AHSHA hits jackpot with Green as new hockey director
As the new AHSHA season gets underway, some new faces take over new roles within the organization.
Tait Green is the new hockey director and comes to AHSHA with a solid background in the game, currently serving as the hockey director and ACHA Division I coach at Arizona State University.
Green, who has been involved with AHSHA in a variety of roles since 2011, has grown the Sun Devils program over the years and has ambitions to do the same with AHSHA.
“I plan to keep growing AHSHA by focusing on player and coach development,” said Green. “We will work to make sure our players and coaches have the resources to improve their skills and knowledge. Stronger coaching combined with smarter, more skilled hockey players will lead to better competition, which, in turn, leads to more interest and growth.”
With registration numbers through the roof for the 2019-20 season, Green said that subject has people talking in Arizona about the positives to high school hockey.
“I think high school hockey is underrated in Arizona right now, but that’s changing quickly,” Green said. “People are starting to see that they don’t have to pay a lot of money and they don’t have to travel all over the country for their kid to become a better hockey player. We have shown a steady growth in the number of AHSHA players moving on to play junior and college hockey. We have also seen an increase in school participation.
“Kids are recognizing what a fun experience it is to play in front of a couple hundred peers while representing their school. We even have teachers and administrators coming out to watch games. You won’t get that experience anywhere else in the state.”
Nationally, Green said AHSHA may never be able to compete with the big high school markets, but that won’t deter the association from continuing its rise to offering high-end competition.
“Our teams don’t have their own ice rink or practice ice at their disposal, but we will continue to grow and get better,” said Green. “Our Division I state champion teams have shown they can compete with anyone at the national tournament and our showcase team is on the cusp of breaking through to the upper division of its respective national tournament.
“In short, we don’t need to be like the big markets. We need to take advantage of what we have and make the most of it.”
That’s exactly the game plan Green is immersing himself with when it comes to AHSHA.
“I have witnessed the number of players at AHSHA increase as well as an increase in the number of people willing to guide or direct the organization,” said Green. “No doubt we will see an increase in players going directly from AHSHA to juniors and/or college. The level of play has increased, the level of coaching has increased and as we talked about before, AHSHA is cost-efficient for families. People are starting to recognize that they have the same future opportunities in hockey at AHSHA without having to travel the country or spend an outrageous amount of money.
“Hockey in general in Arizona is exciting right now. With the continued success of the Coyotes, the growth of the ASU NCAA program and having nine other college teams in the state, I think you will continue to see the number of AHSHA players go up.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 20, 2019)