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Hall of Fame an honor worth celebrating for Mission AZ

 

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Hall of Fame night is always an extremely special one for everyone involved with the Mission AZ hockey program, and this year was no different.

Mission kicked off its season with an induction ceremony attended by most of the program’s players and their families, and the 2019 ceremony was an especially meaningful one.

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Mission’s 2019 Hall of Fame class includes Kyle Ambrose, Adam Beckermann, Kevin Bird, Peter Chung, Micheal Cosenza, Cole Golden, Sam Hinnant, Andrew Songstad, Kyle Tessmer, Jonathan Wieland and coach Terry Tessmer.

And for the first time in the program’s history, an entire team was inducted – as the 18U AA Red squad that advanced to the USA Hockey Tier II national championship game last season was honored as a group.

“For those players who have been inducted into our Hall of Fame, it’s the only time in their Mission careers that they get names on the back of their jerseys,” Mission director of player development Jeremy Goltz explained. “When they play for Mission, it’s all about the name on the front of the jersey, but this is our way of recognizing their individual achievements.

“It was such a cool thing to see the entire 18U team get inducted together. That was a truly special group, and they accomplished something we’ve never done, so it was a fitting honor for sure.”

Chris Fritz parlayed his successful Mission career into a roster spot with the United States Premier Hockey League’s Northern Cyclones in Concord, N.H. After being inducted as part of the 18U national championship game team, he said he can’t understate what earning his place in Mission’s history means to him.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame was something I will never forget,” Fritz said. “What made that night even more special and unforgettable was knowing that I had all of my best friends and brothers right there with me getting inducted as well.”

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Bird, who is entering his sophomore season studying and playing hockey at the University of Arizona, agreed that his membership in the Hall of Fame carries a ton of impact.

“Being inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame class for Mission has been one of my greatest accomplishments to this day,” Bird said. “At Mission, the Hall of Fame is an honor given to players that continue to play hockey at a higher level after wrapping up their youth careers. I think what made this day so special for me was seeing my teammates and best friends go into the Hall and having the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments together as a group.

“I played at Mission for six years, and in that time, I’ve formed relationships with players and coaches that have changed my life. It was a pleasure to be a part of this organization and learn not only how to become a better hockey player, but also a better person – which is always more important.”

Added Fritz: “Mission has meant everything to me. I feel like I really found out who I was as a person, and I’m very grateful for that. Without Mission, I would not be where I am today. The impact that Coach Goltz and the program have had on me will be something I will always carry with me through life and my hockey career.”

Goltz said the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is always one of his favorite days of the year because it’s the culmination of so much hard work – on the part of the players as well as Mission’s coaches.

“This year’s class demonstrates so many players who have taken different roads to get where they are and players who have some incredible stories that have led them to be honored in this way,” Goltz said.

“It’s always a great night to kick off our season and honor these guys.”

— Greg Ball

(Oct. 2, 2019)