoming exposed to the game of hockey and providing subsidies through scholarships for families with children in the hockey program struggling to pay monthly dues and equipment. The game itself featured current NHL players Jason Zucker (Minnesota Wild, Las Vegas native) and Deryk Engelland (Calgary Flames, Las Vegas resident), as well as former NHLer George Parros and many ECHL alumni. There were 450 fans in attendance for the game that also included autographed memorabilia for an auction and raffle. The game was all offense and saw the White Team victorious over the Red Team 11-10. “We feel so blessed that Jason, Deryk, George and all of the alumni from the NHL and ECHL continues to support our organization by donating their time and skill for a night of fun on the ice, especially this year with what the Payton family has endured with the passing of their son,” said LVFFYH board member and charity game organizer Eric Littmann. “The LVFFYH is grateful to have the ability to help our Las Vegas community in any aspect, not just hockey.” The LVFFYH assists families monetarily that are having difficulties financially keeping their kids in local hockey programs and assists inner-city children by exposing them to learn to skate programs.


LAKHSHL going the extra mile with concussion safeguards By Greg Ball


s anyone who plays or follows sports knows, concussions have become a serious issue in the last few years. While it’s easy to look at the many negative stories surrounding the injuries, one of the positives of the increased focus is that sports organizations and medical professionals are now taking extra steps to not only prevent concussions, but to treat them properly when they occur. The L.A. Kings High School Hockey League (LAKHSHL) is one such organization, having instituted a program through a partnership with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to perform baseline testing for its players before each season. The testing isn’t mandatory, but is highly encouraged for all the league’s players. More than half of the league’s approximately 250 players on 15 teams had been tested as of early August, with another testing session scheduled before the start of the 2016-17 season. “Player safety has been a league priority since Day 1, and this is just one of the programs we run as a benefit for our players,” said Chris Crotty, the Kings director of hockey development. “We also staff every league game with a CHLA certified athletic trainer. “CHLA is a strong partner of the Kings organization and a nationally-recognized leader in children’s health, so there is no better organization in the Los Angeles area to oversee this testing.” Crotty said the Kings use the testing system with their

L.A. Lions girls program, and the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League conducts baseline concussion testing for its players. It’s not clear how many other youth hockey organizations do the same, but for the Kings, it’s an important measure to protect their players. “The Kings organization recognizes that the prevention of injuries and community education are very important, and that’s why they’ve taken these steps to go above and beyond,” said Dawnie Nishijima, sports medicine program coordinator at CHLA and the lead certified athletic trainer for the LAKHSHL. “It’s definitely not the norm in hockey organizations, and they’re making some great strides to

protect athlete safety.” Baseline testing is designed to determine existing neuro-cognitive and balance function for each athlete prior to injury, so that when a certified athletic trainer suspects that a player may have sustained a concussion, that player can be tested to determine whether there have been changes to brain function that would indicate such an injury. If it is determined that a player has suffered a concussion, he is required to follow the California Interscholastic Federation’s procedures for rest and treatment before returning to practice and competition. Athletes were tested earlier this summer at CHLA’s

building in Valencia, with the costs covered by the LAKHSHL. The baseline testing is a two-part process. First, athletes are put through a computer-based test called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), which is used by more than 7,000 high schools and 1,000 colleges and tests reaction time, comprehension and other brain functions. Second, the certified athletic trainers have athletes take a modified SCAT test, which tests memory, recall, orientation and balance. Preventing concussions has become an important focus in how contact sports are played, but researchers have determined that perhaps the most important element in the entire discussion about concussions is ensuring that they are properly diagnosed to avoid scenarios in which athletes are put back into competition too quickly. This is especially important for kids and teenagers, whose brains are still developing. The Kings recognize just how important this is, and are proud to be leading the way by taking preventative measures with their baseline testing. “Each season we look to make improvements anywhere we can, and player safety is always a top priority,” said LAKHSHL commissioner Jim Fox. “Maximizing our partnership with CHLA allows us to take the lead in this area. This season, after receiving feedback from players, the league upgraded the Kings sponsored player helmets and purchased every player a new CCM Fitlit 3DS Combo. “We will continue to do all we can to ensure player safety.”


What A Rush

California closes out State Wars 12 U.S. roller hockey championships with hardware haul over Wisconsin, while Brandon Grant and Michael Schwartz each recorded two goals and an assist to lead Team SoCal past New Jersey. Yu led the team with seven goals, including two game-winning goals, and eight points in the three playoff games after topping the division with 11 goals and 18 points in four round-robin games. Team SoCal finished the tournament unbeaten with a 6-0-1 record, outscoring opponents 24-7 in roundrobin play. Woolcott ranked second in the division with a 1.75 goals-against average during round-robin play. He stopped 11 of 13 shots he faced in the semifinal playoff win. “This 2004 team is one of So Cal’s most successful and talented bunch we have,” Team Southern California head coach Dan Maxwell explained. “Adding some

Mastrosimone noted it was a pleasure to be part of the coaching staff for the 2004 Team Southern California he State Wars 12 United States Roller Hockey AAA team at State Wars 12. Championships took place July 27-Aug. 7 in Fort “The boys played extremely hard, which resulted in Wayne, Ind., to close out the 2015-16 inline hockey a comeback win against Michigan in the gold medal championship season. game,” the elder Grant explained. The tournament strives to provide a competitive “Tim (State Wars national director Tim McManus) geographically-structured national roller hockey and his staff do an outstanding job organizing the championship that offers selected participants a feeling tournament from the skills competition and awards of pride and honor to represent their home state or ceremony leading up to the finals,” James Mastrosimone province. Teams are selected by birth year to put a explained. “The great thing about this tournament is signature spin on the event. that each team represents their state and their quest to Teams representing California – both Team Southern win the gold medal. The players on our team play travel California and Team Northern California – have proven hockey for both ice and roller, but on separate teams. to be among the most successful over the history of the This tournament allows them to play together on one event. team to represent their state.” This year was no different as teams representing The SoCal 2004 AAA team was comprised of the Golden State skated to four division players from several prominent Southern California championships and further produced seven runnerinline travel teams: AKS, Mission Cyclones and HB up finishers. Additionally, five more teams captured Militia. Seven of the players also play ice hockey, bronze medals with an equal number of fourth-place including five from the Los Angeles Jr. Kings Pee finishers. Wee AAA team and two from the Anaheim Jr. Ducks Pee Wee AAA team. The team roster included the following players: Golden moment Jimmy Mastrosimone, Wallace Stirbu, Bryce Team Southern California 2004 AAA left a Sizemore, Brando DiAntonio, Anthony Yu, definite impression on this year’s tournament. Connor Thue, Brandon Grant, Ethan Woolcott, J.J. Seeded fourth in the playoffs after a 3-0-1 roundDoll, and Michael Schwartz. robin finish, Team SoCal engaged and defeated Among birth-year teams, Team Southern second-seeded Wisconsin 3-2 in the semifinals and California reaped two gold medals (6U and 2004 then stung top-seeded Michigan with a 6-5 overtime AAA), three silver medals (2006 AAA, 2005 AAA victory in the gold medal game. and 2003 A) and three bronze medals (2008, The Southern Californians did it in exciting 2007 AAA and 2000 AAA), while Team Northern fashion with three one-goal wins in the playoffs, Team Southern California captured first place in the 2004-AAA Division at this year’s State Wars championship tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind, from California secured two silver medals (2001 AAA including a 6-5 victory against New Jersey in the July 27-Aug. 7. Photo/State Wars Hockey and 1998 A) and one bronze medal (2003 AA). quarterfinals. In the adult club divisions, the Pama Cyclones newcomers this year, and anchored by veterans like Anthony Yu, who has established himself as one of the top scorers in the nation, scored four goals in the Jimmy Mastrosimone, Brandon Grant, Michael (Senior AA) and Labeda Pama (35-older AAA) grabbed championship game to lead Team SoCal. He scored the Schwartz and Anthony Yu, they were able to compete two more gold medals while the Savage (Senior AA) and Labeda Pama (45-older) settled for silver medals. Konixx final three goals for his team, including the game-winning with anyone in the country. Pure (Junior AAA) came home with a bronze medal. “This year’s competition was outstanding and made goal at the 2:41 mark of overtime. Meanwhile, goaltender The Pama Labeda Cyclones advanced as far as the for some great games. I am very proud of the whole team Ethan Woolcott stopped 14 of the 19 shots he faced semifinals of the Pama Pro Invitational, which carried a in representing Southern Cal with pride and class.” to steer his team to the division championship. $20,000 winner-take-all payout. Assistant coaches Julian Grant and James Yu racked up two goals and one assist in the win By Phillip Brents


Locals honored on State Wars 12 All-Star Teams T

he top inline hockey players in North America were honored as members of several All-Star Teams selected at the State Wars 12 United States Roller Hockey Championship tournament July 27-Aug. 7 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Californians took the spotlight in multiple divisions in the 274-team tournament. Most Valuable Player selections included Southern California’s Kaeden Tate (6U) and Anthony Yu (2004 AAA). Yu also captured high scorer honors in both the 2004 AAA and 2002 AAA/AA divisions, while SoCal’s Grayson Yada (2001 AAA) claimed the same award. Best Defensive Player selections included Southern California’s Kevin Shi (2008 AAA) and Northern California’s Reanna Ettelbrick (2005 AA/A), while Southern California’s Jackson Ellis (2002 AA/A) earned the Most Valuable Goaltender award. In the club division, MVP selections included Pama Cyclones’ Tyler Gonzalez (Senior AA) and Labeda Pama’s Brian Morris (35/Older) while the Cyclones’ Nevin Iwatsuru (Senior AA) earned MVG honors. 22

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Skills competition

AAA); Julian Schwartz, Carson Woolcott and Max Castagnoli (2007 AAA); Blake Wozniak, Brendan Vincent and Jolee Savoy (2006 AAA); Christian Kim, Phillippe LaLonde and Ty Henricks (2005 AAA); Jimmy Mastrosimone and Anthony Yu (2004 AAA); Clay Bozanich and Tommy Tasigeorgos (2002 AAA/ AA); Martin Torres and Grayson Yada (2001 AAA); and Jonathan Panisa (2000 AAA/AA). Northern California’s Team North Southern California’s Anthony Yu earned America selections included Terry Most Valuable Player honors in the 2004 AAA Division, as well as high scorer in McConaughy (2003 AAA/AA); and two divisions, at this year’s State Wars Dylan Franks, Jaden Guzman 12 championship tournament in Indiana. and Marisa Trevino (2001 AAA). Team North America Photo/State Wars Hockey For a full list of All-Star selections, Selections to this elite category included Southern California’s Cole Pettengill, visit Lucas Abarquez, Logan Herpin and Kaeden Tate (6U); Aidan Yu, Kevin Shi and Sage Legaspi (2008 - Phillip Brents Fastest skater skills competition winners included Southern California’s Kenzie Houston (6U), Phillippe LaLonde (2005 AAA) and Northern California’s Brian Belluscio (2001 AA/A). Top sniper skills competition winners included Southern California’s Christian Kim (2005 AAA) and Northern California’s Jaden Guzman (2001 AAA). Top goaltender skills competition winners included Southern California’s Sage Legaspi (2008 AAA) and Ellis (2002 AA/A)

Inouye reflects on latest summer hockey odyssey in Italy get the team chemistry going (early on). We got top eight in the tournament, which is great for seeding next year. I would rather play in the top group than play teams you know you can beat.” The tournament took place June 12-17 in Roana and Asiago in the northeastern plateau region of Italy. While the U.S. team didn’t come home with a medal, the trip was still filled with memories beyond the rink. “The setting (in the mountains) was amazing,” In-

The Golden State contingent included Joe Blakewell (Davis), Caleb Hermle (Yolo), Zachor the second consecutive year, Campbell’s Dave ary Claunch (San Jose), Joseph Cascarano (San Inouye served as head coach of Team USA’s juJose), Joseph Chimienti (San Jose), Brayden nior men’s national roller hockey team that competed Kohler (Corona) and goaltenders Nicholas Leacox in the International Federation of Roller Sports (FIRS) (Woodland) and Nathan Fein (Los Gatos). inline hockey world championship. Blakewell tied for the team lead with 10 points, Last year’s tournament took him to Argentina; this while Kohler and Cascarano each tallied nine points year’s tournament took him to Italy. and Claunch and Hermle each chipped in with eight “It was a great experience,” Inouye summed points. up. “I’d be interested in doing it again if I’m asked.” Claunch, Hermle and Leacox were returning Last year’s 18U team finished fourth at the players on the team. FIRS world finals following a 3-2 loss to Italy in “Getting their leadership was important,” Inthe bronze medal game. This year’s team opened ouye said. tournament play with a 25-0 win over India in pool The trip to Italy was only the beginning of a sumplay and followed with a 5-4 victory against Great mer filled with roller hockey events for Inouye, who Britain before dropping its final four games to next landed in Kalamazoo, Mich., to coach four Siliplace eighth. con Valley Quakes teams entered in the TORHS Team USA suffered a 7-1 loss to Spain to end national championship tournament. The Quakes group play, then opened the quarterfinals with a posted runner-up finishes in Pee Wee A Tier 2, 9-3 setback to the eventual champion Czech ReBantam A Tier 2 and Midget AA (in overtime). public. The Americans fell 6-4 to Sweden in an Inouye’s summer wasn’t quite over. After a brief ensuing semifinal playoff game and ended tournastop in the Bay Area, it was then off to Hawaii to ment play with a disappointing 11-2 loss to Canacoach teams in the international bracket of July’s da in the seventh-place game. Campbell resident Dave Inouye poses with the bronze medalist USA ju- Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic “The tournament had a lot more teams than last nior women’s team at the AAU Junior Olympic Games this past summer Games. year,” Inouye explained. “There were nine teams in Hawaii. Inouye’s USA junior women’s team defeated in Argentina and 18 teams in Italy (including 10 from ouye explained. “After every game, the team would Team Hawaii 3-2 to win the bronze medal, while Europe). The European teams took this year’s tour- gather at a local spot in the village for gelato. They Team USA North West lost 5-1 to Great Britain in nament very seriously and brought their best teams. had a great time. Everyone bonded on the trip. They’ll the 14U Tier 2 quarterfinals. They also had months to prepare for it, whereas we be friends forever.” “We could have done better; we had a lot of firstonly had a couple of quick practices before the tourThis year’s Team USA squad was buttressed by year players,” Inouye explained. “Everybody was havnament started. eight Californians on the 11-man roster, including ing a blast. It was a great place to go to play hockey “We had a great group of players. We just didn’t seven players from Northern California. and have a family vacation.”

By Phillip Brents


FROM THE TRAINER’S ROOM In sports, flexibility and mobility not the same thing F

lexibility and mobility typically get mistaken as the same thing, but they are very different. Flexibility is the range of motion of a single joint or the ability of a single joint to move freely. Mobility is the ability of one or more joints to move freely during movements. According to Mike Robertson of the International Youth Conditioning Association, flexibility is a compoChris Phillips nent of mobility. A few examples of mobility exercises are: Ankle Rocks: Stand in front of a wall with your foot flat on the ground and toes pointing towards the wall. Bend your knee and move it towards the wall, flexing your ankle and then moving back to your starting position. Repeat for ten repetitions on each side for two to three sets. Lunge With a Rotation: Lunge forward getting your knee slightly over your toes and thigh just above parallel to the floor. Reach across your body towards the leg in front of you. Extend your arm during the trunk rotation so the arm is now perpendicular to your front thigh. Alternate sides for each lunge and perform two to three sets of ten. Overhead Scapular Rotations: Stand up against a wall with your back flat against the wall from your waist to your shoulders. Raise your arms to shoulder height with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Extend your arms overhead until your arms are straight and elbows are next to your ears. The goal is to maintain contact of your elbows and wrists to the wall while moving your arms overhead and maintaining your original back position flat against the wall.

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.


Taming the Beast

California teams bring home hardware from NARCh’s ‘Beast in the East’ event By Phillip Brents


uly’s NARCh East Coast Finals at the Germain Arena in Estero, Fla., featured an international field represented by teams from Canada, France, Colombia, the Cayman Islands and the United States. California teams had a definite presence with representation in 11 divisions. “Some great California teams attended both Finals, which was awesome,” NARCh president Daryn Goodwin explained. “For many, it was their first NARCh Finals outside of California, so I think it really opened their eyes to the great competition that exists nationwide and gave them an opportunity to play teams they’ve never played. They were very competitive and many came home with hardware.” That was an understatement. The Delta River Rats (Squirt Platinum), Pama Labeda Cyclones (Men’s Platinum) and the Rockets (30-andolder) all skated home with championship titles. Three more teams from the Golden State recorded second-place finishes: HB Militia (Pee Wee Platinum), NCR Elite (Pee Wee Gold) and Pama Labeda Cyclones (Women’s Platinum). The Revision Revolution 01 (Pee Wee Platinum) and San Jose Inline Sharks (Bantam Gold) both earned bronze medals. NCR also recorded fourth place-finishes in Bantam Gold and Midget Gold, while the Verbero Voltage placed fifth in Junior Gold. In adult divisions, the Verbero Cypress finished fourth in NARCh Pro and sixth in Men’s Bronze, while the Pama Cyclones placed sixth in NARCh Pro. Overall, 14 teams from California competed in Florida. Six teams advanced to championship games in their respective divisions and a total of 10 teams from the Golden State placed fourth or higher.

Golden moments

The Delta River Rats defeated the New York Tour Roadrunners 9-3 to win the Squirt Platinum title. The River Rats also defeated teams from Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia to raise the championship trophy. The Cyclones entered the Men’s Platinum playoffs

seeded fifth, but edged the second-seeded Florida Scorpions 2-1 in the semifinals and then slid past the third-seeded New York Tour Roadrunners by a score of 4-2 in the final. The Rockets earned the top seed in round-robin and then went on to defeat France’s World Connection 4-2 in the semifinals and edged Flordia’s Project Mayhem, seeded second, by a 3-2 score in the championship game.

Coast to coast

The NARCh West Coast Finals took place June 1626 in Huntington Beach and attracted 214 teams. The NARCh East Coast Finals took place July 13-24 and featured a healthy count of 199 teams. Combined, the two tournaments attracted 413 entries and included a robust tally of 1,132 games. “Being the second year of doing a NARCh Finals

The NCR Elite, with its home base in Northern California, recorded a runner-up finish in the Pee Wee Gold Division at July’s NARCh East Cost Finals in Florida. Photo/NARCh

on each coast, I think people have now bought into the concept and understand the reasoning behind it,” Goodwin noted. “The goal to start the season was to have 400 teams compete between the two tournaments. With 214 in California and 199 in Florida, we hit that goal and exceeded our expectations. “With the Finals being in San Jose and Toronto next year, we certainly hope that many California teams, especially Northern California teams, will make the trip

to Toronto since the Finals at Silver Creek Sportsplex (in San Jose) is at their home rink.”

NARCh nuggets

The Militia fell 5-1 to the Halton Alkali Coyotes (Halton, Ont., Canada) in the Pee Wee Platinum final after edging the Revolution 3-2 in an all-California semifinal matchup. NCR dropped a 3-2 decision to Florida’s Treasure Coast Boneheadz in the Pee Wee Gold championship game. The Cyclones fell 3-1 to the Tour Roadrunners from New York in the Women’s Platinum final. The Inline Sharks defeated NCR 3-1 in the Bantam Gold third place game. Joshua Guzman of the River Rats earned the high scorer award in Squirt Platinum with eight goals and 14 assists, while Jonathan Panisa of the Militia won the same award in Pee Wee Platinum with seven goals and five assists. Steven Light of the Inline Sharks captured the high scorer award in Bantam Gold with eight goals and five assists, while the Rockets’ Ernie Hartlieb collected 12 goals and eight assists to claim the high scorer award in the 30-and-older division. Marisa Trevino of the Revolution secured the top goaltender award in Pee Wee Platinum with an 83.5 save percentage. Skills competition winners from California included the River Rats’ Jack Wedoski (fastest skater) in Squirt Platinum/Gold, the Revolution’s Jaden Guzman (fastest skater) in Pee Wee Platinum and NCR’s Reyes LeGrande (fastest skater) and Trevor Haertl (fastest skater) in Pee Wee Gold and Midget Platinum/Gold, respectively.


The Labeda Snipers (Long Island, N.Y.) defeated RPD 4-0 in the NARCh Pro championship game. The Snipers blanked Verbero Cypress 6-0 in the semifinals while the Cyclones lost 3-2 to RPD in the quarterfinals. Troy Redmann and J.P. Susco combined for a 92.5 save percentage to share the division’s top goaltender award, while Matt White racked up 12 goals and 19 points as the division’s high scorer.

Strale tribute to highlight Give Blood Play Hockey event


asey Strale, the Give Blood Play Hockey tournament’s special ambassador, retains a strong presence at the 10th annual inline hockey charity event, which is scheduled Oct. 20-23 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline. Casey, a young h o c k e y player, was diagnosed with an advanced stage of a rare form of cancer (adrenal cortical carcinoma) at age 12 and his battle against the devastating 24

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

disease quickly galvanized the Southern California hockey community. He became the face of the GBPH event. The youngster valiantly battled back from near death to play in the tournament the following year; he came to embrace the role “The Ambassador” of the annual charity tournament. But the cancer returned and Casey passed away following his 16th birthday. More than 1,000 mourners attended a memorial service held at the Irvine rink. Today, his spirit remains strong with the GBPH family. Earlier this June, days before what would have been the third anniversary of his death, the GBPH organization posted a heartfelt message on its Facebook site. It read: “Our dearest Casey, “On this day and every day, we are grateful for what you showed us, what you taught us and your example you set to fight no matter what.

“We love you. We miss you. We will always honor you and your example. “Love, your Give Blood Play Hockey Family!” It’s obvious that many tournament-goers still play for Casey. Traci Strale, Casey’s mother, announced the GBPH board has chosen Oct. 22 at this year’s tournament to present an all-day tribute to Casey. Candles and eco-wire with free sky lanterns will be sold at the event. Attendees are invited to light their candles and lanterns in the evening ceremony to honor Casey, those currently battling cancer and others we have lost their lives to this horrible disease. All proceeds will benefit the CHOC Foundation for Children. Registration deadline is Oct. 11. For more information, visit - Phillip Brents

Leading By Example

CSU Fullerton inline club president Nelson honored with prestigious NCRHA award “This season at the Sports Club Inter Club Council banquet, we received two awards: one for club sport of the year and one for the most money allocated to a club sport.” Nelson, who started playing roller hockey in 1997 at Coast 2 Coast in Huntington Beach, is pretty much a self-made man in the sport. “I grew up playing in recreational leagues all my life,” he explained. “Although I always wanted to play club, I didn’t think my parents could afford it, so I never asked. I played until the NHL strike in 2004-05 when I forgot to sign up for a season and missed the deadline. I became more involved in other activities like karate and Boy Scouts and was

“I was transferring to CSUF three years ago when my friend, Bill, who was our goalie on a rec team, he Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League asked me if I was going to the CSUF tryouts. I hadn’t (WCRHL) has announced its 2016-17 kick-off heard about them until then, so I told him I would tournament will take place Oct. 22-23 at San Jose’s go with him to try out. That season we both made Silver Creek Sportsplex. the Division III team. Two seasons ago, I played on If the upcoming season is as rewarding as last the Division II team, and this past season I decided season was, coaches, players and fans are in for a to play on Division III to get more playing time and treat. I was second on the team in points. I think part of Last season was especially rewarding for Cal the reason I was given this award has to do with me State Fullerton’s Hunter Nelson. playing in Division III, but as president, I still handled At the conclusion of April’s National Collegiate all the needs for the Division II team throughout the Roller Hockey (NCRHA) national championship season and into nationals.” tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the NCRHA Nelson, who plans to graduate in 2017 with a executive committee announced the B.S. degree in kinesiology before attending recipients of its annual Outstanding nursing school, racked up eight goals and 18 Contribution to Collegiate Roller Hockey points in 19 games to rank second in scoring award. on the Titans’ Division III team. Nelson, then a junior, received the award This is not the first major award he has representing the WCRHL. received, nor the first inspirational-type award. The Garden Grove native has served as A year ago last March, Nelson lost his the club president for the past two years. mother to breast cancer. He is also a cancer This coming season will be his last with the survivor, having developed leukemia at age team. four. He said he was “happily surprised” to That spring, after his mother passed away, receive recognition. Nelson received the Male Titan Athlete of the “As president, I have been in charge Year award at the school’s Sport Club Inter of delegating tasks to my other officers, Club Council banquet. The award is given managing our practices, player dues, as to one male and one female athlete who is well as helping represent our club at school nominated and voted on by the 500-plus meetings,” Nelson explained. “I have also fellow athletes in the club sports program. made sure that our club is turning in the Hunter Nelson has led by example, both on and off the inline hockey court, as club “They give it to the athlete who they feel required paperwork such as enrollment president and a standout player at Cal State Fullerton. has been the most involved in the furtherance verifications and league payments. away from hockey for three years until I got the itch of his or her club and performs as an athlete,” Nelson “We participated in the WCRHL Collegiate to play again. explained. “I feel I was chosen for that award due to Roller Hockey Fair on Feb. 20 to help showcase “When I came back, I was 19 years old, 6-foot-1 my leadership of the team while taking care of my collegiate roller hockey to high school players. At and 147 pounds. I started working out off the rink mom and ultimately having her pass away during the the end of last season, I was able to obtain money for the first time ever after realizing how weak I was middle of our semester. I continued to serve the club from the school to pay for brand new jerseys and against the other players my age. Four years later, I sports program during this time because I loved my pants, which helped save all our players from that was up to 200 pounds. As an adult, I began playing teammates and it was something I felt proud of, and additional cost. in as many leagues as I could schedule and afford. I knew my mom was proud of me as well.”

By Phillip Brents


WCRHL players represent on NCRHA All-Tournament Team T

he National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) released its AllTournament Team during this past offseason and players from the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) were well represented. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas, which finished runner-up to Neumann University in the Division I championship game, received six All-Tournament Team selections. Andrew Tamura was named to the division’s first team while fellow forward Austin Shannon was named to the division’s second team. Honorable mention selections went to forward Darren Corsatea, goaltender Terry Martin, forward Steven Scamorza and defenseman Logan Sussman. Overall, 10 WCRHL players were honored on the Division I AllTournament Team. Long Beach State defenseman

Taylor Abramson received recognition on the second team, while Arizona State University defenseman Ryan Cotton was named as an honorable mention selection. Other honorable mention selections included brothers Kevin and Kyle Mooney from UC Santa Barbara, both forwards. Division II honorable mention honors were accorded to Chico State defenseman Zachary Claunch, Cal State Fullerton forward Brandon Fonacier and University of Arizona forward Jesse Rooney. The WCRHL received two All-Tournament Team picks in Division III, both from ASU in defenseman Eric Bautista and forward Aryeh Richter. Division III champion Lindenwood University reaped major honors with four players named to

the first team – all Californians. Golden State natives on the Missouri team’s roster receiving first-team honors included forward Spenser Marquiss (San Jose), defensemen Jason Novak (Chico) and Jake Escarcega (Escondido) and goaltender Charles Robinson (Chico). Forward Chris Visico (San Jose) earned second-team recognition, while honorable mention selections included forwards Jonathan Gauthier (San Diego) and Chad Wolterman (San Jose). Marquiss earned recognition as the division MVP, while Robinson was named MVG. West Valley College, which placed runner-up in the Junior College Division, received one firstteam selection (Kyle Aldrich), four second-team picks (Thomas Hartshorn, Matt Swanson, Tyler Gulan and Jack Robinson) and four honorable mention selections (Jarritt Baker, Patrick Barnes, James McGaughy and Tyler McPherson). For more information, visit and - Phillip Brents


AAU Junior Olympic Games take inline hockey to paradise games and Caden Ghiossi of the Quakes finished second in the division with 18 goals and 23 points. The Bulldogs Blue team edged New Zealand 2-1 to win the 16U-AAA division title. Logan Ferrell and Noah Aulerich each scored goals for the Bulldog team in the championship game. Teammates Max Reeves and Brayden Kohler finished at the top of the division in scoring with 13 and 12 points, respec-

topped the division with 25 goals and 31 points in five games. he setting for this summer’s Amateur Athletic The High Rollers shut out the Renegades 4-0 to Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games was Hawaii win the 10U-AA title behind the tandem of Joshua – otherwise known as paradise. Roman (13 goals, 19 points) and Bryan Bartolo Teams from the United States mainland joined lo(12 goals, 18 points), who finished first and second, cal teams, as well as an international contingent from respectively, atop the division scoring chart. the Pacific Rim, to create a memorable family-friendly The Cyclones defeated Australia 2 by a score of tournament. It was especially memorable for 8-3 to win the 12U-AA gold medal. Kim racked CCM Corona Bulldogs teams that brought up 12 goals and 31 points in a Cyclones jersey home two gold and two silver medals from the to lead the division in scoring. Pama’s JonaJuly 6-18 event at the Kapolei Inline Hockey than McBean finished second in division scorArenas (KIHA) on the island of Oahu. ing with 22 goals and 28 points. “What a great way to finish off the 2016 Kim had an amazing tournament. He led four season,” explained Ben Barrett, a coach with separate divisions in scoring: 10U and 12U in the Corona Inline-based Bulldogs program. “It club and the same divisions in the international was a great experience for the entire program, bracket. His tally across those four divisions innot only to get to play hockey in Hawaii, but cluded 60 goals and 104 points. also experience the Hawaiian culture and local Kim also won the fastest skater award attractions. What an amazing island and the fa(17.84 seconds) and hardest shot (65 mph) cility was first class along with the entire staff during the 10U skills competition and also won at KIHA.” the hardest shot (67 mph) in the 12U skills The Bulldogs 10U-A and 16U-AAA teams competition. Kim teamed with Cyclones’ teamboth skated to gold medals at this year’s tourmates Sky Willer and McBean to win King of nament, while Bulldog teams in the 14U-A and the Rink honors in 12U. 18U-AA divisions each captured silver medals. The CCM Corona Bulldogs 10U-A team proudly shows off its championship The Quakes’ trio of Jack Salver (goaltenThe Pama Cyclones (8U-AA, 12U-AA) and hardware at this year’s AAU Junior Olympic Games, which were showcased this der) , Donovan Bradford and Ghiossi won Alkali High Rollers (10U-AA) were among past July in Hawaii. the 10U King of the Rink skills competition. teams from Southern California that also won Junior tively. “The international division was great this year, Olympic Games club championship titles. Kohler topped the 18U-AA division in scoring with with teams from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The 10U-A final proved to be an all-California af- 12 points in helping guide the Bulldogs to a runner- Colombia, Chinese Taipei, Hawaii and the USA, of fair, with the Bulldogs Black topping the Silicon Val- up finish to the Team Hawaii Geckos in that division. course, participating,” Barrett explained. “The level ley Quakes by a score of 10-4. The Cyclones blasted the Geckos 10-0 to win of play was great and the teams from the USA did a Christian Kim led the Bulldogs Black team in the 8U-AA championship. Liam Hargrove, who great job representing not only their country, but the division scoring with 20 goals and 31 points in six racked up five goals and two assists in the title game, regions they were from.”

By Phillip Brents



California Rubber Hockey Magazine


PICTURE PERFECT The Las Vegas Firefighter Youth Hockey Foundation held its fourth annual charity hockey game featuring NHL and ECHL stars and Las Vegas Valley Firefighters on Aug. 20 at the Sobe Ice Arena to raise money for the foundation and a family in need. Photo/Jerry Bacon

Campbell resident Dave Inouye (far left) poses with the Team USA junior men’s national roller hockey team during June’s FIRS inline hockey world championship tournament in Italy.

The summertime King of the Rinks event was showcased July 23-24 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline and The Rinks-Anaheim Ice and illumination took home the championship in the Bronze Division.

The Anaheim Jr. Ducks took home the top prize in the Squirt BB division at this year’s Los Angeles Jr. Kings-hosted Labor Day Festival, which was showcased earlier this month at El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Center.

The San Diego Jr. Gulls celebrated the Bantam AAA division championship at this year’s Los Angeles Jr. Kings-hosted Labor Day Festival, which was contested earlier this month at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.

Corona native Cayla Barnes served as captain as the U.S. Women’s Under-18 Select Team won two of three games over Canada last month at the 2016 Under-18 Series at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary, Alberta. The Under-18 Series has been held annually since 2007. Photo/USA Hockey

The Anaheim Jr. Ducks staked claim to the Mite Track I division title at this year’s Los Angeles Jr. Kings-hosted Labor Day Festival, which was played earlier this month at El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Center.

The PAMA Labeda Cyclones captured the Gold Division championship at the King of the Rinks event, which was showcased July 23-24 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline and The Rinks-Anaheim Ice.

The faceoff -- Las Vegas Firefighter Youth Hockey Foundation board member Eric Littmann (left) and president Gregg Burns (right) take the ceremonial faceoff from the Payton family prior to the fourth annual charity hockey game Aug. 20 that raised $6000 for the Payton family.

Las Vegas native and Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker looks for a play during the Las Vegas Firefighter Youth Hockey Foundation’s fourth annual charity hockey game Aug. 20 at the Sobe Ice Arena. Photo/

Photo/Jerry Bacon

Jerry Bacon

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California Rubber Hockey Magazine

Sibling Rivalry

Successful on the ice, Kraus brothers now winning as junior, youth coaches still enjoy looking at the banners when we play in Toyota Sports Center.” In the fall of 2003, he made the Vancouver Giants, kicking off a five-year run in the WHL that saw him post 54 or more points three times. The highlight was a 76-point season in 2006-07, when the Giants won the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup. His teammates included Jonathon Blum, the first Californian to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft (in 2007), and former L.A. Kings forward Milan Lucic. “Winning the Memorial Cup in 2007, I remember the massive scale of the attention around it,” Tim said. “Some people said that’s harder to win than a Stanley Cup. To play in the Memorial Cup two years in a row, I’m very fortunate.” Jr. Ducks Midget 18U AAA coach August Aiken played with and against Tim in youth hockey and wasn’t surprised at his success. “Tim was a highly skilled power forward and he was a big piece for teams that won Nationals,” Aiken said. “Off the ice, he was a good leader and teammate. “He was the same player in the WHL. He could be

ven Weinstein and forwards Corey Kane and Ryan Santana – helped Vernon capture the RBC Cup – Carotherly competition helped push Tim and Kevin nadian Junior A hockey’s top championship. Kraus to the peaks of youth and junior hockey. Kevin captained the Vipers the next season, and he, That and their experiences in the game, which startKane, Weinstein and another Californian, Jonathan ed in California in the 1990s, are helping both now as Milhouse, helped them repeat as RBC Cup champicoaches. ons. Tim, 29, who played five seasons of pro hockey – “We all knew each other one way or another from parts of three with the Ontario Reign – after a standout California,” Kevin said. “It was nice to have that core to Western Hockey League (WHL) career, is in his fourth lean on, and all of those guys played big roles in our season of coaching youth hockey. winning.” Kevin, who turned 27 on Sept. 5, is starting his sixth A year of minor pro hockey convinced Kevin that usseason of coaching junior hockey, his third as an asing his WHL scholarship money to go to school and sistant with the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia coaching might be a better path. He was hired as an Hockey League (BCHL). assistant with the Junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies of the That Kevin started coaching in juniors at 21 is more Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Next remarkable given he didn’t play much organized ice season, at barely 23, he was promoted to coach and hockey until he was a Bantam. However, he and Tim general manager. After a year as an assistant in Salmweren’t newcomers to hockey as their mom and stepon Arm (BCHL), he was hired in his home away from dad ran inline rinks, first Bayshore in Long Beach and home, Vernon, in 2014. then Coast 2 Coast in Huntington Beach. “The two previous assistants were friends; it just fell “We were lucky,” said Tim, now a Squirt BB coach into my lap,” Kevin said. “I always wanted to coach. I and Bantam wanted to AAA coach give back to for the Anathe game. heim Jr. I was done Ducks. “We’d playing earlier head over than I wanted after school to be. and have two “Some hours of the kids are betplace to ourter off going selves. It was the Junior A a good time route, and I to play withwas one of out instructhem. I needtion. It played ed that and a huge role college to in my love for develop so the game. “ I could have It also started as a played a huge pro at 24 inrole in develstead of 21. oping games I jumped in that translatlate to ice ed well to the hockey and ice. developed “Playing a lot later. I with Tim all Kevin Kraus and Tim Kraus made their mark as youth and junior hockey players and are now doing the same in the coaching realm at the youth and junior levels. was fortunate those years Kevin Kraus photo/Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star to play pro and him making me look stupid is why I became a de- dominating at times.” hockey for one year, but I looked up to Tim and wish I fenseman,” Kevin said, laughing. “He made me look silBy 2007, Kevin also was playing in the WHL with could have had half his career.” ly, but I was in good company. He’s amazingly skilled. Kamloops, but the 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman A knee injury hastened Tim’s departure from pro “Tim was very hard on me because he’s so com- soon changed course. hockey in 2013. Larry Barron approached him about petitive.” “Tim played ice a lot sooner because we could helping with skills instruction at his hockey academy in The forward played ice hockey until he was a Squirt, only afford to have one kid play, so I started as a sec- Yorba Linda. Tim excelled and soon was coaching a then took a few years off, all the while playing roller ond-year Bantam,” Kevin said. “Remarkably, I still was Midget 16U AA team for Orange County Hockey Club hockey. drafted after playing Bantam AA. I was six feet when I before joining the Jr. Ducks. “Our teams played against (NHL star) Bobby Ryan was 14. I then played a year of Midget 16U AAA with “I didn’t always want to coach,” Tim said. “Once OC and (former USHL leading scorer) John Kemp, who LA Hockey Club before going to the WHL (in 2006).” asked me, I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to coach?’ were on the Jr. Kings Pee Wee AAA team that won Aiken ran into Kevin during their overlapping careers So I gave it a try.” Nationals,” said Tim, who returned to the ice to play in the BCHL, which Kevin went to during the 2007-08 Tim was the pace setter on the ice, but the roles Bantam A for the Huntington Beach Sun Devils. season. have reversed a bit behind the bench. Given the brothYears of playing roller hockey for hours on end and “I played against Kevin at Vernon – he was a big, ers’ competitive natures, there’s no telling what the fua solid frame that topped out at 6-foot, 190 pounds strong, skilled defenseman who could make plays,” Aik- ture holds. put Tim on scouts’ radars. He made the Jr. Kings Ban- en said. “He was very physical, and similar to Tim in that “Kevin coaching junior hockey in Canada, and doing tam AAA team in 2001, and helped them win a USA regard.” it at a very young age isn’t something we expected,” Tim Hockey National Championship the following spring, After seeing Tim win three championships in youth said. “He won RBC championships as a captain and and then again on the Midget 16U AAA team in 2003. and junior hockey, it was Kevin’s turn in 2009. He and put his own stamp on the family name. I’m sure there “At that time, it was unheard of for a group of kids a contingent of Californians who went on to play NCAA will be people knocking on his door for head coaching from California to win back-to-back titles,” he said. “I Division I hockey – defensemen Kyle Bigos and Ste- jobs some day if he wants that opportunity.”

By Chris Bayee




Position: Forward, Malmo Redhawks (Swedish Hockey League) Hometown: Huntington Beach Last Amateur Team: University of Denver (then of the WCHA) Youth Team: California Wave California Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up? Rhett Rakhshani: Winning Bantam Nationals in 2003, beating Shattuck (St. Mary’s) in the final. Jeff Turcotte was my coach. CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving California? RR: Winning is always the best experience. We won a Swedish league title with Vaxjo (in 2015). That was an amazing experience. It was the first time the team won a gold. I was really close with a lot of guys on the team. My brother-in-law (Noah Welch) was on the team. About 20,000 people were out for the celebration on the main city square, and they all were cheering. It was an amazing, amazing time. Unforgettable. CR: What advice would you give young hockey players? RR: It depends on what phase of their career it is. Broadly speaking, always continue learning and continue trying to better yourself. Realize you’re going to fail and mess up. Try to push yourself every day. Expect to fail. Even the best of the best of the best mess up like everyone else. Along with that, enjoy it. Remind yourself to keep it in perspective. Have a good attitude. CR: Who has been the biggest influence on you on and off the ice? RR: My parents have been the biggest hands down. I would not be here having the opportunity to see the world, making a living, had it not been for the investment they made in me. In hockey, Jeff Turcotte was probably the biggest molder, helping me become the player I am today. All those coaches with the Wave in those days – Jeff, Jack Bowkus, Mike Lewis, Rick Kelly – helped. All have helped me in different ways without realizing it. Things you don’t like help you grow. CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? RR: Golf has become the secondary sport. And surfing. I’m not good at them, but I enjoy them when I have some free time. CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about? RR: My skates. If you ruin my edge, you could ruin my day. CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip? RR: A phone and charger. I stopped bringing an iPad because I’d just watch movies. I bring a Kindle and read. Do something that’s just more productive. CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant? RR: I try to take advantage of all the Mexican food because we don’t have that in Sweden. I’m trying to load up on that and sushi because there are some good places. CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up? RR: Teemu Selanne. CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what do you think you’d be doing? RR: Only God knows that. CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing pro hockey? RR: One of them is when you’re an amateur, there is pressure to reach goals and expectations. When it becomes a business, it changes a little bit. You’re providing for your family. You have to perform so you can have your job and your next job. If you don’t perform, you’re not going to work long. It’ s more volatile than other professions. The last thing is the moving around. You’re never settled in – 99 percent of time, it’s not in a town that’s your home. When you go home, you’ve got to bring all your stuff back. When you’re overseas and you have a kid, you have to be cautious buying stuff. Despite all that, it’s still worth it for the sake of being able to play professionally. Photo/Sophia Törnell / Linköpings HC


California Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Chris Bayee

Attracting the very best youth hockey programs under the bright lights of Los Angeles!




May 26 -29, 2017

Midget Open . 2003 Elite & AAA 2004 Elite & AAA . 2005 Elite & AAA 2006 Elite & AAA . 2007 Elite & AAA February 17-20, 2017 2008 Elite & AAA November 24 - 27, 2016 Mite Track I (Half Ice) 2009 September 2 - 5, 2016 . II & 2010 Mite Track II (Half Ice) . Pee Wee AA, A, BB, B . Squirt A, BB, B Mite Track I B . A, AA, tam Ban . ol Scho High AA/A Midget 18U AA/A - Midget 16U


For more information, contact tournament director Brian McDonough at (612) 220-4402 or

Registration for our three remaining tournaments is now open!

Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

California Rubber Magazine - September 2016  

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

California Rubber Magazine - September 2016  

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


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