Mite program, Lil Devils adding to positive DYHA impact
Chris Sehring, Shon Hata and Kayman Wong coach the youngest players with the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils with little fanfare and no complaints.
Sehring coaches the Mites and joins Hata and Wong as being in charge of the Lil Devils.
Getting prospective players on the ice at an early age is what the two programs are about.
“The Lil Devils program has helped bridge the gap between Little Howlers (learn to play program sponsored and hosted by the Arizona Coyotes) and the Mites program,” explained Hata. “Providing an alternative and affordable development program through the support of the DYHA coaching staff has made a significant impact in growing the game here at DYHA. I can’t say enough about our families and especially Chris Sehring, Kayman Wong and our parent volunteers with countless volunteer hours and commitment to the Lil Devils program. We don’t keep scores. We build relationships, skill, and just allow the kids to enjoy the ice and the game which ultimately keeps them coming back for more week after week with smiles on their faces.”
The DYHA Mite program has about doubled in the past year and that can be directly attributed to the growth of the Lil Devils program, according to Sehring.
“Roughly 60 percent of our current Mites are graduates of last season’s Lil Devils program,” Sehring said. “Having players come in at the ground level and begin to love the game and learn how to play can often lead to a lifelong passion for our game. While it’s never too late to join the game, gaining necessary skills early often translates to later success in the game and fosters the players passion for the sport.
“Our coaches and association are all very close. As the head coach of the Mite program, I love the support we get from our other coaches and older teams as well as the families that are involved with the program. The best part for me will always be the players, as getting to work with them and watch them grow, learn and succeed is the most rewarding part about the program and coaching in general. We have a great group this season and I look forward to the things to come for them.”
Hata said the growth at the Mite level is due to several factors.
“I really must credit the local community and the Little Howlers, Arizona Coyotes, Coyotes Alumni, ASU NCAA hockey, USA Hockey, Hockey Canada and CCM for supporting and growing hockey here in Arizona,” Hata said. “This has led to the growth of the Lil Devils program which in turn, grows the Mites program.
“I believe it is important to get kids involved in any sports at the ground level as it teaches many life lessons that may not be taught at home. It’s really exciting to see players grow up in their own way and gain their individual independence and confidence, on and off the ice.”
With all the recent growth and success, how can the Mites and Lil Devils keep steady on the upward trend?
“I think growth comes organically with programs like these,” said Sehring. “We believe in how we teach hockey at these levels and through that, players will want to join a program where they are learning, having fun and are part out our tight-knit community. That said, the work that (Coyotes director of amateur hockey development) Matt Shott and his crew do at Little Howlers is critical as they are often the first touchpoint players and parents have in hockey and our Mites and Lil Devils often grow directly from their growth.”
“What I most like about the program here is that we focus on long-term development of our players,” added Hata. “It’s not all about winning. It’s about family and how we work as an individual and as a team while still having fun.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Oct. 18, 2018)