Team Arizona greasing the wheels for America’s Showcase
America’s Showcase is exactly what its name implies.
The annual tournament is a showcase for junior and senior high school hockey players from across the country.
Team Arizona, organized by the Arizona High School Hockey Association, will head to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh for the tournament once again. The tournament dates this year are April 20-24.
Jeremy Goltz is Team Arizona’s coach for the sixth year.
“America’s Showcase is a first-class tournament,” Goltz said. “Most importantly for the players, there are a lot of scouts there watching the games.”
Scouts come from NCAA Division I and III teams, American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) club teams, and prep schools and junior programs.
Being scouted at America’s Showcase is a particularly big draw for Arizona high school hockey players who want to continue their hockey career at a higher level.
That’s because many don’t get looks from scouts unless they play travel hockey, Goltz said.
Tait Green is a Team Arizona assistant coach and coach of the ACHA Division II Arizona State University club team. Like Goltz, he’s a big fan of America’s Showcase.
“The tournament gives us an opportunity every year to take a group of 17- and 18-year-olds to one place where they can be seen by scouts,” he said.
Green said each Team Arizona player over the past few years was contacted by a scout, either at the tournament or later through a phone call or email.
America’s Showcase also is a great resource for Green in his job as ASU’s coach.
“I get to meet coaches from the around the country and establish connections with them,” he said.
Team Arizona has done well at the tournament through the years.
A total of 24 teams made up of more than 600 players compete in three eight-team pools before the top two teams in each pool move on to bracket competition. In 2014, Team Arizona was the C pool champion. Team Arizona will be in the B pool this year.
Goltz said this year’s Team Arizona roster once again is filled with high school and travel players from across the state. Anywhere from 60-80 players usually try out each year.
Each team in America’s Showcase is allowed a maximum 25-player roster. For games, a team can dress 18 skaters and two goalies.
Team Arizona’s 2017 roster includes forwards Tanner Castleberry (Hamilton), Brett Charron (Mountain Ridge), Justin Hayward (Pinnacle), Joshua Ihling (Pinnacle), Cole Kamin (Pinnacle), Joseph Mancuso (Chaparral), Paxton Parker (Sandra Day O’Connor), Cole Tiedemann (Flagstaff), Spencer Zach (Hamilton) and Grant Ziegler (Pinnacle); defensemen Adam Beckermann (Pinnacle), James Brown III (Sandra Day O’Connor), Brett Fryer (Notre Dame Prep), Jacob Herzog (Desert Mountain), Oscar Kahler (Sunrise Mountain) and Collin McHugh (Hamilton); and goalies Nick Kocharov (Horizon) and Darshan Manhas (Liberty).
Other assistant coaches are Barry Harcus and Daniel Roy and Kenny McGinley serves as the team’s manager.
— Steve Stein