The Mill opens in Tempe, offers slew of training options
Jarred Smith and his wife, Bailey Young Smith, had been thinking about opening a hockey training warehouse for a while.
At the end of February, their dream became a reality as The Mill Hockey Training Warehouse opened in Tempe. Just three weeks later, the COVID-19 outbreak caused the doors to close.
In late May, those doors re-opened.
“In the very early stages, we spent a lot of time testing out synthetic ice products to see if synthetic ice was possible,” said Jarred Smith. “We flew out to Florida to test the product and had some product shipped here to try in our backyard. After we found the right synthetic ice, we started to build out the plan by coming up with a list of what we felt the Arizona hockey community needed and how we could provide that. Once we had the plan in place and found the building, we started construction with the help of family and friends and five weeks later, we had our grand opening.”
The Mill offers both on-ice and off-ice training and everything from private and small group lessons to team training.
“We’re unique in the fact that there isn’t anything else like this in Arizona,” Bailey Smith said. “We’re the only commercial use of synthetic ice, and the only training facility specifically dedicated to training hockey players. What makes us different is that we have no affiliation to any team or association in the Valley. Our doors are open to both boys and girls, players of all ages and all skill levels, and most importantly, all teams.”
Both Bailey and Jarred have a long-standing history in the Arizona hockey community as players, family members, coaches, spectators, and even parents to a billet son. They’ve seen and experienced this community from every single side and can use that to relate to their audience and fill the gaps.
Bailey grew up playing for the Arizona Selects girls team and was a hockey sister to Jordan Young, a local AAA player who eventually became the first captain of Arizona State’s NCAA Division I team. Bailey’s background is in business management and marketing and she runs all the operations at The Mill.
Jarred grew up in Northern California playing for many AAA teams in his youth until he eventually played college hockey at Arizona State. He has more than 10 years of experience coaching youth hockey in Arizona at both DYHA and VOSHA. Jarred has a reputation for developing skill and runs a majority of The Mill’s small group and team training lessons, both on-ice and off-ice.
“With the cost of ice being extremely expensive, it’s difficult for many players and coaches to get extra time for lessons,” Jarred said. “The Mill solves that problem by offering many training options at a much more affordable cost. The Mill provides a great opportunity for house players to get extra practice time to make a travel team, and travel players or high school players to take their skills to the next level.”
“The Mill is also about keeping hockey fun,” added Bailey. “We have a shooting lane that allows kids to just play games at their own pace with their friends. We also offer 3v3 tournaments, mini-stick tournaments, Q&As with junior coaches and high-level players, hockey moms’ night out, birthday parties, team parties and more.
“The Mill is a great training option for players to get better and enjoy playing hockey, but furthermore, it’s a place to bring the hockey community together. It’s a place to see teammates from past years, to work with coaches from different associations, and to build hockey skills with players you’ve never skated with before.”
For more information or to sign up for a lesson, visit www.themillhockey.com.
— Matt Mackinder
(July 30, 2020)