Rubber Hockey - May 2024

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MAY 2024 A heartfelt farewell and thank you to the Arizona Coyotes As the Arizona Coyotes transition to a new chapter, the participants, coaches, volunteers and supporters of the One Step Coyotes, want to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to the entire Coyotes organization for their unwavering support of the One Step Beyond adaptive hockey program. READ MORE AT AZRUBBERHOCKEY.COM! MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY

With Blumes at helm, USPHL’s Jr. Reign takes big step in 2023-24, eyes more improvement in

In just their third season as a junior hockey franchise, the Ontario Jr. Reign won the USPHL Premier Pacific Division championship and qualified for USPHL Nationals in March out in Utica, N.Y.

Jr. Reign coach-GM Jeremy Blumes, who has been with the program all three seasons, said the 202324 season in Ontario was a successful one and one that the franchise can build on for the 2024-25 season.

“The most obvious highlight is sweeping Fresno in the division final and earning a berth in the national championships,” said Blumes. “This season was the most cohesive, hard working and dedicated group we’ve had, and come playoff time, I think that commitment resulted in a di-

vision title. We have a number of players that are advancing to play at higher levels of junior and college that will be announced shortly.

“Another big highlight for us was our players’ involvement here in the Inland Empire community. Working with the USO, the United Way and the Road Hockey Rulez program where our players teach road hockey fundamentals on a weekly basis within the Ontario Montclair School District are all accomplishments that we are very proud of. All of our work in the community helps our players become better people while also serving as a team building tool. I really think a huge part of our success is how much time our players spend with one another with these community initiatives.”


Bucks hockey program moving forward under new direction with Erickson father-son combo at helm

I am writing to formally introduce myself as the new director of hockey operations for the Bucks hockey program.

My name is Chris Erickson. I am very excited to contribute my experience to the program’s success and build it to be a promising program in the state of Arizona. I have been honored to coach and train hockey players for over 40 years, including players in one of the strongest programs in Minnesota, where I was born and raised before moving to Arizona six years ago. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to watch some of my players continue to other levels including college and the NHL. Our philosophy is that ice time is earned, not necessarily by skill, but by work ethic, attitude, as well as attendance. Hockey is a game where life lessons can be learned by players being held accountable. We look forward to working with the players on all aspects of the game and I will be available for any questions that arise. Our focus will be skill development

(over 40 years of coaching/training} as well as hockey IQ and being creative.

I would also like to introduce my son Tyler Erickson as the assistant director and coach in the Bucks hockey program. Tyler played and coached in Minnesota at the high school level and went on to play Minnesota junior hockey as well. With outstanding skill and great coaching ability, Tyler will add the experience of working with players of all ages. We are already seeing the results of the excitement Tyler is bringing to the program. MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY
Jeremy Blumes led the Ontario Jr. Reign to a USPHL division title in 2023-24. Photo/Ontario Jr. Reign

Words from the publisher... Follow Rubber Hockey 24/7 online!

The month of May can be kind of a lull in hockey.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. We still have the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a couple junior hockey leagues are still playing, but the hustle and bustle of the regular season tends to have me yearning for the offseason as the regular seasons are wrapping up.

The game of hockey is the greatest game out there, and it continues to grow in our coverage area. Just take a look at what


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Matt Mackinder

happened last week in the NHL - Vegas was awarded the 2024 NHL Draft and the San Jose Sharks will pick first overall, most likely taking Macklin Celebrini, who played the 2019-20 season for the Jr. Sharks and put up phenomenal numbers.

It’ll be a fun weekend at the end of June, that’s for sure.

I enjoy the summer months just as much as I enjoy the winter months. If it’s winter, it’s hockey season. If it’s summer, I get a bit of a break.

Not much, but something. When I talk to some of these hockey players at all levels, I like when they talk about staying sharp over the summer but also taking time to heal and relax.

Truth be told, my athletic career ended when high school did, so I can partially understand that. As my kids grew up, I coached them in

soccer, bowling and baseball.

Next week, I’ll coach my last soccer game as our youngest will move on to high school next year.

Ah well, life goes on. And so does Rubber Hockey. Contact me any time at (248) 890-3944 (call/text) or shoot me an email at to discuss potential advertising and publishing partnerships.

Looking forward to hearing from you! MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY

Denver native Delaney enjoying success at prep school, prepping for strong senior year, junior hockey opportunity

Kevin Delaney has had hockey in his blood basically since birth, and the Denver native has experienced marked success recently at Proctor Academy, a prep school in Andover, N.H.

In the 1980s, Delaney’s father, Chris, played high school hockey with Proctor’s head coach, Mike Walsh.

“We looked to go down the prep school path after my 15U season (with the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders) and that connection made Proctor Academy my first choice,” Delaney said. “This year, we advanced to the Lakes Region final

and the NEPSAC Small School playoffs for the first time in seven years. For my performance throughout the season, I received recognition as a Lakes Region All-Star and a New Hampshire Legend of Hockey.

“While living away from home can be challenging when you are missing time with friends and family, it is easy to stay busy in the dorm and on campus.”

Back in Colorado, Delaney started playing hockey for the Jr. Pioneers, an organization he was with from 8U to 12U. He then hooked up with the RoughRiders from 13U through 15U before heading east.

Kevin Delaney has one more year of prep school at Proctor Academy before he hopes to play junior hockey. Photo/Proctor Academy




NCAA Division I Sacred Heart for college destination.

Jr. Sharks alum, San Jose native Sweeney decides on NCAA D-III University of New England. READ MORE AT CARUBBERHOCKEY.COM!

Pomona native, California youth hockey grad Wilson commits to NCAA Division III Trinity. READ MORE AT CARUBBERHOCKEY.COM!

Laguna Beach native Stefan decides on READ MORE Photo/NAHL Photo/NAHL Torrance native, Jr. Ducks alum Giourof commits to play D-III hockey for Curry. READ MORE AT Photo/NAHL Photo/NAHL Antioch native, Golden State Elite, Jr. Sharks alum Yates commits to NCAA D-III Endicott. READ MORE AT CARUBBERHOCKEY.COM! Photo/NAHL
Read about the latest college commitments from California at CARUBBERHOCKEY. COM! MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY

Return to USPHL’s Kernels for 2024-25 season

the right decision for Arvada native Winters

Camden Winters has spent the past three seasons playing junior hockey, with the last team in southwestern Michigan for the USPHL’s Battle Creek Kernels.

For the 2024-25 season, the Arvada native has decided to return to the Kernels for his final season of junior eligibility.

“The opportunity came up for me to play in Battle Creek two years ago when I received a phone call from two of my hometown friends while I was playing in Vernal, Utah,” said Winters. “After spending time in Battle Creek, it felt like a second home to me. The community, coaches, players, and my billet all made the transition for me easier. (Battle Creek

head coach and general manager)

Triston Jensen played a big role in my return to Battle Creek by believing in me and knowing he is trusting what he is trying to build.”

Winters explained that the positives in Battle Creek are what makes the team most appealing.

“No matter the obstacles or challenges we all faced, the team always found a way to keep level heads and make every day a better one,” Winters said. “The whole team always got along together and we weren’t just teammates. We were a family. The town, no matter what the scoreboard showed, always stood behind us making sure the stands were packed and that we felt supported.”

Parker native, Arapahoe,


Camden Winters will play his third USPHL season for Battle Creek in 2024-25.



alum Stark makes history

first signing of new USPHL Fighting Elk franchise

Anderson Stark starred for Chaparral High School and is off to the USPHL ranks in 202425. Photo/Rylie Young

Anderson Stark will forever be the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first player signed by the USPHL’s Colorado Fighting Elk?”

A Parker native, Stark signed with the Craig-based Fighting Elk last week after spending the last several seasons between the pipes playing for Chaparral High School.

“I saw Colorado got a team so I reached out to Coach (Donovan) Gault and a few days later, I signed a contract,” said Stark. “Very special that I can stay in Colorado and go play juniors and be the first to sign with the Fighting Elk.

“I was very interested to play in Colorado for my first year of juniors because I am from here. I was looking at AAA and USPHL teams and the Fighting Elk was the best fit for me. I am looking forward to progressing my game and making this the best inaugural season for the Fighting Elk.”

READ MORE AT THE COLORADO HOCKEY HUB AT COLORADOHOCKEY.NET! MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY Phoenix native, Jr. Coyotes alum Inabinet named NCDC Mountain Division MVP, Goaltender of Year for ‘23-24 season. READ MORE AT AZRUBBERHOCKEY.COM! Boulder native, Jr. Comets captain Gatewood tabbed NCDC New England Division Defensive Forward of the Year. READ MORE AT CORUBBERHOCKEY.COM! Mustangs’ Orlando chosen NCDC Mountain Division Coach of the Year & Ogden Mustangs named NCDC Mountain Division Organization of the Year for 2023-24 season. READ MORE AT CORUBBERHOCKEY.COM! For more on the NCDC, visit!

San Diego native, SDIA, Jr. Kings product Buium wins NCAA national title, signs NHL contract with Red Wings

Denver junior defenseman Shai Buium has signed a three-year, entrylevel contract with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings beginning in 2024-25. He will report to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins for the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign on an amateur tryout.

Buium recorded career highs this season with seven goals, 29 assists and 36 points while appearing in 43 games. He finished fifth on the team in scoring and fourth in assists, both of which were the second-most by a Denver defenseman. He ended the campaign with a plus-33 plus-minus rating, tied with his brother, Zeev Buium, for the highest on the Pioneers.

Buium helped Denver win its NCAA-record 10th national championship this past season and his second as a Pioneer after also winning in 2022. He played in nine career NCAA tournament contests at DU and recorded assists in both the 2022 and 2024 national championship games.

After four seasons at Boston University, Roseville native Peterson inks NHL deal with St. Louis

The NHL’s St. Louis Blues have agreed to terms on a two-year entrylevel contract with Dylan Peterson.

The 6-foot-4, 22-year-old forward was the Blues’ third-round selection (86th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft and has spent the past four seasons with NCAA Division I Boston University (Hockey East).

In 119 NCAA regular-season games, Peterson recorded 26 goals and 34 assists for 60 points.

The Roseville native appeared in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament in each of the last two seasons. MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY
Shai Buium leaves DU a two-time national champion. Photo/ Dylan Peterson tasted success on all levels during his time with the Terriers.

Aidan Anderson played the 2023-24 season with the NA3HL’s Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks. Photo/NAHL

Talen Garcia played AAA hockey in 2023-24 for CarShield in the St. Louis area. Photo/NAHL

Phil Feinberg played junior hockey in the EHL, NCDC, NAHL and NA3HL, finishing with the EHL’s Boston Jr. Terriers. Photo/Dan Hickling/Hickling Images

for the Chi-

Mission 15U AAA team. MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY Thousand
season with Jr. Blues READ MORE AT CARUBBERHOCKEY.COM! San Diego native,
Oaks native Anderson
NAHL tender for 2024-25
SoCal youth hockey alum Garcia signs NAHL tender with Chippewa
NCAA D-III Suffolk
Highlands Ranch native Feinberg wraps junior hockey career with EHL’s Jr. Terriers, commits to
READ MORE AT THE COLORADO HOCKEY HUB AT COLORADOHOCKEY.NET! Salt Lake City native, Jr. Grizzlies product Gordon-Carroll signs with WHL’s Tigers to start junior career READ MORE AT CORUBBERHOCKEY.COM!
Shaeffer GordonCarroll spent the 2023-24 season playing cago

Highlands Ranch’s Cooke uses solid season with NAHL’s Grit to earn NCAA D-III spot at Lake Forest

Hunter Cooke developed his game growing up playing AAA hockey for the Colorado Thunderbirds and this past season for the NAHL’s Colorado Grit.

This coming season, the Highlands Ranch native will take another jump as Cooke will begin his NCAA career with Lake Forest College, a Division III school about 32 miles up the Lake Michigan coast from the city of Chicago.

“Coach (Sean) O’Malley reached out around December and really kept tabs on me throughout the year,” said Cooke. “The first thing that appealed to me about the hockey was the competition they play every weekend. It’s one of the better conferences (NCHA) and I want to play against the best. Lake Forest really took over because of the academics. I really prioritize my education and life after hockey. There are few schools that

set you up after college like Lake Forest does.”

For the 2023-24 season, Cooke suited up for the first-year Grit franchise, a season he said was unforgettable.

“David Clarkson brought the team to Greeley, gave me an invitation to the main camp, and I made the team out of camp that July,” Cooke said. “The season as a whole wasn’t what we were hoping for, but we made big improvements and really bonded as a team. Personally, it was great playing in the North American League with great players, and it really helped me develop as a player.

“It is unbelievable to have a junior team in Colorado and close to home because my family got to come to every game. I know a lot of the local kids feel the same way. It’s a great opportunity to keep kids close to home and still play at a high level.”

Hunter Cooke stayed home for junior hockey for the 2023-24 season, skating for the NAHL’s Colorado Grit. Photo provided by Hunter Cooke

Rancho Cucamonga’s Graham selected winner of 2023-24 FPHL Achievement Award

Matt Graham does it all on and off the ice for the FPHL’s Port Huron Prowlers. Photo/Delta Imaging

The Federal Prospects Hockey League has announced that Matt Graham of the Port Huron Prowlers is its selection for the FPHL Achievement Award.

This award is a well-deserved acknowledgment of an individual whose long-term contributions to the game of hockey is representative of not only their integrity and success of the FPHL, but also their professionalism in representing that of its players and member organizations.

Their career accomplishments serve as an inspiration to others of the importance of fair play and sportsmanship in the game of hockey on and off the ice.

This selection is from a voting

process by two representatives from each FPHL member club and then a verification by the FPHL league staff. Graham serves as a player, head coach and general manager for the Prowlers.

The Rancho Cucamonga native broke into the then-FHL in the 2013-14 season with the Watertown Privateers and averaged a point per game before leaving for HC Detva in Slovakia. After two more full seasons there, he returned to North America and played a season with the Danbury Titans in 2016-17. After the Titans folded, he joined the Prowlers via a dispersal draft and teamed up with his childhood friend, Branden Parkhouse.


Rampage, Golden State Elite alum, Pai advances to junior hockey, signs with BCHL’s Bulldogs for 2024-25 season

Nayan Pai was born in California and made the move to AAA hockey in 2020-21, leaving home to play for the Colorado Rampage.

Pai spent the 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2023-24 seasons with the Rampage and is set to play junior hockey next season with the BCHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs.

“The opportunity came up when the Bulldogs reached out,” said Pai, originally from Redwood City, Calif. “I went up to Blackfalds and had a great few skates. I really liked it up there and decided to sign with them. I always thought that my play style can fit the BCHL really well. When I went up to Blackfalds, everything there was second to none. The coaches and team were so welcoming and helpful. I see Blackfalds as a place

where I can develop and help the team win.

“I’m looking forward to living in Canada and getting to experience a new place. I also look forward to meeting my new billets and being part of the Blackfalds community.”

Pai led the Rampage 18U AAA team in scoring with 45 goals and 90 points in 67 games this past season. In four playoff games, he added two goals and an assist.

In California, Pai played for the Golden State Elite Eagles.

“Nayan is a player who brings high-end speed and energy every time he is on the ice,” said Blackfalds director of hockey operations Al Parada. “He has good vision and hockey IQ as well as a great work ethic to go along with his skill.”

Nayan Pai spent the 2023-24 season with the Colorado Rampage, leading the 18U AAA team in scoring. Photo provided by Nayan Pai

Westminster’s Millar finishes NCAA D-I career with Colorado College, starts pro career with AHL’s Reign

Jack Millar spent four seasons playing NCAA Division I college hockey for Colorado College.

Once his senior season with the Tigers ended last month, the Westminster native saw his career continue at the professional level when he signed with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

“Ontario had kind of been interested from the second half of the year and chatting with my advisor,” said Millar. “Wasn’t the team that was interested the most but another option or two fell through the cracks or didn’t feel like a good fit and this one popped up. My advisor and I agreed it was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass on.”

Playing for Colorado College, a team that narrowly missed the NCAA

Tournament this season, Millar said his biggest improvements over his time with the Tigers were “confidence and stick detail.”

“As a bigger guy, it was important for me to gain confidence and poise with the puck to make plays and break pressure to get out of the zone,” explained Millar. “Stick detail was huge because ending plays and breaking them up gets a lot harder as you move up levels. Those two things are really important for me and my game.

“Highlights at CC were probably sweeping at North Dakota this year, opening up a new rink on campus (Ed Robson Arena), and helping turn a program around and become a college hockey contender again.” READ MORE MAY 2024 RUBBER HOCKEY
Jack Millar played four seasons for Colorado College, just missing the NCAA Tournament in 2023-24. Photo/Casey B. Gibson

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