Rubber Hockey - July 2023

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NHL teams come calling during recent draft

David Klee spent the 2022-23 season playing his rookie season in the USHL for the Waterloo Black Hawks.

That season saw NHL clubs take notice, with the San Jose Sharks being impressed enough to take the Denver native in the seventh round (196th overall) of the NHL Draft June 29 in Nashville.

California connections Aiden Celebrini (San Jose Jr. Sharks), Sam Harris (San Diego native, San Diego Jr. Gulls, Anaheim Jr. Ducks), Ty Henricks (Mission Viejo, Jr. Ducks) and Jaden Lipinski (Jr. Ducks) were also drafted June 29 on Day 2 of the NHL Draft in Nashville.

Lipinski is also a Jr. Coyotes product out of Scottsdale.

For Klee, the day was the culmination of years of hard work.

“I found out I was drafted actually after we finished a skate and workout at Drill House,” said Klee. “We had just gotten back up to the room, me, my brother and a couple of my closest friends, and then I got a text saying ‘Congrats’ and ‘Welcome aboard’ from the Sharks, and that’s kind of just how I found out. It was pretty

special being with the people who I was with, the people who are my closest friends and people who push me everyday and have helped so much getting me to this point.

“I don’t think it truly has set in yet because I’m out at (Sharks) develop-

ment camp already getting to work, so I’m just trying to learn the most I can and try to gain knowledge on how it is and what I need to do to be there one day. So I think after it’s over and I go home, I’ll be able to kind of let it set in and just enjoy ev-

erything that has happened so far.”

Drill House is a summer program that sees Klee as a key member.

“We have a great pro and college group and we skate and work out together and skate 2-3 days and work out four days a week,” Klee explained. “It’s been great. Eric Lacroix takes great care of us and we are extremely lucky to be there.”

Earlier this offseason, Klee was traded to the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Klee played in 57 games for the Black Hawks season, going for three goals and 10 assists for 13 points. He was ranked 188th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in the service’s final predraft rankings.

“I think this is a huge summer for me to be prepared at Muskegon, to have a huge year and develop myself physically and mentally to have an impact at North Dakota (in 202425),” Klee said. “We are putting in a lot of work this summer to be ready, and I couldn’t be more excited for the year.”

During his youth hockey days, Klee played for the Colorado ThunSee DRAFT on 5


Glenwood Springs’ Tibbetts taking next step in hockey career in ‘23-24 with USPHL’s Moose

Kale Tibbetts knew he wanted to play junior hockey next season, but he didn’t have any leads.

Then the Glenwood Springs native started talking to some hockey friends and an opportunity arose with the USPHL’s Minnesota Moose.

“A couple kids I played hockey with growing up and continued to play with all my life (TJ Wonnacott and Cooper Knott) went to the Moose last season and encouraged me to reach out to the Moose to see if I could secure a spot on the team,” Tibbetts said. “When I started taking to the coach, I knew the Moose would be a great fit for me. It’s going to be amazing to leave home and pur-

sue my dream of playing hockey. It’s always exciting to see who I’m going to meet and who I’m going to play with and see who I’ll live with.

“Almost everyone I know who has played in the USPHL has moved on to have successful hockey careers in either college or moving up to Tier II. I’m very excited to see where I will go from here.”

Looking back, Tibbetts said the 2022-23 season “was very complicated for me.”

“I started out the season in New Hampshire with the Jr. Monarchs but as the season progressed, I decided to return to Glenwood to finish out my senior year and play hockey for the high school team,” said Tibbetts. “Through that change, I learned the

See TIBBETTS on 11

Kale Tibbetts played high school hockey in his hometown of Glenwood Springs. Photo/ Paul Shepardson

JULY 2023

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Words from the publisher...

Summer is in full swing.

And while this time of year is typically down time for hockey, the game doesn’t stop.

There are prospect and prep camps, skills skates, drop-in hockey, you name it.

Hockey is a year-round sport, and for those that choose to partake, have at it, you know?

Personally, summer is a time to (kind of) relax. We used to publish Rubber Hockey 10 months of the year (no June or August), but we are now yearround as well to keep up with the game at all levels and all we can do to promote hockey in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

We are looking to grow into the Midwest as well.

On the home front, our oldest graduated high school back in May and we had his graduation party/open house this past weekend. It was a blast. Our yard was filled with family and friends and the weather was perfect!

He also signed paperwork last week to start at an HVAC trade school in October. My wife and I cannot be more thrilled.

At the same time, yes, we are getting old, right?

People always say to enjoy the ride, and while we have, these milestones just keep happening.

At the open house, the inside of our garage was plastered with pictures of Ethan from the time he was born to just a few weeks ago.

Where does the time go?

I mean, shoot, I’m 45, and there are days I feel like I just graduated high school. Then there are days I feel like I am 75.


Life goes on, though. Now, it’s time to enjoy the rest of the summer and all that goes with it.

Time flies when you are having fun. It’s so true.

Even as I write these words, all three kids are scattered spending time with friends. It’s crazy.

Like I have said in this space before, probably ad nauseum, just enjoy life. Focus on the positive. If you dial in on the negatives, you are missing out on the positives.

And the positives outweigh the negatives. Just keep your eyes and ears open.

As always, remember to keep supporting Rubber Hockey! Contact me any time at (248) 890-3944 (call/text) and by email at matt@rubberhockey. com.

Looking forward to hearing from you! JULY 2023


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derbirds and Foothills Flyers and said one of his biggest highlights with the Flyers was winning the Quebec Qualifier and representing the Colorado Avalanche at the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament. He also played in Syracuse, N.Y., with the Syracuse Nationals. ***

In his final season of draft eligibility, Harris went in the fifth round (133rd overall) to the Montreal Canadiens.

An alternate captain during the 2022-23 season, Harris led the Stampede with 30 goals and 26 assists in 56 games during his second season with the Herd. During his career in Sioux Falls, Harris totalled 46 goals and 45 assists for 91 points. He also played in the World Junior A Challenge, netting two goals in six games, and the BioSteel All-American Game, where he scored a goal.

Harris will start his NCAA Division I career in 2023-24 at the University of Denver.

Lipinski was selected by the Cal-

gary Flames in the fourth round (112th overall) after a solid season with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. This past season, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound center finished third on the Giants in scoring with 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 66 games, a 34-point improvement from his rookie season. His breakout 2022-23 campaign consisted of a team-leading five game-winning-goals, eight pow-

er-play goals (second on Vancouver) and a 51 percent clip in the face-off circle (460 wins).

The Scottsdale, Ariz., native was also named the Bublé Iron Man of the Year and Save-On-Foods High School Scholastic Player of the Year in 2022-23 with the Giants.

“The Vancouver Giants organization would like to congratulate Jaden and his family on his selection by the

Calgary Flames in the NHL Draft,” Giants GM Barclay Parneta said. “His improvement from Day 1 to today speaks volumes to his work ethic and high upside. We look forward to working alongside the Flames to help further his development.”

Giants head coach Michael Dyck added that Lipinski just kept getting better and better as the season went on.

“He’s got the ability to finish around the net,” Dyck said. “Reliable both ways. Since he’s got to Vancouver, he has improved a lot.”

Lipinski was signed by the Giants in April of 2021, following a season in which he played for the Jr. Coyotes with current Giants teammate Colton Langkow. The right-shot forward has appeared in 134 career regular-season games for Vancouver, compiling 27 goals and 41 assists for 68 points. Additionally, he has played in 16 playoff games, registering four points (goal, three assists).

Celebrini was chosen in the sixth round, going 171st overall to the Vancouver Canucks.

A native of North Vancouver, B.C., Celebrini dressed in 47 games durSee DRAFT on 7 JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Aiden Celebrini Sam Harris Jaden Lipinski Ty Henricks David Klee spent the 2022-23 season with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. Photo/Stephanie Lyn Photography JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY


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ing the 2022-23 season, tallying 21 points (five goals, 16 assists). He finished eighth in AJHL rookie defenseman scoring and was named to Team Canada West at the 2022 World Junior A Challenge. In 15 AJHL playoff games, he had three assists. He added one assist in six games at the 2023 Centennial Cup, helping the Bandits win their fourth national championship.

Next season, Celebrini will suit up alongside his younger brother Macklin Celebrini, also a Jr. Sharks alum, at NCAA Division I Boston University. The younger Celebrini is expected to be a top pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

The New York Rangers used the 183rd overall pick in the sixth round to select Henricks. A mid-season pickup for the Lumberjacks from the Fargo Force,

Henricks is a force to be reckoned with on the ice, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in north of 200 pounds.

Last season with Fargo and Muskegon, Henricks collected nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 47 games.

Henricks is committed to playing NCAA Division I college hockey at Western Michigan University.

Photos/Celebrini (Chad Goddard), Harris (Adam Thury Photography, Lipinski (Rob Wilton), Henricks (Muskegon Lumberjacks)

Congrats to all!

JULY 2023

From the Trainer’s Room

Running for hockey

“But I hate running! Why are we running? I skate, I don’t run!”

I hear this from almost every hockey player this time of year. But guess what? We still run as part of our offseason training.

There are quite a few variables that go into the prescription of the proper amount of running that we do.

First and foremost, we take injury history into account. Proper running technique is also taught for injury prevention.

Long Term Athletic Development describes the need for young athletes to be multi-sport athletes and running is an important ingredient to making a resilient skater.

At this time of year in the offseason, aerobic conditioning plays a larger role in our training than any other time of year. Our ability to recover between shifts on the ice during a game largely comes from our aerobic base.

solid load. Skating is at a minimum for now only working on skill work until we transition into the next phase of the training program as we get closer to the start of next season. Ice touches will then increase. There are several methods that can be used for the day of speedwork in this phase.

Compete in Yorba Linda has a great hill to run on and a large stairway. These two methods are more similar in ground contact times and forces to skating than running alone.

Mike Hannegan

Proper amounts of repetitions and distances should be monitored by a professional strength coach or athletic trainer as to keep the workouts age appropriate and safe. The old-fashioned school of thought or running stairs until you’re exhausted is a fast track to injury.

Yes, running can be boring. Yes, running can be hard. But yes, running can help you be better.

Common hockey injuries, how to prevent them

In a high-velocity contact sport such as ice hockey, injuries are bound to occur.

NHL players can reach speeds of over 20 mph on the ice and a puck can be shot at over 100 mph. With players ranging in size, the amount of force created in a check or simply skating or shooting can cause injuries.

Injuries range from sprained ligaments and strained muscles to contusions (bruises), broken bones and concussions. Though some of these injuries seem severe, many are minor, and athletes return to the ice quickly or don’t miss time at all.

According to USA Hockey, injury rates will increase as the players get

older. For example, looking at injuries per 1,000 game hours, a Squirt player will incur 0.6 injuries where at the high school level, that number increases to 9.3. Other statistics will also show an increase in injuries at a higher level of play. This means AAA players are at a higher risk than an A player.

Different research may show which injuries are more common than others, but the following is a list of the most common ones.

• Shoulder separation: This is a sprain of the ligaments of the joint made up of the acromion and clavicle or collarbone. It typically occurs when absorbing a force from an opponent or the boards towards the top or side of the shoulder.

• Collarbone fracture: This occurs

See COMPETE on 10

We are able to utilize our energy systems to skate hard for our shift, recover, and skate again over and over for a 60-minute game.

To build this base, we can go for long, easy runs (heart rate of 6070%) once or twice a week. This can then be supplemented with one day of sprints and speedwork on a third day of the week.

Add in a minimum of two days of lifting in the gym and that’s a pretty

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 by email at JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY


Continued from Page 8

in a similar fashion to a shoulder separation where an athlete gets hit from the side compressing the body together shoulder to shoulder. In this case, the clavicle or collarbone breaks and is more common in younger athletes.

• Knee sprain: the most commonly sprained ligament is the medial collateral ligament or the one on the inside of the knee and can occur when getting hit or fallen on forcing the knee to collapse inward.

• Groin or Hip

Flexor strain: strains occur when the muscle either gets over stretched such as catching an edge and the skate slips further away from the body or when strenuously using a muscle that may be fatigued and causing tears of the muscle fibers.

• Concussion: these occur when there is a direct force to the head or body that causes a disruption in brain activity leading to symptoms such as headache, dizziness, vision problems, cognitive issues or just not feeling right. These are the more common symptoms, but there are many others as well.

All of these injuries should be seen by healthcare professionals such as a physician, athletic trainer or physical therapist to assess and develop a course of action. In many states, including California, there are laws that if a concussion is suspected by anyone including a parent, coach or healthcare practitioner, the player must be removed from activity and see a doctor for further evaluation.

So what can be done to help prevent these injuries? There are a few things out of a players control such as enforcement of existing rules during play and curbing dangerous play by opponents.

Below are some things that you can do to help limit injuries on the ice.

• Wear properly fitted equipment. Using older shin pads or shoulder pads that are too small may leave areas unprotected. Make sure your helmet fits you properly. The best helmet is the one that protects you the most. This means it fits snuggly to your head with the chin strap close to the chin and J hooks that stop the face mask from hitting your face on contact.

• Prepare for games both on and off the ice. Off the ice, a proper strength and conditioning program developed for your age and ability is key in limiting injuries. Your program should be designed by someone experienced in both sports performance training and hockey. Improving strength, mechanics, mobility and flexibility has shown to decrease injuries. Strength and conditioning should be varied throughout a season, but not ignored because of increased ice time. On the ice, proper preparation starting with the basics and advancing in skill and intensity leading up to the season is also beneficial.

• Injury recognition or know when your hurt versus injured is another key. Any injury that limits what you can do on the ice should be assessed by a healthcare practitioner. Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists can help treat conditions that hurt before they become injuries that keep you out of practices and games. With concussions, if there are any signs and symptoms, seek medical advice from a qualified physician before returning to activity.

Overall, hockey is a safe sport to play. It does come with inherent risks, but the rewards can be pretty great. Enjoy the game, learn to be physically active and embrace the lasting friendships made with teammates and coaches.

Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with over 30 years’ experience in professional sports.

Chris spent 17 years in pro hockey, including eight in the NHL with the Ducks and Capitals. He is the

owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County and can be reached at

Hypomobility vs. Hypermobility

Mobility is often a buzzword that is thrown around in training, rehab, and sports performance settings.

Here, we are going to look at what it means when an athlete is hypomobile (less mobility) and what it means when an athlete is hypermobile (more mobility), and if one is better than the other.

First, it’s important to get some definitions out of the way. What does mobility even mean? Is it the same as flexibility? How does it relate to stability?

Mobility: the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.

Flexibility: the ability of a muscle to lengthen passively.

Stability: the ability of the body to maintain posture and support joints during movement.

While mobility and flexibility are related and can affect each other, the terms are not interchangeable. For example, the hip joint’s flexion mobility may be restricted because of poor hamstring flexibility. But mobility can also be affected by other factors, including joint surfaces, weakness, pain, or issues with other structures (ligaments, cartilage, etc.).

Stability vs. mobility. These two can be thought of as being on either

end of a spectrum. The more mobile a joint, the less stable it is. The more stable a joint, the less mobile it is. So when an athlete is described as being hypermobile, it usually means that there is lower stability.

This can lead to range of motion beyond the joint’s capacity and can put you at higher risk of injury. An example of this would be a hypermobile athlete over-rotating through the trunk, causing stress on the spinal column and potentially a stress fracture.

On the other hand, a hypomobile athlete cannot reach full range of motion and this can also increase injury risk or affect their performance. For example, an athlete that cannot rotate at the trunk fully, putting a higher demand on the shoulder, causing excessive wear-and-tear.

So is one better than the other? Not necessarily. But it does change how you train, highlighting the importance of treating each athlete individually and meeting their specific needs. A hypermobile athlete is going to need more stability work while the hypomobile athlete is going to need more mobility work. It varies by joint, as well.

For instance, the shoulder needs a lot of mobility to do its job while the hip needs a lot of stability.

The main takeaway? A happy medium between stability and mobility should be the goal.

Jenna Janadi is a certified athletic trainer at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest.

For more information, visit JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Chris Phillips


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challenges that came with living away from home and how to deal with them along with how to balance hockey, social life and school.”

The Demons finished as 4A state runners-up, losing 1-0 in triple-overtime to Cheyenne Mountain.

Tibbets was named to the 4A Mountain Conference First Team as a defenseman and was also selcted to play for Team Colorado at the America’s Showcase event during the spring in St. Louis.

Tibbetts said he started playing hockey nearly 14 years ago in his hometown.

“Both of my older brothers played hockey, which is how started to gain an interest,” said Tibbetts. “I always remember going to the Avs games with my hockey team and playing in

between the periods as Mini Mites. That experience really reinforced my love for hockey and wanting to play it at a higher level.”

Aside from the Demons, Tibbetts also played for the Glenwood Grizzlies, Mountain Wilderness, Mountain Militia, High Altitude Hockey Academy and Colorado Springs Tigers.

“The coach the stood out to me the most was Coach Lada (Ladislav Majkus),” explained Tibbetts. “I played for him with the High Altitude Hockey Academy. He really helped me hone in my skills and become not only the best player, but the the best person I could be.”

Going forward, Tibbetts’ plans are simple.

“Short term, I plan on playing juniors for a couple years and then playing college hockey,” said Tibbetts. “In college, I plan to study economics and become a stock broker.” JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

New ECHL team to start play at new Tahoe Blue Event Center, beginning with 2024-25 season

The ECHL announced July 10 that the league’s Board of Governors has approved the expansion application of Lake Tahoe for admittance into the league.

The team, which will be named later, will be owned by 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, along with David Hodges, CEO of Hodges Management Group, LLC. The team will be managed and operated by Zawyer Sports & Entertainment.

The announcement came at a press conference at the Tahoe Blue Event Center.

“The ECHL proudly welcomes the 29th member team to the league in the brand-new Tahoe Blue Event Center, expanding our geography in

the western part of the continent, and creating natural rivalries for visiting fans with the Idaho Steelheads, Utah Grizzlies, and the entire Mountain Division,” said ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin. “This new team will offer the only professional sports action in the region, giving locals a hometown team and fast-paced entertainment, with a commitment to giving back and growing the game of hockey in the community. This ownership and operating group have already shown the ability to create a new generation of ECHL fans, and we look forward to the excitement they will bring to South Tahoe.”

The Lake Tahoe membership will begin play in the 2024-25 season at the Tahoe Blue Event Center, a

4,200-plus seat arena that is expected to begin operations later this month. The arena is located in Stateline, Nevada, and is managed by OVG 360. The arena is located at the center of the Lake Tahoe area which attracts more than 15 million visitors annually spurred by skiing and casinos.

Tebow won two BCS national championships at the University of Florida, in addition to the Heisman Trophy and other awards. He has become best known around the world for his work with the Tim Tebow Foundation, whose mission is to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The foundation fights for people who can’t fight for themselves in over 80 countries and

counting. He is also an entrepreneur, five-time New York Times best-selling author, sports broadcaster and investor, including minority partner in the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen and Savannah Ghost Pirates, as well as helping bring professional soccer to northeast Florida.

“I love that sports can bring people together from all over to enjoy camaraderie, competition, and community impact,” Tebow said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of a group bringing hockey to the Tahoe area for fans and families to create memories for years to come.”

Hodges is chairman and CEO of Hodges Management Group LLC, which owns three auto dealerships JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
See TAHOE on 13


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and real estate investment firms, and founder/owner of 925 Partners, a values driven agency offering trucking, auto, home, life, health and commercial insurance.

“It is an honor and a privilege to steward this new franchise for the community,” said Hodges. “Tim and I are excited to be able to share this new team with the community. We look forward to engaging the fans as we name the team, design the logos and eventually drop the puck in October of 2024. We believe in the power of sports to bring communities together and there’s no better place than the South Lake Tahoe region. With this new ECHL team, we’re committed to delivering unforgettable games, making lasting memories and impacting this community positively.” JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
The Tahoe Blue Event Center is set to open this month. Photo/Tahoe Blue Event Center

Wildcats adding ACHA Division I hockey for ‘24-25 campaign

Women’s college hockey is coming to the University of Arizona for the 2024-25 season.

In addition, Caitlin Hogan has been named the inaugural head coach for the Wildcats.

“I’m excited to have Caitlin be the first head coach of our women’s team,” said Arizona senior director of campus recreation Troy Vaughn. “She brings knowledge, experience, excitement and such a positive attitude to the job. She is going to be great here at UArizona.

“One of Caitlin’s main goals is not only development of student-athletes here on campus, but to cultivate and grow hockey for women and girls for the entire Tucson community. I could not think of anyone better to do just that than Coach Hogan.”

Hogan, from St. Paul, Minn., and earned a scholarship to play hockey at NCAA Division I St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She finished as the all-time point leader

in program history and obtained a double major in Marketing and Communication. She was the only female in the WCHA to receive the Turner Postgraduate Scholarship, based on grades and athletic performance. She was chosen to play for the United States from 2008-10 in

multiple world championships and two F1H Hockey Women’s Four Nations Cups. She later moved to Long Beach, Calif., in 2010 where she coached for the Anaheim Lady Ducks. In 2015, she opened a training facility while completing a masters degree in Kinesiology. She was then

chosen to compete for the United States Olympic Weightlifting Team, where she was a four-time medalist.

“Being named the new head coach for the first-ever University of Arizona Women’s Hockey team is a tremendous honor,” said Hogan. “There is definitely a sense of pride and responsibility in being involved in building the foundation of this new team. I can’t wait to hit the ice.”

The team will compete in ACHA Division I as a part of the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League Conference.

Initially, games will be played at the Tucson Convention Center before moving to the Mosaic Quarter Ice Plex upon its scheduled opening in late 2025.

If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved with this new program, contact Hogan at or visit achawd1.

San Diego native, Jr. Gulls alum Garvey off to NCAA hockey with D-III St. Norbert

The NAHL’s Bismarck Bobcats have announced that goaltender Hunter Garvey has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for St. Norbert College.

Garvey, 21, just completed his third and final season playing junior hockey in the NAHL. The native of San Diego split time during the 202223 season between Bismarck and the El Paso Rhinos.

While with the Bobcats, Garvey posted a 11-10-1 record in 22 games played with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.

With the Rhinos, Garvey appeared in eight games, going 4-4-0 with a 2.48 GAA and a .904 save percentage.

Prior to playing in the NAHL,

Garvey played the 2019-20 season in the NAPHL for the Meijer AAA 18U team. During that season, he was named to the All-NAPHL 18U Team in the High Performance Division and also played in the 2019-20 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game.

He made his NAHL debut that season with the Jamestown Rebels.

During the 2020-21 season, Garvey played in the NAHL for the Amarillo Bulls, appearing in 15 games and posting a 4-3-5 record with a 2.43 GAA and a .922 save percentage.

In 2021-22, Garvey appeared in 41 games for the North Iowa Bulls and posted a 15-18-7 record with a 3.35 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

Back home, Garvey played youth hockey with the San Diego Jr. Gulls. JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Remember, to read stories online, visit:
Hunter Garvey played ‘22-23 with the Bismarck Bobcats. Photo/NAHL

Chandler native, longtime AHU standout Yubeta utilizes EHL for NCAA D-III college hockey commitment out east

Luke Yubeta skated two seasons in the EHL and figured he’d be hanging up his skates after the 2022-23 season.

Then oportunity came knocking in the form of NCAA Division III Framingham State University, the school the Chandler native will head to in the fall.

“I was contacted by coach Mike Bailey kind of unexpectedly,” Yubeta said. “At the time, I actually was not planning on playing next season. We talked through the details, I discussed it with my family, and I committed the same day. The whole process happened pretty fast. I played my junior hockey in Massachusetts, so I was pretty familiar with the area. Framingham allowed me to pursue what I wanted to do in school while continuing my playing career, as well as my officiating career at a high level as I have begun to establish myself in that part of the hockey world as well.”

In 2021-22, Yubeta won an EHL Premier championship with the Boston Jr. Rangers and then advanced to the EHL ranks this past season, skating for the Valley Jr. Warriors.

“Playing in the EHL gave me the opportunity to play against highly skilled players and give me exposure to college coaches,” said Yubeta.

“I was pushed to elevate my game in the EHL to succeed which in turn gave me college opportunities. School has always been important to me. I took pride in graduating with honors in high school (from Chandler High School in 2021) and I intend to continue my academic success.”

Once he arrives on campus at Framingham State, Yubeta said he

intends to major in Finance.

Getting to this point in his career was no easy task, and Yubeta said he couldn’t have done it alone.

“I’ve thanked so many people that I’ve lost count,” Yubeta said. “I thanked as many of my former teammates as I could, my coach at AHU (Jason Evahnenko), my coach at the Jr. Coyotes (Dave Ellett), my Boston

Rangers coaches (Michael Grace and Derick Paxton), my Valley Jr. Warriors coaches (Ryan McGrath and Michael Clougherty), and, of course, my parents (Jeremy and Melissa Yubeta). I wouldn’t have had any of my success in my hockey career without my parents. I owe the world to them.”

Growing up, Yubeta played from Mites through 18U with the Arizona Hockey Union, and also spent time with the Jr. Coyotes and playing AHSHA high school hockey for Basha/ Perry.

“AHU gave me so many opportunities to develop in my youth career,” beamed Yubeta. “I’m proud to say that I’m now able to give back to the organization as a coach at their spring skills sessions.”

Going forward, Yubeta is elated to see what the future brings.

“I plan for college hockey to be the end of my playing career,” he said. “It’s a far as I wish to go in that aspect of the game and I’m happy to say I’ve done everything I’ve set out to do. Post college, I plan to stay involved with the game through officiating.

“I want to officiate at high levels as well as work locally with the AHRA to improve officiating opportunities within the state of Arizona.”

Lone season with Rampage lifts Muhlfeld to junior hockey opportunity with BCHL’s Capitals

Jack Muhlfeld grew up in Montana and spent the 2022-23 season with the Colorado Rampage 16U AAA team.

Next season, Muhlfeld will make the jump to junior hockey with the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals.

“I was scouted by Cowichan and asked to attend their identification camp in BC last month,” said Muhlfeld. “I grew up in Whitefish, Montana, which is an hour from the Canadian border. My dad played hockey growing up and got me interested in the sport and coached me through Pee Wees.

“My goal has been to play in the BCHL because it’s a fast, skilled league that advances players to Division I NCAA college hockey, which is my goal.”

Muhlfeld said his time with the Rampage was a turning point in his career.

“The Rampage has an amazing coaching staff, training opportunities, and a great reputation for developing players and advancing them to the next level,” Muhlfeld said. “I played in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League and my coach Pat Bingham worked with me throughout the year to improve my skills, hockey IQ, and physicality that I would need for

the next step playing junior hockey. He pushed me throughout the entire season and taught me how to be a 200-foot player. He played a huge part getting me prepared to play at the next level.”

Looking ahead, Muhlfeld has his eye on attainable goals.

“My short-term goal in hockey is to be a top player in the BCHL,” said Muhlfeld. “My long-term goal is to play Division I NCAA college hockey. From there, I’d love to make a career professionally playing hockey. For school, I want to attend a university and play hockey while getting a degree in something that interests me for my career.” JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Luke Yubeta rounded out his game to be ready for college hockey playing for the Valley Jr. Warriors last season. Photo/Dan Hickling Jr. Jack Muhlfeld developed in 202223 with the Colorado Rampage. Photo/Provided by Jack Muhlfeld

Jr. Coyotes standout blueliner Peterson signs WHL deal with Prince George

The WHL’s Prince George Cougars have signed defenseman Drew Peterson to a WHL scholarship and development agreement.

Peterson was the Cougars’ 164th overall selection in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft.

Originally from Milwaukee, Peterson spent the 2022-23 season playing for the Jr. Coyotes’ 16U AAA club.

According to the Cougars’ director of scouting Bob Simmonds, “Peterson’s overall game development and growth during the past season have been exceptional.”

“The team drafted Peterson from the Jr. Coyotes program a couple of drafts ago due to his raw skill and strong skating abilities,” Simmonds

said. “While he showed promise during the previous training camp, the focus for Drew was on improving his defensive play. Throughout the course of the hockey season, it became apparent that Drew was taking his game to a whole new level in a very positive way. His dedication to defending and his growing maturity as a player impressed the coaching staff. Drew’s coach, former NHL player Dave Ellett, spoke highly of his effort and coachability. It was evident that Drew was committed to becoming the best hockey player he could be.

“As a result, he has earned his scholarship and development agreement.”

Tigers grad, New Mexico native Coulombe advancing career with opportunity in NA3HL playing for powerhouse Bighorns

Hunter Coulombe grew up learning the game of hockey in New Mexico, but found his career take a positive turn when he joined the Colorado Springs Tigers AAA program.

Next season, Coulombe will begin his junior hockey career with the Helena Bighorns, a top team in the NA3HL.

“I’ve had the opportunity to skate in front of (Helena GM) Mike Greene for many years as a Colorado Springs Tiger,” Coulombe said. “I have also had many conversations with Coach Damon (Hanson). The Helena Bighorns program reached out and the more I learned about the team, town, and fans, I realized Helena would be a great place to play. I was able to learn more about the NA3 last season as I have many friends and prior teammates that play in the league. With the NA3 modeled after the NAHL, the league provides great development and many opportunities for advancement. I’ve been billeting for a few years playing in Colorado. However, I’ve never been to Montana, so I am excited to experience a new place.”

“Hunter is a very high-end talent with every tool it takes to succeed

in hockey,” Greene said. “When you have a guy that is big, fast, good hands, heavy shot and plays with an edge, you have a really good player. Hunter can step in right away and make a difference and be an impact player for us. We are really excited to see him take his game to the next level and it will not take long for

the Bighorns fans to enjoy watching Hunter Coulombe.”

With the Tigers, Coulombe said playing for Kevin Holmstrom was a turning point.

“Playing for Coach Holmstrom really helped me develop a good work ethic and helped reinforce my responsibilities, both on and off the

ice,” said Coulombe. “He sets high expectations and demands a lot from his players, which I’m sure will help me in junior hockey.”

Coulombe said other coaches that really helped him along the way were Joey Carroll, Zach Neal, Will English. He played with the Tigers from 15U-18U.

“I started playing hockey at the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque at the age of five,” explained Coulombe. “Our home association is NM Ice, which started out as the Ice Bears and is now known as the Ice Wolves. I got into hockey because my older brother was playing high school hockey and my dad was the coach. We live in a small town called Tijeras, New Mexico. and it’s about a 40-minute drive to the rink.”

Looking ahead, Coulombe has his sights set on success, all revolving around hockey.

“My short-term goals are to play junior hockey at the highest level that I can and continue to grow my game as a top defenseman,” said Coulombe. “My long-term goals are to move on to college hockey and then have a career as either a player, coach, trainer, or other profession in the world of hockey.” JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Drew Peterson is off to the WHL. Photo/Prince George Cougars Hunter Coulombe served as an alternate captain in 2022-23 with the Colorado Springs Tigers. Photo/Steve Robinson

USPHL’s National Collegiate Development Conference releases ‘23-24 schedule

The Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) has released its 2023-24 schedule, which can be found online at www. For the first time, NCDC teams will play over 50 league games extending into late March, with the playoffs ending with the Dineen Cup Championships in late April with an expanded format that includes best of five series in the semi-final and quarterfinal rounds.

Schedule Link: www.usphlncdc. com/stats/schedule/all-teams/133/ all-months?league=1

Here are the most important things to know about the 2023-24 NCDC schedule:

Game #1 on the schedule will be played Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. EST as the Northern Cyclones will host the South Shore Kings at Cyclones Arena in Hudson, N.H.

The first game to be played in the new NCDC Mountain Division will be played later the same day (Sept. 22), as the Rock Springs Grizzlies will play their first-ever game at home against the Idaho Falls Spud Kings at Family Recreation Center in Rock Springs, Wyoming, at 7 p.m. MST.

The former North and South Divisions will now be known as the New England and Atlantic Divisions, respectively, in addition to the new Mountain Division.

Each Atlantic and New England team will play an expanded 52-game schedule with the Mountain Division members playing 53 league games

with the final day of the regular season on March 22, 2024.

The 2024 Playoffs begin on March 25, 2024, with the New England and Atlantic Divisions’ No. 4 vs. No. 5 play-in games (sudden death OT format).

New England and Atlantic Best-ofThree Semifinals will be held March 27-29, 2024, with the top seed in each division hosting the winner of that division’s play-in game, and the No. 2 seed will host the No. 3 seed in each division. The winners advance to the divisional finals March 31-April 10 in a best-of-five series.

Mountain Division Best-of-Five Semifinals will begin March 29 and will finish no later than April 7.

Winners of the New England Division face the winners of the Atlantic Division (Best-of-Five) April 12-21.

Best of Five Series will either be a higher seed hosting games 1, 3 and 5

or if the distance requires it, games 1, 2 and 5.

Dineen Cup Finals (Best-of-Three) will run April 26-28, 2024 with the winner of the New England vs. Atlantic series hosting the Mountain Division champion in 2024.

Additionally, there will be four NCDC Showcases held during the 2023-24 season.

The first will be the Boston Junior Bruins Shootout, which will run Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 in Marlboro, Mass., and will feature 17 NCDC games.

● The Hitmen Classic will run Oct. 5-9 in Wayne, N.J., and will feature 16 NCDC games.

● The Mountain Division Showcase will run Dec. 14-16 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and will feature nine NCDC games.

● The South Shore Kings Presidents Day Showcase will run Feb.

16-19 and will feature 16 NCDC games.

All NCDC games will continue to be broadcast live online with FloSports (formerly HockeyTV) and once again, scouts, fans and families can view the line charts on the PressRoom App with Rinknet!

The NCDC will play its first season as a three-division, 18-team league in 2023-24, with the six-team expansion to the Mountain Division. The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders enter the season as the reigning Dineen Cup Champions in this, the seventh NCDC season overall.

NCDC Alignment 2023-24

NCDC New England Division

Boston Junior Bruins

Islanders Hockey Club

Northern Cyclones

South Shore Kings

Twin City Thunder

Utica Jr. Comets

NCDC Atlantic Division

Connecticut Jr. Rangers

Jersey Hitmen

Mercer Chiefs

P.A.L. Jr. Islanders

Rockets Hockey Club

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights

NCDC Mountain Division

Idaho Falls Spud Kings

Ogden Mustangs

Provo Predators

Pueblo Bulls

Rock Springs Grizzlies

Utah Outliers

For more information, visit the new NCDC website at

— NCDC Staff

For Colorado Springs’ Mitchell, move to NCDC’s Bulls chance to play high-level junior hockey

Ryan Mitchell has plans to play NCAA Division I college hockey.

And the Colorado Springs native is banking on the USPHL NCDC’s Pueblo Bulls helping to realize his dream.

Last month, Mitchell signed with the Bulls, staying in the same state where he played AAA hockey with the Colorado Rampage, Colorado Springs Tigers, and Colorado Thunderbirds.

“As most people, know being a

goalie is a mentally tough position, so I have a mental coach, Pete Fry, out of British Columbia,” said Mitchell. “I’ve worked with Pete many years. Pete played with the Pueblo goalie coach, Marty Wakelyn, back in the day and recommended me. They liked what they saw in the prospect camp and signed me.

“I love Colorado and it’s opportunity for sports. I was very impressed by the Pueblo Bulls team culture and fan base. I’m very excited to stay home and compete at a high level.” JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Ryan Mitchell reaches to make a save last season in a game with the Colorado Thunderbirds. Photo/Mitchell Family See MITCHELL on 19

Arizona State finds NCAA D-I home, will join NCHC for 2024-25 season

For the first time since play began in 2013, the NCHC is expanding with the addition of Arizona State University as the ninth member of the conference beginning with the 2024-25 season.

Arizona State will join Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan in composing the NCHC’s membership.

“On behalf of the entire NCHC board, I am thrilled to welcome Arizona State University to the elite conference in college hockey,” said NCHC chair of the board and North Dakota president Andy Armacost. “ASU’s commitment to excellence on the ice, in the classroom, and in the lives of student-athletes reflects the ideals of the NCHC, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them as our newest member.”

Arizona State elevated its hockey program to varsity status for the 2015-16 season and has quickly become a nationally competitive program under 15-year head coach Greg Powers. In 2018-19, the Sun Devils earned their first-ever top-10 win while receiving their first national ranking soon after. In only its third full season, ASU secured an at-large berth to the 2019 NCAA tournament, becoming the fastest start-up program ever to qualify for the tournament.

In Feb. 2020, the Sun Devils cracked the top 10 in the national rankings for the first time in program history. ASU was on pace to make a second straight NCAA tournament appearance before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sun Devils still finished with backto-back 20-win seasons in 2019-20. ASU is coming off an 18-21-0 record this past 2022-23 season, which included wins over top-10 teams North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as a 3-4-0 record against NCHC teams.

“Since the inception of NCAA Division I ice hockey at ASU, we’ve searched for a conference that embodies our commitment to the student-athlete experience, academics, championship performance, and elite competition. After a successful first season at Mullett Arena, the time is right to secure membership within

a distinguished conference and we’re thrilled to join the NCHC,” said ASU VP for university athletics Ray Anderson. “This membership further enriches and empowers our commitment to providing the best experience for our students, fans, alumni, and community stakeholders. In exchange, we look forward to hosting our fellow NCHC member institutions and contributing to the standard of excellence set by the conference and its historic programs.”

In the fall of 2022, Arizona State opened Mullett Arena on campus, which serves as the new home for Sun Devil hockey, as well as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. Mullett Arena seats 5,000 people for hockey games (942 seats for students), with the NHL adding a $19.7 million annex onto Mullett Arena, which includes state-of-the-art locker rooms, a training room, a strength and conditioning room and more.

ASU averaged more than 4,600 fans per game during its first season at Mullett Arena, ranking 12th nationally in average attendance. Colorado College was the first NCHC team to visit Mullett Arena back on Oct. 21-22, 2022. Mullett Arena can also host concerts and other family

events year-round.

Arizona State boasts four alumni who have signed NHL contracts in the last four years, including two (Joey Daccord with Ottawa and Brinson Pasichnuk with San Jose) making NHL debuts. In the classroom, ASU has also seen success with 100 percent graduation success rates in two of the last three seasons.

“The NCHC is ecstatic to welcome Arizona State University as a member beginning in the 2024-25 season. Since its inception, the NCHC has been defined by member institutions with a commitment to nationally competitive hockey programs while providing a first-class student-athlete experience. ASU has demonstrated this commitment throughout its program, including the opening of Mullett Arena last fall,” said NCHC commissioner Heather Weems. “As the NCAA Division I landscape continues to change, ASU advances the NCHC’s competitive and fiscal stability while providing a destination trip for NCHC member institutions’ alumni and fans.

“We are also excited to introduce ASU fans and the western U.S. market to the strong traditions of our member institutions and to create

new rivalries within the NCHC.”

Although the NCHC is adding a ninth team, the conference will continue to use a 24-game NCHC schedule for each team in 2024-25, as it has done each of its first 10 seasons. However, a new three-year rotation and scheduling model will be implemented beginning with the 2024-25 season.

The new schedule model and rotation consists of three three-team pods based on geography with teams guaranteed to play home and away series against the other two teams in their pod every season (eight games). The three-team pods are Arizona State, Colorado College and Denver; Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota and St. Cloud State; and Miami, Omaha and Western Michigan.

The remaining 16 conference games will be played against the six ‘non-pod’ teams, with four opponents only being played in one series (eight games), home or away, and two ‘nonpod’ opponents being played in both home and away series (eight games). The ‘non-pod’ teams that are played either once or twice in a series will rotate over three seasons.

The 2024-25 schedule will be released next spring. The NCHC’s postseason format with nine teams for the 2024-25 season and beyond is still being evaluated.

Arizona State is a comprehensive public research university located in Tempe with an enrollment of 57,588, the largest public institution in the country.

“This will go down as one of the most influential days in the history of Sun Devil hockey. To be accepted as a member into such a tremendous conference like the NCHC with such historic college hockey programs is an honor we will never take for granted,” said Powers. “The ability to develop rivalries in a conference where hockey is paramount to all its members, chase the Penrose Cup, and compete in postseason championships is going to be a welcomed challenge for our student-athletes and fans. We can’t wait to get started and do our part in contributing to the NCHC, the greatest single-sport conference in college athletics.” JULY 2023
Colorado native Matthew Kopperud has scored 41 goals over three seasons for Arizona State. Photo/ Mike Miller/Fighting Irish Media


Continued from Page 17

Growing up, Mitchell started playing rec hockey in Woodland Park and in addition to his AAA teams, also played travel hockey for the Pikes Peak Catamounts.

“During COVID, I trained intensely at my home ice rink, and then made the Colorado Thunderbirds where I played for the last three years,” Mitchell said. “The coach that had the biggest impact on me would be Cam Clemenson, my 15O and 16U head coach. He was a goalie himself and helped me refine my

game and make me a better goalie.”

Looking ahead with goals in mind, Mitchell is focused on planning for the future that starts with a successful 2023-24 season in Pueblo.

“I plan to go to college and study business as my major,” said Mitchell. “I believe playing hockey during college would make me focused and

disciplined. My goals for hockey are NCAA college hockey, and then take it to the pro level. I also plan to work hard this next season and learn all I can from my coaches to move up next year. My career goal is to become an entrepreneur.”

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Fremont native, Jr. Sharks, GSE alum Tarantino commits to NCAA Division III UMass Boston

Making the jump to a relatively new team in your final season of junior hockey carries with it a share of challenges and new territory to conquer.

Vernal Oilers goaltender Antonio Tarantino, a second-year USPHL Premier goaltender, certainly conquered a whole lot. First of all, he was the only Northwest Division goaltender to win Goaltender of the Month, earning the prize all five months it was awarded. He was obviously also a Northwest All-Star and helped lead Vernal to the first-ever Northwest Division regular season and playoff championship. That brought with it a trip to the USPHL National Championships.

Lots of missions were accomplished there, but Mission No. 1 was always getting to the right college to begin his NCAA college hockey career. That college is the University of Massachusetts Boston campus.

“I started talking with UMass a little bit over a month ago. I think they really like how fast and technical I am along with my compete level during games,” said Tarantino, an ‘02 goaltender out of Fremont. “I think one thing that made UMass Boston stand out from the rest is how prestigious of a program they’ve had. So when the opportunity came up for me to go to such a great program, it got my attention for sure.”

The Beacons are getting a player who put up a .935 save percentage and a 20-2-1-2 record this past season for Vernal, adding to his career average of .936 and career record of


“I have nothing but great things to say about the Vernal Oilers. I was in a position last off-season where I didn’t know where I was going to go and not sure if I would get an opportunity to be a No. 1 goalie but Vernal came in and gave me that opportunity and believed in me,” said Tarantino. “The organization just cares about their players. There’s not much in the town itself, but when you go to Vernal, you go to be a better hockey player and I think that’s the culture that they’ve built there already.”

He adds that the Oilers’ goaltending consultant Euan King was invaluable in pushing him to the level he attained this past season.

“The development I’ve gotten this year with the Oilers was significant. We have an unbelievable goaltending consultant in Euan King. We do video review with him after every game.

Euan is the goalie coach for the Cardiff Devils in the Elite Ice Hockey League [in the United Kingdom] and over the course of the year, he did a great job of just simplifying my game and making minor adjustments which in the end I obviously saw huge improvement.”

He was happy to see it all come together when he received his All-Star honor at the end of the season.

“It’s obviously a great honor and I’m thankful and blessed for having the team and coaching staff helping me throughout the season and believing in me that I can be a top goalie in the league, so all thanks to them,” he said.

With Vernal, he obviously traveled around the northwest corner of the United States, but also took part in the USPHL Las Vegas Showcase and the Nationals, both big events that brought in scouts from across the


“I think the USPHL Premier does a good job with the exposure,” said Tarantino. “There is a good amount of schools watching in person and on HockeyTV, so the exposure is very good for someone trying to move on to the next level.”

That next level is waiting in the form of UMass Boston, a program that competes in the New England Hockey Conference and made the NCAA Division III Frozen Four as recently as 2016.

“I didn’t get to visit the campus, but seeing it from pictures it looks like an unreal location right on the water with the ice rink on campus, which makes travel very convenient,” added Tarantino. “Nothing is official yet as far as a major but I have been drawn to their sports business program which is something I have always been interested in doing.”

He also knows he’s going to be getting an education in just how strong and accurate NCAA shots are, so he’s taking plenty of time to work on his game during this off-season in California.

“I think one thing for me this offseason is to stay in great shape, get stronger and to keep working on my speed and skating. Therefore, that creates a solid foundation for the summer, then fine-tune some things that maybe got away from me a little bit in the season, and finally probably continue to keep my game simple and staying calm and composed,” said Tarantino.

Back home, Tarantino played for the San Jose Jr. Sharks and Golden State Elite Eagles. JULY 2023

Leafs, Select alum, Basalt native Scott elated with move to play pro hockey in Spain for ‘23-24 season

Throughout her hockey career to this point, Stella Scott has played in Colorado, Michigan, Vermont, and New York.

Next season, the Basalt native will travel a bit further in beginning her professional career in Spain.

“At the beginning of my senior year of college (at NCAA Division I Long Island University), I knew that I wanted to keep playing hockey and not have that be my last season,” said Scott. “I knew I could either take a fifth year because of my COVID eligibility, or I could go to Europe. I know many girls who have gone abroad and have loved their experience. As much as I loved my time at LIU over the four years, I knew I was ready to branch out and head to Europe to play. I found my team through an advisor (Harry Rosenholtz). He coaches camps over in Spain and was friends with my soonto-be coach.”

Scott will play for CHH Turxin Urdin based out of San Sebastián.

“Playing hockey in Spain is something that I am so excited about,” Scott said. “I think that it will definitely be a huge change from playing in the states, but I feel like that is part of the journey. I think that girls hockey in Spain is up and coming and I’m excited to grow the game in Spain. My expectation while I’m in Spain is to play over 30 games agonist different Spanish teams. I’m excited for excellent training as they do have an amazing gym that we will be working out in. And most importantly, I want to really enjoy my time there and help my team win as many games as possible.

“While I’m there playing, I’m also hoping to teach kids how to play hockey in San Sebastián as I love hockey and want the game to continue to grow no matter what country I’m in.”

Scott noted that her time at LIU prepared her for the pro game by playing a high level of competitive


“I was a part of the inaugural class with only one transfer upperclassman, which meant that I had to quickly adjust to playing lots of hockey and having a big role on my team as a freshman,” said Scott. “I was able to play over 100 games at LIU, playing teams from all conferences in women’s hockey, which has

Leafs shortly after that where my dad coached me as a Mite. My family and I are huge Avs fans and watching them growing up has definitely played a role in my passion for hockey. They have always been so fun to watch and when I was younger, my teams got to play out of the Pepsi Center (now Ball Arena) for championship games, which definitely made

portunities to be a successful player because of his passion and love for me and the game. From Aspen, Coley Cassidy, who coached me for many years and has a daughter who I played with for many years, helped me tremendously and always helped me with my shot and skating techniques. And most recently Hannah Westbrook, who has always been around me in the hockey world but coached me my senior year at NAHA (North American Hockey Academy in Stowe, Vt.), she has been someone that really helped me take my game to the next level by allowing me to play for her, do some of her camps here in Colorado, and by helping me with connections to college coaches. She really helped me get to call LIU home for the past four years.

“All of my coaches have been great and have really pushed me to be the best version of myself, both on and off the ice.”

As Scott moves forward in her hockey career, she wants to keep playing the game that has already given her so much.

helped me grow and become the best player I can be. Within my four years at LIU, I had different coaches and many different teammates, which has definitely helped me become a player that can adjust and play with anyone, especially for my post-graduation plans.”

Scott said she began playing hockey when she was four years old.

“My dad (Peter) introduced to hockey because he has played his whole life,” said Scott. “He used to take me and my younger brother to a bunch of different ponds during the winter where we learned how to skate. I fell in love with hockey and started playing for the Aspen

me love them even more.”

Scott played hockey in Colorado until she left home at 16 to play in Detroit. Back home, she played both girls and boys hockey for the Leafs and once high school started, played a season with the Colorado Select program.

“I have had some of the best coaches throughout my career that I am so grateful for them because they all have played such big and different roles in helping me get to the NCAA Division I level,” Scott said. “My dad, who was my first coach, has been my biggest supporter and biggest critique, but has definitely pushed me and given me the best op-

“Hockey has been something that I’ve played and worked on for over 17 years,” said Scott. “Hockey has been my world and although I’m done with college, I am looking forward to my year in Spain. My shortterm goals for the game are to keep training so that I am prepared for the season in San Sebastián. While I’m there, I want to play my best level of hockey while also training daily with my new teammates. I want hockey to continue to do what it’s done for me for so long, which is keeping me happy and allowing me to travel to so many different places. Looking into the future, I hope to play professionally for possibly more than just a year.

“After that, I will definitely continue to play back home and hope to one day coach a team for kids because I think it’s the best sport in the world and all kids should be able to play and enjoy it as much as I have had the opportunity to do.” JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Stella Scott wrapped up her NCAA Divisin I csreer this past season as a key player for Long Island University. Photo/LIU Athletics

EHL, EHLP release 2023-24 regular-season schedules that include showcases, all-star events

The Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) have announced the regularseason schedules for the upcoming 2023-24 season.

The 11th year of the EHL will kick-off on Thursday, Sept. 14 when the Boston Jr. Rangers take on the Seacoast Spartans in Tewksbury, Mass., and the Connecticut RoughRiders play host to the Connecticut Chiefs in Norwalk, Conn.

As for the EHLP, the ninth season in league history will commence the next day on Friday, Sept. 15 with a pair of games scheduled on the league’s opening day.

As for the showcases, this upcoming season will feature three leaguewide events in the EHL, a pair of league-wide events in the EHLP, and three additional mini showcases in the EHL.

Along with the showcases, this upcoming season will also feature the EHL All-Star College Series in October and the EHLP All-Star Game in March.

The showcase and all-star dates and locations are listed below.

Following the end of the 2023-24 regular season, postseason play will begin in the EHL and the EHLP in early March.

The playoffs will then conclude once again at Providence College, as the dates for the 2024 EHL Frozen Finals are set for March 27-31.

FULL EHL SCHEDULE: https:// view#/schedule?league=1

FULL EHLP SCHEDULE: https:// view#/schedule?league=2

For more, visit

Jr. Coyotes product, Phoenix native Hein decides on NCAA Division III Cortland for next hockey destination in ‘23-24

The NA3HL’s Texas Roadrunners have announced that goaltender Hunter Hein has committed to NCAA Division III SUNY Cortland and will continue his education and hockey career this fall for the Red Dragons. Hein, a 20-year-old from Phoenix who was also tendered this season by the NAHL’s Oklahoma Warriors, is a two-time NA3HL Top Prospects goaltender and league all–star.

“We are excited to add Hunter to the SUNY Cortland hockey program,” said Red Dragons head coach Joe Cadarelli. “While Hunter’s size, skill and ability puts him in a posi-

tion to complete for playing time, I am as impressed with his character and know he will provide a positive impact to the team’s culture.”

He carries a 4.4 GPA to go along with his 1.94 GAA and .937 save percentage and led the Roadrunners to their first regular-season division championship in 2023.

Hein played his youth hockey for the Jr. Coyotes before joining the Roadrunners for the 2020-21 season.

He also saw one game with the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes in the during the recently completed 202223 season.

Tigers grad French finds success with NA3HL’s Bighorns, makes commitment to NCAA D-III Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Earlier this offseason, Keaton French was named the NA3HL Goaltender of the Year.

French recently added to his accolades by committing to NCAA Division III University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“I actually reached out to Coach (Matt) Loen this past spring and he responded saying that they were possibly in the market for a goaltender,” explained French. “A few weeks later, I got a call from him and after speaking, he offered me a spot on the team. I had a few offers on the table from some really good schools, but ultimately chose to represent UWEC as a student-athlete because of their reputation as being a top hockey program while also offering the classes that I want to pursue.

“I am excited to come into a hockey program with an experienced coach who has built a winning culture with the Blugolds. As an incoming freshman, I hope to learn from my teammates and act as a good support for the team. As a goaltender, I have always been interested in optimizing my performance. I am continually working to better my mind and body to reach my goals. I think that by learning more about these ar-

eas will help me and eventually I can help others as well.”

In the classroom, French plans to pursue a degree in Kinesiology and possibly minor in Sports Psychology.

This past season, the Alaska native and Colorado Springs Tigers graduate started the year with the Minnesota Loons before being traded to the Helena Bighorns in late Janu-

ary. French ended up with a 13-13-0 record in 27 games played during the regular season, which included a 2.62 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.

While with the Bighorns, French was stellar with a 7-1-0 record during the regular season, a 1.03 GAA and a .962 save percentage. He led the Bighorns to the Frontier Division title and a spot in the Fraser Cup championship where he was named to the All-Tournament Team.

“I am extremely grateful for my time with the Bighorns,” French said. “The coaching staff, my teammates, and fans there really helped me perform to my fullest and reach some of the goals I had set out to achieve my final year of juniors. Having been awarded All-Tournament Team and Goalie of the Year was such an honor for me. I think that award probably helped give me some exposure, but it wasn’t achieved by just myself. I have my team to thank for the success, as we all worked very hard for one another.

“I am just so happy to have been a part of it all.”

Prior to playing in the NA3HL, French spent three seasons playing in the NAPHL for the Tigers, which included playing in the 2019-20 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game. JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY
Hunter Hein starred for the Texas Roadrunners in ‘22-23. Photo/NAHL Keaton French, the 2023 NA3HL Goaltender of the Year, finished the season with the Helena Bighorns. Photo/NAHL JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY JULY 2023 RUBBER HOCKEY

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