Arizona Rubber Magazine - Sept. 2017

Page 1





The NHL instituted a motto that ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’ and the One Step Bobcats – a group of hockey-passionate individuals with special challenges – bring that philosophy to life each and every time they take the ice


Visit the Jr Sharks website to register


FROM THE EDITOR The new season lends itself to renewal, confidence, optimism


s the 2017-18 is ready to get underway – or already here for some leagues and levels – it’s always a special time of year. And rightfully so. While the summer can be a blast with vacations, cookouts, time on the water and plenty of family time, there is always that countdown to the start of hockey season. This season also marks a change for myself on a personal note as I have taken over Arizona Rubber Magazine from a mentor, good friend and previous publisher, Brian McDonough. I don’t plan on changing much as Brian built this publication from the ground up to what it is today. He deserves all the credit for making Arizona RubMatt Mackinder ber Magazine a household name in this great state. What I do plan on doing is continuing the supreme coverage of all levels of the game and being a part of the growth of this great game here in Arizona. It’s a win-win for everyone. I have met and come in contact with many association presidents, coaches and players at all levels and parents that just make you believe that hockey can not only survive here in Arizona, but also thrive. So far, so good … and let the games begin! Forbes Ploszaj has committed to NCAA Division III school College of St. Scholastica for the upcoming 2017-18 season. Ploszaj, a Gilbert native, was the North American Hockey League Central Division Goaltender of the Year last season with the Aberdeen Wings and led the Wings to a third-place finish in the 2017 Robertson Cup. He also had stops in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the British Columbia Hockey League the last two seasons. “We are pleased to announce the addition of Forbes to the Saints hockey family,” said St. Scholastica assistant coach Shawn Bartlette. “Forbes has had a very impressive junior career. He has been a leader on his team and has proven he can play at a high level and be successful. We look forward to seeing him take the next step and help substantiate a strong goaltending corps at St. Scholastica for years to come.” During his youth days, Ploszaj played for the Polar Bears and Jr. Coyotes programs.

Arizona Rubber Magazine is published by: Mackinder Media, LLC, P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438, 10 times a year, once monthly September through May and once in the summer. Postmaster: send address changes to: P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438 Ph. (248) 890-3944 Email: Subscription Rates: $49.95 USD * Single Copy: $3.95 USD Mail subscriptions to: P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438 Subscriptions are non-refundable REPORT AN ERROR IMMEDIATELY Arizona Rubber Magazine will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion Visit our Web site at: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: @AZRubberHockey

Arizona Rubber Magazine is a production of:

Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Wilson


Arizona was superbly represented at the 2nd Annual CCM Invitational Hockey Tournament that was held in Beijing, China, from July 24-31. Matthew Gross of the Arizona Bobcats 2003 AAA team, David Hymovitch of the Jr. Coyotes 2003 AAA team and Cameron Ferraz of the Bobcats AAA 2004 team were members of the championship-winning Toronto Bronkos. Gross also received the award for top defenseman in the 14U division, scoring 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in nine games. All three Arizona products have played spring/summer hockey several times over the last six years even though they’ve always played on separate clubs during the regular season. All three started with Ron Filion’s spring/summer program in Montreal six years ago, which is where they made connections with their Toronto friends. Over the summer, the Tucson Roadrunners announced the formation of a new charitable, fundraising operation – Roadrunners Give Back. The newly-formed initiative will work as a branch of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes healthcare, education and cultural arts programs for children and service men and women. The team has begun working with the American Heart Association as the presenting sponsor of the AHA’s Jump Rope for Hearts and Hoops program awards. “Our children are our future, now more than ever we need to elevate the conversation around helping our children understand the importance of remaining physically active and making healthy food choices,” said Betsy Stuetze, executive director of the Tucson Division of the American Heart Association. “We are thrilled to be working alongside our Tucson Roadrunners to make a positive impact on the children of our community.”

Contact Matt Mackinder at 4

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Matthew Bussiere, an 11-year-old who plays for the Jr. Coyotes, won the right to attend the Sidney Crosby Hockey School in July by getting selected out of a pool of more than 10,000 applicants aged 9-12. More on Page 14.

ON THE COVER Members of the One Step Bobcats, a program entering their second season in 2017-18, are all smiles before a recent practice at AZ Ice Peoria. The One Step Bobcats are a team of individuals 18 and older that belong to a league that provides hockey to individuals with special challenges. Photo/Joey Harvey

ASU names captains, Phoenix native Croston gets an ‘A’ By Matt Mackinder


he Arizona State University leadership has been set – and it’s a familiar trio. For the second season in a row, Dylan Hollman will serve as the Sun Devils’ team captain. Fellow juniors Louie Rowe and Anthony Croston are again the alternates. ASU coach Greg Powers is elated with his choices to wear the letters. “Those three embody our motto of ‘Be the Tradition,’” said Powers. “They are incredible human beings and set a great example both on and off the ice for the rest of our players. They are setting the standard here so well, and I couldn’t be more proud of all three of them.” “Being put into a leadership position with a young program has helped all three of us grow personally,” said Hollman. “Last season had some extreme highs and lows, so from an emotional perspective, it was challenging to stay the course at times, but I feel we did a fairly good job. Coach Powers has put a lot of trust in us and we have a very transparent relationship with him. He is an excellent communicator and makes it easy for us to collaborate ideas and all get on the same page.” Showing their chemistry, starting in late November, Hollman, Rowe and Croston played on a forward line together for all but six games, compiling 17 goals and 26 assists in 17 games in the process. It wasn’t until early in that month that Croston first donned the ‘A’ on his jersey. Prior to his pro-

motion, the Phoenix native and Jr. Coyotes alum had recorded zero goals and just a single assist. He finished the season as the team leader in goals (10) and points (21).

“Since getting the ‘A,’ I have definitely felt that the added responsibility to lead on and off the ice has helped in pushing me to be my best,” said Croston, who was captain with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the North American Hockey League in 2014-15. “I think it’s a major reason why I was successful last year. I see myself as a leader by example and I push myself every day to be that. Last year was a good season

for us as a program and with that said, I started to learn what it takes to lead in a winning environment. Although we didn’t have that great of a record, we were able to beat some top-level teams. “I think a lot of that has to do with leadership throughout the locker room, not just the guys who wear the letters.” The upcoming 2017-18 season at ASU will see 10 new players on the roster, including eight freshmen. “With such a large freshman group, I think it can help them feel comfortable right away knowing that they are sharing the experience with seven or eight other guys,” said Hollman. “The quicker they adjust, the better off we are going to be as a team, so really we are just trying to involve them as much as poss i b l e . Being here in the summer to work out, skate and just be around each other is a huge part of that since it allows them to get comfortable before they begin school full time and practicing full time.” Hollman added that to be able to start a legacy at a school like ASU is “a tremendous honor.” “To watch us grow from being the new team, to being competitive, to beating top-20 opponents, it has been one of the coolest experiences of my hockey career,” he said. “The next step for us is to adopt some consistency to our game and put ourselves in a position to make the NCAA tournament. I feel as if we are well on our way towards that goal and I am extremely optimistic about the future of our program.”


Right Foot Forward One Step Bobcats program emphasizes NHL motto that ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’

had never skated before. We wanted them to fall in love with the experience on their own time. The only thing that was introduced to them at that time was ared Woosley said that it was “a beautiful coincidence” that the NHL hap- guidance and a bucket full of pucks, thanks to Randy Exelby from Behind The pened to adopt the ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’ motto the same year that the Mask Hockey Shops. That was the first of many great things Randy and his One Step Bobcats were born. amazing team did for us. The One Step Bobcats are a team of individuals 18 and older that belong “The local hockey community came out to volunteer in droves and soon, to a league – the American Special Hockey Association – that provides hockey our players found the love of the game. They gained a work ethic towards a to individuals with special challenges. passion that drove them to carry in their own heavy bags of gear into the locker Woosley is the program’s head coach after taking the reins during the inau- room themselves, figure out the order in which to put their gear on, the effort gural 2016-17 season. The One Step Bobcats had 30 players a year ago and and focus to finally get out of their chairs and skate. Those are things a brandfigure to build on that number for 2017-18. new team figures out together. Their comradery was born during the preparaWoosley and his wife, Kristin, both work for a nonprofit organization called tion before their actual ice time. And with weekly motivation from ‘Howler’ and One Step Beyond. Jared teaches music and Kristin teaches dance and per- the Arizona Coyotes, they gained their confidence and identity.” forming arts. He coaches the One Step Bobcats with Mindy French and Over this past summer, the One Step Bobcats were back on the ice and Jimmy Ricuito, but many volunteers also help out. Woosley said, “they were ready to learn the game.” “Part of what we believe in is providing an array of different sorts of op“They discovered the glory of scoring goals, the feeling of an empowering portunities to our students with special challenges,” Woosley said. “In order glove save and the way the cold wind feels on your face when you skate fast for individuals to find their passions, it must first exist and be made available around the ice,” beamed Woosley. “They couldn’t wait to get to the rink. They to them so they can discover are now so ready to play anit. My dad was the reason I other team. It reminds me of fell in love with hockey in the the movie ‘Mystery, Alaska,’ first place and standing in where for now, until they get my (hockey) garage after he the opportunity, they are conpassed, my wife and I sudtent with playing each other. denly got the idea to start a But at the same time, they team at our program. First, we cheer each other on. It is more had to see if we could recruit about fun and companionship some fantastic individuals and less about competition.” within the hockey community And with the aforemento help us out. Within the first tioned NHL philosophy that day of phone calls, we had was introduced last season, the help from what then bethe One Step Bobcats getcame the original founders of ting on the ice was perfect the team. Dawn and Caden timing. Proefrock, Rob and Karen “We both needed each Kerns (their son Seth plays other – we are able to help on the team, and is a member support the Coyotes by repat One Step Beyond) spread resenting a group of individthe word and a day later and uals who have not yet been, a phone call into Justin Rogat lease here in Phoenix, with ers led to a night of us up in this fantastic motto,” said the rafters at Arcadia Ice AreWoosley. “It’s so true and na putting together as many it’s a wonderful thing for the bags of used gear as we NHL to take this stance. And could. yes, hockey can be played by “The heart of the Rogers everyone and for many of our family couldn’t have been players, it is extremely thertruer because a month later Now entering their second season as a program, the One Step Bobcats continue to bring hockey to those with special apeutic. For many of them, they provided us with three needs and special challenges. Photo/Joey Harvey their confidence has majorly months of ice (at AZ Ice Peoria) for our very first season.” increased – hockey has become a catalyst for them in their journeys toward Add to that the fact that the Arizona Coyotes then jumped on board and the personal growth. It’s amazing watching the moments when people impress One Step Bobcats may have had to pinch themselves to indeed believe that themselves by conquering a task they never knew to try or had the courage to this was really happening. or the opportunity to try. “We wanted to get involved with the One Step Bobcats because we want “We have individuals who thought and said they couldn’t ever play the to give anyone and everyone a chance to play hockey,” said Coyotes director game due to their ‘disability.’ Man, were they wrong about what this game is of amateur hockey development Matt Shott. “This group is such an inspira- about. So many parents flipped their stance on the game once they saw their tional team that can hopefully encourage similar groups to seek expanding the loved ones enjoying it the way they did.” sports encyclopedia by trying to play hockey.” As the new season rapidly approaches, Woosley said the One Step Bob“Matt Shott has become family,” added Woosley. “He is personally at the cats are ready to travel to meet and play other teams. majority of our twice-weekly practices. He has helped and supported us in “The social aspect of this is crucial,” he said. “They have expressed much uncountable ways. The players adore him and he’s a pretty good skater, too.” excitement about playing in a tournament with other teams like them and making The Coyotes provided the One Step Bobcats some new equipment, finan- new friends, but we need to do a little more fundraising to afford the journey. cial assistance, ice time, and their own customized Coyotes jerseys. It’s been a promise that has yet to be fulfilled, but I know the day will come.” “We are always looking for other ways to support them as well,” said Shott. “The team is destined for glory,” added Shott. “They have four or five playLast season, Woosley said he wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with the ers that are very strong skaters, hungry for the puck, and love scoring goals. I new endeavor, but it turned out to be more than he ever expected. cannot wait to see them play in future tournaments with other special hockey “We did give our best shot at making it as fun as possible for our players by associations. Their love, passion and utter joy for being on the ice is infectious, just getting them on the ice,” said Woosley. “Most were in chairs because they and they are so much fun to be around.” By Matt Mackinder



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Veteran Coyotes captain Doan decides to call it a career By Matt Mackinder


here will be a void this season in not only Phoenix, but in all of the NHL. When longtime Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan was not offered a contract for the upcoming 2017-18 season, speculation was that he would catch on with another NHL team or possibly retire as an active player. The 40-year-old Doan chose the latter and made it official on Aug. 30. “I’ve been blessed and I’m so grateful for the fans and their support,” Doan wrote in a letter to the fans that was published in the Arizona Republic. “They stuck by me throughout my career and the ups and downs of the Coyotes. There are a lot of players with more skill than me and a lot more ability than me that didn’t ever get the type of appreciation that I got and the type of respect that the fans gave me, and I’m so grateful for that. I can’t express how much I appreciate it. Thank you for watching me grow up, and I enjoyed watching a lot of you grow up, too. “Even though April 8 wasn’t announced as my last game, I knew it probably was.” Originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets seventh overall in the 1995 NHL Draft, Doan moved with the team to Arizona prior to the 1996-97 season. He finished his career with 402 goals and 972 points – both Coyotes franchise bests – in 1,540 games and was the last remaining member of the original Jets still playing in the NHL. Doan had served as captain of the Coyotes since the 2003-04 season. “I’m so grateful and thankful to the Winnipeg Jets

for drafting me and giving me a chance to play my rookie season and when the team moved to the Valley in 1996, all I wanted to know was if the Coyotes would keep giving me a chance to play,” Doan con-

Shane Doan spent 21 seasons in the NHL, all with the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix-Arizona Coyotes franchise, and is the team’s alltime leading scorer. Photo/Norm Hall

tinued. “Against their better judgment, they did and that first game as a Phoenix Coyote was exciting. We played against the San Jose Sharks in downtown Phoenix at America West Arena, and it was

so fun. The crowd was right on top of you, and you could feel the emotion and energy in the building. “I could not fathom at the time that I would end up playing in Arizona for the next 21 years, raise a family and call this place home. But that’s exactly what happened. And that’s why this has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. My wife, Andrea, and I have prayed about this, and I truly believe this is His timing. I have peace, and I’m so thankful for that.” Doan mentioned that playing in Phoenix has been a blessing as well. “The Valley is where Andrea and I have raised our four children,” Doan wrote. “As a family, we’ve spoken many times about how special it’s been to remain in the same city. My family has been such a huge part of the Coyotes, and everyone appreciates being included in every part of my career. Thank you, Andrea, Gracie, Josh, Karys and Carson for the sacrifices you all have made for me. “I felt an indescribable wave of emotion to have the support that I’ve had over the years from the fans throughout all of the uncertainty. You have always defended me and supported me. Playing in front of you has honestly been one of the greatest experiences of my life.” On April 8, the Coyotes lost to the Minnesota Wild 3-1 at Gila River Arena. “When the game ended, I remember thinking, ‘This is the last NHL game I’ll be on the ice looking up instead of looking down,’” wrote Doan. “And even though my perspective will be different, my love for the NHL won’t change and I’ll continue to share that passion with the hockey fans in Arizona.”



AHU kicks off season with successful Labor Day Weekend By Bryan O’Sullivan


ach year in Arizona when Labor Day rolls around, all hockey families in the Valley know what that means – the Arizona Youth Hockey League pre-season seeding tournament begins. This year, the tournament was held for the 12U and 10U levels at AZ Ice Gilbert, Arcadia Ice Arena and Ice Den Chandler from Sept. 1-4 and the gritty, emotional and skillful displays of hockey did not disappoint. The Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) entered multiple teams at the 10U and 12U level. “We played well this past weekend, putting 139 shots on goal and only eight goals against, while posting two shutouts,” explained 10U Purple coach Shawn Babin. “Having 11 players returning this season, and their development to this point, this season holds high expectations. Their dedication and hard work this weekend has us excited for the season.” Head coach Bryan O’Sullivan of the 12U Gray team was happy with that team’s performance as well. “This is the first year of travel hockey for half of the players,” said O’Sullivan. “The team quickly came together, more experienced players showing the new players what to do, and their level of effort and confidence grew game after game. We finished 2-2 with everyone contributing. Our biggest loss brought out something special in this team that has me really looking forward to getting the season started.” Nick Mabe, who coaches the 12U Purple squad, said of the weekend: “Overall, the first weekend was a

success. The Pee Wee Purple team played hard and worked together. What was most exciting for me was how quickly the team is coming together. They were supportive and cheering for each other all weekend. I love the positive attitude and comradery they showed. We are looking forward to a fun season.” Coach Jim Pinti of the 12U Black team was also pleased regarding how his team played. “We outscored our opponents 15-3 and outshot them 126-45,” Pinti said. “That is great to see for a team that remains largely unchanged from last year. With 11 of 16 players returning from last year’s team, this year’s outlook and expectations are very high for this of talented and hard-working group.” As their older brothers and sisters were in action at home, AHU Mite White competed in the Tinseltown Labor Day Tournament in Los Angeles, entering in two divisions, Mite A and Mite B. “The expectation going into the weekend was to work hard, listen, and have fun and that’s just what they did,” said coach Bruce Willis. The Mite A squad posted a 7-1 record during the round robin portion and Mite B posted a perfect 5-0 record. Both squads played in their respective championships with Mite A coming out on the short end


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

of the scoreboard 7-6, despite making an epic comeback from a 6-1 deficit. With gutsy goaltending, hardnosed offense, and bend-but-don’t-break defense, Mite White gave a great effort and a fantastic weekend of hockey. For the Mite B team, despite being the No. 1 seed, the team never faltered in their quest to the title. Amazing offense, defense, and goaltending allowed Mite B to dominate their group and cruise to their first title of the year. Mite B’s relentless offensive attack allowed the kids to be creative and show off their skills as the coaching staff believes they have. The coaching staff saw great things from their squad over the weekend, especially when all players and parents of each team were in attendance for the other teams games showing great support and team loyalty to what they all consider to be “family.” In addition, the Pee Wee White, coached by Jeremy Scofield, and Erik Brown’s Squirt Black team went undefeated on the weekend. The extended holiday weekend was full of battles and competing, with old teammates reconnecting and new teammates finding their place within their teams. Coaches, parents and players all came together as a team to help make the first of many tournaments this season a resounding success.

FLAGSTAFF YOUTH HOCKEY ASSOCIATION Northstars, NAU IceJacks create beneficial working atmosphere By Matt Mackinder


n Arizona, the game is experiencing tremendous growth, but not solely in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. For the Flagstaff community in the northern part of the state, hockey is going through a growth spurt of its own and it’s the direct impact of the Northern Arizona University ACHA program and the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA) working together. It’s a relationship that is proving to be a benefit for the collegiate players and youth prospects alike. “The guys at NAU – A.J. Fairchild, Travis Johanson and Kris Walsh – we can’t thank them enough for what they have done and what they continue to do with FYHA,” said FYHA board member Kevin Tye. “Those guys have made the commitment to help our youth players out and so far, it’s been a tremendous effort all the way around.” One of NAU’s top scorers, Max Mahood, skates with and teaches the Northstars players during the weekends, Jaxson Gosnell helps with the goaltenders on Mondays and Miles Lengyel, Austin Gooch and Rayce Miller join in with the FYHA 16U AA team for practices. “These players have made 85-90 percent of our practices this year – that’s just phenomenal,” Tye said. “Our players are super stoked about this and what’s even better is that the NAU guys come ready with drills that our coaches can use. “It’s funny, but I remember my son, Mathias, as a Mite player in FYHA and Lengyel out there pulling him around on the ice by his stick.” Tye is hoping that once the NAU season starts next fall, Northstars players will be invited to the team’s new facility on campus to take part in intermission scrimmages and pre-game skates with the Icejacks. The new arena is slated to open in the fall of 2018. “Things like this will keep strengthening the game here in Flagstaff,” added Tye.




How watching hockey can make you a better player O

ne of my favorite things to do on an off day from hockey was to watch it. I remember watching highlights of Alex Ovechkin, Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby just before games. These guys are St. Clair the reason why people want to grow up and be a professional hockey player. They give kids hope and something to look forward to. When you watch hockey, you can learn a lot. You see the way that these guys warm up, practice and lastly, play in the games. When you are a young hockey player, a big thing is skill development and let’s face it – all the guys in the NHL are there for a reason. If you watch these players in the game, you can see how they use their skill.

You learn things such as slowing down the play or when to use a fake shot or even how they find the open ice when they don’t have the puck. A lot of people like myself are visual learners and this is the best way for a young player to learn the game. When the kids see the pros doing something simple like chipping a puck to go get it because there was no other option, then they start to do the same things. I used to watch games all the time and even while I was stickhandling in the garage, I would have the outside TV on watching the hockey game. This also taught me to keep my head up on the ice while I had the puck. As I said before, when you watch these players, you can learn so much. My parents never played hockey and my coaches had to worry about 20 other players, so the next best thing for me to learn was to watch games and watch the guys that I looked up to as they skated up the ice making play after play. What I watched on the TV or the computer, I would then try and translate that onto the ice and try what these guys are trying in their games. If I

saw a guy cut across the blue line and skate laterally to take a fake shot and get defenders to bite on it before he made the play, well, then I would try it and it gave me another move to add to my list. It helped me learn the game a lot because there are some things that you don’t even think of doing or even learn as a kid, so who better to learn these things from? My skill got a lot better while I watched hockey. Don’t get me wrong – I worked really hard at it, but it taught me the mental skill, as well as the physical skill. There used to be times that a guy would get ran and his team would be on the power play, but I would watch him and instead of getting even with the guy right away, he would go out on the power play and score or even set up a nice goal for his team. That’s one way to get back at someone. I would even see a move and then go into the garage and act like I was in the NHL making the same moves and winning a Stanley Cup. It’s the little things like this that drive a kid to become better and want to be something big in their life. It allows a kid to set goals for his or herself and go out and do it.

Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union.



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Arizona natives Boyle, Vance make D-I plans for 2017-18 By Matt Mackinder


pair of Arizona products who excelled in the United States Hockey League (USHL) are off to play NCAA Division I hockey this coming season. Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Michael Boyle (Phoenix) has committed to Bentley University (Atlantic Hockey) and Sioux Falls Stampede defenseman Carson Vance (Tempe) will suit up for Western Michigan University (NCHC). Boyle came to the Fighting Saints this past season after spending his first season in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers and Vance skated for Dubuque two seasons ago. “I’m really excited about the school, the direction of the hockey program, the new rink that is being built, as well as the academic side of things—it’s unbelievable,” Boyle said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more in a school, and I felt like it was the perfect fit for me.” Boyle notched 16 points and 141 penalty minutes over 102 USHL games as both a forward and a defenseman. He was originally a seventh-round selection by Sioux City in 2015 and played youth hockey at Desert Vista High School and for the Jr. Coyotes. “(Bentley coach Ryan) Soderquist understands what my role was here in Dubuque, and that was huge,” Boyle added. “They really seemed like they were waiting for me to fill that spot because they needed extra depth in their lineup. They know I’ll do anything it takes to win.” Vance, another Jr. Coyotes graduate who also played for the Phoenix Firebirds and Claude Lemieux Hockey Academy, played in 193 games over four USHL seasons, picking up 69 points on 13 goals and 56 assists. He is coming off his best season after helping Sioux City to the USHL championship series, going for 32 points on five goals and 27 assists. Vance finished the season plus-25 on the season and was plus-38 in his USHL career. “Carson was a leading defenseman in Sioux City’s run for a title and is an elite skater that can jump into play on the offensive zone,” said WMU coach Andy Murray. “He’s also an excellent puck mover.”

IN A DEVILISH MOOD It’s that time of year once again, so let the games begin W ith the start of the season underway, I am very excited and encouraged by the hockey I have seen so far from teams in all the Valley’s youth hockey organizations. The start of the season is McCaughey always very chaotic and exciting at the same time, with coaches trying to figure out their lineups and finally getting to see what their players can do in game situations, to parents getting their first looks at their child’s team and trying to figure out who the top competition will be this year, to hockey directors making sure all the “behind the scenes” activities (ice schedules, uniforms, team rosters, etc.) have all been set to ensure a smooth, successful season. I happen to fit into all three of those categories. I am a coach, a father of three travel hockey players and the hockey director here at DYHA.

I can tell you that these three hats pull me in several different directions, but whether you are a coach, parent or hockey director, our ultimate goals should all be the same. That goal is to ensure that each child finishes this season achieving the following three things: 1. Have Fun! – Let’s face it, if our children are not having fun at what they are doing, they will not want to participate in that activity any more. Hockey is a great team sport made up of a bunch of individual athletes. It is also very much a mental game and if a child shuts down his/her mind because he/she is not enjoying what they are doing, then that child’s chances of success are severely diminished, which in turn, diminishes the team’s chances of success. There is nothing better in sports than watching a team, who on paper is inferior to another team, come together as one unit, play as a team, and defeat the supposedly superior team. We have all seen this happen and the one thing I can tell you about that team is that each kid on that team is having a blast! Let’s make sure our kids are having fun. 2. Develop Their Hockey Skills – While all players’ skill levels are different, each child has the same opportunity to develop as a hockey player. It is very easy to say that the players who score the most goals are the best players,

especially at the younger levels. I think it is important to teach our kids that no player on the team is more important than any other player. A good hockey team is comprised of players who are strong in different areas of the game. While one player may be good at putting the puck in the net, another may be good at defensive skills and keeping the puck out of your own net. To me, both these skills are just as important to the team. A successful season is one in which each player on the team developed as a player and improved his/her skill set. 3. Learn Valuable Life Lessons – As I stated in a previous article, our goal as coaches, parents and hockey directors is to teach these children, through the sport of hockey, valuable lessons that they can take away that will help them succeed in whatever it is they decide to do as they enter adulthood. About 99.9 percent of these kids are NOT going to play in the NHL for a living. As they mature, our hopes are that they have developed a great work ethic, good communication skills and the ability to work well in a team environment. These three traits are essential to the success of any hockey player and they will also dramatically increase the chances for success in life. Here’s to hoping we all have a great season, no matter what hat you are wearing.

Brad McCaughey is the director of hockey for the Desert Youth Hockey Association.



Tahoe Hockey Academy progressing nicely into Year 2 By Greg Ball


eptember is upon us and as summer winds down, those in the hockey world know that things are ramping up for the season. With a full year under its belt, the Tahoe Hockey Academy (THA) has been busy gearing up for Year 2 of development and building a program on a national scale. THA is currently California’s only full-time residential boarding school dedicated to hockey, and the program’s model seems to be resonating with plenty of hockey families. “It’s been a busy summer further establishing our program and introducing ourselves to a larger hockey community,” Tahoe Hockey Academy president Leo Fenn said. “We’ve talked to many people throughout North America, from Canada to Boston and everywhere in between, and the response we’ve received really validates what we believe in and what our program stands for.” As things are moving forward, it’s hard to believe that just a few years ago THA was only a concept in the founders’ brains. Their idea was geared toward youth hockey players who craved more ice time, more training, more exposure and more time spent in class than in traffic. A sound concept is great, but it only matters if others believe that it’s beneficial to them. If the number of new students is any indication, Tahoe Hockey Academy

is onto something with its vision of player development. Entering its second year, THA seems to be making all the right moves to become bigger and better. “Last year, we fielded one team and through a lot of hard work, we were fortunate enough to add a second team this season,” THA athletic director Michael Lewis said. “Our goal is to stay the course and do things that are in the best interest of our players’ development. That means more attention to building better skaters, stick handlers and overall players rather than systems-type players.” The philosophy appears to be taking hold, as more players from more states are flocking out West to the program in South Lake Tahoe. “Everyone has a goal, but sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day to truly pursue that personal ambition,” said Lewis. “I’ve had countless conversations with parents and players from all over who have a desire for more in this sport, but spend more hours traveling to practice than actually practicing. There had to be better way, and it’s rewarding to be able to offer what we do as an option to those seeking it.” A quick glance at some of the additions this year shows a program that is backing up what it believes in.


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

“We wanted to craft a program and schedule that was challenging to our athletes,” Fenn said. “In saying that, we’ve partnered with the Potomac Patriots of the USPHL to create an affiliation so our players can travel, train and play in junior games to get a taste of what’s at the next level.” There’s no question that this outside the box thinking is keeping Tahoe Hockey Academy at the forefront of developing and exposing its players. “We want to train our athletes to a higher plane and give them things that they wouldn’t receive with a traditional program,” Fenn said. “We’re on the ice every morning, in the gym every evening, and in between providing video, yoga, nutrition and high-quality academics to ensure our players can obtain their goals. The next step is to get our players to events like the NAHL Future Prospects Tournaments and USPHL showcases so they can network and expose their game to scouts.” Tahoe Hockey Academy continues to push the envelope on what can be achieved at the youth level. The concept has taken hold, and as new students begin to report to the academy, it’s safe to say that they, as well as THA, have many positive things in store for 2018.


Nepsa’s hiring means CAHA goaltending trending upward By Matt Mackinder


ike Nepsa has worked with many successful junior, college and pro goaltenders, but this upcoming season, he’s bringing his expertise to the Jr. Coyotes and the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association as the club’s new director of goaltending and goalie coach. Nepsa comes to the Valley having worked numerous gigs last season. He was the goaltending coach for NCAA Division I Canisius College (Atlantic Hockey), goalie coach for the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League, a goalie instructor for the Academy of Hockey and Buffalo Jr. Sabres with former NHL goalie Marty Biron and a goalie instructor with Bob Janosz School of Goaltending. “I was working seven days a week non-stop last year,” said Nepsa, who worked with Hobey Baker Award finalist Charles Williams at Canisius. Nepsa noted that his time working with renowned goalie instructor Shane Clifford in Pittsburgh helped shape his individual career in the business. “I would not be where I am today in the coaching world if it wasn’t for Shane Clifford,” said Nepsa. “My relationship with Shane goes back more than a decade when I went to him myself as a student. Shane helped my game advance to give me the opportunity to roster in the pros, specifically in the ECHL with Wheeling, Toledo, and Orlando. He employed me to work for him instructing his private goalie lessons in

2012. By 2014, I was running all of Shane’s lessons lot of hockey knowledge, and good player skill coachat the main location, seeing over 80 goalies per week. es on our benches, but the one thing we were missing Shane has helped me continue to be a part of the was a dedicated resource for our goaltenders. Mike game that I love through coaching. He gave me my fills that void and will thrive in this position. Recognizing his extensive background, first opportunity in coaching and as both a player and coach, and has always supported me. Surhis ability to teach is a recipe for round yourself with good people success and our goaltenders with and good things happen. benefit greatly.” “The friendship that I have Coming to Arizona with the gained with Shane and fellow inidea that he can help build the structor Frank Gribbin is somegoalie landscape of an already-exthing that means a great deal to me and I truly owe them for all they isting NHL market is what really have done to get me to where I am attracted Nepsa to the area at first. “I am excited to build this goalie today.” community brick by brick from the Jr. Coyotes Elite Program hockground up, so that 10, 15, 20 years ey director Marc Fritsche could from now, goalies from Arizona will not be more elated with Nepsa be set to a higher standard,” Nepcoming on board. sa said. “My dream is to impact “Goaltending is obviously a key this area the same way Shane Clifposition with unique needs and we ford has impacted the Pittsburgh all agreed that bringing in a coach with Mike’s knowledge to work Longtime goalie coach Mike Nepsa wants to area. I enjoy working with all ages ‘build this goalie community brick by brick from of students from seven years old to with all of our goaltenders was a the ground up’ with the Jr. Coyotes. top priority for our program,” said pro and all in between. The fundaFritsche. “It is advantageous to have someone focus mentals stay the same at every level and I enjoy seeing directly on our goaltenders, which will help them im- the foundation being built when I work with the youngprove and develop at a greater pace. Mike is a good er goalies. As the student grows, I like being a part of fit for our coaching staff. His addition compliments our helping them build more layers to their game and help already solid team of coaches. We have guys with a them achieve their goals.”

Offering men’s and women’s league play, skills clinics, open hockey and stick time sessions. Whether you are a beginner new to the sport, an experienced player or somewhere in between, the CAHL is your home for adult hockey in Arizona.

Weekly Adult Open Hockey* & Stick Time Sessions

9375 E Bell Road Scottsdale, AZ 85260

7225 W Harrison Street Chandler, AZ 85226

*50+ sessions held exclusively for seasoned hockey players twice a month at the Ice Den Scottsdale


Crosby Hockey School thrill of a lifetime for Bussiere By Matt Mackinder


here are numerous hockey camps and schools over the summer that help improve young players’ skill sets and show them what it takes to keep playing the game. But it can’t hurt to go to a camp put on by arguably the best player in the NHL today, that being three-time Stanley Cup champion and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Matthew Bussiere is just 11 and is going into his third season playing for the Jr. Coyotes program. He and his family had heard about the Sidney Crosby Hockey School earlier this year from some friends back home in Canada whose son attended in 2016. There was a catch, though. As part of the application process, Bussiere had to write a short essay on why he wanted to attend the camp this summer. In May, the family received word that he had been chosen from a pool of more than 10,000 applicants. “I was very excited and happy when I was accepted to the camp,” said Bussiere. “I knew there were a lot of applicants, so it was amazing that I was selected. It was also cool knowing that we would get a chance to visit Nova Scotia and meet one of my hockey heroes.” The Bussiere family moved to Phoenix in 2008 from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, when Matthew was two years old, and he started playing hockey at the age of six. Hockey camps have been a part of the summer routine the past couple of years. The camp took place in Crosby’s hometown of Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada, from July 10-14. There were 160 participants with representation from

all Canadian provinces and territories and 30 U.S. states. There were also several international attendees from Hong Kong, Israel and Great Britain. The camp is open to kids 9-12 years old, with all proceeds going to the Sidney Crosby Foundation, which provides financial assistance to disadvantaged children. The camp

Eleven-year-old Matthew Bussiere, who is starting his third season playing for the Jr. Coyotes, ventured to Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, in July to attend the prestigious Sidney Crosby Hockey School.

was staffed by approximately 200 volunteers that all have ties back to Crosby and included friends, family and former coaches that were part of his formative

years growing up in Nova Scotia. Each day included two on-ice sessions, dry land training, swimming, video and question-and-answer sessions. Crosby was at the camp each day and participated in as many of the on-ice sessions as possible. Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon, who is also from Nova Scotia and trains with Crosby in the offseason, also participated for a couple of the days as well. “It was really amazing to meet Sid,” Bussiere said. “It was cool when I was skating laps in warmups the first day and I turned around and he was on the ice with us. He was really nice and asked me several questions. The most fun was when we played 3-on-3 on the last day of camp and he was on my line. I actually got a pass from him and scored a goal. “At the camp, we worked a lot on passing and skating to help develop our overall game. Sid actually taught me the best way to tip a puck in front of the net. We also had the chance to work with Sidney’s dry land coach from the Penguins and they taught us the importance of good nutrition. I will use their advice this season.” When asked about his future, on and off the ice, Bussiere’s answers came across as those that would come from someone a few years older. “My short-term goals are this season, I want to be the hardest worker on my team and in school, to get all ‘As,’” said Bussiere. “I also want to have fun playing hockey. My long-term goals are to get a scholarship to a good college and to play in the NHL. “In life, I want to do something I really love for work, like playing hockey.”

Coyotes readying to take strides in positive directions By Matt Mackinder


here is no question that the Arizona Coyotes are a team in transition. Following a summer of personnel and coaching moves, the curtain is about to rise on a season some believe is filled with hope and promise. Still, others believe that this version of the Coyotes remains a few years away from being a truly competitive team, and a distance from a serious contender for Stanley Cup playoffs participation. If there is anyone associated with the franchise now that represents glory from the past and hope for the future, some argue that new coach Rick Tocchet fills that criteria. After Dave Tippett walked away from the Coyotes, a team he coached from the 2009-10 season through last season, the transition began. Tippett’s move coincided with trades involving goalie Mike Smith and defenseman Connor Murphy and the quick assertion that management would not offer a 2017-18 contract to Shane Doan, its reigning captain and franchise icon. All of which put the Coyotes into a state of flux and doubt. Plus, Tocchet was coming into a roster populated with younger players, and a healthy dose of uncertainty that followed his appointment in early July. As Tocchet prepares to lead his first NHL camp as a head coach, the issue of communication and the exchange of ideas becomes critical. Here’s a franchise that has not qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in the last five years, and its last run post-season participation was perhaps the most memorable in franchise history. That’s when the Coy14

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

otes, led by Smith’s goaltending, reached the Western an up-tempo game and that means aggressive foreConference finals and lost to the eventual Stanley Cup checking. champion Los Angeles Kings. From a physical standpoint, the Coyotes clearly Since, the Coyotes have stumbled through the past have the bodies to bang in the corner and carry the half-decade, and now with Tocchet, it’s hoped a re- puck through the neutral zone. Starting with the speed newed spirit and scene of drive of Max Domi, Tocchet would and determination will augment be wise to build his offense his coaching style. around this sparkplug. At this point, that may be difAlso up front, Tocchet will ficult to ascertain. have to harness the energy That’s because Tocchet has displayed by Christian Dvornever been a head coach in the ak, Brendan Perlini, Lawson NHL and only assisted on qualiCrouse, Christian Fischer, ty teams. Majority owner AnthoAnthony Duclair and Clayton ny Barroway hopes Tocchet’s Keller. achievements as a player and All of which Tocchet is keenas an assistant coach can proly aware. vide then necessary guidance to “I like a fast-paced game, and point the Coyotes toward playI want this team to be creative,” off participation. he said. “It’s the best feeling in To make that happen, Tocthe world to hold the Stanley chet needs to develop a strong Cup, and that’s what I want to rapport with younger players. bring here.” Fresh and impressionable, the In his 18-year NHL playing Coyotes current core, all under career, Tocchet played for six 25 years old, hold the key to the teams, won a Stanley Cup with Young Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse is future. one of the building blocks the team is going to focus the Pittsburgh Penguins and When Tocchet was named on during the 2017-18 NHL season. Photo/Norm Hall helped the Philadelphia Flyers the Coyotes 18th coach in its history in mid-summer, reached the 1987 Stanley Cup finals. As a player, Toche quickly made a decisive point. chet spent parts of three seasons with the Coyotes. “I’m a good communicator,” he said. “Players want As an assistant coach with the Penguins last seato be in a position to win, and it will be my job to push son, he assisted Pittsburgh to back-to-back league the right buttons at the proper time.” championships, and that’s the goal currently on his Regarding his style, Tocchet says he wants to play Coyotes’ radar screen.


Exciting growth ongoing within Jr. Wildcats, Knighthawks By Brian Lester


oth the Tucson Jr. Wildcats and Knighthawks continue to see significant growth in their programs. Jr. Wildcats head coach Erik Dahl has seen it firsthand. “Our recreational program continues to grow by leaps and bounds,” said Dahl. “We’ve been averaging 10-15 new players each season. Many of those kids are coming over from ice to keep skating during the ice offseason, but many others are new to the sport.” The growth of the recreational program benefits the travel program. “It’s hard for travel programs to grow, or even to continue to exist frankly without a good pool of new players to draw from as players continue age up and out, so we put a lot of emphasis into our rec program and making hockey fun,” Dahl said. Knighthawks vice president Dustin Jans said he has put an emphasis on the rec program as well. “We really have started to invest a lot of our time into growing a house league at the Peoria Sports Complex,” Jans said. “This has been a great way to get new kids involved. I think this year we should be competitive at every age level and I expect us to have new kids, and that is always a good sign.” Jans said a group effort has fueled the growth of the Knighthawks. “Over the past two years Brent Proud, Sean Woodhouse, David Marmostine and I have spent many hours

getting kids into the house league at the sports complex,” Jans said. “We are seeing those kids get better and better, and we will see some of those new kids at our tryouts. We started the program with about 20 or so kids and last season we had three 12U teams and three 16U teams into our house league. We hope to see the numbers continue to grow.” Dahl said word of mouth has fueled growth. It’s actually worked better than sending out flyers to schools and ad-

For the Tucson Jr. Wildcats, growth is the name of the game and the rec program averages 10-15 new players each season, which is a significant number.

vertising the league. “We’ve found that the vast majority of our growth comes from the new excitement over hockey in general in Tucson, with the addition of the AHL Roadrunners last season,” Dahl said.

Working directly with the Roadrunners has also helped. “We work closely with Tyler Kern in the Roadrunners front office and everyone we’ve dealt with in the Roadrunners organization has been so supportive,” Dahl said. “It’s definitely a mutually beneficial relationship. The more we grow, the more interest there is in hockey, and that creates a larger audience and more fans of the Roadrunners.” As for the season ahead, both Jans and Dahl have high expectations. Dahl said he expects his travel teams to be highly competitive this year and is looking forward to seeing how the season plays out. He said the coaches in the program intend to put an emphasis on teamwork. “Our board has discussed our desire to teach all of our players, from the rec teams through the travel teams, that hockey is truly a team sport,” Dahl said. “Our board sat down with our coaches recently and discussed that and how we’re going to work to make teamwork a bigger part of our game in Tucson. Above everything, our club is about hockey being fun. We certainly want to be competitive and we want our players to get better, but everyone has to have fun, or we’re in this for the wrong reasons.” Jans is expecting the Knighthawks to be competitive as well at every age level and said a lot of emphasis will be on the fundamentals. “I think we are really going to focus on the basics of the game this year, such as skating, passing and working as a team,” Jans said. “At the end of the day, we want our kids to play as a team and have fun. That is the goal every year.”



Ex-NHLers Carney, Morris add knowledge to Bobcats’ staff By Greg Ball


long and successful professional career as a hockey player doesn’t always translate into coaching success, but possessing passion for the game and for developing young players is a key element, and the Arizona Bobcats are fortunate to have landed a pair of assistant coaches who check all the boxes. Keith Carney and Derek Morris, both defensemen who played 17 years in the NHL, including stops with the Coyotes, are serving as assistants with the Bobcats this season - lending their experience and their love of hockey to the program’s overarching goal of developing great hockey players and young men. “We’re always striving to be better as a program, and we wanted them to be involved in whatever capacity worked for them,” Bobcats director of hockey Ron Filion said. “They came to me and said they want to participate. What better way to teach our kids than to have two former NHL defensemen working with them?” Morris, who has two teenage sons that play for the Bobcats, coached three seasons with CAHA at the Bantam and Midget AA levels, and joined the Bobcats before the 2017-18 season. He’ll work as an assistant coach with the 18U squad under Brent Gough and will help out wherever else he is asked. Despite his achievements at the highest level of the sport, his aim is to not have the spotlight on him

or do anything to overshadow the head coach. “I was always taught when I was growing up that the head coach is in charge, whether you like it or not,” Morris said. “The coaches they have with the Bobcats are teaching the game the way it’s supposed to be taught. I’ll never overstep a head coach, and know that I’m just there to help out mostly with

Former NHL defensemen Derek Morris (left, with beard) and Keith Carney, both of whom had stops with the Coyotes during their long careers, are part of the 2017-18 coaching staff with the Arizona Bobcats. Photo/ fatCake Media

the defense. Ron has done an excellent job of putting qualified coaches in place with the right teams to help these kids continually develop.” Carney is entering his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Bobcats. He currently has a son on the 16U team and another who has played with the

program. He’ll assist Jason Oliver with the 16U team this season, and has been a head coach previously. “I’ve got a lot of experience in the game, going back to when I was a little kid,” Carney said. “Hockey is the same at all ages really - you want the kids to have fun and improve each year. “It has been great for me to have an outlet to share my love of the game. I love kids and have five of my own - I enjoy being around kids and trying to help them learn. It’s all about the kids - being someone who can push them and advocate for them.” Morris has enjoyed the challenge of translating his experience in the game to young players who are constantly processing new concepts. “As a former professional player, I have a lot of information in my head, and the biggest challenge for me is to distill that information and pass that along to a young kid who is still learning the game,” Morris said. “I believe in my children and other kids finding their way at these ages and figuring out the game themselves. The coaches have to be there to provide the means for the kids to do that, but the kids follow the coaches’ lead and really figure things out.” Morris and Carney clearly have a comfort level with the Bobcats and philosophically agree with the direction Filion is taking the program. “Ron is always trying to help the kids develop and extend their hockey careers as long as possible,” Carney said. “When we joined the program, you could see that passion in him, and that’s contagious.”

Rubber Hockey Magazines sold to longtime writer, editor Mackinder Good Sport Media, Inc., has announced the sale of its Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine and California Rubber Hockey Magazine publications to longtime staff writer and editor Matt Mackinder and Mackinder Media, LLC. “Matt has been on board with us since Day 1, and I’m nothing but confident he’ll lead our publications with the same values, professionalism and enthusiasm we’ve built and championed over the last 10-plus years,” said Good Sport Media president Brian McDonough. “Matt is a tried-and-true hockey guy and I know with certainty he’ll grow and enhance the proud and longstanding relationships we’ve established over the years within the Arizona and California hockey communities and beyond.” Mackinder joined Rubber as a staff writer in 2006 and was promoted to senior editor prior to the 2015-16 season. He also contributed a number of feature articles each month and maintains both magazines’ Web sites ( and, as well as their and Facebook and Twitter pages. A 2001 graduate of Wayne State University (Detroit), Mackinder has worked in the journalism field since 1997 and also in public relations for the Detroit Tigers and International Hockey League, as well as a number of junior hockey teams and leagues. He also serves as managing editor for the premier college hockey Web site, “I’m nothing but exited to transition into my new role as publisher and, along with our professional and dedicated staff of writers, including Chris Bayee, Greg Ball and Phillip Brents, and longtime designer, Julie Wilson, look forward to helping the sport continue to flourish in what are now impactful hockey markets at all levels,” Mackinder said. “I’ve worked closely with Brian over the years to get a handle on the print, digital and social media side of the business and he’s been a tremendous source of knowledge and support. “The new season can’t start soon enough and I’m very much looking forward to connecting with our existing advertisers and publishing partners – and future partners – as we continue to take our coverage of Arizona and California hockey to new levels on all communication platforms.” Mackinder, 39, resides in Mid-Michigan with his wife of 13 years, Stephanie; their three children, Ethan, Wyatt and Madelyn; three dogs, Eddie, Max and Georgie; and cat, Molly. Mackinder can be contacted at (248) 890-3944 and 16

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine


Mission AZ starts season with Hall of Fame inductions By Greg Ball


he date Aug. 19 was a truly special day for Mission AZ, as the youth hockey program inducted seven new members into its prestigious Hall of Fame. The eighth-annual event served as a way to honor some of the program’s top former players while also kicking off the 2017-18 season and helping continue to build Mission’s strong tradition of excellence. “We induct guys from our program who made an impact and moved on to juniors or college,” said Mission AZ director of hockey operations Jeremy Goltz. “It’s sort of an opening ceremony for us, and it seems appropriate to kick off the year this way.” Mission’s Hall of Fame grew to 62 members with the inductions of Andrew Aziz, Eddie Cannon, Alex Clover, Hunter Feagins, Michael Norris, Isaac Ritschel and David Zak. The festivities started with an alumni game featuring approximately 45 players from Mission teams of the past. There was an on-ice ceremony for all the Hall of Fame inductees, and they were each presented with a Mission jersey with their name and number on the back. “These guys have earned this recognition, and we want to honor them,” Goltz said. “But it’s also good for younger kids to get an idea of the history and the traditions of our program.” Feagins is currently playing for the Gillette Wild in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). He

played for Mission the final three seasons of his youth hockey career and said the experience truly shaped him as a hockey player and person. “It’s a huge honor to have been a part of Mission and able to play for Coach Goltz - he is one of the last coaches who truly cares about your development, not just in the sport of hockey, but in life,” Feagins said.

The Mission AZ Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes Andrew Aziz, Eddie Cannon, Alex Clover, Hunter Feagins, Michael Norris, Isaac Ritschel and David Zak.

He said some of the highlights of his time with the program included winning a Silver Stick banner and competing in USA Hockey Youth Nationals, and he thinks that last month’s Hall of Fame induction can serve as motivation for players currently in the program. “I hope seeing us inducted inspires other as it did

for me when I went to my first Hall of Fame induction,” Feagins said. Cannon played in a Mission uniform for seven seasons and will lace up his skates with the NA3HL’s Oswego Stampede this winter. He looks back fondly on his time with the program and knows those years were influential in his hockey development. “It means a lot to be inducted into the Mission Hall of Fame because I get to go in with the guys I grew up watching and looking up to in the program,” Cannon said. “Now, the younger kids are in the same spot I was in, and they look up to me - I want them to want to be on the wall with the rest of us and have that drive to get there and play the game as long as they can. “I think the current players can take a lot from it just from listening to everyone and their stories. Mission is a family, and your teammates will be your best friends for life. Coach Goltz and all the other coaches are there to help better you as a person and a man, so you are prepared for anything that comes your way. Everyone in the organization cares for you and will invest their time in you because they see the potential you have.” Goltz said nearly everything he does is with the intention of building on the traditions that he has established since Mission started, and the annual Hall of Fame induction is a huge part of that. “I attribute a lot of our player retention to things like this,” he said. “It sort of sets the standard.”

MISSION STATEMENT The time is now to create an Arizona hockey hall of fame A

big part of what we try to do at Mission Arizona is teach kids the tradition and respect for the players who have worn this jersey before them. They are reason our current players have what they Goltz have and it is very important that the history of the program is honored and talked about. As much as we try to do as an organization, I see a gap with this process at the state level with its volunteers, past players and coaches who have helped put Arizona on the map nationally long before most of you ever donned your first jersey. I want to use this article to start the push for a statewide hockey hall of fame, where there is a founders, coaches and players induction process, so folks can be educated on the history and realize who did it and what was done to so our current players understand why they have these opportu-

nities. I also would like to recognize a few gentlemen who recently stepped out of roles without much praise or accolades for all they have done for this town.

David Lieb oversaw a lot of the scheduling and was instrumental in the development of the Arizona Youth Hockey League (AZYHL), which has really given more of our teams a chance for steady play and a non-tier opportunity at a true state title. Jeff Farr was the backbone of the high school showcase program, which has been a first-class experience for high schools to represent their state at a national event and be recruited by junior and college programs.

Mike DeAngelis was the hockey director at CAHA Scottsdale for 14 years and helped to build many great players and provide an opportunity for so many kids to move on to the next levels of play beyond youth. Sean Whyte has been a staple in town between Ozzie Ice and DYHA and has been involved

Photo/Adam Cogan/TSS Photography

and at the forefront of Arizona hockey for so many years. These are just a few of hundreds of longtime Arizona contributors that not only need to be recognized, but permanently honored and taught to our younger players, parents and coaches as the reason we are here.THE ARIZONA HOCKEY HALL OF FAME NEEDS TO HAPPEN!

Jeremy Goltz is the director of hockey operations for Mission Arizona.


NEW MEXICO REPORT Former Warriors finding early Lobos out to make an impact as success in Colorado AAA circles 2017-18 ACHA season approaches

By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder



quartet of New Mexico natives and graduates of the New Mexico Warriors youth program have left the state to play hockey, but for good reason. Warriors almuni Nicholaus Weaver, Matt Orlando, Zach Ganshaw and Dane Whittet have all landed in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the 2017-18 season, playing for the Tigers 18U AAA team. The Tigers play in the North American Prospects Hockey League and also play locally out of the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association Tier I league. During the 2014-15 and ’15-16 seasons, Orlando played for the Skipjacks Hockey Club in the United States Premier Hockey League. Weaver, like Orlando, played for coach Vladimir Hartinger through the Warriors organization for four years. Two seasons ago, Weaver moved to Colorado Springs to play 16U AAA out of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League with the Colorado Rampage and last season, Weaver played for the 18U Tigers. In all, the team will play about 60 games in Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota over the course of the season, including showcases and tournaments. Over the second weekend of September, the Tigers team was set to play three games against the Utah-based West Coast Renegades, but a last-minute cancellation forced a change of plans. On Sept. 9, the Tigers faced the Fountain Valley Prep hockey team where they found themselves down by two goals early in the first period. Alas, games are three periods. Team adjustments changed the game and the Tigers scored three unanswered goals for a 3-2 win over Fountain Valley. Old teammates become new linemates, too. Orlando, Ganshaw and Weaver are currently playing on the same forward line in Colorado and are seeing the benefit of being on the ice with teammates they have skated with for years. “We know the others’ timing and location,” said Weaver. “I know where they are, where they will be next, and what they are thinking. We hope to continue to build on this chemistry.”


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

ast season saw two unprecedented things happen for the University of New Mexico. First, the Lobos went on a 10-0 tear and then following that up with an 0-8 record. UNM coach Grant Harvey is hoping for more winning streaks as the ACHA season is right around the corner. “I have a strong outlook for this year,” Harvey said. “Both streaks taught this team a lot and we know how the winning feels and we know how a slump feels. This season, I’ve got some real wizards out there for rookies and my vets are very good at coaching them along. I have to credit my older players for innately teaching the rookies how we play and giving them a lot of time between drills.” One freshman, forward Chance Shanks, should make an immediate impact for the Lobos, who play out of the Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque. “Chance plays beyond his years in hockey,” noted Harvey. “Frankly, he is a lot stronger on his skates than many senior players in our conference.” Once games start later this month, Harvey is banking on goaltending being the biggest component of wins and losses. “We have four goalies in our bullpen, so to speak, and I don’t pull seniority rank for that position,” Harvey said. “Whoever is the best man for the job will be between the pipes this year. It’s too important to not coach this way when so many guys really feel like this is the year that we will push through to regionals. “We have an absurd amount of talent this year and it’s easy to be burdened with too many guys that want the puck as well. I want to open up the season with good puck distribution and unselfish play. Long term, we want to stay out of any slumps and address our deficiencies early so that we can build. I don’t want to have the sentiment that ‘we just can’t finish’ or ‘our forecheck is always bad, so it’s fate.’ As soon as you resign yourself to being unable to fix a problem area, you become victim to it inherently.”

Ghostriders wrap memorable campaign for retiring coach By Phillip Brents


“It’s been an extreme honor to assist the Ghostriders organization and be part of the fantastic legacy that Coach Marr has created that will benefit our sport tremendously as we look forward to the new AIHL Women’s Division in 2017-18 – just one of the many positive impacts he has had on youth and adult hockey,” Craven explained. “The Ghostriders name will always be associated with his vision and determination to create an AAU team that exemplifies excellence on and off the rink through sportsmanship and raising money for medical research into the cancers that most often affect our hockey moms. He and his family should be proud of what they are accomplishing with the Ghostriders that benefits everyone in roller hockey.”

he State Wars 13 United States Roller Hockey Championships brought an end to the Ghostriders 201617 season and also brought an end to the 37 years of coaching roller sports for head coach John Marr, whose retirement began following the conclusion of the July 26Aug. 6 tournament in Taylor, Mich. “Our teams have accomplished so many things, such as the first and only women’s team to participate in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL), our men’s team has raised awareness for cancer research and carried the honor of so many we’ve lost to cancer, and earning the AIHL Organization of the Year award,” Marr explained. It was an eventful summer. The Lady Ghostriders The Lady Ghostriders made it a memorable summer by Junior Olympics captured the gold medal in placing first at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in California The Lady Ghostriders went the Women’s Division at the and second place (pictured) at the State Wars 13 United undefeated at the Corona InAmateur Athletic Union (AAU) States Roller Hockey Championships in Michigan. Photo/@ line event by posting five wins, worldinlinehockey Junior Olympic Games July including a 6-0 victory in the 6-16 at The Rinks-Corona Inline in California, while the championship game. The Lady Ghostriders outscored Ghostriders men’s team won the Men’s Silver Division. their opponents 35-2 with four shutouts to underscore Additionally, Ghostriders players comprised a bulk of the their gold medal performance. Team USA Southwest squad that placed runner-up in the Cayla Barnes led the team’s offense with 10 points, Men’s International Division. followed by Melissa Fiskin and Lindsey Fry each with Ghostriders owner Brian Craven said he has never seven points. Overall, seven Lady Ghostriders finished at had a better mentor and teacher in his two decades of the top of the division scoring table. coaching roller hockey than Marr. Chelsea Wells and Paige Hinrichs each contribut-

ed six points, followed by Katie Dalton (four points) and Celeste Loyatho (three points). Craven called the championship game win an “exclamation point.” “It was another great championship for a team that sets the pace for the new AIHL Women’s Division,” he said. Jim Goodlife led the Men’s Silver/Bronze Division in scoring with 14 goals and 18 points as the Ghostriders finished 5-0, topping Team Mexico 7-3 in the Silver Division final. Justin Marr, Alex Payne, Khelil Beidoun, Dan Amimoto, Jake Marr and Zach Clawson followed in the scoring column. Eight Ghostriders earned the right to represent the United States in the international division of this year’s Junior Olympic Games as Team USA Southwest finished runner-up to Team Canada. Jerid Marr and Beidoun led the team with eight points each. Kyle Mayhew, Hayden Maxwell, Brandon Marr, Jake Marr, Vinny Goodrich, Justin Marr and Joe Soucy also contributed points.

State Wars

The Lady Ghostriders finished 3-0 in round-robin play with a 14-2 goal-differential before going on to place runner-up to the Pama Labeda Golden Knights in the Women’s AAA gold medal game. Allison Era led the Lady Ghostriders in round-robin scoring with seven points and goaltender Chelsea Wilkinson posted a 0.67 GAA in the 10-team division. The Ghostriders men’s team finished 3-2-1 in the Senior AA Division while making a quarterfinal playoff appearance. Beidoun led the team with 12 points while Jerid Marr led the team with six goals.

Outcasts log travel miles looking for summer hardware By Phillip Brents


onixx Outcasts program director Nick Boyarsky likes to pit his teams against the best in the land, wherever that may take the Arizona-based program. The Outcasts logged quite a bit of miles this summer, including a trip to a foreign country, in search of top competition. The program participated in the NARCh East Coast Finals July 13-23 in suburban Toronto, Ont., Canada, and closed out the inline hockey summer championship season at the State Wars 13 United States Roller Hockey Championships July 26-Aug. 6 in Taylor, Mich. The Outcasts started the summer by competing at the NARCh West Coast Finals June 16-25 in San Jose, Calif., coming home with nine medals, including three gold medals. Outcast players left a personal mark on the NARCh West Coast Finals as Eli Schulman (Mite Club) and Garrett Haar (Division I) both finished with division high scorer awards, while Nathan Tepas (Bantam Gold), Garret Ruby (Midget Gold) and Charlie Robinson (Division I) all captured top goaltender awards. Arizona native Dominik Barber recorded a personal highlight at the NARCh East Coast Finals when he was invited to play for the Michigan Belle Tire 2005 team that went on to win the Squirt Platinum Division championship. Boyarsky served as an assistant coach on the Michigan team. “The great thing about this story is Dominik got the chance to play with some of the top 2005 birth year ice players in the country,” Boyarsky explained “A standout on his own local teams, this gave him a chance to play a

scored twice in the loss. “Pure was up 1-0 for about 40 percent of the game,” Boyarsky noted. “This was a huge improvement for the Pure team that last summer finished 0-4, taking last place overall.” Team standouts included David Cotton (Boston College), Linder, Payton Baldillez (Norwich University), Haar (ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies) and goaltender Kevin State Wars Dwyer (Lindenwood UniversiThe Konixx Pure Pro Dity). vision team competed in the Cotton led the Pure team Pama Pro Division with a mix in scoring with three goals and of players. five points in four games, folArizona players includlowed by Baldillez and Linder ed Tommy Tuohy, Tanner each with four points. Tuohy, Alex MacDonald Boyarsky also coached the and Ryan Cotton. California Konixx Pure Junior (24U) and players included Haar, Paul Konixx Pure Juggernaut (21U) Linder, Kyle and Kevin teams at the State Wars event, Mooney and Robinson (backboth representing California. up goaltender). Konixx Pure finished 1-1 in The Pure went 2-2 in the Juggernaut AAA Division round-robin competition. Boyarsky said the team’s “shaky Arizona native Dominik Barber won a gold medal at the playoffs with a 6-2 win over start” turned around on the NARCh East Coast Finals to highlight the summer inline Doug Sports from North Carosecond day of competition hockey championship season for the Konixx Outcasts lina and a 4-1 loss to the Lethal youth program Photo/Daryn Goodwin/NARCh Weapons from Michigan. with a 5-2 win against the Tour Kevin Mooney led the Pure team with four goals in Mudcats, followed by a 5-1 win over Sweden’s Hockey the two games, while Cooper Haar picked up four asBoden. The Pure team went on to earn the eighth seed in the sists. Konixx Pure lost 4-3 to the Mixed Breeds from Ontarplayoffs (which qualified the team for the 2018 event). The Konixx squad squared off against the top seed io, Canada, in the Junior AAA playoffs. Kyle Mooney led (and eventual division champion) Mission Snipers in the the Konixx squad with two goals and one assist in the playoffs, dropping an extremely close 3-2 decision. Haar playoff contest.

different role, and to learn from the play of these talented ice and inline ’05s from Michigan. “Dominik quickly adjusted to the different play styles of the Michigan players and, with the small bench they had (seven players with Barber), he had the chance to play a lot of minutes on both ends of the rink, and on special teams.”



Behind The Mask continuing the flow of growing the game E

xciting news coming from Behind the Mask – we are moving our BTM Chandler store inside AZ Ice Gilbert. We have been at our Chandler store for five years, but a lot has changed in the hockey landscape since we Exelby signed the lease in spring 2012. At the time we signed the Chandler lease, all three Polar Ice rinks were in bankruptcy. All of us in the hockey community were hoping that someone would step in and buy one or more of the facilities and keep them hockey rinks. The rumors and speculation ran wild. No rinks mean no hockey! When the dust finally settled, Jim Rogers and his group ended up purchasing what would become AZ Ice Gilbert and AZ Ice Peoria and the Ice Den purchased what would become the Ice Den Chandler. Back in the mid- to late-2000s, BTM had small

satellite locations in each of the three rinks. The BTM inside Peoria was 500 square feet, Chandler 600 square feet and Gilbert was 1,000 square feet. All three had limited hours and limited inventory. They were tough to staff going from three stores to six and all three satellite BTM stores closed in 2010-11. BTM decided to change its focus to larger free-standing stores. In 2010, we opened our much larger BTM Scottsdale, which is also our goalie superstore. When the Ice Den bought Polar Ice Chandler, they put in their own pro shop, which services the rink well. I have always been a huge fan of the Ice Den and how they conduct their rinks and business. We have been running the BTM Goalie School out of the Ice Den Scottsdale the last seven years. AZ Ice Peoria and AZ Ice Chandler were without pro shops for many years, which meant to get skates sharpened or equipment, sticks, skates or accessories, you had to go to one of our free-standing stores. If you’re a travel or high school hockey player, no big deal, but the new house league players and men’s league players often did not want to drive. The new AZ Ice Peoria ownership wanted to make the rink better, wanted to improve the customer feel and services inside the rink. Rogers approached us about moving our store inside the rink. They had some space where the party rooms were. These rooms were a great idea when the rink opened, but were not used often enough. We talked about blow-

ing out the party rooms and expanding into the lobby. This gave us enough space to put a full-fledged BTM inside the rink. The response we received when we moved in was great and it has been a win-win relation with the rink. In the spring of 2017, AZ Ice Gilbert hosted some of the 14U and 15 Only AAA national championship games. The out-of-town players, coaches and parents were astonished that a rink of this caliber did not have a pro shop. They could not get their skates sharpened and what if steel or holders broke during an important game? We heard all about this when they had to come into our stores. This, as well as the huge growth in the learn-toplay and youth house league players, led us to think of duplicating our Peoria blueprint in Gilbert, which currently has 12 Mite house league teams, a testament to the rink and hockey staff doing an excellent job growing hockey. Plus, with the Arizona Coyotes and new NHL new on helping to grow youth hockey, it would expose BTM to many new players and customers. In addition, AZ Ice Gilbert hosts many tournaments including the AHU Presidents Day Tournament – the largest tournament that weekend in North America – and is also the home of the Phoenix Knights junior team. At the end of the day, we would rather pay rent to an ice rink to help grow the game than a strip mall.

Randy Exelby is the owner of Behind The Mask Hockey Shops. 20

Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

PICTURE PERFECT Derek Morris, a former NHL defenseman who played the bulk of his NHL career with the Coyotes before retiring in 2014, is helping coach the Arizona Bobcats 18U team for the 2017-18 season Photo/fatCake Media

Arizona was represented at the 2nd Annual CCM Invitational Hockey Tournament, held in Beijing, China, from July 24-31. Matthew Gross of the 2003 Arizona Bobcats, David Hymovitch of the 2003 Jr. Coyotes and Cameron Ferraz of the 2004 Bobcats were members of the championship-winning Toronto Bronkos.

Desert Youth Hockey Association director of hockey Brad McCaughey and his wife, Michelle, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary with a dinner at Fleming’s Steakhouse on Sept. 10 that consisted of filet mignon, lobster and Chilean sea bass.

The Arizona Hockey Union took home the top prize in the Mite B division at this year’s Los Angeles Jr. Kings-hosted Labor Day Festival, which was showcased earlier this month in Southern California.

Led by head coach Erik Brown and assistant coach Jeff Fine, the Arizona Hockey Union Squirt Black team had an amazing night in late August at Feed My Starving Children, packaging almost 1,000 meals.

Jr. Coyotes 18U AAA defenseman Jeremy Gabriele went to the Bismarck Bobcats’ tryout camp over the summer and cracked the opening night lineup for the NAHL team. He also played two games last season for Bismarck, notching a goal with a plus-3 rating.

At the annual Puck Drop Picnic last month at Oceanside Ice Arena, signifying the start to the 2017-18 season, the Desert Youth Hockey Association gathered for an organization-wide photo as part of the festivities.

More than 30 former players with the Mission AZ program gathered last month to play the annual alumni game at AZ Ice Peoria.

In a time-honored AZ Lady Coyotes tradition, the 14U team was presented with their 2017-18 jerseys by the 19U team back on Aug. 30.

Submit your favorite hockey photos to!



Position: Forward, Arizona Coyotes Hometown: Chesterfield, Mo. Acquired: Coyotes’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in 2016 NHL Draft Last Amateur Team: Boston University (Hockey East) Age: 19 Arizona Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Clayton Keller: Favorite memory was winning the Sliver Sticks when I was 10 years old. Also, winning the national championships when I was 15. That was the national under-18 championship. AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving junior hockey? CK: Not really a memory right now. Just to meet great NHL players and being around these guys. Shane Doan was one of the guys who was really nice to me. He told me to enjoy every moment it because it goes by quickly. I’m just coming to enjoy everything, and it’s all cool. AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? CK: Probably my grandfather. He was the one who took me everywhere growing up, and he is the reason why I am here today. So, everything I do is for him. AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? CK: Just keep working hard and never let anyone get down on you. I was always told I was too small when I was younger and that’s why I work harder. To be successful, I have to work twice as hard as anyone else. AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? CK: Baseball and golf. I’m a big golfer right now. AZR: Do you have any superstitions? CK: Yeah, I have a few. Always put on my left skate and left shin pads first. That’s about it. AZR: What does your game-day routine look like? CK: Nothing too particular there. First thing I do when I get to the rink is tape my sticks. AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant here in the Phoenix area? CK: I haven’t been here long enough for that. AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? CK: Obviously, a suit and you always need a deck of cards. iPhone and headphones, too. Yep, those things are important. Always have to listen to music. AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? CK: I had a few. Growing up in St. Louis, my favorite Blues player was probably Keith Tkachuk. He was playing for the Blues when I real young, and another favorite player is (Chicago Blackhawks star) Patrick Kane. Photo/Norm Hall


Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

- Compiled by Mark Brown

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


September 1 - 4, 2017

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND November 23-26, 2017

Application Deadline: October 27, 2017

PRESIDENTS’ DAY WEEKEND February 16-19, 2018

. A&B B . Pee Wee AA, A, BB, B . Squirt A, BB, B Mite . A, AA, am Bant . ol Scho High AA/A 16U et Midget 18U AA/A - Midg


Midget Open/High School 2004 Elite & AAA . 2005 Elite & AAA 2006 Elite & AAA . 2007 Elite & AAA 2008 Elite & AAA . 2009 Elite & AAA Mite Open - 2010/11 (Half Ice)

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

Registration for all four tournaments is now open!

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.