Little Titans program providing stress-free development
When the Arizona Titans program was formed this past summer, Justin Rogers had no idea it would take off at such a fast pace.
It took off so quickly that Rogers, the Titans program director, helped form the Little Titans – a program at AZ Ice Arcadia for beginner hockey players 3-15 years old.
“It’s an in-house hockey program designed to develop kids who either just completed Little Howlers or who are potentially trying hockey for the first time,” said Rogers. “The Little Titans is the stepping stone for beginners. We run station-based practices, which include fun, small-area games and basic hockey skills.
“The Little Titans was formed to give new players an opportunity to play the game in a stress-free and fun environment. This program is structured to give newer players a chance to further their development and hone their skills before moving into a house league or a travel program.”
Rogers noted that a typical Little Titans session is similar to how Titans coaches run their teams’ practices.
“We run an ADM (American Development Model) style practice, which includes skill-oriented stations and small-area games,” Rogers said. “These practices are modified to maximize skill development for all ages with an emphasis on fun.
AZ Ice Arcadia runs the Little Titans program on Saturday mornings each week. It is staffed by all Titans coaches, including Rogers, Mike Hensdell, Jarred Smith, Garrett Stephenson, Steve Majercak, Rob Kerns and Jim Rogers.
“This is to ensure the best development possible for our new players,” said Rogers. “Jim Rogers is the lead coach on the ice and is assisted by coaches from the Titans’ 6U teams through the Titans’ 18U teams who are willing to give back their time and help with the development of the next generation of Arizona hockey players.”
And at the end of the day, bringing aboard new, young hockey players who don’t have to travel great distances or have their families spend a boatload of money to learn the game is what the Little Titans is all about.
“Little Titans is a grassroots program for both AZ Ice Arcadia and the Arizona Titans,” Rogers said. “We are hoping to help players develop from the ground up so they will eventually become part of the Titans’ travel program. It’s the foundation of our organization and a great show of the relationship between the Titans and the rink. The partnership has been great, especially with the Little Titans program because it gives us the opportunity to shape more hockey players from the basic fundamentals on up.”
Growing the game at the youngest levels has always been of the utmost importance, especially in Arizona. The Little Titans program is simply another facet of this growth, according to Rogers.
“That is precisely what the rink and the Titans were looking to do with this program,” said Rogers. “It’s an effort to develop and build hockey players at the youngest level. It’s a chance for us to teach these kids the fundamentals and the love of the game from the beginning.
“So far, so good. We are very excited to see what the future holds for the entire Titans organization and based on what we’ve seen to this point, I really believe that the sky is the limit.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Dec. 28, 2018)