DYHA has busy, but successful and fun October
The DYHA had a busy month of October where, along with the successful Pucktoberfest fundraiser, its 16U AA and 16U Combo teams participated in prestigious tournaments.
Prior to Pucktoberfest on Oct. 24, the 16U Combo team went to Las Vegas for a CAN/AM tournament Oct. 9-11 where the Jr. Sun Devils went 3-1 and defeated the Redwood (Calif.) Black Stars, Mission Arizona and the New Mexico Ice Wolves and came out on top. The one loss was against the Ice Wolves, but the Jr. Sun Devils exacted revenge in the championship final.
“After we lost to New Mexico, I put the challenge up to the entire team and told them, ‘Now it’s time to redeem yourself,’” said coach and DYHA director of hockey operations Sean Whyte. “The boys knew what needed to be done.”
The team took Whyte’s advice and won the championship, 3-0. Dino Brunetti earned the shutout in net and McKade Daines, Mason Parker and Connor Bottrill all scored, with Andrew Suan getting two assists
“They played fantastic,” Whyte said. “We put a challenge in front of them and they took it – it’s because of them why we won. The championship game was excellent hockey executed by every player on the team and raising the banner was their reward for accomplishing such a wonderful goal. Their solid team play, unselfish attitudes and amazing camaraderie paid off in Las Vegas.”
The following weekend, the 16U AA team took part in an International Silver Stick Regional in Denver and went 4-0 in the round robin and made it to semifinals, losing to the Regis Club team from Colorado.
“Besides our loss, we played strongly and it was the best the team we had played all year,” said Whyte.
Coming off two successful road trips, DYHA hosted its fifth annual Pucktoberfest fundraiser at Oceanside Ice Arena. The fundraiser is held for DYHA’s 501c3 and the program’s scholarship fund, which helps assist families paying for their children’s hockey-related fees and costs.
“It was amazing,” Whyte said. “The place was packed.”
Alongside Whyte, in attendance were multiple NHL alumni, including Wayne McBean and Dave Hanson, who is notably known for his role in the 1977 movie “Slap Shot.”
“The people related to hockey here have such a great enthusiasm for the sport,” Hanson said. “Any time there is something I can do to help their causes, I enjoy being out there.”
The fundraiser held a charity hockey game that pitted the DYHA coaches against the NHL Coyotes Alumni team, which excited not only the crowd, but the alumni as well.
“The game was fun,” said Whyte. “Dave Hanson and Wayne McBean and I were on a line, so it was awesome to play like we were the Hanson Brothers.”
The alumni won the game by an 8-4 count.
Hanson even took it up a notch, wearing his famed Charlestown Chiefs jersey and thick-rimmed black glasses.
“My favorite part was where we set up a few skits from the movie, like running one of the players into the corner boards and having him slide down,” Hanson said. “While playing with the coaches, someone would recite a line from the movie to me and I would say one back.”
Along with the game, DYHA had a free one-hour Mite clinic, in which the NHL alumni participated with the kids.
“For the parents, I want them to realize that whether their kid makes it to the NHL or not, it’s still a fun journey in hockey,” Hanson said. “With all of the enthusiasm with DYHA, it’s neat to be involved with them.”
DYHA also held a silent auction and a Chuck-A-Puck game. Whyte said he is thankful for DYHA’s fundraising committee, who managed to get the word out there, even being featured on Phoenix’s KPNX 12 News channel.
“The feedback I got after the fundraiser in our association – it was the best one we have ever done,” Whyte said. “Sherri Koshiol and our fundraising committee, they knocked it out of the park.”
— Katy Wolpoff