AZ Ice Arcadia housing slew of girls, women’s programs this season
Talk about a whole lot of growth in girls and women’s hockey under one roof.
The Lady Coyotes have players from all over the Valley (Anthem to Tucson, Surprise to Gilbert and one from Las Vegas), and Arcadia is the most central rink and the best option for our program,” said Lady Coyotes hockey director and 16U/14U coach Scott Squires. “This is the first season we have had access to the training room and equipment at Arcadia and now have a strength and conditioning coach working with our 16U and 12U teams. We are so grateful to Arcadia, the Arizona Titans program and GCU for allowing us to use their facilities. They have been amazing this season helping us grow our program and develop our players.”
GCU head coach Natalie Rossi said she is “very excited” to call AZ Ice Arcadia home.
“We are excited about having the workout space here at AZ Ice Arcadia, the center ice logo and in the future, building locker rooms,” said Rossi. “It has been an easy transition to being here and we are excited for it to be our home.
“The GCU girls are all USA Hockey level 1-certified from the Arizona Coyotes in order for the girls to be able to help with local girls programs and growing the sport. Three or four of the girls get on the ice with Small Frys and Kachinas each week and are able to help coach and be role models for local girls hockey players. We are excited to be able to help these local programs by supplying them with strong female role models, both on and off the ice.”
Chandler native and former U.S. Olympian Lyndsey Fry, who heads up the Small Frys and Kachinas, two programs funded by the Arizona Coyotes, NHL and NHLPA , says having many amenities in one location is a huge benefit.
“We love calling Arcadia the current home for the Arizona Kachinas,” said Fry. “It is centrally located, which is helpful for getting girls throughout the entire Valley to come for Kachinas practices. It is also great to have a college team in the same rink. The Kachinas practice right after the GCU team so they are able to see those girls and think, ‘Wow, that could be me someday.’ The convenience of having the GCU girls skate before also means that many of them stay after to coach the Kachinas players which helps not only with the Kachinas’ development but also the college players’ development as coaches.
“I think the more girls programs we can have throughout the Southwest the better. One of the biggest challenges for youth programs in this part of the country is the extensive travel. However, the more competitive programs we have, the better for staying as close to local as possible for games.”
There will be a handful Small Frys skates throughout the year at AZ Ice Arcadia to get ready for next summer’s program.
“We understand that there is going to be some level of attrition of players over time,” said Squires. “Getting and retaining younger players is so important to growth. Our program was about 6-8 players short of fielding a third team this year. I think a youth travel program like the Lady Ducks in Anaheim is good example. I would love to see Arizona have an all-female team at each age group and compete at the national level. We now have programs in place for beginners, house, travel, high school and college in Arizona.
“Working together, the sky is the limit for girls hockey in Arizona.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Oct. 26, 2018)