Jr. Knights right at home in Gilbert
By Matt Mackinder
After not having a true home rink the past couple seasons, a new five-year contract will see the Phoenix Jr. Knights of the Western States Hockey League call AZ Ice Gilbert home for the foreseeable future.
“We’re very excited to have the junior team anchored in Gilbert with the youth club,” said Knights organization president Stacy Shupe. “We can begin to build a solid fan base that will hopefully draw both adults and future players to the clubs.
“The community is very young and future Mini-Mites can aspire to be Jr. Knights. We also believe that the community-at-large is very loyal and we want to be their club of choice.”
For Jr. Knights coach Tyler Ramsey, he’s elated with the situation in Gilbert.
“It’s a gorgeous facility with great management and perfect for a junior team,” said Ramsey. “We’re very excited to be there for multiple reasons: We always draw good fan support there, it’s very close to my house and our assistant coaches’ houses and all of our billet families and players from Phoenix live close.”
A home rink set, Ramsey can now concentrate on the season.
“As a head coach, my expectations are the same every year and those expectations include winning our (Western) division, winning our league and winning the national championship,” said Ramsey. “If you strive for anything less, greatness is not attainable.
“The greater meaning behind all of this and junior hockey is not only to be winners at the junior level, but also to make boys into upstanding great young men and life warriors.
“With the team success, often times comes individual success in the form of scholarships for my players and extended hockey opportunities at higher levels of junior and pro hockey.”