Arizona Rubber

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Coyotes Cup sees DYHA quartet take home trophies, banners


The 17th Annual Coyotes Cup was deemed successful for four of the Desert Youth Hockey Association’s (DYHA) competing teams as each were crowned champions on Dec. 30.

The 16U A, 16U AA, Bantam A and Pee Wee A teams all took home banners from the tournament that took place Dec. 27-30.

“My philosophy was to just play consistently, compete, win the 1-on-1 battle and make it to the championships,” said Sean Whyte, who coaches both of the 16U teams. “For my 16U A team, it was proven that when you stay focused and play as a team, success will continue to happen.”

This is the second banner for the 16U A team. Assistant coach Mike Goldberg stated a large part of the team’s success was due to taking advantage of opportunities.

“The team we ended up beating in the finals (AHSHA Premier), we lost to during the first game of the round robin, but we got redemption three days later,” Goldberg said. “Our goal is to be the faster team, the hungrier team, the more physical team.”


The coaches told their team it’s better to lose in the round robin rather than the championship game.

“Our boys saw their opportunity and won the better game,” Goldberg said. “We’re proud of the resilience of this team.”

The 16U AA team had similar luck in beating out the team they lost against initially, the Alaska North Stars. The Coyotes Cup tournament win was the first banner of the season for the squad.

“Winning helps reinforce the solid team work that they can build off of,” Whyte said. “I told them to battle back hard, they responded, and we made it to the championships.”

For 16U AA assistant coach Charles Miscio, he noted that his team turned up the heat at the Coyotes Cup.


“We have an extremely talented group of kids and they found a way to generate offense through a solid defensive effort,” Miscio said. “All of our defense played at the top of their game and brought confidence to our goaltenders and gave our centermen the time and space they needed.”

The Bantam A team has been dominating their division, winning their fourth tournament in a row. The team outscored five opponents in the Coyotes Cup 28-5, with eight players having at least two goals.

“Our team plays very well together – there cannot be any selfish players,” Bantam A coach John Damyanovich said. “I want everybody working together as a team. We have four lines and rotate everyone equally.”

Damyanovich said the coaching staff is also a large part of the team, crediting assistant coaches Gary Aungst and Ernie Hicke.


“Ernie is our shooting coach, Gary is the statistics guy that makes sure we enter the right tournaments, and I oversee everything,” Damyanovich said. “Every kid on the team is in double digits in scoring. They all contribute to every game.”

The Pee Wee A team (pictured very top) also had a positive outcome in the tournament – the team won their first banner of the season. Coach Jarred Smith explained that he and assistant coach Chaz Donati preach hard work and effort every time the team is on the ice.

“As coaches, we like to give the players ideas, but not structure the game too much,” Smith said. “This allows them to develop their own hockey sense.”

The team progressed through the tournament, facing the Arizona Hockey Union Purple team in the finals – a team that Smith says is made up of a lot of talented players – and won the championship 2-0.

“We knew the championship game was going to be a good one,” Smith said. “It was a very competitive game. It was great to see all the smiles and excitement from all of the players. The championship was definitely a team effort – every player played key roles in helping the team win its first banner.”

All four teams are looking forward to continue their winning streaks in upcoming competitions.

— Katy Wolpoff

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