Rubber Hockey - January 2023

Page 1

Best of both worlds

Fremont’s Meure commits to NCAA D-III Buffalo State

Ogden Mustangs captain Jake Meure is enjoying a solid USPHL career and looks to expand on that in the NCAA Division III ranks next season with his recent commitment to Buffalo State College (SUNYAC).

The franchise forward and Fremont native has been an essential piece of the Mustangs forwards for the last three seasons.

“I knew Ogden was one of the best places to play junior hockey,” said Meure. “The coaches, the fans, the facilities, everything about it is top notch.”

The Total Package Hockey Academy in Phoenix continues to play a major role in the game of hockey’s growth in the state of Arizona. The TPH staff and model is helping houth hockey players from across all organizations and multiple age groups and levels in the Valley learn to balance hockey and academics -- and to succeed at both with flying colors. See more inside on Page 13. Photo provided

Mustangs coach Kenny Orlando had numerous great things to say about his time working with Meure.

on Page 14 Meure JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

First-ever USPHL Las Vegas Showcase a success for league

Just prior to Christmas, the inaugural USPHL Las Vegas Showcase took place, running Dec. 19-22 at City National Arena and Lifeguard Arena.

This was the first-ever USPHL showcase event west of Minnesota and it featured all seven Premier Pacific Division teams, all five Premier Northwest Division teams, as well as the Provo Predators of the USPHL Premier’s Mountain Division.

Here is a recap of how teams with .500 or better records did as well as a look at top performers for all teams.

Las Vegas Thunderbirds (4-0-0-


Winning all four of their games at the showcase, the hosting Las Vegas Thunderbirds were one of just two teams to go undefeated this week. They opened with a 5-2 win over the Rock Spring Prospectors, had a decisive win over the Seattle Totems, and finished with a 4-2 win over the Rogue Valley Royals. The T-Birds pulled off a huge win over the Pacific Division leaders, the Fresno Monsters, in Game 2 with a score of 4-2. They are currently in third in the division with 39 points just behind San Diego and Ontario who have 40 each.

Top Scorers: Frederic Pinel F (35-8), Samuel Dumont F (5-3-8), Nick Bonaldi D (1-3-4)

Top Goaltenders: Simon Johnson, 1-0, 28/30, .933 SV%, 1.36 GAA; Loic Morin, 1-0, 37/49, .949, 2.00 GAA; Sam Peterson, 1-0, 30/32, .938, 2.00 GAA

Bakersfield Roughnecks (4-0-0-0)

The fourth place Bakersfield Roughnecks brought the heat this week as they were one of the two teams to go undefeated in the first ever Las Vegas Showcase. Though going undefeated, they faced a lot of adversity with two OT games. They opened with a 2-1 OT win over the Rogue Valley Royals, continued with a 2-0 shutout win over the Bellingham Blazers, and closed the week with a 5-2 win over Lake Tahoe and a 4-3 OT win over the Seattle Totems.

Top Scorers: Carson Lindstrom F (1-4-5), Noah Carpenter D (2-1-3)

Top Goaltender: Connor Adams, 1-0, 24 saves on 24 shots (24/24), 1.00 save percentage (SV%), 0.00 goals against average (GAA)

Fresno Monsters (3-1-0-0)

The Fresno Monsters, who lead the Pacific Division with 47 points, started the showcase off with a shutout win over the Bellingham Blazers. They were upset by the hosting Las Vegas Thunderbirds 4-2 but came back to finish the week with a 5-1 win over the Rock Springs Prospectors and a 6-3 win over the Northwest Division leader, the Vernal Oilers.

Top Scorers: Noak Persson F (7-815, led all Las Vegas Showcase players), Jacob Gagnon D (1-2-3)

Top Goaltender: Ethan Jourden, 2-0, 43/46 .935SV%, 1.58 GAA, 1 shutout

Vernal Oilers (3-1-0-0)

The Oilers lead the Northwest division and picked up wins over three Pacific Division teams this week. They started with an 8-2 win over the Long Beach Shredders, a 7-4 win over the Lake Tahoe Lakers, and a 6-5 win over the Ontario Jr Reign; their only loss was to the leader of the Pacific Division, the Fresno Monsters.

Top Scorers: Alex Rene Bartakovics F (4-6-10), Filip Lezzani D (2-7-9)

Top Goaltender: Austin Gilbert, 2-0, 50/54, .926 SV%, 2.19 GAA

Provo Predators (3-1-0-0)

The visiting Provo Predators had quite the success at the showcase after an initial 5-2 loss to the Ontario Jr Reign, they came back with a 6-1 win over the Lake Tahoe Lakers, a decisive win over the Long Beach Shredders, and a thrilling 4-3 OT win over the San Diego Sabers to end the week.

Top Scorers: Wilder Jacober F (1-

5-6), Brent Scott D (2-2-4)

Top Goaltenders: Landon Palmer, 1-0, 20/21, 0.952 SV%, 1.00 GAA; Wyatt Gottschall, 1-0, 11/12, 0.917 SV%, 1.05 GAA

Ontario Jr. Reign (3-1-0-0)

Starting off strong, the Jr Reign had wins 5-2 over the Provo Predators, 7-2 over the Seattle Totems, and earned a shutout over the Rock Springs Prospectors. They only fell to the leader of the Northwest Division in a close 6-5 game.

Top Scorers: Matteo Pero F (18-9), Max Kathol F (3-6-9), Ethan McKibbin F (3-6-9), Amir Shakirov D (2-5-7)

Top Goaltender: Julian Arenal, 1-0, 20/20, 1.00 SV%, 0 GAA San Diego Sabers (3-1-0-0)

The Sabers managed to pick up two shutout wins this week, over the Rogue Valley Royals and the Rock Springs Prospectors. They also picked up a 7-3 win over the Seattle Totems to open the showcase. Their only loss was in OT to the Provo Predators.

Top Scorers: Nevio D’Alessandro D (2-8-10), Lucas Lundy D (3-6-9), Mario Paganini F (4-3-7)

Top Goaltenders: Ethan Blackburn, 2-1, 90/97, 0.927 SV%, 2.32 GAA; Herman Renden, 1-0, 13/13, 1.000 SV%, 0 GAA

Long Beach Shredders (2-2-0-0)

With two tough, decisive losses to start the showcase, the Shredders had to fight to come back. Finishing the week with two wins, they did just that. Wednesday, they finished

10-4 over the Rogue Valley Royals and Thursday 3-2 over the Bellingham Blazers.

Top Scorers: Nathan Compton F (2-5-7) and Drew Mazza D (0-5-5)

Top Goaltender: Aidan Patterson, 1-0, 28/30, .933 SV%, 2.00

In other action

The Lake Tahoe Lakers won their final game 4-2 against the Bellingham Blazers. D Stefan Leitner had five goals. Donovan Guldenmann was the leading goaltender stopping 39 of 41 in his first junior win.

The Seattle Totems escaped with a point off a closing OT loss to Bakersfield. Jesse James Aitken posted a 4-2-6 line to lead the way.

The Bellingham Blazers were led by Kieran Maloney who had three points. Ty Angus stopped 62 of 64 shots in 89 minutes.

Six players recorded points for the Rock Springs Prospectors, though they did not pick up a win.

Scott Vanderhoff was a pointper-game player for Rogue Valley.

Kaeden Edstrom was impressive in stopping 93 of 99 shots in goal.

— Grace Mello and Joshua Boyd/ JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Bakersfield native and Roughnecks captain Noah Carpenter skates up ice during last month’s USPHL Las Vegas Showcase event held at both Lifeguard Arena and City National Arena. Photo: Joshua Boyd/USPHL

Follow Rubber Hockey 24/7 online!


Facebook: ArizonaRubber

Twitter: @AZRubberHockey Instagram: azrubberhockey


Facebook: CaliforniaRubber Twitter: @CARubberHockey Instagram: carubberhockey


Facebook: ColoradoRubber Twitter: @CORubberHockey Instagram: corubberhockey

Words from the publisher...

Well, here we are!

It’s a new year and, like we always feel this time every year, it’s a time for new beginnings.

We all make our new year’s resolutions with the ambition to keep them going all 365 days of the year.

Sometimes, we succeed.

Other times (most times?) we never get past Jan. 5. Ha!

I remember this time a year ago, I was wondering what the future was for our Rubber brand. We took a crazy U-turn back in 2020 (has it already been THREE years?!?) and then hit some roadblocks that forced us to re-evaluate our strategy.

Three years later, and I know I say this a lot, but we are still here, and dare I say stronger than ever. There is always room to grow, and

while the product may look a bit different than it did pre-COVID, we still have the same goals in mind, and that’s to get as many names and faces from Arizona (and New Mexico), California (and Nevada) and Colorado (and Utah) out there to showcase their accomplishments.

on 27 years in June. Yikes!) There is something about this sport and everyone involved in it that is unlike any other sport or industry out there.



Truth be told, I love what I do.

You know that age-old phrase that says once you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?


Working in hockey has been something I have been doing for basically my entire adult life (going

The hockey world is a closeknit family that many times I have found is less than six degrees of separation. Someone knows someone who you have played against, played with, coached with or against, or worked with in some capacity.

Here’s a fun story. Back a few years, I was chatting with an official from a New Mexico hockey association and she mentioned how she used to live in the Detroit area, also where I grew up. I asked where and the answer was my hometown, literally streets away from where we used to play outside until the

streetlights came on.

Yes, I know I am getting old, but that streetlights anecdote was really something we did.

In any event, it’s getting into the second half of January, and hockey at all levels is going fullsteam ahead.

I know we just got done listening to “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” but let’s be honest. Any time of the year with hockey pretty much fits that mold, am I right?

Remember to keep the sportsmanship at top of the priorities and also remember that hockey is just a game. Enjoy it!

Contact me any time at (248) 890-3944 (call/text) and by email at Looking forward to hearing from you! JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

For Littleton native, Team Colorado AAA standout Gerrie, commitment to NCAA D-III Plymouth State checks all boxes

Aside from a short stint in Vermont, Emily Gerrie has spent her entire hockey career in Colorado.

A Littleton native currently starring for the Team Colorado AAA program, Gerrie will venturing east for a longer stint next spring with her recent commitment to NCAA Division III Plymouth State University, a school located in the towns of Plymouth and Holderness, N.H.

“My coach Hannah Westbrook got me in contact with Mollie Fitzpatrick, the head coach from Plymouth State, and we spent a few weeks talking and she watched a bunch of my games,” Gerrie said. “Then I talked to my parents and some friends and applied to the school and made my decision to go to Plymouth next spring. Mollie is a very cool person and so easy to talk to. We got along great, she showed me the facilities at Plymouth, and I was instantly drawn to the school. Plus, it’s out east near where my sister plays soccer and I have some friends who go there, too. “

Gerrie said that while the hockey program is a major appeal, the classroom aspect of college also drew her to Plymouth State.

“Academics have always been a priority to me,” said Gerrie. “I worked hard in high school and that helped me get into a lot of schools I applied to for college. It also gave me scholarship opportunities.”

Growing up, Gerrie started skating when she was about four years old at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, where she has lived her whole life.

“The reason I got into hockey is because my dad played for a beer

league, and I always loved watching him play,” Gerrie said. “I grew up playing for the Colorado Select for about six years. A coach that stood out to me and taught me a lot during my years with Select was Evan Minnick. During my first 14U year with the Colorado Select, I joined the first Team Colorado 14U AAA team and played AA and AAA. For my second year of 14U, I moved to the Littleton Hawks and also played for the

NAHA Prospects, a AAA team out of Vermont. I played for both those teams and learned a lot from my Littleton coaches Eric Mayhew, Drue Engleman and my NAHA coach Hannah Westbrook. Shortly after that year at Littleton and with NAHA, I joined Team Colorado for my 16U year and have played with TC ever since.

“One of my favorite Team Colorado coaches is Chris Lockrem. He coached me my first year of 19U, and I learned how to be a good teammate and friend and also became a better hockey player. I still look up to him and his coaching style, and I hope to be a coach like him someday.”

Looking ahead, Gerrie has her priorities ready to be tackled.

“My short-term goals for hockey are to have a fun and successful four years at Plymouth State,” said Gerrie. “My long-term goals are to help Plymouth move up in the NCAA rankings and become an underdog team. With my academics, I want to find a major that I’m interested in and something I can use in my future life after college.

“I’m excited to learn new things and find a subject and major that excites me.”

Greenwood Village’s Gudridge moving forward on development, improvement levels with USHL’s Capitols

Jordan Gudridge is just 17, but the Greenwood Village native has a bright future ahead, on and off the ice.

Playing this season as the secondyoungest player with the USHL’s Madison Capitols, Gudridge has seen action in 16 games, tallying one assist from the back end.

Originally selected by Madison in the fourth round (59th overall) of Phase I of the 2021 USHL Draft, Gudridge spent the 2021-22 season with the Colorado Thunderbirds’

16U AAA team to prepare for the current season.

“After the 2021 USHL draft, I attended my first main camp with the team, and it was a great experience,” said Gudridge. “I met the head coach at the time, Tom Upton, and assistant coaches Corey Leivermann (now head coach) and Gavin Bickford. I loved the culture, atmosphere, and high-level environment that I was now a part of. After camp, the decision was for me to return to Colorado to play 16U hockey. After keeping in touch all year, I attended main camp this past summer and the opportunity

arose to sign and play for the team. I was extremely excited and could not be more happy with my decision.

“My appeal to the team began when I first spoke to Coach Upton. The idea of becoming a part of an elite program like the Madison Capitols was one I have always dreamed of. After talking with Coach Upton, I looked into the organization and really loved what I saw. After being drafted, I dug deeper, learning more about the team. I followed the journey of the Caps all last year, and as you can imagine after watching JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Emily Gerrie is playing the 2022-23 season for the Team Colorado 19U AAA team before heading to the college game. Photo provided
Continued on Page 26

Mission Viejo native, Jr. Ducks, Jr. Kings alum Milewski garners NA3HL Goaltender of the Month honors

The NA3HL has announced that Bozeman Icedogs netminder Cam Milewski is the NA3HL Goaltender of the Month.

Milewski was perfect between the pipes in the month of December with a 5-0-0 record, facing 155 shots over the course of five games while only allowing six goals.

The Mission Viejo native also posted a 40-save shutout win during the month in addition to a 1.20 GAA and a .961 save percentage throughout December.

Back home, Milewski played for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Los Angeles Jr. Kings. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Little Kings 2023 is open for registration!
This six-week learn-to-play program is for children ages 5-9 and includes head-to-toe equipment. Girls-only sessions offered at select locations. To register or for more information, visit
Cam Milewski faced 155 shots in the month of December and only allowed six goals for the Bozeman Icedogs. Photo: NAHL


. C O M
. C O M

From the Trainer’s Room

It’s never too late I’m not sure you could pay me enough to be a hockey league director anymore.

Early in my career, I ran both adult and youth hockey leagues in a small town. Everybody knew each other and it was more of a social gathering than a competition. It was a blast.

Now, fast forward about 20 years and the landscape has changed. In speaking with a hockey director at a local rink, he explained to me how he is amazed by the athletes’ quest to win in each of the leagues, regardless of the skill level. This can be seen in the beginner adult leagues more so than any other.

But how do you gain an edge over the other hockey players? A comprehensive training program is a great place to start.

your specific needs. This will also aid in injury prevention when it comes to game time.

The standard adult hockey schedule consists of one game a week. This allows ample time to do some strength training and conditioning with plenty of time to recover for game day. In the perfect situation, three workouts a week with 24 hours of rest before the game would be ideal. It’s understandable that the schedule of life outside of hockey can get in the way.

the article.

Hockey is a great sport and should be fun for all. Sure, it’s great to win a few games, too, but you can’t do that if you are injured and watching from the stands. It’s also a challenging sport to improve at and it takes work, but, as athletes, we thrive on challenges and competitions. Find a fitness professional with adequate experience and invest in yourself and your game.

“Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.” Be the player on the ice that strives to have both.

on the muscle exceeds its capacity and causes the fibers to tear. The severity can differ from one injury to another and can affect different regions of the muscle. Typically, we’ll see strains occur at the muscle belly, near the middle of the inside of the thigh, or near the pubic bone, where the muscle turns into a tendon and attaches to the bone.

Mike Hannegan

Most clients say, “I never had to stretch as a kid….” Sure, I said that, too, but guess what? You’re not a kid anymore. Proper joint mobility and muscle pliability go a long way to achieve the body positions needed for proper skating mechanics. The skating coaches that I work with send me their athletes to increase the skaters’ hip mobility so they can get down into good positions for edgework drills. Start stretching daily, focusing on the legs and hips. Use modalities such as foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and percussion guns on tight spots and trigger points.

Contact an athletic trainer for specific exercises suited for you and

Benefits of training twice a week can still improve on-ice performance. The most important thing is to be consistent and patient. It can take six weeks to really see a marked improvement in strength gains. Again, look to a professional athletic trainer or strength coach with hockey experience to instruct you through a proper program. Learn to squat, lunge, push, pull, and build core stability (that alone is another series of articles) properly before lifting too much too soon and causing injury.

Workouts can be divided into upper body and lower body days with an element of core strength integrated into each. Lower body workouts are done earlier in the week (if games are on the weekend) and I suggest not doing lower body workouts 48 hours before a game. The day in between the strength training days can be used for cardiovascular conditioning and joint mobility, as mentioned earlier in

Mike Hannegan is an athletic trainer and strength coach with 10 years of experience in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. He is currently the director of the Compete Sports Performance and Rehabilitation facility inside The Rinks-Yorba Linda Ice located in beautiful Orange County. He can be reached at


Groin injuries

What is a groin strain?

A groin strain, or adductor strain, is an injury to one of the muscles on the inner thigh (adductor longus, brevis, and magnus; gracilis; and pectineus). Their primary function is to bring the leg back towards the middle of the body or adduct the hip.

A muscle strain occurs when the force placed

Two noted factors that predispose an athlete to a groin injury include decreased flexibility of the groin, hip flexor, and glutes, and weakness of the adductors/groin muscles. Strains of this nature can cause an athlete to miss significant time from their sport.

Who is most susceptible to a groin strain?

Just like a quad or a hamstring injury, any active individual can sustain a groin strain. That being said, there are certain sports that have a higher incidence of this type of injury. Due to the nature of their repetitive patterns, ice hockey and soccer are two sports where we often see groin strains.

Previous reports in the NHL have shown that up to 10 percent of all injuries sustained have been due to strains of the groin or adductor muscle group. In today’s NHL, it is a little tougher to note since these injuries are now classified as “lower body” and not specified. Groin injuries can be debilitating as the muscle group is elongated on the skating stride and contracted on the swing phase, so it is constantly being stressed.

In soccer, common JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Continued on Page 10

How to deal with, treat groin injuries; sport-specific training: truth or myth?

Continued from Page 8

mechanisms for straining a groin muscle include shooting and kicking, which require a strong force on the swing phase. They may also strain their groin during a quick change in direction or acceleration.

These are not the only movement patterns that can cause a groin strain; change of direction or shuffling in basketball, hurdling in track and field, performing the splits in gymnastics or cheer…the list can go on and on.

I strained my groin…what now?

When a groin injury occurs, it is important not to play through it and to seek medical advice from a qualified physician, athletic trainer, or physical therapist who works with athletes with these types of injuries.

If a strain affects your stride, speed, or power, it will typically get worse if you continue to play. Normal treatment will include rest, pain-free flexibility of the adductors, glutes, and hip flexors, and strengthening of the adductors and hip flexors. A slow, gradual return to sport-specific activities followed by return to practice is also a key to the recovery before returning to games.

Once the pain has subsided, it is still important to maintain the flexibility and strength in your hips to help prevent future injuries.


Is sport-specific training truth or myth?

With sport specialization at a

young age becoming the norm, it raises another question: What about sport-specific training?

Social media and marketing suggest that all athletes should train specifically for their sport using cool-looking, and often complex, exercises that mimic specific sports. Are these training programs truly helping your athlete or are they making matters worse by overtraining the same movements they are already performing in practice? Are they adding value to your athlete’s training, or asking them to perform exercises they aren’t prepared to do?

While it is true that we need to prepare for the demands placed on an athlete, the priority is building a strong foundation of the basics. Social media is full of elite athletes and influencers doing complex, “cool”looking exercises, but can your athlete simply squat and lunge good form? Do they have the core strength to hold a proper plank for 30 seconds? Or the cardio capacity to play a game without getting tired?

Renowned strength coach Mike Boyle notes, “Does a fast baseball player look any different than a fast soccer player? The answer is no.”

A common goal we hear from parents is they want their athlete to get from point A to point B faster; in other words, accelerate quicker. Improving your first three steps in hockey is no different than soccer, so why do we feel the need to make it more sport-specific? Acceleration can be improved by ensuring correct

mechanics, increasing strength, and increasing power.

These are things all athletes need to work on, not just hockey players or football players.

The best way to become a better hockey player, or soccer player, or baseball player is to first build a better athlete. A sport’s demands and specific injury risks need to be considered when fine-tuning a program. The bulk of programming, however, should focus on the basics of athleticism: flexibility, stability, speed, strength, and power.

While training programs can look

similar from athlete to athlete, they can still be productive, regardless of sport.

Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with over 30 years’ experience in professional sports. Chris has worked in the NHL with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Washington Capitals and attended the 2022 Winter Olympics with the Czech Republic Figure Skating Team. He is the founder of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Southern California. Chris can be reached at

TCS Hockey invites your team to register now for The Last Frontier Cup!

Scheduled for May 5-7, 2023, the event will be played at the O’Malley Ice Center in Anchorage, Alaska!

For more information and to register, visit JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

Phoenix native, Jr. Coyotes alum Stuart leaving mark in USHL, makes commitment to NCAA D-I Colorado College

Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Riley Stuart has announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey and continue his academic career at Colorado College.

The USHL veteran is in his fourth year with the Fighting Saints and was named a captain for Dubuque for the second straight season.

The Pjoenix native was acquired via trade by the Fighting Saints from the Omaha Lancers in the 2019 offseason, and since then has become a household name for Dubuque fans. In his three full seasons plus 29 games to open the 2022-23 season, Stuart has combined to play 176 games for the Fighting Saints. Good health provided, by the end of the season, Stuart will surpass Keegan Ford (197) for the most games played in

franchise history.

“Riley arrived in Dubuque four years ago as a young player finding his way into the league,” said Fight-

ing Saints GM and president of hockey operations Kalle Larsson. “After this season, he will leave as one of the longest tenured Fighting Saints

ever. His leadership qualities, team first attitude, and relentless work on the ice will be missed. We are happy and proud that Riley will continue his career at Colorado College. His qualities as a player and person will have an impact on their program from the day he sets foot on campus.”

Stuart’s leadership quality is well known. He was first named as an alternate captain prior to the 2020-21 season, then served as the Fighting Saints captain during the 2021-22 campaign, and now serves as a cocaptain alongside his current and now future teammate Max Burkholder.

With Dubuque, the Jr. Coyotes graduate has amassed 51 career points on 14 goals and 37 assists, 121 penalty minutes, and a plus-11 rating to date. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Don’t wait! Sign up today! FOR MORE INFO & TO REGISTER, VISIT
As the calendar has flipped to 2023, the Arizona Hockey Union still has TWO more tournaments left on
the schedule for the rest of the 2022-23 season!
Veteran forward and Phoenix native Riley Stuart captains the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. Photo: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images

Interested in playing junior hockey

for the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild? JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

TPH Phoenix Academy blossoming in player development, on ice and in classroom

As Arizona youth hockey continues to grow in numbers, the opportunities for players are increasing as well.

The Total Package Hockey (TPH) Academy is one such result of that growth, and one that is moving the needle for player development, both on the ice and in the classroom.

Brett Blatchford, the academy’s director and head of hockey, said the program formed to fill the void in Arizona of an academy located in metro Phoenix where local AA and AAA aspiring elite student-athletes, both boys and girls, could fine-tune their skills, to build an academy that helps Phoenix-area youth hockey players to reach their fullest potential in the sport and realize that they have every resource available to them –right here in their own backyard.

“Phoenix needed a hockey academy that prioritized a holistic experience and offered a quality blended learning academic solution,” Blatchford said. “In our short two-and-ahalf-year history, our students have carried over a 3.7 GPA on average, we have had players taken in the USHL draft, drafted into the WHL, invited to WHL camps, tendered into the NAHL, and advance to the USA Hockey National Camp. From our testing numbers, we can see significant improvement, backed by data, that makes the effectiveness of the TPH Phoenix Academy extremely tangible.

“This year, we made an investment in SWIFT Gates and Force Plates so that we can track individual results even more accurately and better tell our story to prospective families.”

As the academy moves forward with its “Study. Train. Play.” mentality, the players come from all over the Valley to be part of TPH, including the Arizona Kachinas, Jr. Coyotes, Arizona Bobcats, Arizona Hockey Union, Mission Arizona, and DYHA Jr. Sun Devils.

And while TPH does not compete in games, Blatchford explained that “we are supplemental training to improve skills, habits, concepts, and details to deliver a more refined player to the club team.”

Blatchford further detailed how the

three main entities benefit from one another.

“Basically, the Jr. Coyotes, Ice Den, and TPH Phoenix realize that our involvement with one another helps strengthen each business,” said Blatchford. “The Ice Den benefits from having a consistent user during non-traditional hours. The Jr. Coyotes benefit as we take Tier II players and give them the resources to grow into a Tier I player. TPH benefits by being so close to both businesses, and many Jr. Coyotes coaches advocate TPH Phoenix to their club team players. Four of our seven coaches also coach a Jr. Coyotes team and 23 of our 43 student-athletes are Jr. Coyotes.”

“Each is successful in their own right, but success is enhanced by our involvement with one another.”

Marcy Fileccia, Coyotes Ice president, says the collaboration with TPH benefits both the players and the facility.

“As Coyotes Ice has grown our footprint to accommodate the demands for off-ice training the past

few seasons to include Ice Den Performance, we created a campus-type feel that set up well to partner with TPH,” Fileccia said. “The studentathletes bring a great energy to the building during the day and with the return of the Arizona Coyotes on a more permanent basis, it creates a unique environment between the two that inspires the players with a daily interaction of what could be possible.”

On the academic side, Amy Reagan is the academy’s head of academics, provided by Sequoia. She is also enamored with the academy’s approach to making the students well-rounded in more than just the game of hockey.

“Our student-athletes are able to maintain their focus and work ethic to prioritize their studies despite the challenges that come with regular hockey travel across the country,” said Reagan. “We provide a hybrid learning experience that gives families academic flexibility through an online learning platform, our on-site learning environment, and hands-on

support of our public school partner, Sequoia Choice AZDL.”

In the gym and on the ice, sports training is so important to families that choose to participate in TPH Phoenix, according to Blatchford, who said that TPH staff is present to help the student-athletes at every turn.

“That’s why it is so critical to have an amazing hockey video and on-ice staff that includes Dallas Drake, Michael Grabner, Scott Munroe, Brian Slugocki, Delaney Drake, Kenny Brandt, and I,” Blatchford. “Sports training is not the only reason to come, though. They receive off-ice training from Ice Den Performance directors Shane Harvey and John Isbell. Pro and college players come back to train at IDP in the summers. The coaches at IDP are complete professionals. Our TPH student-athletes are provided the opportunity to train with Shane and John all year long. Academic support and community service is led by Amy and academic success coach KC McGinley. Additionally, we have our nine-part mentorship program lead by COO Francis Anzalone and supplemented by past guest speakers like Shane Doan, Rob Cowie (NHL scout), Craig Cunningham (NHL scout), Barry Smith (former NHL coach), Dave King (former NHL coach), Megan Keller (USA Olympian), Makenna Newkirk (Penn State assistant coach), Bryan Snyder (TPH nutritionist), Mitch Stewart (Arizona Coyotes strength and conditioning coach), and Grant Lyon (Jr. Coyotes goalie coach and financial advisor).

“The Phoenix hockey community has really shown strong interest to get behind the program and that has made it a truly exceptional experience for our student-athletes. We are holistic in our approach and support the student-athletes in every facet of their development, helping them to become more autonomous and selfsufficient for the next step in their hockey development. Our mission statement captures our passion for the growth and development of our TPH student-athletes, as we work to ‘Advance – in and beyond the game – the next generation of impact players.’” JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

Jr. Sharks alum, USPHL star Meure off to college hockey in ‘23-24

“Jake is a great hockey mind and his passion for the game is evident,” Orlando said. “Over the last three seasons, we’ve seen Jake make big strides in rounding out his game. He’s very deserving of his chance to compete in the SUNYAC conference next season. Jake’s skill set and compete level are assets that he needs to lean on going into college hockey. It has been a pleasure getting to know Jake and help mold his game into where he is today.

“We are excited to watch him succeed at the next level.”

Meure is currently fourth on the Mustangs in all-time point scoring. With the third- and second-place spot within grasp, Meure looks to close

out the 2022-23 season on a strong note. He has already surpassed his point total from last season, doubling up on his goal total collectively from the first two seasons. His creativity, both in the offensive zone and on the power play, have largely contributed to the offensive juggernaut that is the Ogden Mustangs.

“I’d like to be remembered (in Ogden) as a player who left it all on the ice,” said Meure. “I’m excited to get to New York but I’m definitely going to miss my Ogden family and the Mustangs community.”

Once he arrives in western New York in the fall, the San Jose Jr. Sharks graduate intends to major in Sports Management.

-- Ogden Mustangs Staff

been a star up front for several years with the USPHL’s Ogden Mustangs. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Jake Meure has Photo: Jonny Berry JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

Team Colorado AAA star, Broomfield native Peller takes next step in journey with NCAA D-III UWEC commitment

Maci Peller is spending her postgrad year with the Team Colorado 19U AAA team and will soon join a handful of her teammates on NCAA teams next season.

Peller, a native of Broomfield, will play at the University of WisconsinEau Claire, starting with the 2023-24 season.

The process in winding up at UWEC actually started two years ago, as Peller explained in reflecting om her journey.

“During my junior year, I had made the decision to move from Team Colorado AAA to the Dallas Stars Elite and attended one of their showcases held in Irving, Tex.,” Peller said. “I immediately loved the coaching style of Eau Claire’s head coach, Erik Strand, and soon reached out about potentially playing for Eau Claire. The biggest factor for me was that I would be entering a competitive environment, both academically and athletically. Eau Claire offered both of those, as well as a good program supporting my major and the

promise of good hockey.

“Academics have always been a priority, but balancing with youth hockey has been hard especially when it comes to billeting, given that all the schooling I did was online. I still maintained a fairly high GPA, but I think that if I had a more consistent education throughout high school, it would have potentially been higher.”

Admittedly, Peller did not grow up in a hockey family, though she did enjoy watching the Colorado Avalanche.

“I actually started by going to the Apex rink at a Learn To Skate with my best friend when I was 13, but I never thought of playing much,” said Peller. “When I started, I was awful but really did love playing and so a coach recommended I try out for the Sport Stable’s Lady RoughRiders. The rink was close enough to Broomfield that I could commute easily and after that, I slowly moved on to TC.”

Peller played 14U and 16U for the RoughRiders and then in the spring for Monarch High School.

“I will always thank Chris Lockrem for largely making me into the

player I am today and obviously to Hannah Westbrook for continuing to make me into a better player now as I play for the TC 19U AAA,” Peller said.

Moving forward, Peller has achieveable goals, on and off the ice.

“Short term, I would like to continue getting better day by day with Hannah and the team, and to prepare

for the competitiveness of USA Hockey Nationals and next year (at UWEC),” said Peller. “My long-term goals would probably be best summarized in that I want to go as far as possible into being the best person and player I can be. I hope to study neuroscience in college and as far as hockey goes, to enjoy all four years playing at Eau Claire.”

Littleton product Coquet using Team Colorado AAA stint to land NCAA D-III opportunity with St. Norbert

Emme Coquet is enjoying her first season playing for the Team Colorado AAA program, and even though it’s also her last, she’s excited for what next season holds.

Recently, the Northglenn native now living in Littleton committed to NCAA Division St. Norbert College for next fall. The school is located in De Pere, Wisc., and will be Coquet’s second experience living away from Colorado.

“After deciding to stay home for my senior year after playing the last three years in Boston, my coach Hannah Westbrook suggested I contact St. Norbert before a tournament in Minnesota,” Coquet said. “She has known the head coach, AJ Aitken, for a while and spoke very highly of

him and the program. I also know a couple of girls on the team from Colorado and a hockey family that lives near campus, and they had nothing negative to say about the school or coaches. The weekend before Thanksgiving, my mom and I went to visit and I felt an instant fit with the school, coaches, and team. I took a week to remove the high emotions from the visit and think logically before calling Coach AJ and verbally committing. Honestly, it was a really easy decision for me and one where I feel I will be happy and successful there for the next four years.

“The level of support provided by the school for academics, athletics, and mental health is very impressive. If needed, the athletic trainers and physicians are always available JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Maci Peller is a force for Team Colorado AAA. Photo: Kristin Schmidt
Continued on Page 23
For Emme Coquet, playing for Team Colorado AAA has provided an opportunity to play college hockey in ‘23-24. Photo: BeFeral Media

NAHL taking inaugural foray into Colorado with new Colorado Grit franchise, starting with 2023-24 season

The North American Hockey League is entering Colorado for the first time.

Last week, the league announced that its board of governors has approved the membership application for an NAHL team in Greeley, owned by Colorado Sports Partners, LLC, an entity owned and operated by Bob Bowden, Casey Bradshaw, and David Clarkson.

The team will be known as the Colorado Grit and will compete in the South Division beginning in the 2023-24 season out of the Greeley Ice Haus.

The Colorado Sports Partners, LLC, ownership group and key personnel all have a passion for hockey and helping players develop and pursue their hockey goals. Besides a great passion for hockey, the group has a strong financial background, strong business experience, nine years of Junior hockey experience, over 20 years of high-level coaching, recruiting, and player development experience at the junior, professional, and AAA/Tier I levels.

Bowden is the founder and owner of B2B Builders, Bowden Properties, and Bowden Custom Homes in Aspen. He also serves as executive VP of Sencore, Inc., an electronic testing device manufacturer. Bradshaw is the founder and owner of Certified Prosthetics & Orthotics and

Certified Orthopedics/Adaptive. He has previously served as president of Mountain States Youth Hockey and VP of Northern Colorado Youth Hockey. Clarkson had the opportunity to play in the NHL for 12 years and has spent the last five years as a dedicated youth coach, in addition to currently volunteering as a coach for the Colorado Warriors hockey team.

The Greeley Ice Haus lends itself well to house an NAHL team with a 1,200-plus seat capacity, boxes, concessions, built-out locker rooms, and offices all situated in a downtown backdrop with bars, restaurants, and hotels within steps of the facility.

Greeley is about 50 miles northeast of Denver, in Weld County with a local population over 300,000 and is considered the fourth fastest growth area in the United States. This community has grown immensely over the last decade but has kept its small community culture.

“We are excited to grow the NAHL towards the west with likeminded owners interested in putting the players and the community first,” said NAHL commissioner and president Mark Frankenfeld. “The Colorado Grit will be the NAHL’s first-ever

team based in the state of Colorado and will create natural rivalries with those teams in the western part of the South Division. In addition, the team is in close proximity to three highlevel NCAA Division I hockey programs, which will bring more eyes on every player that plays in the South Division.”

The Grit will be the ninth team in the NAHL’s South Division, which currently includes the Amarillo Wranglers (Amarillo, Tex.), Corpus Christi IceRays (Corpus Christi, Tex.), El Paso Rhinos (El Paso, Tex.), Lone Star Brahmas (North Richland Hills, Tex.), New Mexico Ice Wolves (Albuquerque, N.M.), Odessa Jackalopes (Odessa, Tex.), Oklahoma Warriors (Oklahoma City, Okla.), and Shreveport Mudbugs (Shreveport, La.). Five of the last 10 Robertson Cup national champions have come from the South Division.

“As a group, we are excited for the opportunity to join and be accepted into the NAHL,” said Bradshaw. “With the great reputation of the NAHL, coupled with this great Colorado opportunity, there is no doubt a successful organization can be built.

This group is committed to long-term success and will establish a program both the Colorado hockey community and the NAHL will be proud of.”

In addition, Clarkson has also been named director of player development, and Steve Haddon has been tabbed as the organization’s first head coach.

Prior to his coaching career, which has included the past 10 at the junior level with the WSHL’s Colorado Jr. Eagles and USPHL’s Northern Colorado Eagles, Haddon played seven years of professional hockey in the Northern Colorado community with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL and CHL. He has been fortunate enough to have won championships at every level: junior, college, and professional.

“As a program we are excited to have these two phenomenal ‘hockey guys’ who share the vision of establishing a successful NAHL program,” Bradshaw said. “They have great coaching and development acumen and are committed to helping players advance their careers and grow as young men. Their combined experience and backgrounds as coaches and former players who competed at the highest levels will truly help guide our players toward successful hockey careers while mentoring them to become successful and productive individuals, on and off the ice.”

the hockey pro shop caters to hockey players of any age!

Located in Scottsdale at 14880 N Northsight Blvd, this shop offers gear, supplies, dry land training, mobile skate sharpening and equipment cleaning, and a world-class retail experience. For more information, visit, call (480) 597-4348, or email JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

Jr. Sharks, GSE alum Yates’ BCHL jersey off to Hockey Hall of Fame

Rylan Yates is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

An Antioch native who played several years of roller hockey (River Rats, Quakes, Tsunamis) and then ice hockey with the San Jose Jr. Sharks and the Golden State Elite Eagles, Yates is spending the 2022-23 season playing junior hockey for the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.

Back on Nov. 11, during a special Remembrance Day game, the Clippers wore a very unique jersey designed by Lieutenant Tristan Robertson, a Combat Information Divisional Officer, Navy Fleet School Pacific, in the Royal Canadian Navy. Yates had a stellar game that night, scoring the game-winning goal and an assist as the Clippers defeated the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4-1. He was also named the second star of the game.

In light of his accomplishments, his jersey was chosen to be sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The jersey will be held in the archives and brought out to be shown in various displays, as needed.

“Your (team’s) contribution helps us to preserve and display a wonderful collection of hockey artifacts to over 300,000 guests annually,” stated a Hockey Hall of Fame Archivist in an email to the Clippers. “The contents of our showcases are rotated every year. This is done for conservation purposes and as an attempt to provide a thoroughly new experience for any guest who visits annually. If an artifact is off display at any given time it will be available for one of our highly regarded travelling exhibits. Otherwise, all artifacts

are preserved in their proper climatecontrolled archives for preservation and research purposes.”

The Remembrance Day specialty jersey logo replaces the traditional three-mast Clippers ship, with a depiction of the K101 HMCS Nanaimo, a Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.

The ship served both coasts during World War II and the jersey’s color scheme is based off the Royal Canadian Navy’s Admiralty Camouflage from World War II, and was recently seen on HMCS Regina from the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

“Being able to involve the Navy in designing our specialty jersey this season made the event so much more meaningful, and Lieutenant Robertson did an amazing job,” said Clippers director of business operations Robb Hunter. “The team also had the opportunity to tour the current HMCS Nanaimo and the crew with an autographed jersey.”

The rest of the game-worn Clippers Remembrance Day jerseys were auctioned off on the Clippers website,

After playing for GSE and the Jr. Sharks, Yates moved to BC to play in the CSSHL for his Bantam and Minor Midget years. He then played 16U AAA for the Wenatchee Wilderness and was drafted by the NCDC’s Northern Cyclones for his first year of juniors. The NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes signed Yates the year after that. Longing to return to BC, Yates joined the Clippers this year for his third year of junior hockey.

Arizona youth hockey grad, California trio tabbed for 2023 BioSteel game

USA Hockey and the United States Hockey League have announced the rosters for the 2023 BioSteel AllAmerican Game, scheduled for Jan. 16 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.

The game features players identified as top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft.

Gilbert native and Chicago Steel defenseman Jake Livanavage, who played for the DYHA, Arizona Hock-




will take part in the game.

Three California natives have been selected to play in the game, including defenseman Zeev Buium (Laguna Niguel/NTDP) and forwards Sam Harris (San Diego/Sioux Falls Stampede) and Alex Weiermair (Los Angeles/NTDP). Harris and Weiermair are University of Denver (NCHC) commits.

Buium and Weiermair are Los Angeles Jr. Kings graduates, while Harris skated for the San Diego Jr. Gulls. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Rylan Yates is spending the 2022-23 season playing junior hockey for the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers after growing up playing for the San Jose Jr. Sharks and Golden State Elite. Photo: Island Images Photography Union, Coyotes and Bobcats, Livanavage is committed to NCAA Division I North Dakota (NCHC). Livanavage Buium Harris Weiermair

Aspen native, Colorado College netminder Mbereko pins down monthly NCHC honors

Colorado College freshman Kaidan Mbereko earned his second consecutive NCHC Goaltender of the Month award after posting a 3-1-0 record in December.

Mbereko, from Aspen, continued his stellar play for the Tigers in December, starting four of their six games. He missed the final two games of the month against Princeton due to being on the Team USA roster for the 2023 World Junior Championship in Canada.

He recorded shutouts in half of his starts last month, while ranking second in the NCHC in December with a .940 save percentage. His 31.25 saves per game were tops in the NCHC during the month, while his 125 total saves were second. Mbereko’s 2.00 goals-against average ranked third in the NCHC in December.

Mbereko began December with a 39-save shutout in a 3-0 victory at

Minnesota Duluth on Dec. 2. He then made 22 saves in the series finale at UMD in a loss. A weekend later, the draft-eligible netminder compiled 64 saves to backstop CC to a home sweep of Omaha. After making 24 stops in a 6-4 win in the series opener, Mbereko tightened things up with a career-high 40 saves in a 1-0 shutout win over the Mavericks.

On the season, Mbereko improved to 6-6-1, while his .927 save percentage on the year is second in the NCHC and ties for fourth nationally.

His three whitewashes this season lead all NCHC netminders, while his 2.26 GAA is fourth in the conference. He is the first CC freshman netminder to post three shutouts in one season since Joe Howe during the 2009-10 campaign.

During his youth hockey days, Mbereko played for the Aspen Leafs and Rocky Mountain Snow Kings.

Hermosa Beach native, Jr. Kings product Sholl bags monthly CCHA accolades

The CCHA has announced that Bemidji State sophomore Mattias Sholl is the CCHA Goaltender of the Month.

Sholl went 4-1-1 in December with a CCHA-best 2.26 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.

Leading the conference in victories, he made a total of 150 saves across 371:21 of action, with two games of 30 or more stops. Four of

the 14 goals he allowed came while the Beavers were playing shorthanded.

His month was highlighted by stopping 65 of 69 shots at then-No. 16 Minnesota State, helping the Beavers to their first sweep of the Mavericks since 2006.

Back home, the Hermosa Beach native played youth hockey for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings.

Jr. Kings grad, Gilroy native, Flames prospect Wolf takes home AHL Goaltender of the Month honors after winning eight of nine games in December for Wranglers

The AHL has announced that Calgary Wranglers goalie Dustin Wolf has been named the AHL Goaltender of the Month.

Wolf went 8-1-0 over nine starts in December, stopping 263 of 277 shots to record a 1.57 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage to lead Calgary to the top of the AHL standings.

The Gilroy native made 19 saves in a 7-3 win at San Diego on Dec. 2, then blanked the Gulls in consecutive starts on Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 before his shutout streak finally ended at 174:17

in a loss to Manitoba on Dec. 13.

Wolf came back and won his final five decisions of the month, setting season highs for saves in consecutive starts against the Moose on Dec. 15 (36 saves) and vs. Ontario on Dec. 20 (37 saves) and Dec. 21 (38 saves) before finishing December with wins at Bakersfield on Dec. 28 and at Ontario on New Year’s Eve.

A second-year pro, Wolf leads the AHL in wins (18), shutouts (three), minutes played (1,374), shots faced (687) and saves (638)

this season and ranks second in save percentage (.929) and fourth in goalsagainst average (2.18) over 23 appearances for the Wranglers.

Wolf won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender as a rookie in 2021-22 and has a career record of 53-14-4 with a 2.33 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 73 AHL games with Calgary and Stockton.

The 21-year-old Los Angeles Jr. Kings alum was a seventh-round choice (214th overall) of the Calgary Flames in the 2019 NHL Draft. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Aspen’s Kaidan Mbereko has emerged as the No. 1 goaltender as a freshman this season for Colorado College. Photo: Casey B. Gibson Mattias Sholl is one of the CCHA’s top goalies this season. Photo: Matt Sauser Dustin Wolf has been lights-out for Calgary. Photo: Phillip Brents

Poway native Herrman graduates college early, signs pro deal in EIHL

The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils, a team based in the United Kingdom, have signed Rensselaer senior forward Rory Herrman for the rest of the 2022-23 season.

Herrman, a native of Poway, played in 33 games last season and 16 so far this season before graduating early and making himself available to sign a professional contract.

In 70 games with the Engineers, Herrman posted four goals and seven assists for 11 points.

“I am very thankful and appreciative for all the love and support I received during my time at RPI. The memories are countless,” Herrman said. “I am very excited to be turning pro and I know all the things I learned from the coaching staff, my

teammates, and the trainers will help me succeed at that level. I am thankful for this next chapter in my life and grateful for the opportunity.

“He’s a young guy who is hungry to take the next step into pro hockey,” added Devils head coach Brodie Dupont. “He understands the role we are looking for. We are short on bodies, and we are looking to add players that can bring energy to our lineup. Rory fits that mold. He likes to hit, is reliable defensively, and is excited for the opportunity to come to Cardiff.”

In California during his youth hockey career, Herrman played for the SDIA Oilers, Anaheim Jr. Ducks, San Diego Jr. Gulls and Los Angeles Jr. Kings.

Thornton native, Jaguars graduate Takitani excelling in USPHL, taking game to next level with high-end Spacemen

Noah Takitani was born in Alaska, but once he moved to Colorado when he was eight years old, his hockey career started to blossom.

Now more than 10 years later and residing in Thornton, Takitani is enjoying his third season of junior hockey and second with the USPHL’s Fort Wayne Spacemen. He played the 2020-21 season for the San Diego Sabers.

“Me and (Fort Wayne coach-GM Kaleigh) Schrock got into contact and I went to Fort Wayne for some tryout skates,” Takitani said. “He liked the way I played, and I liked the way he ran his team, so I decided to become a Spaceman.

“This organization has moved players on to where they want to be and is very good at developing players, on and off the ice. From everyone I’ve talked to, I have not heard one bad thing about playing for this team. Luckily, I got placed with a great billet.

“It is definetly a big change billeting, but my billet makes it feel like home and always welcomes me and does a terrific job.”

For most of the 2022-23 season,

Fort Wayne has sat in first place in the USPHL Midwest East Division.

“So far this year, the team has been on a roll,” said Takitani. “I think the players have high goals for where we should end up this year and everyone seems to be working together to reach that goal. Personally, I think it could end up being one of the best years of juniors I could have so I’ve been working every day to improve because the job is not finished until we reach our goal of USPHL Nationals.”

Being in Fort Wayne has also been beneficial for Takitani away from the rink.

“Fort Wayne is a huge hockey town,” Takitani said. “I love living here. I feel like if you play hockey, you connect with anyone here instantly. It’s really cool how we have skated with guys off the ECHL team and kids off the youth team. It is great seeing hockey bring everyone together like that.”

In Colorado, Takitani skated 8U through 16U for the Hyland Hills Jaguars before heading to San Diego for the 2020-21 season.

“I had a great experience with Hyland Hills,” said Takitani. “I got the chance to play under two great

coaches in Tyson Davis and Chance Creger, two great men who always strive to make you better and help you reach your goals by working hard all the way up to the finish.”

Looking ahead, Takitani is hoping to use hockey as a springboard to bigger and better opportunities.

“My short-term goal is probably to have a successful junior career and

get into a college with a good hockey atmosphere,” Takitani said. “Long term from hockey, I just want to see where it takes me and how far I go with it because it opens up a lot of doors you never knew existed. As for school I’m hoping to get a degree in business or finance and hopefully always keep hockey in my life in some way.” JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Rory Herrman played his NCAA D-I hockey for RPI. Photo: Liz Brady Noah Takitani has seen his game improve over the past two years with the USPHL’s Fort Wayne Spacemen. Photo: Misenbarger Photography

RoughRiders, Thunderbirds alum, Broomfield product

Hargraves makes NCAA D-I commitment to Augustana

Fairbanks Ice Dogs goalie and NA3HL and NAPHL alum Kayden Hargraves has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Augustana University, a school that will field its first team next season in the CCHA.

Hargraves, 20, is in his fourth and final season of playing junior hockey, which has primarily been spent in the NAHL and also the NA3HL.

The Broomfield native has appeared in 29 games so far during the 2022-23 season and has posted a 19-8-0-2 record with a 2.44 goalsagainst average and .930 save percentage. He has been named the Midwest Division Star of the Week three times so far this season.

“I am very excited to announce my commitment to play Division 1 hockey at Augustana University. This wouldn’t be possible without the continued support from my family, team-

mates, and coaches,” said Hargraves on social media.

Hargraves joined the Ice Dogs in the NAHL during the 2020-21 season after playing a full season in the NA3HL. In 91 career NAHL regularseason games, Hargraves has posted a 53-29-8 record.

Hargraves first season of junior hockey was spent in the NA3HL with the Texas Brahmas during the 201920 season. Hargraves posted a 19-30- record with a 1.46 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage. He was named to the NA3HL’s AllRookie 1st Team that season.

Prior to playing junior hockey in the NAHL and NA3HL, Hargraves played in the NAPHL for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders’ 16U team during the 2017-18 season.

He also spent time during youth hockey with the Colorado Thunderbirds.

Denver native, Evolution, Tigers grad Lindberg commits to NCAA D-III Lebanon Valley for fall of ‘23

It’s amazing what hard work and being in the right place at the right time can do for a talented hockey player.

Ian Lindberg has found that out this season playing for the EHL’s New Jersey 87’s as the Denver native and skilled defenseman recently committed to NCAA Division III Lebanon Valley College for the fall of 2023.

Lebanon Valley is located in Annville, Pa., roughly 90 minutes northwest of Philadelphia.

Lindberg is in his second season with the 87’s program after finishing out the 2021-22 year at the Eastern Hockey League Premier level. He saw some time with the 87’s at the EHL level last year, but has returned as a full-time player at the top level of the program this season.

Overall, Lindberg has five points (goal, four assists) across 54 career games in the EHL and eight points (two goals, six assists) through 12 total games in the EHLP.

“Ian is the epitome of what we talk about in terms of hard work and ‘coachability,’” said 87’s head coach and general manager Adam Houli. “He worked very hard in his first year but still needed to make strides in the offseason. He took everything we said to heart and applied himself. He came back and was unbelievable for us. I am so happy for him. He is a fantastic player and an even better human.”

That hard work that Houli referenced was definitely recognized

when Lindberg was named to the EHL South All-Star Team that took on Lebanon Valley back in late October. It’s a safe assumption that the veteran defenseman caught the attention of the LVC coaching staff that night, and he’s beyond excited to join the Dutchmen next fall.

“It feels great,” said Lindberg. “I’m really excited to spend my next four years at Lebanon Valley. I’m really impressed with the coaching staff they have and their great facilities. I definitely couldn’t have done it with-

out the 87’s and Adam (Houli). He’s been great at pushing me to the next level and helping me continue to get better as a hockey player.”

Lindberg went on to talk about the exhibition matchup at Hershey Park Arena, and already knowing one of his future teammates in Dylan Gutierrez, a former member of the 87’s.

“I spoke with Dylan during my visit there and he had nothing but good things to say about Lebanon Valley, and it’s great because you get a little bit of an insight about the transition from juniors to the college level,” said Lindberg. “I’ve grown in terms of trusting the process and basically trusting my coaches. I feel that I have developed in terms of seeing the puck and seeing the ice differently and playing a smarter game. I want to continue that growth heading into Lebanon Valley.”

During youth hockey, Lindberg spent time with the Colorado Evolution and Colorado Springs Tigers. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Kayden Hargraves has put up sparkling numbers between the pipes this season for the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Photo: NAHL Ian Lindberg defines hard work and coachability, according to New Jersey 87’s coach Adam Houli. Photo: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images

USPHL recognizes Arizona, California, Colorado connections with monthly awards

The USPHL has announced that a slew of Arizona, California, and Colorado natives have earned Player of the Month honors for December.

In California, Florida Jr. Blades forward Jacob Gusty (Whittier) is the Florida Elite Division Forward of the Month, Fresno Monsters blueliner Jacob Gagnon (Reedley) is the Pacific Division Defenseman of the Month, Vernal Oilers goalie Antonio Tarantino (Fremont) is the Northwest Division Goaltender of the Month, Fort Wayne Spacemen netminder Bryce Dunnigan (Bakersfield) is the Midwest East Division Goaltender of the Month, and Ogden Mustangs teammates Jake Meure (Fremont) and Dimitri Voyatzis (Fountain Valley) are Mountain Division Forwards of the Month.

No Jr. Blades player scored points in more games in December than Gusty, a 2002 birth year. Along with being a physical presence on the ice at 6-feet-5-inches, 270 pounds, Gusty also was Mr. Consistent on the scoresheet in December. He posted points in seven of the Jr. Blades’ eight games and was held scoreless only once – in one of two games on Dec. 18 against the league’s No. 2 team the Charlotte Rush. And he got one against them the second time around on the same day.

For the month, Gusty had a 5-4-9 scoring line. The Jr. Blades earned both their wins on the season in December, and Gusty registered their first game-winning goal in countering two tough losses to Atlanta with a win to close the first weekend. The four-year Jr. Blades veteran stands with 65 points in 110 career contests.

Gagnon, also Fresno’s captain, is close to surpassing his 46 total points with Fresno last season with 37 to round out the end of this year.

In the month of December, Gagnon picked up eight points with two goals and six assists, including the gamewinning goal in Fresno’s 6-3 win over Ontario on Dec. 2. He has been leading his team to victory on and off the ice as the Monsters remain the leaders of the Pacific Division. In December, he was plus-9 with 18 blocked shots and three hits.

Gagnon played for the Bakersfield

Jr. Condors during his youth hockey days.

The winningest netminder in the league so far this season, Tarantino rounds out all December selections behind the blue line for the team from Eastern Utah.

In seven games, the Fremont native posted a .920 save percentage and tallied five wins plus an overtime loss to Rock Springs. In the USPHL Las Vegas Showcase, he faced 92 shots with a 1-1 record. Currently, he is ranked sixth in total save percentage at .938.

In California, Tarantino played for the Golden State Elite Eagles and San Jose Jr. Sharks.

Dunnigan, a second-year USPHL Premier veteran goalie, is excelling in his first season in Fort Wayne. The ‘02 netminder won all four of his December starts, allowing just eight goals during the month.

Dunnigan backstopped Fort Wayne

to multiple interdivisional victories, including a 3-2 overtime decision against the Minnesota Moose at the USPHL Chicago Showcase on Dec. 17. Dunnigan stopped 36 of 38 Minnesota shots in that matchup, nicely complementing his 30-of-32 performance in Fort Wayne’s win over Pueblo one day prior.

His 1.90 GAA and .934 save percentage were both among the league’s best figures last month.

Back home, Dunnigan played for Tahoe Prep Academy and the Valencia Jr. Flyers.

The ‘Stangs scored 39 goals in eight games during December and no Ogden skater had more than Jake “Magic” Meure, who finished with eight goals in eight games.

Meure, a 2003-born Fremont native, blitzed opponents for 16 points (8-8-16) and finished the month with a sizzling six-game goal streak and eight-game point streak. His 61

points (32-29-61) lead the Mountain Division and are quickly approaching his career best 66-point mark from his rookie season in 2020-21.

With 32 goals, Meure has nearly scored more goals this season than the previous two combined (34).

During his youth hockey days, Meure skated for the Jr. Sharks.

Voyatzis nabbed Player of the Month honors in November and upped the ante in December, becoming the first skater to win the award in back-to-back months.

The ’03 was a multi-point machine last month with five multi-point games in seven played during December. Voyatzis finished with 12 points (5-7-12) in 12 games and dominated the faceoff circle as well, winning 62 percent of faceoffs (108/173). The second-year center already has a career high in goals (19) and points (45) through 29 games in 2022-23.

Back home, Voyatzis skated for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks.

Colorado speaking, New York Aviators goalie Ashton Goble (Colorado Springs) is the Mid-Atlantic Elite Division Goaltender of the Month and Northern Cyclones forward Sean Lajeunesse (Littleton) is the North Elite Division Forward of the Month.

Goble, a 2004 birth year, was a great pickup for the Aviators out of Doherty High School in Colorado Springs. He had his best month yet when he went 3-0-0 through December, stopping 113 of the 118 shots he faced for a .950 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average. He made 40 saves in consecutive wins against the Rockets Hockey Club and Jersey Hitmen, and he also stopped 33 of 34 against the Elmira Jr. Enforcers.

From the Elite team with the best winning percentage (.935, off a 21-11-0 record) and best current winning streak – 9-0 – comes Lajeunesse, another this ‘04 birth year.

Lajeunesse was gigantic in December, posting five goals and seven assists for 12 points in just eight games. He leads the Cyclones in goal scoring with 17 goals and is second in points with 28. Two of his three game- JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Clockwise from top left, Jacob Gusty, Jacob Gagnon, Antonio Tarantino, Bryce Dunnigan, Jake Meure, Dimitri Voyatzis.
Continued on Page 23

Monthly USPHL honors aplenty for Arizona, California, Colorado junior hockey standouts

Continued from Page 22

winning goals came in December, the other being registered in the final November game.

During his youth hockey days, Lajeunesse started with the Littleton Hawks and later played for the Arvada Hockey Association and Foothills Hockey Association before Dakota Ridge High School and back to Littleton for his 18U season.

Then Arizona-wise, Bakersfield Roughnecks goalie Connor Dumesnil (Phoenix) is the Pacific Division Goaltender of the Month and Provo Predators blueliner Brent Scott (Litchfield Park) is the Mountain Division Defenseman of the Month.

In the month of December, the 2004-born Dumesnil played six games and earned wins in three of them. These included three overtime wins during the USPHL Las Vegas Showcase. He first picked up 26 saves on 28 shots in the Roughnecks’ 3-2 OT win over Lake Tahoe, then 19 saves on 20 shots in their 2-1 OT win over the Rogue Valley Royals, and finally 35 saves on 38 shots in their 4-3 OT win over the Seattle Totems. During the month, he had 185 saves on 202 shots faced giving him a .916

save percentage.

So far this season, he has faced 823 shots in 19 games and blocked 753 of them. His current season save percentage is .915.

During his youth days, Dumesnil played for the Jr. Coyotes, Arizona Bobcats, and Pinnacle High School.

Scott became a Predator on Dec. 1, grabbed a goal against Vernal, and hasn’t looked back since. The acquisition from the Minnesota Mullets scored at just under a point per game and finished with nine points (5-4-9) in 10 games.

Scott found the scoresheet in three of Provo’s four wins in December, punctuated by four points in three consecutive wins at the Vegas Showcase. His rock-solid defensive play garnered accolades as well. Scott committed just one penalty in 174:55 of ice time and banged out 10 hits and eight shot blocks, both of which led all Provo defensemen.

In Arizona, the 2002-born Scott starred for the Bobcats, Jr. Coyotes, DYHA Jr. Sun Devils, Arizona Hockey Union, and Arizona Runners. -- Joshua Boyd, Grace Mello, Brendan Price, Miles Regan, Jonathan West/

Coquet gearing up for St. Norbert, starting with ‘23-24 campaign

Continued from Page 17

for injuries and the academic counseling is a huge plus for the student body. The campus size was appealing to me, walking around the campus doesn’t feel small but very welcoming. The average class ratio is 14:1 so there are teachers who know you and are willing to assist academically, which is important, especially being a student-athlete. On the hockey side, the coaching staff constantly mentions the future of the program, the improvements made over the past few years, and striving for success which is something I am excited to be a part of. The team is super nice and welcoming, everyone seems very dedicated and has bought into what Coach AJ is implementing.”

Coquet said she is excited for the “student” aspect of being a studentathlete, too.

“I have always taken a lot of pride

in my academics and my success in the classroom,” she noted. “At the end of the day, my education is most important and I am excited to continue to be pushed and study what I love at St. Norbert to earn a degree.”

Growing up, Coquet said she caught the hockey bug at a young age.

“I was always at the rink watching my older brother Wesley play and compete,” said Coquet. “It wasn’t until I was eight or nine that I wanted to learn to skate. I also grew up watching and attending Avs games, which were always a highlight. The fun environment and fans always fascinated me and increased my love for the game.”

Prior to Team Colorado AAA, Coquet spent time with several associations in Colorado.

“I first started playing for the Hyland Hills Jaguars co-ed coached

by Jim Mueller and my dad (Darby Coquet) before I started playing for the Boulder Bison,” Coquet said. “Boulder is like a home to me and it was always so much fun being a part of those teams. Many coaches at Boulder helped me along the way, including Rick Zis, John Sales, Hurley Kane, Jake Bauer, James McCure, Andy Jasiecke, Bobby Deminske, Nate Burch, Neil Runbeck, and Michelle Amidon. During my journey with co-ed hockey, I was also lucky enough to double-roster with the Lady RoughRiders and the Colorado Select. I enjoyed the girls teams and had many more coaches helping along the way such as Chris Lockrem, Evan Minnick, Eric and Kerry Mayhew, Shelby Butler, and Frank Urban. I also enjoyed playing with the NAHA Prospects, a tournament team coached by Corey Garrett and Hannah Westbrook, which then

led me into moving out east from freshman to junior year to play for NAHA, coached by Amanda Pelkey, Makenna Newkirk, Dana Trivigno, Toni Miano, and McKenna Brand.

“It wasn’t until this year I decided to stay home and play for Team Colorado 19U team with such amazing coaches, including Hannah Westbrook, Drue Engleman, Taylor Gross, and Ben DiMarco.”

Moving forward, Coquet attainable goals well within reach.

“My short-term goals right now are to enjoy the rest of high school and playing with Team Colorado,” she said. “I am looking forward to competing at USA Hockey Nationals with this team in March while also looking forward to the next chapter. I am excited to be a part of St. Norbert’s hockey team’s future success while also studying economics and excelling academically.” JANUARY 2023 RUBBER
Ashton Goble Sean Lajeunesse Connor Dumesnil Brent Scott

Rosters announced for 2023 EHLP All-Star Game taking

The Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) has announced the names of the 42 players that will be participating in the 2nd Annual EHLP All-Star Game on Jan. 14 at The Rinks at Exeter in Exeter, N.H. The second installment of the

league’s event will feature a total of 24 forwards, 12 defensemen, and six goaltenders, split up evenly amongst two teams for a single exhibition game.

“I am beyond excited to be hosting this game once again this season,”

place in Exeter, N.H.

said EHL associate commissioner Neil Ravin. “Prior to last year’s contest, this event had been talked about for a few years, but COVID and restrictions had kept us from adding the game to the schedule. I can’t wait to drop the puck on Saturday night and

showcase some of the great young talent that we have this season in the EHLP.”

Watch the game live on HockeyTV. com, as Anthony Di Paolo, Tyler Aragao, and Jake Basile bring you all the action live from Exeter.

Arizona natives Gauthier, Lipinski chosen to participate in 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game ahead of upcoming 2023 NHL Draft

The Canadian Hockey League has announced the 40 players invited to compete in the 2023 Kubota CHL/ NHL Top Prospects Game.

Included in the 40 players are Arizona natives Ethan Gauthier (Phoenix/Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL) and Jaden Lipinski (Scottsdale, Jr. Coyotes/Vancouver Giants, WHL).

Slated for January 25 at the Langley Events Centre, the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game showcases the top 40 CHL players eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft from across the Western Hockey League,

Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 40 players were identified via a survey conducted with the NHL’s 32 teams.

In all, the 40 players count 19 from the WHL – headlined by 2023 NHL Draft favorite and North Vancouver, B.C., native Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats – as well as 15 players from the OHL and six from the QMJHL.

Additionally, 32 CHL clubs will be represented by at least one player at the event. JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Ethan Gauthier Jaden Lipinski JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

RoughRiders standout, Utah native Anderson heading home for 2023-24 season with Ogden NCDC tender

Sam Anderson started his hockey career in his home state of Utah before heading to Colorado to play AAA hockey for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders.

Next season, Anderson will head back home for junior hockey in the USPHL after recently signing an NCDC tender with the Ogden Mustangs, a team that will be part of an NCDC expansion division, starting with the 2023-24 campaign.

“Ogden’s assistant coach Jonathan Cosman has known me for a while because I did private lessons with him, so he invited me to come skate with the Ogden team during Thanksgiving break and they liked me so much they offered me a tender,” said Anderson, a native of Syracuse, Utah. “It’s an opportunity to do well at a Tier II league preparing for college hockey. I was super thrilled when I was offered to play for this team. I live in Syracuse, so I live only about 20 minutes from the rink.”

This season with the RoughRid-

ers’ 16U team, Anderson is one of the team’s top forwards. Last season with the RoughRiders’ 15U team, Anderson averaged nearly a point per game with 29 goals and 58 points in 59 games.

“I am really enjoying my team this year and look forward to more success as the season progresses,” Anderson said. “I personally am working on a few things to continue to develop as a player.”

Growing up, Anderson also played for the Utah Jr. Grizzlies and Park City Ice Miners and at Farmington High School before coming to the RoughRiders.

“My dad has always been my coach in youth hockey even up until now as he’s always helping me,” said Anderson. “My Colorado coach Steve Quailer is making me a better hockey player and developing my game.

“I hope to be able to play Division I college and make it to the NHL one day.”

Thunderbirds grad Gudridge improving game in rookie USHL season

the historic run of last year’s team, my decision was set. I wanted to be a Capitol.”

Living away from home this season has “definitely been an adjustment” for Gudridge.

“It is my first time living away from home and being away from my family for months at a time,” explained Gudridge. “I have been getting used to the routine and doing things for myself. I have to thank the Starr family for opening their home to me and taking me in as one of their own. They have made the adjustment a lot easier, and I can not thank them enough.”

On the ice, the season has not gone the way the Capitols planned on, but Gudridge is finding the silver lining.

“So far, as our record shows (7-141 as of Dec. 16), we are not in a place where we want to be,” Gudridge said. “As a whole, we have decided to restart and move on. Adversity has hit

us hard early this year. Although it is early, we have been battling injuries and illness and are finally starting to get back to a full and healthy lineup. I am very excited to see what this team can do and how we can bounce back.

“Personally, I believe that this season has been going very well. Obviously, team success is more important than individual success, so once we begin to play Caps hockey again and get back in the win column, it will only make my personal progress better. After the first few months here in Madison, I can already feel improvements being made to my game. The quick pace, high-level players, and great coaching push me to get better every single day.”

It also never hurts being immersed in a town rich in hockey culture.

“Living in Madison has been amazing so far,” said Gudridge. “From what I heard before coming to Madison and from what people

have said while being here, Madison is the best town for hockey in all of the USHL and so far, it has lived up to it. While the Madison Capitols are a major team in the area, not too far away is the University of Wisconsin. The combination of us two programs brings a great dynamic to the town. This year, I have been to a couple of the hockey games with my teammates, and we’ve had a great time.”

Growing up in Colorado, Gudridge started his hockey journey with the Arapahoe Warriors and then moved gto the Krivo School of Hockey prior to his time playing AAA with the Thunderbirds.

“Coach Andrei Krivokrasov developed my skills and taught me the fundamentals of the game,” Gudridge said. “Over the course of five years, Coach Andrei dedicated his life to making me a better hockey player and I can not thank him enough for how much he has done for me.”

Gudridge’s 12U-16U years were all

spent with the Thunderbirds, where he credits a lot of his development and success to coaches Angelo Ricci, David Clarkson, Cam Clemenson, Ken Klee, and Adam Shaner.

Looking ahead, Gudridge knows where he wants to take hockey and has the drive to get there.

“As a kid, my long-term dream was to play in the NHL,” said Gudridge. “As a 17-year-old kid, my dream is still to play in the NHL. However, in the short term, one of my major goals is to play hockey at an NCAA Division I university while also receiving a top-tier education. I have always prioritized hockey and school in my life and moving forward, I want to continue that.

“In the long term, the ultimate goal is to play in the NHL. While this has always been my dream, I know that at some point in my life my playing career will end, but I want to stay involved and give back to the game for all it has done for me.” JANUARY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Sam Anderson is all smiles in signing his NCDC tender with the Ogden Mustangs.
Photo provided

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.