McCaughey finds ‘perfect fit,’ named DYHA hockey director
Busy, for sure, but now taking over as the new director of hockey operations for the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA), McCaughey knows the hours may be just as long and jam-packed.
McCaughey takes over for Sean Whyte, who will remain with the Jr. Sun Devils as the club’s 18U AA coach.
“I’ve been keeping my ears open the last few years to get back, get further into youth hockey in a management level,” McCaughey said. “I’ve been out of hockey for a while, other than coaching, but when Sean apprised me of the potential for him moving on, I let him know that I’d definitely be interested in the job. That led to an interview and subsequent hiring.
“It’s just a perfect fit, so once the opportunity arose, I took advantage of it.”
Coaching with the Jr. Coyotes the past two years, McCaughey also has a history in the game in Arizona. In 1992-93, he skated with Whyte for the IHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners and was later coach-GM for the Phoenix Mustangs WCHL pro team where Whyte served as player-assistant coach.
“When that team folded, I was married and had my first kid with one on the way, so I decided to get out of hockey and into real estate,” said McCaughey, who played NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Michigan and was a 1984 draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens. “I didn’t want to leave Phoenix and we decided this was where we were going to raise our family. As my kids started to come of age, they started playing hockey and I started to coach.”
In seeing DYHA’s growth over the years and the work Whyte put in to build the program, McCaughey said there is a lot to be intrigued about in getting involved with the Jr. Sun Devils.
“I think the biggest part is the opportunity to put my footprint on a program and assist in developing youth hockey,” McCaughey said. “I’ve had some ideas on how I would help youth hockey associations grow and now, I have the opportunity to step in and implement some of my ideas. Just to help these kids grow, and it’s not just about hockey and skills, but we want to teach these kids life lessons – teaching them about teamwork and work ethic – along with the opportunity to participate in the game at a top level.”
McCaughey added that DYHA’s relationship with Arizona State University is “certainly exciting.”
“It’s exciting to see where our program can go in the future with that relationship,” said McCaughey. “There are nothing but positives down the road for our program and it’s an opportunity to help hockey grow and this program grow.”
His first day April 30, McCaughey said the start to the transition has been very positive and it helps to have Whyte around to help with the changes.
“We’re getting through tryouts right now and once we finish those, I’ll be able to tackle some of the other aspects of the job,” said McCaughey. “I’ll be looking at budgets and as we move through spring and summer, I’ll be able to look at the program and see what we can do to keep improving. I’ve got some ideas that aren’t practice-related. I’d like this program to be known as the best skating program in town. If you can’t skate, you can’t play hockey. I have some ideas to implement that and some may take time, but there is also some off-ice stuff I’d like to implement as well.
“For us, it’s not about winning, it’s about getting these kids to play the game and having everyone we play against say, ‘Gosh, I hate playing those Jr. Sun Devils because they just work so hard.’ Winning is a byproduct of teaching the kids the right way to play.”
— Matt Mackinder