Vol 3_No 1 Guts.indd - Rubber Magazine


Vol 3_No 1 Guts.indd - Rubber Magazine

arizonarubber ❂ com

VOLUME 3 ISSUE 1 September 2007 From Kids to Coyotes, the Desert’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey











The Lineup


Rubber Interview

Cover Story

Inline Hockey




College Hockey

Junior Hockey


Inline Hockey














A few of Arizona’s young

hockey stars gather at “Hole

in the Rock” at Phoenix’s

historic Papago Park.

Front Row (from left): Sierra

Van Fleet (Arizona Girls),

Allison Era Excalibur)

Second Row (from left):

Nathan Saurer (FYHA), Justin

Rogers (VOSHA), Eddie

McGovern (DYHA);

Arizona Rubber Magazine is a production of:

publisher: Brian McDonough

editor: Brett Fera

design: Julie Wilson

Third Row (from left):

Alex Aguirre (Phoenix Polar

Bears), Chris Chamberlin (Ozzie Ice)

VOLUME 3 ISSUE 1 September 2007 From Kids to Coyotes, the Desert’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Back Row (from left): Chris Diaz (Mission), Jake Butler

(AZ Outlaws), Michael Colantone (P.F. Chang’s), Vince

Francis (Notre Dame HS), Shane Marino (CAHA), Danny

Fazio (Peoria Roadrunners), Nick Revell (AZ Thunder)

Cover Photo / Brandt Clinard

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Photo / Robert J. Meyer



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Luck! Luck!

❂ Team of the Month

The Centennial Coyotes defeated Florida’s

Cooper City Cowboys, 5-3, in the

championship game to win the High School

division at the 2007 North American Roller

Hockey Championships (NARCh) in Florida.

The Coyotes were the only Arizona team to

win a NARCh title in 2007.

Centennial won two of three roundrobin

games, with its lone loss coming

against Cooper City in the fi rst game of the

tournament. ❂

Editor’s Column:

This game belongs to everybody

This being my fi rst issue as part

of the Arizona Rubber Magazine

staff, I expected most of our coverage

to hit on the best of the best - the

state’s elite junior, youth and inline

players who deserve recognition for

their many astounding accomplishments.

I fi gured on NHL coverage - the

Coyotes, of course - and features

each month touching on the Roadrunners,

Sundogs and the

rest of the state’s hockey


But I realized something

along the way:

Hockey leaders in this

state - from us at Arizona

Rubber to the staff of the

Phoenix Coyotes to local

youth hockey associations

- are clamoring for every

level to get its time in the


While promoting the state’s elite

players is a must, it’s also imperative

to the sport’s success - especially

in a climate like ours - that we promote

hockey to everyone involved,

all age groups and all interests.

The growth of this game does not

lie in the hands of those already living

it; they caught on early enough

to enjoy all a pair of skates has to



It’s the new hockey player - that

14-year-old whose never skated, but

decided that he or she wanted to do

something other than basketball

or soccer, or the adult interested in

getting back into the game after not

lacing up for a decade or two - that

hold the key to hockey’s future.

That’s why, in the coming

months, you can expect to see Arizona

Rubber do its part as well.

No, we won’t be scaling

back our coverage of

the best of the best; they

deserve to have their

triumphs shared with the

rest of the Arizona hockey


But expect features

that everyone, from the

youth beginner to the

late-night pick-up master,

can relate to as well.

From equipment testing to features

on youth camps, our coverage will

continue to cater to push the game of

hockey as an all-inclusive sport.

It’s our chance to turn the game

on to a new breed and get more

people involved and excited about

what this great game on ice has to

offer. ❂

Reach Brett Fera at


PICTURED (from left): Tyler Wilson, Daniel

Amimoto, Long Duong, Kevin Morgan,

CJ Hawley, Michael Ciurro, Andrew

Barletta. Centennial Coyotes

Avondale’s Kyle

❂ Beattie helped

the U.S. Under-17

Select Team to a

silver medal at last

month’s Five Nations

Tournament in the Czech Republic.

Beattie skates for the P.F. Chang’s

U18 team (see more on Beattie on

Page 25).

At the NARCh Finals skills

❂ competition, Mike Rivera

(Tour Outcasts) earned Top Sniper

honors in PeeWee Platinum; Jake

Coughlin (Mission Arizona ’90)

was named Top Goalie in Bantam

Gold; and Ryan Davis (Tour

Outcasts) took Fastest Skater

honors in Bantam Platinum.

Peoria’s Matt Giacobbe was

❂ one of 18 players named to

the USA Hockey 20-and-Under

sled hockey team this summer.

Giacobbe is a member of the

Phoenix Coyotes sled team.

Dan Amimoto earned High

❂ Scorer honors and goaltender

Andrew Barletta won the Top

Goalie award in the High School

division as the Centennial Coyotes

rolled to Arizona’s only title at

NARCh Finals.

Melissa Zehrbach was the

❂ only Arizona player to compete

in the Women’s Platinum division

at NARCh Finals. Zehrbach played

for the CanAm Selects, which

fi nished fourth in its division after

losing 3-0 in the bronze-medal


❂Goaltender Matthew

Federico, a member of last

year’s P.F. Chang’s U18 team, has

committed to Western Michigan

University (CCHA) for the upcoming

season. Federico, from Scottsdale, is

the fi rst goalie from Arizona expected

to play Division I college hockey.

Rubber Interview: Rick Van Fleet

His hockey roots might have been established north of the border, but

there’s nothing Rick Van Fleet wants more than to see the sport

fl ourish in Arizona. AZR Magazine’s Brian McDonough caught up with

the vice president of the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association (AAHA)

and the founder of the Arizona Girls Youth Hockey Association (AGYHA)

to learn more about his passion for

pucks in the desert.

AZR Magazine: How did you get

involved in hockey and what eventually

led to your appointment as

vice president of the AAHA?

RVF: I’m originally from Canada

and grew up playing up to the

Junior C level. I took a break for

a few years, but, after relocating

to Arizona from Florida 14 years

ago, I immediately got involved in AGYHA founder Rick Van Fleet


As my two daughters began to play, I formed the Arizona Girls

Youth Hockey Association. I have my USA Hockey Masters Level

5 coaching card and have coached at several levels, including high


I began to attend AAHA meetings and quickly became involved fi rst

with the player development program and have also served as secretary

for two years and vice president for the past two years.

AZR: Can you explain the structure of the AAHA and its purpose?

RVF: The AAHA is offi cially known as the Arizona USA Hockey Affi liate

within the Rocky Mountain District (RMD). The RMD is comprised

of Arizona and the seven surrounding states. There are 12 similar

districts that make up USA Hockey.

In laymen’s terms, the AAHA is basically the “franchise holder,”

if you will, for USA Hockey within the state. With that said however,

it’s a completely volunteer body that is made up of directors who are

elected by the member associations. At present there are nine active


The mission and purpose of AAHA is to promote and grow the sport

within the state, coordinate and administer state playdowns and orchestrate

selection camps, which are governed by USA Hockey, and to

serve as a disciplinary body

when necessary.

AZR: How many people are playing hockey in Arizona right now?

RVF: According to the 2007 USA Hockey Annual Congress Report,

there are approximately 4,870 players registered, not including approximately

1,900 adult players.

Interview continued / Page 22


Onward and Upward


Hockey in Arizona continues to make strides

By Brett Fera

Longtime hockey heads in the

state of Arizona call it the ultimate


Others see it as reality.

The idea of hockey in the

desert, at its core, is as contradictory

as trying to get a

tan in Winnipeg in the middle

of December.

But nearly 11 years after

a team with a rich Canadian

history defected to give the

Southwest its own branded

franchise, it appears a sport

that traditionally requires

freezing temperatures and

layer upon layer of equipment

might have a place among the

100-plus degree heat after all.

“Hockey already has a

great following in Arizona,

but it’s among players that

already play hockey,” contends

Rick Van Fleet, vice

president for the Arizona

Amateur Hockey Association,

the governing body of the

sport around the state. “It’s

the kids that aren’t already

into it- those are the ones we

have to target.”

With nearly 20 statewide

associations or full-time house

leagues in place, another

40-plus high school programs

set for play in 2007-08 and a host

of all-girls teams popping up, the

popularity of hockey in the Valley

of the Sun and surrounding areas

appears to be on a continual, if

not gradual, upswing. So much so,

that, in the past two seasons, minor

league hockey teams have both reappeared

in Phoenix, in the form of

the Roadrunners, and also sprung

up in Prescott Valley, where the

Arizona Sundogs averaged more

than 4,200 fans per game during

their inaugural season.

But what about Tucson and

Southern Arizona, where a community

of nearly 1 million residents

now, after the closure of Tucson

With players like Arizona Select’s Sierra Van Fleet, left, and

Excalibur’s Allison Era, the state of the girls game is in good

hands for years to come.

Ice earlier this year, doesn’t have a

single sheet of public ice?

And the other outlining areas,

such as the 58,000-resident city of

Flagstaff, which has the closest

climate to a hockey hotbed of any

Arizona city, but just a single sheet

of ice to simultaneously share between

the youth, adult, high school,

college and fi gure skating realms?

And what say for the Coyotes -

the proverbial head-of-state when it

comes to desert hockey? A return to

the playoffs in the upcoming future

wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure.

Coyotes: It starts at the top

With an NHL franchise in

the Southwest for more than a

decade now, Scott Storkan,

manager of hockey development

for the Phoenix Coyotes,

said he’s convinced attention

to the sport in Arizona is on

the upswing.

But it can always get better,

he adds.

Through seasonal youth

camps that feature recognizable

Coyotes players (see Page

10 for more), free ice time and

equipment usage for younger

players and numerous partnerships

with both the NHL

and USA Hockey to increase

awareness, Storkan said the

Coyotes recognize the importance

of expanding their fan

base to the youngest of the


“We are the NHL infl uence

in the market. So we view it

that it’s almost our duty as an

organization,” he said.

In creating a bond, Storkan

said, the Coyotes brass realizes

that fi elding a competitive

team is an absolute necessity.

Dave Strader, the new

television play-by-play voice of the

Coyotes, is imploring viewers - both

long-time and casual fans - to be


“It will come,” Strader said

of a return to winning ways for

Arizona’s NHL franchise, one that

reached the Stanley Cup playoffs

fi ve of its fi rst six seasons in the

desert, before falling on hard times

as of late.

Onward continued / Page 7

Photo / Brant Clinard

Photos / Brant Clinard

Onward from Page 6

Strader said he’s confi dent the

current Coyotes leadership, specifi

cally Doug Moss and Wayne

Gretzky, understand that as much

as fi nding success on the ice is good

for business, building a club that

every hockey player in the state

can enjoy - no matter age or skill

level - is good for the game.

“[Florida] recently, just this

summer, had a reunion of the

team that went to the fi nals in

1996 in their third year of existence,”

said Strader, whose

most recent stop prior to Arizona

was with the Panthers.

“They played an exhibition

game. They had 14,000 at the

BankAtlantic Center. Those

people remember, and always

will remember.”

Strader said the Coyotes

need to fi nd a way to reach

the younger player - again not

only for ticket sales, but to create

lifelong fans of the game and

participants of the sport.

“Whether it

starts with Shane

Doan, guys who are

going to be identifi

ed as Coyotes need

to be found and


Female numbers

on the rise

“Sydney Crosby

is cute.”

That’s the explanation

Van Fleet,

also the director of

hockey operations

for the Arizona Girls

Youth Hockey Association,

gives as to why more and

more young females are becoming

interested in the sport - even in


Van Fleet kids, but, all joking

aside, his sentiment may not be

that far off.

“The ones that do play are

looking for a recognizable player

to associate, to connect with,” Van

Fleet said, noting that girls now,

since recent Olympic efforts, have

female hockey role models they can

relate to.

Youth female registration is now

more than 100 in Arizona, while

total female enrollment, including

adult leagues, has topped 200, he


Currently, the AGYHA has

three all-girls teams, while the

While players like Nathan Saurer, left, has to deal with

fi nding time on a single sheet of ice in Flagstaff, Alex

Aguirre of the Phoenix Polar Bears, Chris Chamberlin of

Ozzie Ice, Justin Rogers of VOSHA and Eddie McGovern of

DYHA have a host of rinks to choose from in the Valley.

With teams and organizations like Mission Arizona (represented by Chris Diaz, left),

the AZ Outlaws (Jake Butler), P.F. Chang’s (Michael Colantone), Notre Dame Prep High

School (Vince Francis), CAHA (Shane Marino), the Peoria Roadrunners (Danny Fazio)

and the AZ Thunder travel team (Nick Revell), talent levels among older youths in

Arizona is reaching higher levels.

Valley of the Sun Hockey Association

posts two squads. Female

participants are also popping up

in Peoria, Chandler and Flagstaff,

among others areas.

While the female youth numbers

continue to increase, the state of

the girls game, Van Fleet said, is

hampered by the need for many

young females to play competitively

with their male counterparts, as

well as issues with the quality of

instruction for female players.

“Those are the two things we

battle with more than anything,”

he said. “We basically have enough

talent for one team at every age,

so the girls play on multiple teams

- boys teams. Some would argue,

‘What’s wrong with that? It’s

more ice time.’ But boys don’t usually

play on multiple teams.

And there’s no way these girls

should physically match up

against some of these boys.”

Van Fleet said the full-contact

nature of the high school

level also poses problems.

“You could have a senior

that weighs 200 pounds and

you could have a freshman or

sophomore girl that weighs

100 pounds,” he said. “But

they need a team to play on

at that level, so what are they

going to do?”

Van Fleet said seeing new

players get interested year after

year means the state of the

girls game is in

holding steady.

He countered,

however, adding

that it’s also

diffi cult now to

take beginners

who might not be

“young” by traditional


- something that

simply can’t help

the game grow

as much as he’d

like to see.

“It’s great that

we have a 14year-old

girl who

wants to come out and start playing,”

he said. “But can we put them

on the same team as players who

have years of experience?

Rink dilemmas in Flag, Tucson

In March, Arizona Rubber

chronicled the inevitable closing of

Onward continued on Page 18



By Alex Dodt

For many, the most

hectic part of the roller

hockey season started in

late May with the Arizona

Inline Hockey Association

(AIHA) State Championships

and continued on to

early July at the Pacifi c

Cup Finals.

But the fun wasn’t over

yet, as the state’s best

travel teams went off to

compete at the national

tournaments - NARCh

Finals in Florida and AAU

Jr. Olympics in Michigan

- in late July.

Then, for two weeks

in August, many more of

Arizona’s top players went

to Chicago for State Wars


For many of

us, it was a very,

very long couple

of months - to

say the least.

Just ask

Dan Maxwell,

Mission Arizona

coach and Team

Arizona state director, who

spent most of the summer

traveling from tournament

to tournament like so

many others.

“It’s a long hard road,”

said Maxwell. “It’s a lot of

fun, but it’s just crazy.”

My own experience at

State Wars, playing for the

Arizona Junior team, said

a lot about how far Arizona

has come and continues

Inline Hockey

Local talents boost out-of-state teams

By Alex Dodt

Eight premier Arizona players

represented the state this summer

at national tournaments while

playing at the AAA/Platinum level

with out-of-state teams.

None, however, accomplished

more than Cody Stocker and

Cody Castro, two former Tour

Outcasts players who played for the

East Coast-based team Black Ice


Stocker and Castro led Black Ice

to back-to-back AAA national championships

at the Tournament of

Roller Hockey Series (TORHS) and

the North American Roller Hockey

Championships (NARCh), proving

that Arizona grown talent can

make a huge impact at the national


There were several other Arizona

players who competed at the AAA

level this summer for other teams.

Kasey Caruso of Phoenix and

Former Tour Outcasts player Tyler Marek

Bobby Krafve of Goodyear played

for California’s Western Capitals.

The team competed in Squirt Platinum

division at NARCh Finals and

lost 2-1 in a playoff game against

Mission Snipers, the eventual


Arizona evolving into national power


to come in the

roller hockey


At the beginning

of the

tournament, we

heard players

from a team we

beat talking to

some friends,

only to have the friends

counter, “You lost to who!?”

They couldn’t believe

the lost to a team from the


But, by the time we

skated off the rink following

the championship

game, that sentiment had

almost completely fl ipped.

Teams now couldn’t believe

our team - an Arizona

team, no less - had lost.

bronze medalists.

“Kasey loved playing at that

level,” said his father, Mike Caruso.

“He’s been waiting for this kind

of challenge for years.”

Phoenix’s Cameron Caruso

also competed in the PeeWee Platinum

division for Florida’s Team

Phat Tape.

Glendale’s Clay Taylor, one of

the top Bantam goalies in Arizona,

competed at both AAU and NARCh

Finals. Taylor helped the Tour OC

Blades ‘90 fi nish fourth at the AAU

Jr. Olympics on top of helping the

St. Louis Sharks fi nish 12th at


“Playing for the Sharks was like

trying out for the team,” Taylor

said. “But we came together, played

well, and played closed games with


Continued / Page 33

And if teams were saying

that about us, I can

only imagine what they

were saying about all the

other Arizona teams who

accomplished so much


This summer saw

Arizona establish itself at

the AAA level, bring home

a prestigious NARCh Cup

with a handful of players

making a name for themselves

with Team USA.

And that was just the


Chances are the Arizona

reputation will precede

us at tournaments next

year, and I can’t wait. ❂

Reach Alex Dodt at


Inline Hockey

Arizona tastes success at NARCh Finals

By Alex Dodt

Fourteen Arizona teams made

the trip to Estero, Fla., this

summer for the North American

Roller Hockey Championships

(NARCh), considered by many to

be the most prestigious tournament

in all of roller hockey.

Of those 14 entrants, three

came home with a medal.

Centennial wins high

school crown

The Centennial High

School Coyotes from Peoria

were the big story of the

tournament among the Arizona

contingent. Centennial’s

roster was evenly split of

with players from three of the

biggest programs in Arizona:

Rollerplex Panthers, Tour

Outcasts, and Mission Arizona


Centennial won two of

three round robin games, with

its lone loss coming against

Florida’s Cooper City Cowboys

in the fi rst game of the


“We came into the game

with too much confi dence,”

Centennial’s Long Duong

said. “Kevin Morgan scored

nine seconds into the game

and we thought it was going

to be easy.”

Centennial rebounded

though and beat a tough

Naples (Fla.) High School

team, 6-4 in the semifi nal.

The championship game was

a rematch against Cooper City

and, after a slow start, Daniel

Amimoto led the Coyotes on a

comeback and a 5-3 win. Amimoto

earned High Scorer honors for the

tournament and Centennial goaltender

Andrew Barletta won the

Top Goalie award.

“Everyone played great and

Moto was awesome,” Duong said.

“We’ll play together again next

year but it’ll be even tougher to

repeat with Finals in California.”

AZ Stars ‘91 make great run

Mission Arizona Stars ‘91 came

as close as possible to winning a

second NARCh title in 2007. The

Daniel Amimoto carries teammate Long Duong out

during player announcements before the NARCh High

School championship game. The two went on to lead

Centennial to a 5-3 win in the fi nals.

Stars had a great run through the

playoffs with big wins over Team

Phat Tape and ISCA Grizzlies and

made it to the championship game

for a rematch against Revision

Devil Dogs, a team the Stars beat

in the semifi nal at Pacifi c Cup


“We always had close games

against Devil Dogs,” said Mission

Arizona coach Dan Maxwell. “It’s

a good matchup.”

The championship game was a

classic back and forth battle that

went into sudden death overtime.

Mission Arizona goaltender David

Johnson stopped a penalty

shot in the fi rst overtime period,

but the Stars could not buy a goal

and the Devil Dogs got their

revenge with a 3-2 win in

double overtime.

“That was one of the

longest games I’ve ever been

involved in,” said Maxwell.

“The boys played great,

stopped a penalty shot in

overtime, and it was just a

fl uke goal that ended it.”

The Mission Arizona

Stars’ Mite team earned the

third and fi nal medal for

Arizona at NARCh Finals.

The Stars beat a very tough

St. Louis Tour Blast team in

the bronze medal game for

the Mite Gold division.

“The playoff game we lost

was a real nail-biter,” said

Maxwell. “We had trouble

scoring, but we beat the

Blast pretty handily in the

bronze medal game.”

Local individuals honored

Several Arizona players

won big in the NARCh Skills

competitions. Tour Outcasts’

Mike Rivera was Top Sniper

in PeeWee Platinum, Jake

Coughlin of Mission Arizona

90’s was Top Goalie in

Bantam Gold, and Tour Outcasts’

Ryan Davis was Fastest Skater

in Bantam Platinum.

In 2008, NARCh will be hosting

two WinterNational tournaments,

one in Irvine, Calif., and

another in Bethpage, N.Y. The

2008 NARCh Finals will return

to the West Coast at the Silver

Creek Sportsplex in San Jose,

Calif. ❂


Phoenix Coyotes

Youngsters share ice with NHL heroes


By Brett Fera

At just 13-years-old, Glendale native

Logan Rader admits he doesn’t

remember much about NHL Hall of Fame

goaltender Grant Fuhr’s playing days. After

all, they came to an end in 2000, when young

Rader was only 6.

But that didn’t stop Rader, a recent inline convert

whose been an ice hockey goalie for less than a year,

from getting excited about the chance to work with a

fellow netminder who has his name on the Stanley Cup

fi ve times.

“I have his cards,

so I know who he is,”

said Rader, one of

92 participants last

month at the Phoenix

Coyotes’ inaugural

youth hockey minicamp,

held at

Oceanside Arena in


The youth players

were divided into

Squirt (9-10 years

old), PeeWee (11-12)

and Bantam (13-16).

Fuhr, the Coyotes’

goaltending coach,

was arguably the

most decorated of

the group of instructors.

But that doesn’t

mean the veteran

of 19 NHL seasons

wasn’t the only with

Storkan and Coyotes video coordinator Steve

Peters joined Keith Blasé, head coach of USA Sled

Hockey, and strength and conditioning guru Scott Abbey

to round out the camp’s teaching corps.

Phoenix resident Arnold Mondragan, whose

grandson Gabriel, 13, also participated in the camp,

said he’s never seen a camp before in Arizona to

give players - no matter age and skill level - as much 1on-1

ice time with instructors and fellow players as the

Coyotes mini-camp did.

“I sent out an e-mail the day after and asked parents

for feedback, because this is so new to us,” Storkan

said. “I got probably

50 or 60 responses,

and they were all

very positive, just

like (Mondragan).”

Gabriel Mondragan

said getting the

opportunity to take

the ice with pros like

Doan was the highlight

of his experience.

“Just being out

on the ice, so close to

them, that’s a once

in a lifetime opportunity,”

he said.

Mondragan said

he was surprised

how hard it was to

recognize some of the

players, since he’s

Shane Doan signs a Phoenix Polar Bears jersey at last month’s Coyotes mini-camp

at Oceanside.

current or prior NHL experience under his belt.

Current Coyotes captain Shane Doan, forward Bill

Thomas and defenseman Derek Morris made appearances

as guest instructors, while lead instructor Jim

Johnson, a former Coyotes player and the head coach

of the P.F. Chang’s U-18 AAA Midget squad, joined

Coyotes assistant coach Ulf Samuelson and former

NHL defenseman Alex Hicks as pro alumni serving as

instructors during the three-day camp.

“I think the unique aspect about this is that we

can bring in professional hockey players,” said Scott

Storkan, the Coyotes’ manager of hockey development.

“I think it was great they were actually participating

with the kids and not just standing in the corner not

doing anything, there only to have their name associated

with it.”

used to seeing them

from afar at games or

on television, donning

Coyote red.

“Without the gear on, it was kind of hard to tell,” he

said. “But we all got introduced to them, so that was


Storkan said the opportunity for the Coyotes to

reach out and hold multiple similar mini-camps within

the next year should present itself. Storkan added

that the Coyotes organization is also looking to renew

its program of single-day clinics from last season.

Storkan said that the success of those clinics coupled

with the positive reaction to last month’s minicamp

will only help the team continue to grow

its junior and youth hockey outreach programs, which

would ultimately mean more ice time and instruction

from those within the Phoenix organization.

“Next year we want to do more,” he said. ❂

Phoenix Coyotes

Strader reunites with old pal Pang

By Brett Fera

Dave Strader has been there,

seen that.

That’s why the veteran broadcaster

of 26 NHL seasons wasn’t

scared away from the opportunity

to take over this season as the

Phoenix Coyotes’ television playby-play

man, despite the Coyotes

recent run of less-than-stellar

Pacifi c Division fi nishes.

“I was fortunate my fi rst team

job was Detroit,”

said Strader, a

New York native

who will likely

also call games

nationally this

season for both

NBC and Versus.

“When I

went there in

‘85, thank goodness

we only

televised about

15 games because

they had, I

think, a 40-point

season. They

only had

less than 5,000



Strader was

quick to point out, however, that

it wasn’t long before all was right

again in “Hockeytown,” and the

Red Wings were selling out every

game and winning the Stanley Cup.

“The Coyotes will have their

day,” Strader said. “And I wouldn’t

mind being part of it.”

Strader, who also spent time

working national telecasts for

ESPN over the past two decades,

said he fi rst learned of the opening

in Arizona from Mike Roth, a coordinating

producer locally for FSN

Arizona and former producer at


“There are a few guys in Arizona

I’m familiar when from when I was

with ESPN,” Strader said.

None, Strader said, carried the

infl uence of former NHL netminder

Darren Pang, the Coyotes television

analyst, who works side-byside

with the play-by-play voice

during telecasts.

“I worked with him more than

anyone else while I was ESPN,”

Strader said of his “new-old” television

partner. “We’ve become very

good friends.”

Strader said that friendship,

Dave Strader, right, has covered NHL games nationally for NBC, ESPN, Fox and ABC.

both on and off the air, was almost

destined from the start.

“The very fi rst game I did

for ESPN was the night before

Thanksgiving 1987 in Chicago,”

Strader said, noting that Pang was

Chicago’s backup goaltender and

came in midway through the contest

after the Blackhawks gave up

a fl urry of early scores. “I still have

the tape where (broadcast partner)

Bill Clement says, “Here comes

wee Darren Pang with his wee

white pads.”

Strader jokes of Pang’s diminutive

- at least in hockey terms

- stature, but he notes that, as a

player and broadcaster, “there are

very few guys that have worked

harder than Darren.”

“And to have a guy like Todd

Walsh, our sideline reporter, that’s

huge,” he added of Walsh, whose

position and knowledge of the game

locally is no longer a luxury, but a

necessity to earn back the fans.”

Admitting that the NHL is still

hampered by the lingering effects

of the player lockout earlier this

decade, Strader said he thinks

the Coyotes, thanks in large part

to president Doug

Moss, has the pieces

in place to regain the

public’s attention

span, and subsequently

hold on to it.

And with arguably

the game’s

greatest all-time star

- head coach Wayne

Gretzky - on board,

there’s no reason,

Strader says, that

Phoenix can’t become

a “Hockeytown” in its

own right.

Strader, who most

recently was the television


voice of the Florida

Panthers, said that

while he doesn’t come

to a city to root for a team, it helps

make his job both enjoyable and

relevant if that team is committed

to winning - something he said he’s

certain the Coyotes are.

“It is a fi ne line. But our job really

is different than the straight

journalist, and it’s different doing a

game for a team you cover regularly

than doing a network game, for

say ESPN or Versus,” Strader said.

“You do have to be careful because

the fans can see what you see, but

there’s a way to do it so you’re not

tearing the team down, but there’s

also a way to do it so the fans can

gain some good knowledge along

the way.” ❂


Arizona Sundogs

Prescott readies for desert battle


By Brett Fera

As the leader of

a professional

hockey team, Marco

Pietroniro is well

aware of the necessity of

preseason games as both a learning

and conditioning tool to his players.

“Sure, preseason games have

a purpose,” said Pietroniro, head

coach and general manager of

the Arizona

Sundogs. “We

still want

to win, but

there’s more

to it than



that keeping



while getting



time on

the ice against quality

opposition is a delicate

balance before

the regular season

starts, Pietroniro did

admit that he and his

players will take to the ice for their

fi rst two preseason games with a

little more bounce in their step.

After all, state supremacy is on

the line.

“We thought it was good timing

to us to invite them to our facility

and play them out here,” Pietroniro

said of the ECHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners,

who will travel to Prescott

Valley Oct. 12-13 for a two-game

preseason set aptly dubbed the

“Battle of the Desert.”

“It’s big for us. Last year, we

started the year and the fi rst three

weeks we were on the road,” Pietroniro

said. “Now we’re able to

have preseason games in our building.

We’re able to have openers in

our building.”

The 5,000-seat Tim’s Toyota

Center will serve as the site for

what could be the birth of a new

state-wide rivalry between Arizona’s

two AA-level hockey clubs.

“For our fan bases, it makes a lot

of sense,” Pietroniro said. “We’re in

the same state, and it can help grow

the sport in our state.”

With only one year of play

under its belt so far, the Sundogs

organization enters the set as the

de-facto little brother”

to the Roadrunners, who

were re-introduced to Phoenix in


“The Roadrunners organization

has been very well-established in

our state,” Pietroniro said. “It’s not

a regular-season game, but it’s fun

to be able to prepare yourself in

your own city.”

Pietroniro said that a fan base

that, on average, fi lled 4,200 of

5,000 available seats at the Tim’s

Toyota Center during the Sundogs’

inaugural season, will only help

make the matchup with the Roadrunners

- not to mention the rest of

the season - one to remember.

“We have the best fans in the

league. They are pretty rowdy,”

Pietroniro said. “We are fortunate

to be in a smaller market. When

we came to town, we wanted to be

good neighbors to all the businesses

in town. With our fans we had last

year, we think we did pretty good in

that regard.”

Pietroniro said that having such

high attendance fi gures, especially

considering it was the team’s fi rst

season of play, means that notoriety

for the club will only increase as its

season nears. He added that with

the nature of minor-league hockey -

player development




to higher

levels are as






itself - it’s



that fans

have a few regular

players they can resonate

with from year to


This year, the club

brings back a handful of

regulars from the 2006-07 season,

including player-assistant coach

Dan Laperriere, 21-year-old forward

Chris Greene and defenseman

Jonathan Bernier.

“Out of 18 players, we were able

to move nine of them,” Pietroniro

said of last season, noting that the

ultimate success of a club like the

Sundogs will come in the next few

years and seeing how former players

develop and where they end up.

“It’s the reasons why these

leagues exist. Of course in our town

it’s great entertainment for our

fans, it’s a good family atmosphere.

The end result is winning, but without

compromising that, we have to

develop these players to move on to

the next level.” ❂

Photo / Phoenix RoadRunners

Phoenix RoadRunners

Church eager to mold a contender

By Paolo Cruz

A year

ago at

this time, Brad

Church was preparing

himself for the start

of just another hockey season.

Only this time he would be wearing

a coat and tie rather than a

sweater and a helmet, and he would

be holding a clipboard instead of a


Brad Church

was going into

coaching, and,

with the No. 2

job with Roadrunners


he jumped at

the opportunity

to come

to Phoenix to

launch his career

behind the


“I want to

learn and develop

as much

as I can. I want

to be looked

upon as a quality coach with a good

future,” Church told Arizona Rubber

last year. “I want to coach at

the highest level.”

Little did Church know that an

opportunity for advancement would

come just six months into the 2006-

07 season.

With just eight games left in the

regular season and the Roadrunners’

playoff hopes on life support,

head coach Ron Filion resigned.

In response, the Roadrunners

organization turned to Church - just

30 years old, but a 10-year veteran

of professional hockey - to right the

ship and make the playoffs.

“I never thought I would get an

opportunity so quickly,” he said. “I

fi gured I would be an assistant for a

few years, but I’m very grateful that

this opportunity came up.”

Two crucial wins, including a 4-2

road win over Fresno, were enough

to get Phoenix into the playoffs,

where they were eventually swept

by No.1 seed Las Vegas.

In May, the Roadrunners offi -

cially named Church as their head

coach and director of hockey operations

for the 2007-08 season.

Church will be assisted by

Brian O’Leary, who was named

The RoadRunners are hoping for more reasons to celebrate with Brad Church in charge.

the team’s new assistant coach last


O’Leary brings to Phoenix 17

years of coaching experience in Canadian

junior hockey as both an assistant

and a head coach. The Owen

Sound, Ontario, native recently

spent the past four seasons as an

assistant with the Owen Sound Attack

of the Ontario Hockey League.

“Brian brings a wealth of experience

to our staff and I’m very excited

to work with him,” said Church.

“He has built great relationships

with his players and his colleagues

over his long coaching career.”

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity

to coach in the ECHL and extremely

happy about working with Brad as

a member of the RoadRunners family,”

said O’Leary.

Church, the youngest coach in

the league - he turns 31 in November

- brings a youthful exuberance

to the job and has leaned on the

numerous connections he has made

during his career in hockey to help

build the Roadrunners into a


Because all ECHL contracts last

for only one year, the recruitment of

players is a key factor in separating

the contenders and the pretenders.


the Roadrunners


benefi ted

from Church’s

contacts. This

summer they


the signing of

ECHL veteran


Rome, who

is slated to

be the team’s

No. 1 defenseman.


played with

Church for the

ECHL’s Read-

ing Royals.

“I’ve crossed paths with a lot of

people in this game and it has come

in handy as far as recruiting goes,”

Church said. “As widespread as

[hockey] seems, it’s a small world at

the end of the day.”

In the case of Jeff Kyrzakos

and Cody Rudkowsky, Church’s

reputation as a coach and leader

has even attracted former players

back to the Roadrunners.

“When Church took over, you

knew he was that kind of guy

that would be able to relate to the

players and get us to play hard,”

Kyrzakos said. “One of the main

reasons I came back was because I

knew what Churchy was all about

and he’s played at the next level so I

know he knows how to get there.” ❂



College Hockey

ASU Ice Devils UA Ice Cats NAU Ice Jacks

By Brett Fera By Brett Fera By Brett Fera

Lind brings local

fl avor to roster

Head coach Mike De Angelis

is intent on giving spots on his

Arizona State University Ice Devils

hockey team to the best players

available. That much is for sure.

But when those players happen

to be homegrown talents, like

Phoenix native Pat Lind, that’s

even better.

“He’s looking like he’s going to

make the team and make a major

impact for us,” De Angelis said. “It

is an added bonus when they’re

local guys, to promote hockey in

Arizona locally.”

While De Angelis is set to complete

his roster following the team’s

mid-September tryout, a few spots

on the Ice Devils’ 2007-08 squad

were already taking shape at the

end of August.

After top offensive leaders like

Ray Corey, Richard Feroni and

Tony Biffi gnani ran out of eligibility

after last season, De Angelis

will turn to Trevor Van Contant

and Ryan Clark, both forwards, to

take over the offensive lead.

At the blue line, ASU also

welcomes Scott O’Neil, a transfer

defenseman from California whom

De Angelis is also high on.

Another blue line addition - albeit

on the bench instead of the ice

- comes in the form of new assistant

coach Todd Bisson, a former

NCAA Division I player at Canisius

College in Buffalo, N.Y.

ASU fi nished 16-15-1 last

season, narrowly missing out on

a berth to the ACHA Division I

national tournament, but the Ice

Devils did win fi ve of their fi nal six

games to close out the season at the

.500 mark. ❂

Icecats look to regain

elite status

Rochester, N.Y., is a long way

from Tucson: 2,301 miles, to be


But if the University of Arizona

Icecats hope to regain their form

as one of the American Collegiate

Hockey Association’s most and

consistent clubs, that’s where it will

have to both start and end.

The Icecats open the 2007-08

season the fi rst week of October

with a pair of games in Scottsdale

against rival Arizona State. But it’s

a three-game swing the next week

(Oct. 12-14) in Rochester, site of

the fi fth annual ACHA Division I

Showcase, that will likely prove if

the Icecats are for real again.

One of 16 teams invited to

the season-opening event, none

will come from as far west or as

far south as the Icecats. And few

ACHA teams have as much to

prove on a national stage, either.

A strong showing at the Showcase

might - ironically enough

- help lead Arizona back to Rochester,

which will also host the 2008

ACHA Division I championship in


During the team’s fi rst 24 years

under head coach Leo Golembiewski,

the Icecats reached the

national tournament every season.

In the four years since: just one

tourney bid and a lone 20-win season,

which came two years ago.

On Arizona’s side, however: the

team lost just three seniors from

last year’s club. Slated to return

in 2007-08 are senior co-captains

Craig Irwin and Scott Marshall.

Also on tap to return are junior

alternate captains Robbie Nowinski

and Matt Conover. ❂

‘Jacks set out for

nationals repeat

The Northern Arizona University

Ice Jacks likely won’t have

to look to hard to fi nd a group of

players to follow up last season’s

fi rst-ever berth in the American

Collegiate Hockey Association

Division III national tournament.

With just one senior gone from

last year’s squad, it’s conceivable

that the Ice Jacks could return

virtually their entire team - one

that included 14 Arizona natives

and six players who earned All-

ACHA honors in 2007.

Arizona natives eligible to

return in 2007-08 include: wingers

Sean Vardeman and Rob

Fairchild and defensemen Matt

Perrin and Michael Borgeson

of Glendale; forward Michael

Gray of Tucson; wing Kyle Klein

of Anthem; defenseman Kyle

Martinez of Cave Creek; forward

Michael Sounhein of Scottsdale;

wingers Dillon Schaffer and

Matt Slansky of Phoenix; Flagstaff

natives Nathaniel Morgart,

Tyler Holmes and Greg Neville

- all wings - and Dan Carrick, a


Entering this month, the Ice

Jacks’ roster was in the process

of being fi nalized by head coach

Todd Schall after the team’s late-

August tryout.

NAU ended last season with

an eighth-place fi nish at nationals

to go along with records of 14-3-0-

1 in Pacifi c Coast Hockey Association

play and 17-11-1-3 overall in

ACHA D-III play.

This year, the PCHA adds

three teams to its lineup – Redlands,

Santa Clara and San Jose

State. ❂

The Ice Devils, Ice Cats & Ice Jacks are members of the

Junior Hockey

Peoria Coyotes Phoenix Polar Bears

Coyotes cease operations

Junior hockey took another hit in Arizona when the

Peoria Coyotes ceased operations in July.

The team was reportedly looking to transfer ownership

prior to its third season in the Western States

League, but mutual terms could not be agreed upon.

That, and with the team in a state of fl ux as late

as the middle of July with only one tryout and no ice

time scheduled, contributed to the Coyotes closing up


“Putting together another 8-34 team was just

something we weren’t sure was going to be good for

the organization,” said Peoria GM-assistant coach

Trevor Waagner. “Next year was always going to

be the better year, but you can only put together so

many 8-34 seasons before it starts to hinder your


Still, Waagner sees positives from the fallout.

“The hockey community has been really supportive

and while everyone is sad to see the team go, the

connections we made and support we had will not be

forgotten,” concluded Waagner. ❂

By Matt Mackinder By Matt Mackinder

Polars ready for Tier III Junior A

This summer, the Western States Hockey League

received USA Hockey certifi cation as part of a new

Tier III Junior A loop, moving the league “up” from

Junior B status.

“I think the evolution to Tier III Junior A is very

positive for the development of junior hockey in the

United States,” said Phoenix Polar Bears coach-GM

Harry Mahood. “It creates another positive development

stream to the NCAA.

“It’s interesting from our side, in that we have been

working in this area for over eight years and to have

been part of the roller coaster and upswing growth of

junior hockey in the WSHL has been very rewarding.”

With the season right around the corner, Phoenix

has a team that Mahood expects to challenge for a

national championship, much like he expects every

season at this time of year.

“We are excited about this team because we have 15

returning veterans from our championship team last

year and we’ve added some exciting new young players

to the mix,” noted Mahood. ❂

Join the BTM/Arizona Rubber Test Team!

Behind the Mask, long

considered the state’s

leading retailer of consumer

and team hockey

equipment, uniforms and

services, in conjunction

with Arizona Rubber

Magazine, is looking to

recruit a volunteer group

of hockey players who will

be given to the opportunity

to evaluate and test


merchandise as the hockey

industry releases it.

With locations in

Chandler, Phoenix and

Peoria, BTM ownership

and staff

prides themselves on an

ability to stay on top of

the wants and needs of all

customers, both local and


Each season, BTM

challenges the major

manufacturers in the

hockey equipment industry

to come up with

new technology, materials

and designs

that will best

protect and

enhance the

game of all

who frequent




coming fall,

Behind the

Mask would like to enlist

the expertise and knowledge

of you, the customers

who buy and use the

equipment BTM sells.

In an effort to better

evaluate the new technologies

and innovations to

equipment such as skates,

sticks, protective gear and

more, BTM is assembling

a team of product testers

who will be given the opportunity

to evaluate and

test new merchandise

as the hockey

industry releases


BTM will

then provide the

feedback of the “BTM

Test Team” to

Arizona Rubber


for a recurring

product review feature,

as well as publish reviews

and feedback on the

Behind the Mask Web site

for our customers to read

when making decisions on


Those interested in

becoming a member of the

BTM Test Team, visit


com and click on the BTM

Test Team link. Simply

fi ll out

the brief online application

and submit it for


The test team is open to

Arizona residents between

the ages of 12-18-yearsold

and who are currently

playing hockey at one of

the state’s ice or inline

facilities. We encourage

both ice and inline players

to apply.

The test team will be

announced in the October

issue of Arizona Rubber

Magazine along with a

sneak peak at some of

the hot new products the

team will be testing over

the next few months. ❂



By Brett Fera

In all, 13 P.F. Chang’s

Midget AAA Major or

Minor players attended

USA Hockey National Select

Festivals this summer.

Danny Heath, a 6foot-1,

180 pound defenseman

from Glendale, joined

Midget AAA Major teammates

Derik Johnson,

a 5-foot-11, 170 pound

defensemen from Scottsdale,

and Duncan McKellar,

a 6-foot-3, 167-pound

forward from Gilbert, at

the U17 National Select

Festival in St. Cloud,


At the U16 National Select

Festival in Rochester,

N.Y., it was Dan Anderson,

Aaron Ave, Kyle

Beattie and Rich Coyne

P.F. Chang’s Tier 1 Hockey Program

Plenty take stage at Select Festivals

representing P.F. Chang’s.

Anderson is a 5-foot-11,

162-pound forward from

Peoria; Ave is a 5-foot-8,

153-pound defensemen

from Chandler; Beattie is

a 6-foot, 160-pound forward

from Avondale; and

Coyne is a 6-foot-2,

177-pound defenseman

from Cave


At the U15 festival

in St. Cloud,

P.F. Chang’s was

represented by 5-foot-

10, 175-pound forward

J.T. Barnett of Scottsdale;

6-foot-2, 176-pound

forward Conor Clancy of

Scottsdale; 5-foot-7, 128pound

defenseman Kevin

Johnson of Phoenix; 5foot-10,

167-pound forward

Colten St. Clair of Gilbert;

and 5-foot-9, 143 pound

defenseman Jordan

Young of Peoria.

Zach Larazza, a 6foot3,

155-pound forward

from Scottsdale, was the

lone P.F. Chang’s representative

at the U14 Festival

in Rochester.

And after just

a single offi cial

season of play, the

program already

has an alum who

is going places.

In this case, that

place is hockey-crazy

Kalamazoo, Mich., home of

Western Michigan University.

Matt Federico, a 6foot,

190-pound goaltender

who spent the 2006-07

season as a member of the

P.F. Chang’s inaugural

U18 AAA team, has joined

the Broncos for the 2007-

08 school year, and is believed

to be the fi rst goalie

from the state of Arizona

to play NCAA Division I

college hockey.

“This is an exceptional

opportunity for an exceptional

young man,” P.F.

Chang’s program director

Jim Johnson said. “This

is a great accomplishment

for both Matt and the P.F.

Chang’s hockey program.

We wish Matt much success.”

Federico, who was born

in Knoxville, Tenn., before

moving to Arizona with his

family, posted a 1.84 career

goals-against average,

a .924 save percentage and

15 shutouts during his

Midget hockey career. ❂

AAHA’s Annual Meeting Set for September 24

The AAHA’s annual

meeting will be held on

September 24, 2007 at

6:30 p.m. at the Alltel Ice

Den. Each


will seat

new directors

at this


The monthly AAHA board

meeting will follow the

annual meeting.

Coaching Seminar

Info Online

All Arizona USA

Hockey coaching seminars

and USA Hockey offi

cials seminars have been

set for the fall and can

be found either on www.

usahockey.com or www.


Arizona Wins RMD


Arizona has been

awarded the bid to host

the 2008 Rocky Mountain

Girls and Women’s

Rocky Mountain Championships.Tournament

chairperson Rick

Van Fleet made the

bid presentation in Utah

to the District Council,

which was accepted. The

event will be hosted by

the AZ Selects, skating

under the Arizona Girls

Youth Hockey Association

(AGYHA), and the

Lady Coyotes, skating

under the Valley of the

Sun Hockey Association

(VOSHA). Games will be

played at the Alltel Ice

Den and the Arcadia Ice


Coyotes Launch Jersey


The Phoenix Coyotes

announced that they

will be setting up a new

display of youth hockey

jerseys on the main

concourse of Jobing.

com Arena. Each youth

hockey association, high

school and college team

will have their jersey on

display. The AAHA will

also be working with the

Coyotes to provide youth

hockey information at the



Screening Instituted

All USA Hockey registered

coaches, managers,

board members and offi

cials will be undergoing

background screening as

part of a new initiative

undertaken by the AAHA.

The AAHA is utilizing

Axiom as its background

screening partner. As

each person clears screening,

their names will

be posted on the AAHA

Web site at www.azamateurhockey.org.

Parent Education

Video Online

USA Hockey has

produced a new ACE Parent

Education video and

PowerPoint presentation

that all associations have

agreed to present to parents

of all youth hockey

players for this year. The

video and PowerPoint can

be viewed at www.azamateurhockey.org.

Desert Youth Hockey Assocation

DYHA creates new Midget team

By Brett Fera

Desert Youth Hockey Association held

tryouts in August for a newly formed

Midget A tournament team.

The team, once fi nalized, will likely be a combination

of U16 and U18 players, said DYHA president John


“It could actually be a U16 tournament team,” he said.

“They’re kind of a mix. It really depends what players

exactly land on that tournament team.”

Hojnacki said that after other local teams disbanded, a

demand arose for to create a new Midget squad at DYHA.

“My understanding was there was a Polar team that

folded and these kids needed a place to play,” he said.

“The bottom line is there was a demand at the Midget

level and we were able to fi t them in.”

Hojnacki said the Midget A squad’s new coach, Michael

Caracciolo, was a perfect fi t to take over the new


“He seems like a great guy, very knowledgeable,” Hojnacki

said, a goaltender by trade in his mid-20s who had

been previously playing minor league hockey in Florida. ❂

Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association

Flagstaff welcomes new president

By Brett Fera

The Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association

underwent a change at the top of its

leadership totem pole this summer, instilling

Denny Lauritsen at the organization’s new


“My responsibility as president is making sure

our kids are learning the correct way to play hockey,”

said Lauritsen, a native Canadian who has lived in

Flagstaff for the past fi ve years.

FYHA registrar Camie McCracken said it impressed

the board how much time and effort Lauritsen

was willing to donate despite not having a child

within the program.

“There was an opening last year on the board, I

stepped up and took that and was voted president

this year by the new board,” said Lauristen. “I don’t

have any kids in hockey. I do it for the sport.”

Lauritsen said a major goal of the current board of

directors is to re-emphasize the growth and vitality of

FYHA’s house program.

“The house program is really important for those

kids who are still devoted to competition but just

need a place to play hockey,” he said. ❂


Alltel Ice Den

9375 E. Bell Road

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

ph. (480) 585-7465

Arcadia Ice Arena

3853 E. Thomas Road

Phoenix, AZ 85018

ph. (602) 957-9966

Desert Schools Coyote Skating

Center Chandler

7225 W Harrison Street.

Chandler, AZ 85226

ph. (480) 598-9400

Desert Schools Coyote Skating

Center Peoria

15829 N. 83rd. Ave.

Peoria, AZ 85383

ph. (623) 334-1200

Jay Lively Recreation Center

1650 N Turquoise Dr # B

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

ph. (928) 774-1051

Jobing.com Arena

9400 W Maryland Ave

Glendale, AZ 85305

Oceanside Ice Arena

1520 N. McClintock Drive

Tempe, AZ 85282

ph. (480) 941-0944

Ozzie Ice

10443 N. 32nd Street

Phoenix, AZ 85028

ph. (480) 488-6122

Tim’s Toyota Center

3201 N. Main Street

Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

ph. (928) 772-1819

Tucson Convention Center

260 S Church Ave

Tucson, AZ 85701

ph. (520) 791-4101

US Airways Center

201 East Jefferson Street

Phoenix, AZ 85004



Onward continued from Page 7

Tucson Ice, the only truly public sheet of ice in all of

Pima County. That March issue also mentioned steps

were being taken toward possibly building a new

facility in Tucson’s Northwest Catalina Foothills.

But despite the struggles in Tucson to keep its

lone rink open, hockey, in some form or another,

seems to fi nd ways to endure in outer parts of the


The minor league AA level Sundogs draw a feverish

crowd nightly to the Tim’s Toyota Center in

Prescott Valley, while a new inline rink recently

opened in Lake Havasu City.

Things are a bit trickier in Flagstaff, however, as

the game is surviving despite only a single sheet of

ice as well and a feigned interest from local youths.

“We are actually very fortunate in that [the rink]

is not privately owned,”

Flagstaff Youth ockey Association registrar Camie

McCracken said in comparison to Tucson, which

for years housed a single rink that was anything but

profi table for its owners. “It is a city-run rink, and the

youth program and the fi gure skating program have

fi rst dibs on the ice.”

But having just one sheet still poses its dilemmas,

she added. When Denny Lauritsen took over as

president of FYHA in June, the fi rst thing he pushed

was to increase participation and attention to the

house league.

“For a town this size, we should have way more

hockey players than we do,” McCracken said. “We

have the cheapest hockey program I’ve ever known

of. Our travel teams cost $500 a year. That’s a fi fth of

some programs in the Valley.

“Our house program is $300 for the year, and we

rent equipment for $40 a year,” she said. “You think

about that, and it’s $5 an hour on the ice. You can’t

get a babysitter for that.”

McCracken said the dilemma, however, comes

from that time-tested issue in Arizona’s outer banks:

just one sheet of ice in a town of nearly 60,000 residents.

McCracken noted that local adult leagues, high

school teams and the Northern Arizona University

Ice Jacks all have to share the same sheet - the same

one used by FHYA; the same one that also houses

fi gure skating and holds mandatory public skate sessions.

“The high school is upset at us because we’ve

pushed them to 9 p.m. at night, then that means the

men’s league is at 10:30 and it kind of dominoes from

that,” she said. “We want more kids, of course, but

where will we put them?” ❂

2 - Keith Ballard





Meet your 2007-08 Phoenix Coyotes

Town Hall Meeting with Coyotes GM

Don Maloney

Watch your Coyotes take the ice for

an open practice






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opening night for FREE!





‘Runners won’t fi eld U18 team

By Brett Fera

As the Peoria Roadrunners prepare to

send forward seven teams this season,

one group - the U18 squad - will not be in

action this year.

“At a lot of different levels, I think everyone is trying

to fi eld too many teams at the travel level,” said association

president Marvin Lomax. “For us, as kids get older,

it becomes harder to fi eld the older teams. It’s just what


“We don’t want to fi eld a team that’s not competitive.”

The seven remaining squads will compete at the

Mite A (coach Don Berg), Squirt A (coach Jim Dover),

Peewee A (coach Darrell Sleeman), PeeWee AA (coach

Brad Bayer), Bantam (coach Jon Larson) and U16A

(coach Dave Cope) and AA (coach Shawn Babin)


Last year, the Roadrunners fi elded eight travel teams,

winning three of fi ve A division state championships

(Mite, Squirt A and PeeWee Silver), a pair of Southwest

Youth Hockey League (SWYHL) titles (PeeWee Blue

and Bantam AA Tier II) and three regional Silver Stick

Championships (Squirt A, Peewee Silver and Bantam

AA Tier II). ❂



Summer healing the ultimate energizer

The fall is one of my

favorite times of the

year, as our players and

coaches start returning

to the ice in the Valley to

prepare for another NHL


Although many of

our players do not live

in Arizona, I like to keep

in touch with all of them

throughout the summer

to keep tabs on how

they’re doing.

Immediately following

the season, I typically

recommend that players

take 2-4 weeks off from

any sort of structured

physical activity. At the

end of the season, they

are physically worn out,

maybe a few nagging

aches and pains, and

mentally they

are ready for a


A player

might even

require a little

more extensive


for an injury,

and that rest

period can be

easily implemented into

his rehab schedule. Many

players like to take a vacation

during this time.

Following that short

break, players are usually

chomping at the

bit to start working out

again. Some are ready to

go two weeks after the

season ends; some need

3-4 weeks before they

want to go near a train-

Peoria Roadrunners Hockey Association


ing facility!

The break

should consist

of light activity;


structured or

intense. But

players don’t

spend this time

sitting around

at home,

watching TV. They may

go on a fi shing trip, take

up some light bike riding

outdoors, or some other

activity that they can’t do

during the season.

Not only does this

help keep their body

moving, but it is amazing

for the mental recovery

of the player following

the long, rigorous NHL


Once they start

training again, typically

they’ll spend a week or

two getting back into a

workout routine, allowing

their body to adapt

to exercise once again.

From there, they spend a

month or two building up

their physical foundation

of strength and general


Not until July do they

start doing explosive

movements or agility

training. Come August,

they start getting on the

ice 2-3 times a week,

building up to 4-5 times

a week by early September.

Mike Bahn is the Coyotes’

strength and conditioning


Arizona High School Hockey Association

High schools start 8th season

By Brett Fera

The Arizona High School Hockey Association

is readying for the start of its eighth

season this month.

Varsity teams slated to compete include: Boulder

Creek (Anthem), Brophy (Phoenix), Cactus Shadows

(Cave Creek), Chaparral (Scottsdale), Corona del Sol

(Tempe), Deer Valley (Glendale), Desert Mountain (Scottsdale),

Desert Vista (Phoenix), Flagstaff, Gilbert, Hamilton

(Chandler) Highland (Gilbert), Horizon (Scottsdale),

Mesquite (Gilbert), Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), Mountain

Ridge (Glendale), North Canyon (Phoenix), Notre Dame

(Scottsdale), O’Connor (Glendale), Pinnacle (Phoenix),

Prescott, Saguaro (Scottsdale), Thunderbird (Phoenix),

and Tucson.

A combination of players from Cactus (Glendale) and

Centennial (Peoria) High Schools will also compete.

Thirteen junior varsity teams will also compete, including

Brophy, Corona del Sol, Desert Mountain, Desert Vista,

Flagstaff, Hamilton, Horizon, Mountain Pointe, Mountain

Ridge, Notre Dame, Pinnacle, Prescott and Tucson.

The Valley of the Sun Youth Hockey Association will

also fi eld a Lady Coyotes junior varsity girls team. ❂

Phoenix Scorpions

Scorpions high on newcomers

By Brett Fera

The Phoenix Scorpions women’s travel

hockey team has announced their roster

and travel plans for the 2007-08 season.

Several new players were drafted by the club, including

Lindsey Hundley, Amanda Bailey, January

(J.J.) Johnson, Maggi Connelly and Katie Goreham.

“It’s really great to see so much talent this year,” said

Sheri Jones, the Scorpions’ captain. “It’s the fi rst season

we’ve been able to add so many quality players to our

roster without having to recruit from out of state.”

Several other travel players were being considered,

but had yet to be offered a position on the team entering


The Scorpions will kick off their fall season in the

men’s league at Arcadia Ice, and will host several invitational

tournaments, including a small tournament which

will include teams from the UK, Germany and the East


Other tournament plans include the Gold Digger

Tournament in Park City, Utah, in December; the MLK

Tournament in San Jose in January; and the USA

Hockey National Pond Hockey Championship in Eagle

River, Wis., in February. ❂

Beyer takes on Ozzie role Ice at Polar Ice

Spiral Entertainment Group (SEG) announced

last month the appointment of Jim Beyer as its

assistant general manager of the Polar Ice facility in


As well as assisting in the day-to-day operations of

the facility, Beyer will also take leadership of Polar Ice

Chandler’s youth hockey program.

Additionally, Beyer has accepted the position of

president of the Polar Bear Travel Hockey Organization.

He replaces Chuck Allen, who has diligently

served the Polar Bear membership and families for the

past two-plus years.

“Jim’s experience and dedication in serving youth

hockey interests in the western states over the last

two decades greatly enhances the role that Polar Ice

continues to play in growing the great game of hockey

throughout the state and country,” said Brad Berman,

president of SEG.

Spiral Entertainment Group recently acquired the

Polar Ice group of businesses from Polar Ice Entertainment,


“Except for the change in ownership, nothing will

change operationally with the ice facilities,” Berman

added. “Our rinks have always been run effi ciently

with customer service being a top priority.” ❂

Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association

Mites tap into NHL pipeline

By Brett Fera

As the fall season approaches, Mike

De Angelis, director of the Coyotes

Amateur Hockey Association, admits it’s

not uncommon to see a former NHL player

helping coach a youth team when his son or daughter

is playing.

But four on the ice at the same time - well that’s a

different story.

“We’ve got a Mite A team with kind of a neat

coaching staff,” De Angelis said. “We’ve got a lot of

famous fathers that are on the ice with these kids.”

Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson’s

son, Adam, is on the CAHA Mite team.

Derek King, a veteran of 14 NHL seasons, has a

son, DJ, who is also on the club.

Max Middendorf, father to Mite player Ethan,

had a 15-plus year pro career, including parts of four

seasons in the NHL, while former NHLer Bryan

Savage, who played three seasons with the Coyotes,

has a son, Ryan, on the team.

“They’re all on the ice with these kids for practice,”

De Angelis said. “It’s a pretty unique thing. ❂

Tommy Tuohy

uses his Warrior

Kronik to get

himself out of a

tough situation

on the golf

course. He wins

this month’s

Warrior Hockey prize package.

Tuohy, a Brophy High School student, plays inline

hockey for the Tour Outcasts ‘92s and ice hockey for

DYHA Firebirds Midget U16 Tier II team.

Enter this month by sending a photo of yourself

wearing Warrior hockey or lacrosse gear

in a unique location to





Good teammates thrive through respect

To succeed in a team

setting or in life, you

have to earn the respect

of your peers and you

have to learn to respect

your peers.

Everyone has unique

skills that may be totally

different from yours. It’s

a combination of these

unique skills that help

to build a real team.

Respect and loyalty are

earned through your conduct,

example, attitude,

perseverance and work


Lefty Curran, goaltender

of the ‘72 U.S.

Olympic team, once told

me that a goaltender has

to go above and beyond

when it comes to earning

the respect of teammates

as a person, friend and

Interview from Page 5

The numbers did drop somewhat

a few years ago, but have actually

increased the past two years

and that’s a very good sign for all

areas: youth, female and adults.

There are always opportunities

for growth, especially at the

younger ages.

AZR: What is the AAHA doing

to get the word out to help grow


RVF: First and foremost, since

the AAHA is made of directors

elected from each of the active

associations, it serves as a conduit

to relay information and programs

back to each member. Our Web

site, www.azamateurhockey.org,

serves as a focal point for information

about statewide events such

as playdowns and players selections


player. He believes

that players

play harder

for a goaltender

they like and

respect than one

who separates

themselves from

the team. Teammates

will go the

extra mile when

it comes to blocking

shots, defensive posture

and getting back into the

play on transition.

There isn’t a player

living who knows what

to expect when he joins

the team. What they

do know is this: They

want to work hard, try

to contribute, earn a spot

in the lineup, earn more

ice time and eventually

make a difference. If


every player

is given the

opportunity to

make a difference,

they just

might respond.

Teams come

together when

every kid is

honest in the

locker room

and on the ice. Every

team becomes family

when every player understands

that everyone

earns their ice time and

everyone plays for each

other. Goal-setting is

great if it has to do with

the team. I’ve seen fi rstround

draft picks fail

to make it because they

didn’t fi t in.

Every player has one

or more unique assets

Recently, we approved funding

to begin an awareness campaign in

a couple of statewide publications

which are distributed primarily to

all of the elementary schools. The

aim is to generate interest with

potential youths

that have never tried hockey.

The AAHA is also teaming up

with the Phoenix Coyotes, who

run introductory programs. There

are also plans this year to bring in

a highly-successful program that

is sponsored by the Girls Scouts

called “Put the Biscuit in the Basket.”

It’s meant to introduce girls

to the sport and some programs

are reporting an almost 60 percent

retention rate.

Obviously, living in the desert,

hockey is not always the fi rst

choice for many athletes. Sometimes

the challenge is just getting

the word out.

and it’s their obligation

to their teammates

to overachieve in their

asset categories so their

teammates can emulate

them - and they will. If a

player with lesser skills

is great in the locker

room, then they should

excel and overachieve in

the locker room.

Life is built around

the relationships you

form with “real people.”

They are the ones who

care about others while

earning their way to the

next level. If you are

real, people will seek you

out. ❂

Chuck Grillo is an amateur

scout for the Pittsburgh


AZR: Talk about the AAHA’s relationships

with the state’s professional


RVF: I think that all of the professional

teams are doing a fi ne job

promoting hockey within the state.

There will always be a few who

think they can do more, but you

can’t forget that they’re a business

and without the support of the

fans, no one will be successful.

The Coyotes are working with

the AAHA this year sponsoring an

exciting jersey display of all teams

in the state and both the Roadrunners

and the Sundogs are also very

active with the youth programs

and community exposure, which is


AZR: What are your thoughts on

the situation in Tucson?

RVF: It’s very unfortunate and

Interview continued / Page 24


Interview from Page 22

will have a lasting impact for

some time. It’s my understanding

that several of those players have

joined Valley programs and attempts

are being made to continue

with the program using the

Tucson Convention Center.

It’s my goal that we, as a board,

learn from it and do our best to

assist in building a new program

and ensure that it doesn’t happen


I’ve also been concerned with

the declining registration numbers

in Flagstaff because they have a

great facility and a growing population


It should be a priority of the

AAHA to reach out and do whatever

is possible

to help them; we do not want to see

another facility close.


Many coaches like

to debate on what

type of practice best

suits a hockey player’s


Some want to have

ice sessions that are

solely based on basic

skill work and skating,

while others will argue

that small area games

are the key to rapid improvement.

I think it’s nice to

have a nice mix of both,

but I feel there’s something

even more critical

to player’s development.

Most of us fail to recognize

that the biggest

determining factor in

progress in any athlete

may be what goes on

in their heads out on

the ice. I’m convinced a

AZR: What’s your assessment of

the talent level across the state?

RVF: I’ve seen a tremendous increase

in the upper levels of skill

development over the past few

years and a large part of that can

be attributed to the strong Coaches

Education Program that we are

lucky to have here thanks to Jim

Rogers and Larry Gibson, who have

done a fantastic job.

We’ve recently had a couple

of teams reach the fi nals of the

national championships and even

had a bantam team win a national

championship (the VOSHA Mustangs

in 2005). Not bad for a bunch

of desert dwellers. Another

judge is the number of players

- both male and female - who have

progressed to the national camps.

AZR: It appears that the different

associations are working closer

together for the betterment of the

Fun a key element to development

young athlete

needs to want

to get better

and needs to be

willing to make

the commitment

necessary for


It’s human

nature to participate


passionately in activities

that you have fun doing.

I’m sometimes surprised

during practices at the

rink the lack of emotion

some players exhibit and

the absence of noise and

smiles out on the ice. We

need to make sure these

kids are having fun and

enjoying the work in trying

to get better.

The lack of ice available

for non-structured

De Angelis

“shinny” games

and open ice

may play role

into this equation.Sometimes


just need to get

out on the ice

and improvise.

It doesn’t

matter how

good the coach is or

how great his drills are.

Hockey players need to

be mentally challenged

and properly motivated

in order to reach their


Many experts say

athletic performance is

90 percent mental and

10 percent physical - and

hockey is no exception.

I’m convinced that positive

emotional and men-


RVF: Yes, we have come a long

way on that front during the past

few years. All of the associations

are doing a much better job of participating

and the results are clear.

Jon Brooks, the president of the

AAHA, should also be given a lot of

credit for seeing us through those

diffi cult times. The future does

look bright, but there is still work

to be done.

AZR: Long-term, what’s most important

to you in terms of growing

the game?

RVF: A lot of people talk about

growth which obviously is a good

thing in the long run, but I think it

needs to be controlled growth. It’s

also important that our coaches

continue to develop and that the

various programs keep the focus on

skill development at a reasonable

cost for all. ❂

tal fi tness of a player can

trigger rapid development

in their skill base.

In the end, players

having fun and enjoying

their hockey experience

will develop quicker

than others who loath

having to go to practice.

Let’s make sure that

the pure enjoyment of

playing the game still

remains the No. 1 priority.

The challenge for us

coaches is to make sure

it happens on a daily

basis. ❂

Mike De Angelis is

CAHA’s director of youth

hockey and the head

coach at Arizona State


Avondale’s Beattie continues to blossom

By Matt Mackinder

Kyle Beattie was part of the

inaugural P.F. Chang’s Midget

Minor AAA team last season and

turned some heads not only in Arizona,

but in Colorado Springs.

Beattie, a 16-year-old Avondale

native, earned a spot as one of a

dozen forwards on the 2007 United

States Under-17 Select Team

that fi nished second at the

2007 Under-17 Five Nations

Tournament to host Czech

Republic last month.

Team members were

chosen from the 2007 USA

Hockey Select 16 Player Development

Camp, which was

held June 23-29 at the ESL

Sports Centre in Rochester,

N.Y., and featured many of

America’s best hockey players

born in 1991. Beattie was the

lone Arizonan.

“It was a lot of fun,” said

the 6-foot, 155-pound Beattie

who played on a line with

Steve Whitney and Ryan

Walters and tallied fi ve

assists over the four games.

“It was nice to be in a different

country and see different

people and experience a

different culture. I thought I

played well in Rochester and

a lot of that was because of

my linemates.”

Last year, Beattie progressed

rapidly for the Midget

Minors and this season will move

up to the Midget Major squad with

P.F. Chang’s. Jim Johnson, his

coach last year who will also move

up to coach the Under-18 Majors,

said Beattie blossomed from the

beginning of the year straight to

the end.

“Kyle is one of those kids that

is not only being recognized for his

on-ice talents, but for his demeanor

off the ice,” said Johnson. “He’s a

very level-headed kid and is very

even keel. A lot of schools are after

him and I think if he continues to

develop and get stronger and stay

focused, he should have his choice

of schools.

“His biggest asset is his speed

and he loves to play the game at a

Kyle Beattie skated for DYHA before joining the P.F.

Chang’s Midget program.

high speed. Once he gets stronger

and bigger, a lot more will start to

happen for Kyle.”

Though he was drafted by the

major junior Western Hockey

League’s Prince George Cougars in

the 12th round of the 2006 WHL

Bantam Draft, Beattie wants a college

scholarship and, like Johnson

thinks, knows it is well within his


“Since I’ve been playing hockey,

all I’ve thought about is going D-I,”

Beattie said. “There are a couple

schools I’m looking into, but right

now, I just want to wait it out and

see what happens.”

The fact an Arizona kid is being

considered for college hockey is another

testament to where the level

of hockey has come in a short time.

While it may not be on par

talent-wise with the Minnesotas,

Bostons and Detroits

of the country, some feel it

actually is.

“Slowly, but surely, the

talent is getting there,” said

Beattie. “It’s improving a lot

each year.”

“Arizona hockey is most

defi nitely on the map,” added

Johnson. “There is some

top-level hockey here that is

as good, if not better, than

the hockey in places like

Minnesota and Detroit. With

Kyle, I’ve always said that if

you’re a good enough player,

you will be seen and they

will fi nd you. It doesn’t matter

where you play, but how

good of a player you are.

“Kyle is the perfect example

of that.”

Beattie said that with

each new year comes new

challenges and new expectations.

This season should be a

telling season as to how many

levels he can ascend.

“I know I need to add some

size to go with my speed and once

I do that and put my skills with

my speed, I think I’ll be a better

player,” noted Beattie. “I think we

have a good team and our goal is

obviously to get to nationals. As an

individual, all I want to do is go out

there and do what I can to help my

team win.” ❂

Advertise in Arizona Rubber Magazine

Call (612) 929-2171 or e-mail brian@goodsportmedia.com for details.


By Alex Dodt

State Wars III in Chicago was

by far the most successful State

Wars tournament so far for Arizona


After winning three medals in

2005 and four medals in 2006, Arizona

squads equaled that combined total

with seven medals in all in 2007.

Two teams, the 1995 A team and the

Women’s AAA team, won their divisions

after only

one Arizona team

won a State Wars

championship in

all of the fi rst two


“It was a great

feeling,” said

Arizona Women’s

coach Javier

Zuniga. “You

could see the

look on the girls

faces how much it

meant to them to

win it all.”

The women’s

team surprised

many with how

successful they

were in Chicago.

With a strong

club assembled of

great players from

all parts of the state, Team Arizona

went undefeated in round robin. The

only blemish on their record was a 4-

4 tie against Michigan. They made up

for it in the playoffs, though, as Team

America selection Allie Era scored

two goals for a 3-2 semifi nal win over


“Allie was big that game for us,”

Zuniga said. “The biggest thing was

the girls all kept their composure and

stayed in it like they knew they were

going to win.”

In the fi nal, Courtney Render

scored late in the fi rst period on an

assist from Rebekah Zuniga to put

Arizona in the lead. Colorado tied


Inline Hockey

AZ takes home 7 medals at State Wars

it up with fi ve minutes left, but the

score didn’t stay tied for long. With

4:30 left in the game, Render scored

her second goal of the game, this

time assisted by Era, to make it 2-1.

Goaltender Chelsea Wilkinson shut

down Colorado the rest of the way to

fi nish with nine saves on 10 shots as

Arizona clinched the AAA championship.

“The girls gelled together well for

not having played together before,”

Arizona’s women’s squad won the AAA championship at State Wars III, marking only the

second AAA State Wars title in Arizona history.

Zuniga said. “They played as a team

and deserved it.”

The 1995 Selects team had a great

run of their own in the 1995 A division

in Chicago. A balanced attack in

the quarterfi nal resulted in a 5-3 win

over Wisconsin and a great defensive

effort earned the team a 2-1 victory

against Georgia in the semifi nal. In

the championship game, Tanner

Tuohy scored a pair of clutch goals,

both assisted by Megan Amimoto,

to lift Arizona to a 4-2 victory over


“The 95’s were a great young

group,” state director Dan Maxwell

said. “They were fun to watch.”

Three Arizona teams - 1997 Selects,

Junior and Senior teams - all

won silver medals in the AA divisions.

Ben Jackson, of Yuma, led

the 1997 team to an exciting overtime

win in the semifi nal before they lost

in the fi nal against Texas.

“Ben’s a great young player,” Maxwell

said. “He knows how to put the

puck in the net.”

The Junior and Senior Arizona

teams had similar rosters and similar

endings. Led by

the scoring of

Duane Jones

and Tyler Koressel

and the

goaltending of

Cody O’Reilly,

the Junior team

pulled of an overtime

upset in the

semifi nal against

Team Missouri.

They fell short in

the fi nal though,

losing to Connecticut.

The Arizona

Senior team, with

several players

from the Junior

team, snuck out

of the semifi nal

with a 5-4 win over

Illinois, but they

too fell short in the fi nal, losing 3-0 to

New Jersey.

“We defi nitely exceeded our

expectations by winning two medals,”

Jones said. “We surprised some

teams and helped put on Arizona on

the map.”

The fi nal two Arizona teams to

medal, the 1992 and 1991 select

teams, both won bronze medals.

One of Arizona’s most recognizable

teams at State Wars, the 1990

Selects, fell short of making the semifi

nals for the third consecutive year

when they lost 3-2 in the quarterfi nal

to the eventual champions, Team

Illinois. ❂

By Alex Dodt

The 2007 Pacifi c Cup Finals in

Anaheim, Calif., had three different

Arizona travel programs win a

championship, while two more teams

earned a second-place fi nish.

Tour Outcasts ‘92 made history by

becoming the fi rst-ever Arizona team

to win a Pacifi c Cup AAA


Led by a hat trick from

Ryan Davis, the Outcasts

came back from a 5-2

defi cit with four minutes

remaining in regulation

to force overtime in the

semifi nal against Mission


In the extra period,

Nick Baszo put in the

game-winner, earning the

Outcasts a birth in the

fi nal against AKS Mission’92.

“I’ve seen some dramatic

comebacks before

but nothing like that,”

Outcasts head coach Nick

Boyarsky said. “Once

these boys made the

decision not to lose they

became a team on a mission.”

The championship

game was a chess match

from start to fi nish, with

the Outcasts taking a 1-0

lead before AKS tied the

game with one minute

remaining. In overtime,

Mike Rivera made a

fancy move around an AKS defenseman,

head-faked the goaltender, and

slid the puck home to clinch the title

for his team.

“It was extremely satisfying to

fi nally win a AAA cup but to see a

team earn it the way this group did

was extra special,” Boyarsky said.

“They had that never give up attitude

all year long and deserved to be the

fi rst team to bring a cup home.”

Inline Hockey

State wins 3 championships at Pacifi c Cup

The Mission Arizona Stars had

one of the most dominant performances

of the tournament in the

Mite AA division. Led by the goaltending

of Anthony Ciurro and an

overwhelming offensive attack from a

deep roster, the Stars rolled over the

Las Vegas Raptors by a 7-1 score to

clinch the Mite AA Select title.

Tour Outcasts ‘92 celebrate their semifi nal overtime win over Mission

Mulisha at Pacifi c Cup Finals.

“We were very dominant and

played very good team oriented

hockey,” said Mission Arizona coach

Dan Maxwell. “They proved why

they could have competed in the AA

Elite division.”

Mission Arizona’s ‘91 team also

made a championship game appearance

at the Pacifi c Cup Finals. In

the semifi nal, Ryne Rezac scored

a clutch goal in the fi nal minutes to

knock off the top seeded Devil Dogs

and move his team onto the championship.

In the fi nal, the Stars went

back and forth with the HB Vipers

but fell short in the fi nal minutes,

taking home a silver medal after the

6-4 loss.

“The ‘91 team plays a really defensive-oriented

game,” Maxwell said. “I

was really happy with this

group. They are all unselfish

players and deserved

to win.”

Team Excalibur ‘91

was its program’s only

team to reach a championship

game, made the

most of their fi nal round

appearance. The team was

dominant in round robin

and knocked off Team

Allegiance 6-3 in the

semifi nal, but was pushed

to the brink by the RBK

Bulldogs Black squad.

Excalibur ended up

pulling out the victory

in overtime, however,

winning the Bantam AA

Select championship, 3-2.

“This was the third

year in a row that the ‘91s

have won Pacifi c Cup,”

said program director

Dave Marmorstein.

“They played great team

hockey and deserved to

win it.”

In the Squirt AA Select

division, the Arizona Phlyers

were the fi nal local

team to bring home hardware

from Anaheim. The Phlyers

knocked off a strong RBK Bulldogs

team and move on to the fi nal. The

Western Capitals ended up being too

much to handle for the Phlyers, who

fell 6-2 to fi nish second.

“We had a tough tournament,”

Phlyers coach Tom Tuohy said.

“The kids played well to get past that

semifi nal but we just didn’t have the

energy to win in the fi nal.” ❂




A summer of hardwood heaven?

With summer upon

us, a break from the

ice was a good idea. We

agreed that a trip to the

old hardwood would be

a great way to have fun,

make new friends, and

stay in shape.

One would think

growing up in the heart

of the ACC, hoops would

have long ago entered

into our realm of youth

sports activities. ‘Round

those parts you had no

choice but to declare

yourself a Tar Heel, Blue

Devil or Pack fan. I was

rebellious and joined the

ranks of “piracy” at ECU.

But folks, this recreation

youth basketball

thing was a whole new

world of enlightenment.

You arrive fi ve min-

utes before

game time, your

kid dribbles,

shoots, and runs

for less than 60

minutes. He or

she gives the

“good game”

hand shake and

you and your

player are D-O-N-E done!

Sounds like heaven, eh?

Having dedicated

much of our extra-curricular

life to hockey over

the past few years, it has

become second nature to

leave the house and get

to the rink 30 - 45 minutes

ahead of practice or

a game. Then, of course,

comes the dreaded “whatthe-heck-could-he-be-doing-in-that

locker room”

post icetime wait.


So are we

crazy for doing

this hockey

thing? Is it time

to jump on the

“done in 60

minutes or less


Our experience

was that

the time commitment

was much less, and

alright, the fee was less

expensive, but here’s the

point. I, unfortunately,

can’t say I held one

meaningful conversation

with any parent. I

really wasn’t even chatty

- shocking news for those

who know me.

Is the sometimes additional

time commitment

and cost of hockey worth

it? You’ll get an unequiv-

ocal YES from this Mom.

The value of the relationships

and great times our

family has experienced

with hockey in our lives

is incomparable.

I realize comparing

the two may not be fair.

No question; basketball

is a great sport and my

son wants to play again.

And hockey defi nitely

translated well to the

court as my son’s coach

called him “highly effective”

in the defensive

mode - minus the checking,

of course. ❂

Julie Wilson is a local

freelance designer and

writer whose son plays for

the PeeWee 96 Jr. Coyotes.

She can be contacted

at jjcjwilson@aol.com.

Arizona Girls Youth Hockey Association

Girls hit Flagstaff for camp

By Trevor Askeland

Keeping with tradition, the Arizona

Girls Youth Hockey Association’s

AZ Selects traveled to Flagstaff for their

fourth annual training camp late last


“The camp is designed to not only take advantage

of the less expensive ice time offered at the Jay

Lively Activity Center and to get a brief reprieve

from the sweltering temperatures in the Valley, but

is also serves as a real good bonding experience for

the players,” said AGYHA director Rick Van Fleet.

The teams had four on-ice skills sessions for two

days, fi nishing up with an inter-squad scrimmage.

The girls are assigned roommates with one parent

chaperone over the weekend stay.

“Kim dragged herself to school Monday, but had

an absolute blast,” said Susan Bauer, mother of

U16 player Kim Bauer.

This year, Coyotes associate coach Ulf Samuelsson

joined head coaches Van Fleet and Brian

Burke on the ice. Samuelsson’s 11-year-old daughter,

Victoria, is on the U12 team.

“The girls worked really hard,” said Samuelsson.

“They all got a good jump on conditioning and had

an excellent time.” ❂

AGYHA to host RMD’s best

The Arizona Girls Youth Hockey Association was

granted the bid to host this season’s Girls/Women’s

Rocky Mountain District Championships.

The tournament will run from March 6-9 at the

Alltel Ice Den with overflow games at the Arcadia

Ice Rink.

The event will feature the Girls Tier U12-U19

teams from the entire Rocky Mountain District, as

well as Women’s B and C teams.

The champion at each level will advance to

represent the Rocky Mountain District in the USA

Hockey National Championships which will be held

in West Chester, Pa., in April.

The AGYHA last hosted a qualifier in 2005 and

also hosts its annual President’s Day Girls Invitational

tournament in February at the Ice Den.

“That event has grown to be one of the premier

girls events on the West Coast, so we have gained

a great deal of experience putting on these types

of tournaments,” said AGYHA director Rick Van

Fleet. “Our volunteer base has grown and that really


This year, VOSHA will also provide volunteer

assistance for the RMD event. ❂

Jonah Daniels,

a member of

the CAHA Pee-

Wee A ‘96 Jr.

Coyotes, relaxes

with the

summer issue

of Arizona

Rubber Magazine


jumping feet

fi rst into a

new hockey season. He wins a $20

iTunes gift card!

Where can you take

Arizona Rubber?

Enter this month by sending a photo of

you and this issue of Arizona Rubber to


Mission Arizona

Mission builds on fi rst-year promise

By Brian McDonough

With its fi rst season a success, Mission

Arizona Ice hoping for even bigger

and better things on the ice this year.

“We’re looking forward to an even more exciting

season,” said coach Jeremy Goltz.

The program’s inaugural campaign was a hit, with

one of its teams advancing to the North American

Sliver Stick fi nals in Canada and another competing in

the USA Hockey Rocky Mountain District Regionals.

“We had an amazing 95 percent of our players return

from last year and have added some very talented

newcomers, too,” said Goltz.

The program has grown from three to fi ve teams

this year, and two players - Mychal Salvione and

Alex Shipley - represented Mission in the USHL Futures

Camp over the summer.

“We’re really proud of those two guys,” said Goltz.

Mission AZ teams already have travel plans lined

up to Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Las Vegas this


“We’re looking forward to working with all the associations

in the area for an exciting season and great

competition,” said Goltz. ❂


By Bill Casey

Vincent Perez-Mazzolla

believes the state of Arizona is

underachieving when it comes to

maximizing the development of its

young lacrosse enthusiasts.

“With the ability to play this

game year round, we should be producing

many more college-bound

players than we currently are,”

said Perez-Mazzolla, author of “The

Lacrosse Training Bible.”

Perez-Mazzolla isn’t alone in

his sentiments, but he took pen to

paper in an effort to help change

the state’s ways.

Along with Matt Brown, a professional

lacrosse player with the

Arizona Sting and Denver Outlaws,

Mazzola wrote a guidebook for

players, coaches and enthusiasts

with historical information, training

methods and techniques, as

well as skill training for burgeoning

and seasoned athletes.

“The Lacrosse Training Bible”

is a comprehensive guidebook for

serious lacrosse players; it provides

everything athletes need to know

about the game, how it’s played and

what players can do to optimize

their performance and recovery

time while competing.

“This book is a great way for

players to get started, sharpen

their current skills and learn new

ones,” said Brown, the recently

appointed assistant men’s lacrosse

coach at the University of Denver.

Not only does this book offer drills

and skills, but it gives the history of

the game and is great for parents,

players and coaches. I enjoyed

making contributions to what I

think is the overall best lacrosse

book on the market.”

Dedicated to the development of



Local author pens lacrosse ‘Bible’

individual players, Perez-Mazzola

breaks the training process down to

three essential categories: athletic

skills, individual skills and team


“With guidance, challenging

yourself during training can im-

“The Lacrosse Training Bible”

author Vincent Perez-Mazzolla

prove your motivation on the

fi eld, get you in top shape and

show you how to have fun in

the process,” said the author.

The detailed chapters

include: a complete look at the

beginnings of lacrosse and how it

evolved to be the sport it is today;

comprehensive athletic training,

from strength training to endurance

to fl exibility; unique drills to

improve catching, throwing, dodging,

ground balls and defense skills;

specially-designed programs for

both men and women; and vital

nutrition and hydration information

to keep you on the fi eld longer

and stronger.

The author himself worked hard

to play the game and he ultimately

excelling in the sport.

“As a former player who was

not, at the time, a particularly gifted

athlete, I was forced to develop

my stick skills to a high level in

order to play,” said Perez-Mazzola.

“It was this personal dedication to

mastering the basics that allowed a

slow, overweight kid to play three

years of varsity lacrosse and score a

ton of goals for my team.

“It was the mastery of these basics

that allowed me to play further

on the GWU club team as well as

keep up with East Coast teams and

even world players on the Monterey

and UCLA club teams.”

Mazolla is now in his fi fth year

as a coach in the Arizona Youth

Lacrosse Leagues. He has coached

for developmental leagues, at Notre

Dame Prep and for

the last two years

at Phoenix Country

Day School, where

he is currently the

head varsity coach.

It’s the author’s

experiences that

lead to his opinion

that Arizona

should be producing

more collegebound


“The reason for this is not because

we don’t have great coaches,

but the rush many players make

into playing the game before

they’ve the mastered the fundamental

skills,” said Vince. “The

book gives players, coaches and

parents a guide to developing good

basics while providing cutting-edge

training in strength and conditioning

for the lacrosse athlete.”

“The Lacrosse Training Bible”

is published by Hatherleigh Press

and available at local book stores,

Amazon.com and at LacrosseTrainingBible.com.

By Brian McDonough

Fresh off of its

second West



in the

last three en

route to playing

host to the National Lacrosse

League championship game, the

Arizona Sting is proud to stamp the

2007 season an unequivocal


“Last season was

amazing,” said Dustin

Payne, the team’s

director of marketing.

But it can be even

better, and it’s Payne’s

plan to make it so.

“There’s one constant

in the Phoenix

market: Fans like

winning,” he said. “It’s

a tremendous lift to be

able to sell your team

as the defending West

Division champions.

I think the success

of the team last year

helped establish a

larger fan base and it’s

our job to ride the mo-

mentum into the 2008


And bolstering

attendance is one of Payne’s top

priorities. Arizona averaged just

over 6,000 fans per game in 2007,

ranked 11th in the 13-team NLL.

“I want to see the upper concourse

open at every game in 2008,”

he said. “We provide Valley sports

fans with one of the most exciting,

action-packed and affordable

options in entertainment and I

know the team will have success

on the fl oor, but it’s time that we

have similar success at the box

offi ce and I think that coming off a

memorable 2007 season, the sky’s

the limit.”


Sting riding winning momentum

Connecting with the kids will

play a big role in the team’s ticket

push next season.

“We need to do a better job raising

the awareness of our product

on a grassroots level with youth

lacrosse,” said Payne. “There are

thousands of kids playing lacrosse

in Arizona and we need to capitalize

on that market.”

Payne was particularly happy

with the success of the team’s

Tyler Gormley gets behind his Sting during last season’s West Division

championship game.

Opening Night Tailgate Party and

plans to build on it next season. He

was also pleased with the Fan of

the Week presented by Your Travel

Center contest in which Kim Dennis

of Phoenix won a road trip with

the team to Minnesota. Payne was

also proud of the relationships the

Sting was able to establish with

its local neighbors in the business

community, namely Gordon Biersch

and Westgate, which helped push

the team’s awareness during the


“I really believe that once a fan

experiences a Sting game, they

will want to come back. But in our

market, we need to offer just a little

bit more than what fans can get

elsewhere,” said Payne.

On the fl oor, the team saw the

emergence of Dan Dawson as

a true NLL superstar and MVP

candidate, while goaltender Rob

Blasdell established himself as

a go-to guy in the net. Off it, the

Sting maintained a strong presence

in the community which continues

throughout the summer

and fall months.

This summer, the

Sting staff attended the

Hubbard Sports Camps

and introduced thousands

of kids to the sport

of lacrosse with multiple

clinics. The team is also

exploring the option of

adding a mascot which

will help promote the

Sting during the off-season.

“Because our players

live out of state, the offseason

involves a heavy

amount of grassroots

programs and planning,”

said Payne. “The success

of this sport in Arizona is

dependent on kids adopting

the sport as a form of

recreation and competition.”

Leading up to the season, the

team also plans promotional nights,

sets ticket prices, tweaks and

initiates programs and lays out a

general game plan and goals for

the upcoming season. The Sting

is also in the process of creating a

new-and-improved Web site which

Payne says will serve as a more

effective resource for the team’s fan


“I think the biggest obstacle is

getting the local news media to give

us recognition, but as the fan base

rises, so will the media coverage,”

said Payne. ❂


Photo / Arizona Sting

By Richard Egan

Several members of the Arizona

Sting took part in the 2007

World Indoor Lacrosse Championships

held in Halifax, Nova Scotia

back in May. Team Canada

defeated the Iroquois National

team, 15-14, in a hotly contested

championship game to win the

gold medal.

Dan Dawson, Arizona’s leading

scorer last season, was joined

on Team Canada by Sting teammates

Scott Self, Peter Lough

and Bruce Murray. Sting coach-

GM Bob Hamley served as an

Assistant Coach for the Canadian


“That was a great week of

lacrosse,” said Hamley. “We met

players from all over the world, and

I enjoyed seeing their passion fro

indoor lacrosse.”


Sting players help Canada to championship

Grimes Not Gone For Good

Sting defenseman Mike Grimes


If we could boil down

the essence of lacrosse,

it would center

on the act of keeping

the offensive player in

front of you, constantly

checking your opponent

with poke/slap and lifts

and altering the shot by

reducing his angle to the


Sounds easy, right?

Problem is playing effective

defense is probably

the most diffi cult aspect

of lacrosse to master.

The main reason for

this is opposing players

are always working

to break defensive

positioning with picks,


became a member of the NLL’s newest

team earlier this summer - for

three days. The yet-to-be-named

Boston franchise selected Grimes in

Dan Dawson led the Sting in scoring last season.

the expansion draft on July 31, as

they were allowed to take one player

from each of the league’s 13 returning

clubs. Three days later, however,

he was traded back to Arizona

in exchange for forwards Andrew

Lazore and Mark Tinning.

changing speed, dodging

and a variety

of excellent set


To counteract


offense, there

are a number

of ways to play

defense in

lacrosse: zone,

slide, early

slide, late

slide or simply man-toman.

Zone defenses with

slides are one of the

main strategies used in

fi eld and box lacrosse.

Simply put, the players

have set areas they are

responsible to protect.

As the ball

moves to a


zone the defense

slides to


the threat.



defender must

be aggressive

with pokes

and other checks, yet

leave room between

themselves and their opponent

when outside the

shooting lane.

Once inside the lane

however, the defender

must move in tight with

“Mike is one of the best young defenders

in our league,” said Hamley

upon re-acquiring Grimes.

The Peterborough, Ontario, native

had one goal, three assists,

38 loose balls, and 13 penalty

minutes in 11 games last year in

his rookie season.

Best of the Best

Inside Lacrosse Magazine

issued the results of its annual

NLL Players Survey following

the 2007 season, with two Sting

players earning honorable mention

status in the Best Player and

Best Captain categories.

As voted on by the players,

Dawson was named the league’s

fourth best overall player behind

2007 MVP John Grant, all-time

leading scorer John Tavares and

loose ball king Jim Veltman.

Lough fi nished third in voting

for the “Captain’s Award,” behind

Veltman and Calgary’s Tracey

Kelusky. ❂

Don’t underestimate solid defense


legal crosschecks, hard

pushes and strong stick

checks. If the opponent

gets a shot off, make

sure your stick is in the

air, preferably altering

the shot and creating

a turnover. Also, it’s

especially important to

be aware of rebounds

to reduce the amount of

second opportunities.

Overall, it may not

be the glory job, but

very few teams win

without a solid, hardworking

defense. ❂

Reach Bill Casey at bcasey@


Local talent from Page 8

Melissa Zehrbach was the only

Arizona player to compete in

the Women’s Platinum division at

the 2007 NARCh Finals. Zehrbach

played for the CanAm Selects, who

fi nished fourth in the division, missing

out on a medal in a 3-0 loss in

the bronze-medal game.

“It was fun but nerve-racking to

play Platinum at Finals,” Zehrbach

said. “We had a good tournament

though considering a lot of the team

were mostly ice players.”

Two more former Tour Outcasts

Inline Hockey

Heartbreakers roll to gold at Jr. Olympics

By Alex Dodt

The AAU Jr. Olympics returned to

Detroit over the summer and the

Arizona Heartbreakers walked away

with the state’s only championship,

while Team Excalibur brought home

three bronze medals.

The Heartbreakers 12-and-Under

team entered as the sixth seed in the

Tier II bracket of the AA division.

After starting their run with a 6-3

victory over the Tour Bandits in

the quarterfi nal, the Heartbreakers

knocked off top seed Great

Britain, 7-4, to set up a meeting

with second-seeded Storm Surge.

“We had a tough draw and it

was even tougher because we only

had fi ve skaters,” Heartbreakers

coach Javier Zuniga said.

Tough draw or not, the Heart-

rbreakers took care of Storm

Surge, 8-5, in the championship


“Everyone on the team contributed

because they had to with so

few skaters,” Zuniga said. “It was


Three Excalibur teams win


While they did not bring home

a championship from the 2007 Jr.

Olympics, Team Excalibur had a

strong showing collectively, with

three teams fi nishing third place in

their respective divisions.

“Excalibur had a good showing at

the Jr. Olympics this year,” Excalibur’s

Dave Marmorstein said. “We

didn’t win a division but all of our

teams played well and brought home

many medals.”

Team Excalibur ‘94 earned the

bronze medal in the 12-and-Under

AAA division, making them the

fourth Arizona team to medal at the

The Arizona Heartbreakers celebrated an AAU 12-and-

Under AA championship at Jr. Olympics.

AAA level this summer. The’94s lost

5-2 in the semifi nals to the Tour OC

Blades ‘94, the top team on the West

Coast. In the bronze-medal game,

Excalibur cleaned up nicely and beat

the Skatetown Swords, 8-0.

“The ‘94s showed, in their fi rst

year of playing at that level, that

they can play with the best,” Marmorstein


In the 16-and-Under AA division,

Team Excalibur ‘01 fi nished their

players, Tyler Marek and Long

Duong, made a big impact in the

Bantam division at Pacifi c Cup and

NARCh Finals.

At NARCh, Duong led New

York’s Mission Snipers to a fi fthplace

fi nish and made the prestigious

NARCh All-Star team in the


“The Snipers were a great team

to play with,” Duong said. “It wasn’t

a team of superstars. Everyone was

unselfi sh and moved the puck around.

I was proud of how well we did.”

Marek played for the Western

Capitals Gold, but his team suffered

very successful year that started

with an AIHA state championship

and a Pacifi c Cup Bantam AA title.

In Detroit, Excalibur earned the top

seed going into the playoffs and got

into the semifi nals by beating Tour

Bandits, from

Pennsylvania. Mission Fusion would

end Excalibur’s run in the semifi nal,

though. The ‘91s continued Excalibur’s

dominance in the bronze

medal games, blanking Team

Advanced Care 3-0 to bring home

some hardware.

“This fi nished a great year

for the ‘91s,” Marmorstein said.

“They won Pacifi c Cup and then

to win a medal again at the Jr.

Olympics was great.”

The always-successful Excalibur

women’s team lost a close

one in round robin play against

the eventual champion Tour OC

Blades and just barely missed

earning a spot in the championship

game by losing a goal differential tiebreaker.

In the bronze-medal game,

Excalibur matched up against local

rivals, Rollerplex Panthers, and shut

them out 3-0 to win Excalibur’s third

bronze medal of the tournament.

“The Excalibur women always

do a great job representing the

program,” Marmorstein said. “They

came so close to the championship

game, but they did well to bring

home a medal.” ❂

a couple heartbreaking overtime

losses at regionals and nationals.

At Pacifi c Cup Finals, the

Capitals lost 3-2 in overtime of the

championship game against Mission

Velocity. In the Bantam quarterfi nal

at NARCh, Marek and the Capitals

had one of the tournament’s most

exciting games when they lost 2-1

in double-overtime to the eventual

champion Revision Black Ice ‘90.

Marek said losing twice in overtime

was a hard pill to swallow.

“But we had a really tough draw

and almost didn’t even make playoffs,

so it wasn’t too bad,” he said. ❂






VOSHA Mustangs









Jay Lively Ice Arena

928-774-1051, ext. 102









Arizona High School Hockey Asso.










Check out all the great hockey in Arizona!

Arizona Sundogs

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