Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Finding the formula: Player retention, development with FYHA


Flagstaff Northstars

At the youngest ages of hockey, the biggest key is to get as many players included and involved as possible.

At the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA), the Northstars recognize this and realize that this formula works best and have been utilizing it for years in their program.


Flagstaff’s 8U House League integrates 8U Select players for long-term retention and can add depth to the teams. The league also spreads players throughout the four teams to increase development and competition.

The House League is a program for kids and parents who want to play at a recreational level and not incur the time and/or expense associated with traveling both inside and outside of Arizona.

The 8U Select League is a program for kids and parents who want to play at a higher and competitive level. Players are evaluated and try out for the Select team based on their age.

The 8U Select players also complete in the Arizona Youth Hockey League (AZYHL), which now includes an 8U division as opposed to Jamborees for Select players.

“FYHA is a leader in the state for following the American Development Model (ADM) since its inception and bringing the first Jamborees to the state,” said FYHA board member Dave Bereson. “We are always looking for the right formula to continue to retain and develop our players. We’re in a small town. Growing the base this way (Selects integration to 8U house) has been shown and is a proven method that works for retention.

“This year, we have two 8U, two 10U (one is tournament-only, not AZYHL) and two 12U teams competing in the AZYHL while still retaining house and rec kids at 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U.”

— Dave Bereson

(Nov. 29, 2018)