Staff of Jr. Sun Devils coaches ready for 2016-17 season
While the calendar shows the dog days of summer are here and will be for a while, the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) is already preparing to get back on Oceanside Ice Arena ice for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
The teams have not been 100 percent finalized, but the coaching staffs are in place.
DYHA director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief Sean Whyte said the coaches are chomping at the bit to get started.
“We had a great turnout for tryouts this year and all of our coaches were very excited about the players they were able to roster,” Whyte said. “We have some great returning families as well as some new faces that are going to be welcome additions to our program.”
As for the coaching roster itself, the talent that will be behind the respective Jr. Sun Devils benches looks phenomenal.
Kayman Wong is entering his second year as Mite coach, while Whyte and Jon Koshiol will jointly coach the DYHA Squirt team.
“Kayman did such an amazing job with our Mites last season,” said Whyte. “We look forward to the great success he will bring to these young players again this year. We are very excited about developing the Squirt age division and watching them grow into excellent hockey players and people.”
Chris Sehring has the Pee Wee Combo team and Jarred Smith will lead the Pee Wee 2004 and 2005 squads.
Longtime Arizona youth coaching veteran Todd Collins (the 2016-17 season will be his 29th coaching) will have both the Bantam Combo team and the 16U Tier II Combo team. Zac Fryer returns with his 2003 team for its seventh season.
John Damyanovich and Gary Aungst will be back with their Bantam group, which will be at the Tier II level for next season. Whyte also has the 2000 birth year group again and will coach that team for the sixth straight season.
“Along with tag teaming the Squirts with Jon Koshiol, I am extremely happy that we have some high quality coaches returning, such as Jarred Smith, Chris Sehring, John Damyanovich and Gary Aungst, and of course, Zac Fryer and Todd Collins,” Whyte said. “The knowledge of the game our coaches have is second to none.”
Newcomers for 2016-17, Jeff Shevalier and Jon Dunmar, will take the reins of the 18U Tier II team.
Shevalier, a former NHL player and teammate of Whyte’s, returns to DYHA for 2016-17 and has also taken numerous youth teams to USA Hockey National Championship Tournaments, including the DYHA 16U Tier II team in 2014-15 and the DYHA 14U Tier II group in 2012-13.
“The DYHA legacy belongs to every player that has laced up the skates and donned the DYHA sweaters for more than 40 years,” said Whyte. “They are the writers of this story and bear the pride of ownership in an organization unparalleled in its longevity and commitment to the advancement of the great sport of hockey. But the story doesn’t end here. If you think the last few years of rebuilding and reinventing were impressive, just watch what the next few years will bring.”
In addition to a full array of competitive travel teams ranging from the youngest to the oldest, DYHA also offers private and semi-private lessons with professional coaches, as well as weekly skills sessions for all players and offseason leagues so players can remain in top form all year.
At the end of the day, though, Whyte’s priorities are firmly where they should be and are mirrored throughout the entire DYHA program.
“I take great pride in developing young hockey players,” said Whyte. “The most important aspect to remember when playing hockey is to have fun.”
– Matt Mackinder