Shop Talk: BTM proud to stay involved with IHAAZ festival series
As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, it means the start of the statewide IHAAZ inline hockey festivals.
Behind The Mask is once again proud to support this wonderful tournament series.
This weekend tournament series started over 15 years ago and through support of countless coaches, parents and volunteers, continues as truly a special event for roller hockey in Arizona.
Teams from Greater Phoenix, Lake Havasu, Prescott, Tucson, Yuma and play five tournament festivals, culminating in the state championship event May 4-6 at the Barney Family Sports Complex in Queen Creek.
Over 30 teams will participate in this year’s tournament series.
This year, in addition to serving as the IHAAZ president, Nick Boyarsky will be also be taking on the role of the on-site tournament director. Nick is known statewide through the inline hockey community as coach of national powerhouse Outcasts program and as coach at Arizona State University. I am sure many of you are not aware that ASU has an inline hockey team. In fact, ASU has NCRHA teams – D-1 and D-3 – and are nationally ranked in both. Nick’s Outcasts program plays in tournaments nationally, including the prestigious NARCH tournament, and has won many championships.
Nick coached Arizona Coyotes rookie Dylan Strome to a NARCH Platinum Bantam championship in Toronto in 2013. Dylan was the tournament’s leading scorer. Also on that team was Tucson Roadrunners AHL defenseman Kyle Capobianco and University of Arizona Wildcats ACHA D-1 ice goalie Anthony Ciurro and ASU NCAA D-I standout Dominic Garcia.
Each of the programs gets to host their own festival, and each is unique in its own way and has its own local flavor. These include food trucks in Lake Havasu and a tri tip barbecue in Yuma.
BTM mobile travels to the host cities for the festivals. Each festival is three days long, running Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday. Each division plays on one day, meaning less travel and helps keep the cost down. BTM mobile sets up at each festival on Saturday. The BTM van pulls up loaded with hockey sticks, skates, equipment and supplies. Many of the participating teams come from markets that do not have a hockey store locally. The players and parents know BTM will be there and can get their hockey needs taken care of on the spot. People call us for custom-order products that we bring up to them.
The culmination of the five festivals ends with the state championship weekend, which will crown the 2018 champions in each age group and division. Skills competitions are also held over championship weekend. They include fastest skater and shootout to decide the winning shooter and goalie in each age division. BTM donates gift cards to the skill winners, our small thank you for IHAAZ allowing us to participate in such a great event.
Upcoming IHAAZ Tournament Festival Schedule:
Feb. 9-11, Yuma, Kennedy Park
Mar. 16-18, Tucson Indoor Sports
Apr. 20-22, Prescott, Pioneer Park
It’s great to watch the players statewide develop their hockey skills and grow up over the years. The festivals stress good sportsmanship. Players and parents mingle with each other after games.
The game is played for the love of the sport, win, lose or draw.
Randy Exelby is the owner of Behind The Mask Hockey Shops.
(Jan. 16, 2018)