Arizona Rubber

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

From the Editor: Plenty being done to grow game

 

By Matt Mackinder

“Growing the game.”

From rinks to associations, statewide leadership to the local NHL club, so many these days, it would seem, are putting an emphasis on that ideal, especially at the younger levels.

The AZ Lady Coyotes are one group in particular who is who is putting that credo to work.

In addition to just adding a second, younger team for the 2014-15 season, the Lady Coyotes and Arcadia Ice Arena recently hosted International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend/USA Hockey Girls Across America event earlier this month.

The key stat that day: 48, as in the number of 12-and-under girls who came out to the event for on-ice work with the 19UAA players and coaches, and followed it up with a pizza party get-together at the rink afterward.

Growing the game, indeed.

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Arizona saw its first two “Mite Jamboree” events hosted over the last month, and if participation numbers are any indication, both were a hit.

Mite-aged players (ages 6-8, for the most part) hit the ice for an action-packed day of cross-ice games at AZ Ice Peoria on Sept. 21 and the Scottsdale Ice Den on Oct. 11. The outings were provided as a joint effort between the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association (AAHA) and the Arizona Youth Hockey League (AZYHL).

The latter event included nearly 250 players and 26 teams, with future events slated for November (Arcadia Ice Arena in Phoenix) and December (Oceanside Ice Arena).

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Speaking of cross-ice, that small-rink method of training continues to gain traction as a key component of USA Hockey’s American Development Model.

But a recent USA Hockey Magazine piece is aimed at reminding coaches and administrators that the ADM program is not intended solely for Mites, and isn’t even entirely cross-ice.

“Because we launched the American Development Model at the 8 & Under level, people assume that it’s all cross-ice hockey. And it’s not,” says ADM Regional Manager Bob Mancini in the USA Hockey Magazine story. “…The message that I want to give to parents is to take a look at the ADM and understand that it really is about delivering to your child what’s important at each age group.”

To read more, visit tinyurl.com/morethanmites.

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An update on Valley product Henrik Samuelsson’s NHL aspirations: while the former Phoenix Jr. Coyotes Elite standout didn’t end up making the Arizona Coyotes’ final opening-night roster, it’s safe to say the 6-foot-2, 192-pound winger made the most of his preseason opportunities with the big club – including a one goal, two assist night in a 5-4 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 22.

Just preseason, sure, but if Samuelsson’s early professional play was any indication, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the current member of the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates wearing an NHL sweater very soon.

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The Arizona Coyotes are working with the AZYHL and local adult hockey to encourage clean, fair play at all levels.

Under the “Clean Sheet/Penalty Free” program, if a team playing in the AZYHL or local adult league team goes penalty free for an entire game, they’ll be able to submit their scoresheet to Matt Shott, the Coyotes’ youth hockey/fan development manager at matt.shott@arizonacoyotes.com. At the end of each month, two youth and two adult teams are drawn from the submissions, with the winning teams getting tickets to an upcoming Coyotes’ home game and their picture on the NHL club’s website.

Last month’s youth winners: Phoenix Firebirds 16UA and, Mission Bantam White. Last month’s adult winners: Team Legacy (Oceanside) and Team Red (Arcadia).

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Arizona Rubber is proud to congratulate one of our own this month: former editor Cameron Eickmeyer.

Eickmeyer – this magazine’s first-ever editor, too – has been working for USA Hockey in Colorado Springs since 2007. Eickmeyer, a Flagstaff native, was promoted earlier this month to the organization’s director of Internet content and development.