Mission Statement: How Mission Arizona prepped me for college hockey, life
As anyone would be, I was nervous, but overly excited for the opportunity to play college hockey for Arizona State University. The captains and seniors got the team ready before the game and it was just about that time to finally step onto the ice. To my surprise, the moment I stepped onto the ice, I had a sense of familiarity and comfort and from that point forward, molding into the pace of college hockey came easy to me. When I look back on my past experience to think what got me to this point, a few things come to mind.
I have had the privilege of playing on a lot of very competitive teams. At the same time, I have been on teams where the pieces didn’t quite fit together. I played for almost every organization growing up as a kid. All of them were impactful at one point in time, but only one really stands out as the difference maker – Mission Arizona.
I came into Mission my second 16U year. The team was mainly comprised of a bunch of kids who left different organizations around Arizona. At that time, we didn’t realize it, but we were in for an experience that would impact us all in one way or another.
How the program is built is similar to a collegiate format – your first two 16U years are your underclassman years and your two 18U years are your upperclassman years. The design is such that you learn from each other, push each other, and succeed together no matter what, win or lose. At first, many of us struggled to adapt to this way of coaching because it is like no other across the Valley, but it wasn’t until my two years of 18s where the results showed.
My 16s year, we struggled and eventually lost in the state championship game. That next season was my first year of 18s and most of the same team was still together. From that point on, we brought Mission its first ever state championship both seasons, back to back. As I said before, we had the same team as my 16 year, but the difference was we all bought in to the system of the program. We learned from the upperclassmen the season before, pushed each other harder each practice, and learned how to conduct ourselves, before, during, and after games.
Once my youth hockey career was over and it was time to move up to college hockey, I knew I was set up for success.
Since that first college game three years ago, I have been able to enjoy an Arizona State hockey program that continues to improve each and every year. Coming into my final season, we will have an even more competitive team than the previous three years, along with an excellent head coach in Tait Green, who also has similar philosophies to (Mission AZ director Jeremy) Goltz.
I have been lucky enough to play hockey for the last 18 years of my life, but know my days are limited. As I prepare for graduate school and the future ahead, I know one thing for sure. If it was not for the structure and model Mission has built over the years, I do not know if I would be in the same position I am today.
Goltz puts more belief into his players than the players even have for themselves and because of that, has motivated many of us to succeed not only in the hockey world, but for the future of our lives.
Scott Farr is a former Mission Arizona player who is now entering his senior season with the Arizona State University ACHA Division II team.