Bobcats making smooth transition to Ice Den Chandler
There was perhaps a certain degree of uncertainty last offseason as to what would happen when the Arizona Bobcats moved their program to the Ice Den Chandler.
Fast forward to mid-November and the transition has been phenomenal and beneficial to both the Bobcats and the Ice Den Chandler itself.
“The Ice Den and the Bobcats are creating the perfect partnership, finding ways to help each other in our common goal of developing the new generation of Bobcats,” said Bobcats hockey director Ron Filion. “Our Bobcats families enjoy the facility and more importantly, the high level of coaching that has remained in place over the past five years.”
Filion added that the Bobcats have had a successful first part of the 2018-19 season.
“All our teams have competed well so far with some big wins and tough losses, but all of our families understand that it is a process and that is still very early in the season,” said Filion. “Our coaches are working on our weaknesses and continuing to improve our strengths, all with our players having fun. If we as coaches develop the players well, then I believe big wins will come.”
Kristy Aguirre is the executive director for the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association and said the partnership between the Bobcats and Jr. Coyotes – who skate exclusively out of the Ice Den Scottsdale – means stronger teams and better player development.
“Having a larger foundation of players, teams and coaches also means a stronger product on and off the ice,” said Aguirre. “The coaching staff of the Bobcats is great to have around as they have a unique approach to player development and programming that has brought a different life to Chandler.
“Having both programs housed under Ice Dens has been fantastic. Ice Den facilities are the best in the state and the Jr. Coyotes and Bobcats are extremely fortunate to call the Ice Den home. It is beneficial for both programs to be working towards a common goal. The two programs run independent of each other with budgetary and programming pieces. However, we are always looking at how to improve the programs on and off the ice and how to mirror pieces between the two that will contribute to the success of both the Bobcats and the Jr. Coyotes.”
Coyotes Ice president Mike O’Hearn is enamored with the newfound relationship between all parties.
“In coordinating the two programs, we believe we’ll see a more cohesive product, as well as a greater level of compete within the programs,” said O’Hearn. “The players see the effort that it takes to play at the Elite level. If they didn’t attain that level in this first year, they see where they have to be, and the coaches provide the path for them to succeed. In this way, both programs are pushing one another. We’ve already witnessed that early in this first season.
“One obvious benefit for both programs is the strength gained by working in unison. While there remains a healthy competitiveness, which should result in all of the teams getting stronger, that will become more apparent in the coming years. The fit has been surprisingly good, even in this first season. In each ensuing year, it will become more apparent that the talent level at every age division will solidify. Last year, we saw the Jr. Coyotes’ 15 Only team take a bronze medal at the USA Hockey Youth Nationals. As the programs continue to work together, opportunities will improve for more Arizona squads to challenge not just regionally but gain greater attention on the national scene.”
Filion added that the Ice Den Chandler staff has been a pleasure to work with.
“New things are coming to Chandler for our hockey players starting this spring and summer,” Filion said. “In the meantime, little things are in the works for the Bobcats, such as a new coaches locker room, extra ice time for our teams, private lesson sessions and our new training partnership with our house program.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Dec. 4, 2018)