Success comes to DYHA Pee Wee teams three times over in January
The Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) Pee Wee teams know that good things happen in threes.
Over MLK Weekend in mid-January, hardware was brought back to Oceanside Ice Arena as the Jr. Sun Devils’ Pee Wee Combo team captured the Arizona Cactus Cup championship, the Pee Wee 04 team won the Lone Star Invitational down in Texas and the Pee Wee 05 squad placed second at the Lone Star Invitational.
Head coach Chris Sehring said it was “huge for us” for the Pee Wee Combo team to “take home the banner.”
“We have been working towards this accomplishment all season,” said Sehring. “We played several teams from California that we had lost to in a previous tournament, so it really showed the progress of the group to that point. We truly played together as a team and it really reinforced to the group what we can do when we all work together. Our coaches and families could not be prouder of what this team accomplished that weekend.”
The DYHA Pee Wee Combo team is made up of forwards Weston Eby, Jaydin Feliciano, Matthew Garcia, Thomas Hickey, Declan Membrila, Jack Myerthall, Tyler Sehring, Tye Smuckler and Taylor Swanson; defensemen Justin Hutchison, Keith Johnson, Kyra Mittendorf, Andrew Olkoski, Matthew Seifert and Jackson Wall; and goaltenders Chase Ebeyer and Aaron Mittendorf. Sehring is joined by assistant coaches John Eby, Dave Hutchison and Marc Membrila. Team manager is Jonathan Olkoski.
Jarred Smith coaches both the Pee Wee 04 and 05 teams and was equally excited by what he saw in Texas.
“Winning a tournament like the Lone Star Invitational is huge for our team and DYHA,” Smith said of the 04 group. “A few keys to our success during the tournament included strong team play, a commitment to team defense and focus from each player. What impressed me the most about this team was how each and every player handled themselves on and off the ice. They were very polite, well behaved and professional at all times.
Making up the DYHA Pee Wee 04 team (pictured top) are forwards Kelton Chadwick, Zack Ellwanger, Ryan Ensley, Jack Giles, Nik Nacopoulos, Daniel O’Reilly, Brandon Sandmoen, Nick Vatis and Pierson Zittel; defensemen Austin Gaskin, Evan Kobley, Nathan Lamp, Caleb Schreckengost and Joshua Shunk; and goalies Ethan Jim and Tagger Tamburo. Assistant coaches are Chaz Donati and Homer Schreckengost and team manager is Kevin O’Reilly.
Smith explained that the Pee Wee 05 team was brought together from players of several different organizations and the players have become very close.
“On road trips, the entire team is inseparable,” said Smith. “Youth hockey is about fun, friendships and skill development – very cool to see this group doing all of those things.”
He also noted that taking second at the Lone Star Invitational “is a big accomplishment.”
“We had a slow start to the tournament, but the team battled back to find themselves in the championship game,” Smith said. “The 05 team had fun, worked hard and was very professional all weekend.”
The Jr. Sun Devils’ 05 team is comprised of forwards Ryan Caputo, Carson Curry, Liam Devlin, Kai Hurtado, Ryan Jim, David Keene, Marcello Lane, Caden May, Garren Narvaez and Hayden Stott; defensemen Nolan Gentry, Luke Parker, Logan Tinney, Hudson Wernle and Ben Woolaver; and goalies Aiden Biswanger and Ben Vatis. Assistant coaches are John Curry, Wes Parker, Chris Woolaver (also team manager) and Donati.
— Matt Mackinder