Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

AHU coaches show unique side with elaborate superstitions


“When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way”
– Stevie Wonder

The incomparable Stevie Wonder once said, “Superstition ain’t the way.”

It’s one thing to rhyme about this in a song but to a lot of athletes and coaches, being superstitious is the ONLY way.

Sports has a long history of athletes and coaches with strange pre-game routines and habits they swear by.

One of the most famous athletic superstitions comes from the great Michael Jordan. He wore his lucky North Carolina Tar Heels practice shorts under his NBA uniform during his entire career.

Hockey players are not exempt from strange pre-game rituals. In fact, they actually might have more than other athletes.

For instance, “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky would put on his uniform in a certain order, fired the first shot of warm-ups wide right of the net, drink a Diet Coke, a glass of ice water, a Gatorade, and another Diet Coke in that order prior to game time. The last thing he would do before stepping on the ice was apply baby powder to the blade of his stick.

Was there reason for the baby powder? Gretzky once said, “I think it’s essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you.” (

Arizona Hockey Union coaches are not exempt from having strange rituals just like the pros.

Here are a few:

Kurt Goar – AHU Coach in-Chief

“Believe in the hockey gods. I have to wear a leather pair of shoes on the bench. More importantly, if you win the first game of the season, you don’t wear underwear until you lose. I didn’t wear underwear from 1995-99 including going to nationals.”

Holly Harrington – 8U Mite White/Power Skating Director

“I always have to tie my right skate first.”

Rob Fedo – 10U Squirt White

“As a player, I always keep two mouth guards – one that I wear and one I hide in my glove just in case I lose the one I’m wearing. As a coach, I have to wear dress pants and shoes and can’t coach in jeans.”

Mike Russo – 10U Squirt Silver

“Keep everything as close as possible to last successful game. Same breakfast, same person drives to the rink, same shirt and pants. During tournaments, keep the same starting lineup. If we lose, then it gets changed up.”

Bruce Willis – 12U Pee Wee Black

“Always put my equipment on the same way. Left side always goes first. Save my right, dominant side for last. New tape job on before every game. Last one out of the dressing room onto the ice so that I can give every teammate a ‘let’s do this’ fist bump.”

Cody Gylling – 18U AA Silver

“Always eat the same thing. Take a nap at the same time. Shower at the same time and warm up the same way.”

— Sean Phillips

(Sept. 17, 2020)

Free Website Hit Counter
Free website hit counter