DYHA adds to strong staff with new coaches Shevalier, Dunmar
The upcoming season looks like a promising one for the Desert Youth Hockey Association’s (DYHA) 18U AA team and it starts behind the bench.
The team will be coached by Jeff Shevalier, who has led teams to USA Hockey Youth Nationals four times and has professional playing experience.
Joining Shevalier (pictured) will be assistant coach Jon Dunmar, who has been coaching under USA Hockey for four years. The two coaches are also working with team manager Steve Bonner.
“I’m going into this to learn a lot from Jeff,” Dunmar said. “I’ve always wanted to be on the bench with him and it will be an exciting season. I’m also looking forward to adding my experience and to help the team achieve their goals.”
Shevalier is also looking forward to working with Dunmar,
“He’s a wonderful addition to the staff and that’s a huge opportunity for us,” said Shevalier.
Bonner also enjoys the atmosphere that Shevalier creates for his teams, which entailed him to join the team.
“Jeff has a very unique sense of humor,” Bonner said. “We laugh a lot and that kind of thing rubs off on everyone, including the parents and the players.”
The coaches have been busy with tryouts and putting together a winning and competitive team for the 2016-17 season.
“We have this new team together and we have a good opportunity to represent Arizona really well,” Shevalier said. “Our goal this time is not only to go to nationals, but to have a chance to win.”
Dunmar added: “We need to see what assets each individual player has and help them develop. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
For Bonner, the reason to join the team was greatly impacted by his son, Ryan.
“My son had experience with Shevalier’s style when he was a Bantam and Jeff helped the team go to nationals that year,” Bonner said. “He has always said that was the best year he ever had because he had fun.”
The coaches’ main focus for the season is strongly residing on having fun and teamwork.
“We also picked players for this season that have great families and are character young men,” Shevalier said.
Dunmar added that “there is nothing bigger than the team.”
“The ultimate goal is team success,” said Dunmar.
The 18U team has been stacked with powerful goalies, defensemen and forwards, according to the coaches.
“The age these boys are in is highly competitive,” Dunmar said. “I’ll be focusing on positional play – to be at the right spots at the right times, and I want to have defense thinking more offensively in their play.”
Shevalier was impressed with the skill level of players at tryouts, and is happy with the team that is rostered.
“We have a great lineup – we have two great goaltenders, a bunch of forwards that can score goals, and some great size on defense,” he said. “I’m really excited about this year – we have a great mix.”
As well, Shevalier wants the team to come in to the season with a high level of self-discipline and a competitive edge.
“I will ask the team to do off-ice training by themselves,” Shevalier said. “I want them to start the season in good shape, but the most important thing I try to bring to games is the fun aspect and to make sure we always enjoy being around each other.”
Come game time, Shevalier wants the discipline to be on the ice, too.
“It’s important to stay out of the penalty box,” he said. “My philosophy is if we score eight goals, all we have to do is make sure that the other team only scores seven. A 1-0 game is not as fun as an 8-7 game.”
The team plans on coming together in August to begin their preparation for the season ahead.
— Katy Wolpoff