IHAAZ sends high-end duo to Spain for World Roller Games
IHAAZ standouts Izzy Clark and Nathan tePas recently experienced the opportunity of a lifetime in roller hockey.
The two competed on 18-and-under national teams at the World Roller Games in Spain this summer.
“I feel that I was very lucky to be able to play at such a high level of competition,” Clark said. “I got to meet and play with some of the best junior women inline players in the United States. With this competition, I can continue to be an example to young girls who are trying hard to make it to a higher skill level and to excel in hockey.”
It was equally meaningful to tePas.
“Competing in the World Roller Games meant so much to me,” tePas said. “From playing 8U Anarchy in California to 18U Platinum with Outcasts, it was the culmination of my 10-year roller career.”
Both players were selected through an application process and said the experience was amazing.
“It was awesome playing with such a talented bunch of women,” said Clark (pictured above). “Everyone had their strengths and we came together as a team extremely well. Playing internationally against other teams from around the world was a highlight.”
For tePas, it was special getting to help Team USA showcase its talents on a world stage.
“Coming together to show the rest of the world what the United States can bring, it’s a pretty special feeling,” tePas said.
IHAAZ tournament director Nick Boyarsky is proud of both players.
“I couldn’t think of two better individuals in IHAAZ to represent their country on a stage like the World Roller Games,” Boyarsky said.
Boyarsky added their experience should open the door for others to follow in the footsteps of Clark and tePas.
“We have a lot of young roller talent coming up through the series,” said Boyarsky. “It’s my hope that this has paved the way for future standout talent from IHAAZ and Arizona roller hockey as a whole, to have opportunities on future USA teams.”
Both Clark and tePas readily admit the competition was crazy tough and that there was no opponent they could take lightly.
But they came away feeling as if they gained a great deal from the experience.
“I gained so much from this tournament,” said tePas (at right). “The camaraderie among teammates, the knowledge that different coaches give you, and the experience of simply playing different countries and seeing how roller hockey impacts them as well, are just some of the things I took away from this experience.”
Clark said there was a lot of value in her experience as well.
“I grew by learning how different cultures play the games,” said Clark. “I grew by having to learn new ways to defend the net. I also got to learn how to play with a new coaching style that coach (Alex) Morrison brought to the team.”
Both players will have an opportunity to build off this experience going forward.
Clark plans to continue to play for Morrison and his NARCh travel teams. She added that her IHAAZ experience has been valuable in her career as well.
“What I have developed most from IHAAZ is an inner strength and competitive drive that girls can compete in the league,” Clark said. “Nothing can stop us from pushing forward and developing skills that can make us successful hockey players.”
tePas is headed to college but isn’t sure yet what he’ll do as far roller hockey is concerned. Like Clark, he’s thankful he was part of IHAAZ as well.
“IHAAZ, along with my coaches Nick Boyarsky (back when he was coaching in the league) and Marvin Simmons, has taught me so many roller and life skills,” tePas said. “How to read the play, anticipate, how to slow a game down, respect another team regardless of their skill, and even just how to conduct myself on and off the rink.”
— Brian Lester
(Aug. 7, 2019)