Arizona Rubber

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

Jr. Wildcats on road to great success with parental support


There are a lot of reasons a team has success and without question, the Arizona Jr. Wildcats Inline Hockey Club owes a great deal of its success to the parents who provide support in a lot of ways for the club.

They have helped lay a solid foundation and Jeremy Hiltabidel, a coach with the Jr. Wildcats, can’t say enough about how much the parents have helped make things run much more smoothly within the organization.

Some of the parents were part of the sport growing up. Others are new to it. But regardless of their backgrounds, they make a difference.

“Our program is run by the parents, and the great thing is they are all on board with working together to help get things done,” Hiltabidel said. “They are a big part of our success as a program. It’s a great situation for us.”

The parents involved with the Jr. Wildcats do everything from arranging carpools for practices and booking hotel rooms for tournaments the travel team attends to holding get-togethers for the families and booking rink time.

“They are a big help for us,” said David Sticker, the hockey director for the Jr. Wildcats. “They do so many of the little things for us and it just makes our jobs a lot easier because we can just focus on coaching the kids and helping them become better players.”

Eric Dahl is the president of the board for the Jr. Wildcats and Hiltabidel said his presence has been beneficial to the program as a whole.

“Eric works really hard at his job and has stepped up in a big way,” Hiltabidel said. “He puts a lot of effort into everything and that makes our jobs so much easier.”

The board tackles situations that a lot of coaches deal with in other leagues, such as complaints about playing time or conduct issues.

“Our board handles all of the issues like that and it takes a lot of pressure off of us,” Hiltabidel said. “The leadership we have through the board makes a big difference for us because we only have to worry about coaching. Everything is run like a well-oiled machine.”

The parents also get involved in holding fundraisers for the team.

“They put them together for us and it seems like there is always one going on,” Hiltabidel boasted. “They put a lot of work into making those happen and we appreciate everything they do.”

The fact that the parents take an active role in the organization also creates a friendly family-like atmosphere, whether it’s at home or on the road.

“We are very much like a family here,” Hiltabidel said. “You can see that in the way the parents work together and make everyone feel welcome. They do an awesome job. We appreciate everything that they do.”

Sticker echoed those thoughts. He noted that he and Hiltabidel are both full-time students in addition to handling their roles with the Jr. Wildcats and the presence of the parents helps ease the pressure that comes with doing both jobs.

“The parents are amazing to us and it feels like we are all a family here,” Sticker said. “If they aren’t doing something to make our jobs easier, they are cheering on the team at games. And when we are traveling, we all hang out at the hotel and have a good time together.”

Not only have the parents helped the Jr. Wildcats thrive, but the organization continues to grow in terms of teams.

The Jr. Wildcats have 8U, 10U and 12U teams this season and next year, plans are in place to add a 14U team.

“The growth has been great to see,” Hiltabidel said. “It’s great that we can provide more opportunities to players.”

— Brian Lester

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