Arizona Rubber

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AHU Coach’s Corner: Looking back, reflecting on my first year as head coach


coltenIn this column, I would like to share with the hockey community how lucky I was as a first-year head coach to be a part of such a great group of young men with the Phoenix Knights.

This being my first year as a head coach, I didn’t know what to expect at all. I knew it would be tough, but it has also taught me a lot and allowed me to care for such a great group of junior hockey players.


When I first picked my team, no one ever thought we would do anything special, but we did.

I wanted a group of kids that never had a chance to show people what they were made of. I wanted them to be hungry and that they were. We started the season 0-15 … and now we are a .500 team. To me, that just shows the character of these young men and they never gave up on me, which I am very thankful for.

We are the second youngest team in the Western States Hockey League and when you go through a slump that bad at the start of a season, most teams would quit, but not mine and for that, I am the most proud of them.

Throughout the year, I have learned so much from these young men.

Being a first-year coach, I am constantly learning from this group and it makes my job very enjoyable, no matter how hard I may be on them. Every day I go to the rink, I look forward to helping improve this team because there is always something we can work on. I don’t mean that in a way in which I’m saying we are bad, because we are the opposite of that. I’m saying it in the sense they want to learn and improve, so I am always finding new stuff to teach them, which keeps me on my toes.

We are now playoff-bound, which was our first goal as a group. We all wanted to put this Knights team back on the map and we are continuing with that goal but need to take it one step at a time. I am very excited to continue the journey that this group of young men has taken me on this year and you better believe you will get our best effort as the Thorne Cup Playoffs start.

So gentlemen, I know the season isn’t over, but I wanted to thank you because I couldn’t have asked for a better group of players that I could help grow on and off the ice. This group will forever be in my heart and I want nothing more than to make an amazing playoff push.

Again, the season is not over, but this year has been incredible, so again, from myself and the rest of the coaching staff, we would like to thank you for sticking to the process – let’s make a run for it.

We would also like the Arizona Hockey Union and the families for all your help and support this season. It definitely does not go unnoticed.

Colten St. Clair is the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Knights Tier II junior team in the Western States Hockey League and the skills coach for the Arizona Hockey Union.

(March 15, 2018)

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