Arizona hockey pioneer Chipperfield passes away at 59
He had preexisting medical conditions, but his son, Korey Chipperfield, said his passing still came as a complete shock.
Growing hockey in the state of Arizona has been a long and sometimes tiring journey. A lot of work has been done to get Arizona hockey to the level it is now, especially behind the scenes at each rink in the state.
Chances are, if you’ve been involved in hockey in Arizona the past few decades, you knew Chipperfield, and how much he has done for hockey in the state.
Chipperfield, a Flagstaff native, wore a myriad of hats in life. He was a father, a friend and a helping hand, but above all, he was dedicated to hockey in Arizona.
“He just flat out loved hockey – loved the rink, loved the people,” said Korey. “He could be in a bad mood, but when he stepped into the rink, being around the atmosphere of hockey parents, their kids, the smell of the air …. he lived for that and anything going wrong for him, he simply forgot about.”
Many people regard Chipperfield as a fixture of the Arizona hockey community and for good reasons.
“I would consider him a pioneer in not only youth hockey, but also in adult hockey in Arizona as far as helping grow the sport,” said DYHA director of hockey operations Sean Whyte.
Some might know him from his time at the IceDen Scottsdale or his time as a referee, but Chipperfield also spent a large amount of his time performing ice maintenance and running his own officiating company.
“He was around forever,” said Mission Hockey Arizona program director Jeremy Goltz. “He was an in-house guy at the IceDen forever, he was always a referee, he was an ice tech, he worked out of that facility for a couple of years. He’s just one of those guys that everybody kind of knew.”
Chipperfield’s work in hockey really began when he officiated in leagues around the Valley, but then as he got older, Korey transitioned from playing hockey in the Valley to a high level of officiating in the United States Hockey League.
Later, Mark and Korey started their own company, Players 2 Officials, which worked as an officiating organization that hired out referees to multiple rinks around the Valley. The goal of the business was to transition successful hockey players into outstanding on-ice officials.
“He really wanted to take solid hockey players and mold them into solid officials,” said Korey. “In his mind, it was easier to take someone who already excelled at the game and implement the necessary tools to become a good official.”
Players 2 Officials was a large passion in his life, but when it unfortunately came to an end after a few years, Chipperfield never lost his passion for hockey.
“Chip was responsible for all the things from the ground up that make the building and the business work,” said IceDen president Mike O’Hearn. “He’s always been involved in hockey in some fashion.”
In order for hockey in Arizona to grow, Chipperfield did everything he could to ensure that hockey could be played at every level. He was dedicated to hockey and doing what it took to play the game.
He was truly a staple of Arizona hockey, who never failed to greet you with a smile on his face and never hesitated from working to help and encourage the growth of hockey in Arizona. His memory and his dedication hockey in Arizona will have a last impact.
Chipperfield is survived by his significant other, who he was with since her senior year of high school, Amber Bonnett, Korey, 27, and his daughter, Mackenzie, 21.
– Taylor Sedona Clark