Arizona Rubber

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Spring camp, summer clinics on tap for Jr. Sun Devils


JR-Sun-Dial-blk_clrThe 2016-17 season may be coming to a close for the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA), but the Jr. Sun Devils are already starting to focus on the 2017-18 season.

Running from March 19-April 29 at Oceanside Ice Arena, the DYHA’s Spring Elite Camp is for all youth age groups from Mite to 18U, while specialized clinics focusing on checking, shooting, stickhandling, explosive skating and defensive skills will run over the summer, also at Oceanside.


Goalies get an extra five sessions at the spring camp that are specific to their training.

For the Spring Elite Camp, DYHA director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief Sean Whyte said the camp is “a great opportunity for all players that are wanting to be at the top of their game prior to entering into tryout season.”

“The camp is split by age division and some even by birth year,” explained Whyte. “These players will receive professional instruction for 10 on-ice sessions, focusing on their overall individual skill development.”

The goalies also get individualized instruction at the spring camp.

“The main instructor for the goaltenders is Jeff Tecca, who has been in the Valley working with goalies for many years now,” Whyte said. “There will also be some other instructors on the ice as well, teaching the goalies the necessary fundamentals in becoming an effective, competitive goaltender.”

And while the camp is for a wide range of player age levels, Whyte finds positives in that and it all hinges on USA Hockey.

“USA Hockey has developed a strong program for all age and skill levels called the American Development Model,” said Whyte. “All of our coaches at DYHA are well-versed in building age-appropriate practice plans, along with a series of progressive drills that keep pushing the players out of their comfort zone.”

Then for the summer clinics, those are very specific to a skill set necessary to help the budding youngsters improve their overall game and keep building to be better hockey players.

“They are four sessions over a two-week period that progressively build on the skills needed to be proficient in that area of the game,” Whyte said. “Players that register for these clinics will receive intensive training solely related to the skills they need to improve upon.”

DYHA’s tryouts for the 2017-18 season start April 30 and Whyte is elated to keep watching the Jr. Sun Devils program keep growing not only in quantity each year, but in quality as well.

He expects tryout season to be as competitive as ever and sees the coaching staff with tough decisions to make as the summer months roll on.

“DYHA holds open tryouts and we are as transparent as possible in our selection process,” Whyte said. “We look to build the best teams possible based on skills, compete level, attitude, respect for the game and their families. We have a very strong sense of family here, as it is the culture that we promote and believe in. The players that compete at DYHA most likely drive past another rink in the Valley to get to ours, and the reason for this is that they believe in our philosophy.

“We use hockey as a medium to build better people.”

So what is it that keeps players and their parents coming back to DYHA year after year?

Whyte said the answer is simple.

“There are various reasons why families continue to play at DYHA year after year,” said Whyte. “However, I believe the most important factor is that everyone involved with our program is family. They are all treated with respect and all of our coaches, although striving to win, focus on the overall development of each individual player.”

— Matt Mackinder

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