Arizona Rubber

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

Union coaches a consistent component to program’s vision


With the 2016-17 season coming up soon enough, the Arizona Hockey Union boasts several returning coaches who are coming back for what they see as an exciting season ahead.

The continued support of these coaches has helped AHU grow, year after year.

For 16U AA White head coach Jason Evahnenko, who coming back for his sixth year as a coach at AHU, he is looking forward to the challenge of coaching another competitive group.

“I came to AHU with a vision and knew that I would have the greatest opportunity to succeed and play out that vision with the flexibility they provide the coaches,” Evahnenko said. “They recognize that there is more than one way to get the finish line, which allows us to build our programs and coach to our specific strengths.”

Nick Mabe will be joining the program for another year as the coach of both the Pee Wee Purple team and the Squirt Purple team. Mabe said he enjoys coaching with the Union due to the quality of people in the organization.

“The board members, coaches and parent volunteers all have a genuine love for the game of hockey and contribute countless hours to making our product the very best it can be,” Mabe said. “AHU finds ways to help families make travel hockey an option. We support each other, our families and our players by performing our duties with integrity.”

Mabe says the club empowers coaches to help players do the right thing, including showing leadership valuing all the coaches and volunteers.

“There has always been a strong showing of support from the board,” said Mabe. “We post our season plans and budgets so families know exactly how and where their money is being spent. I am also very proud of the community service commitments and scholarships that our organization offers. We are in it for the kids and work hard to give our players and their parents an incredible experience.”

Coaching Midget Silver 17U AA and Squirt Black will be AHU vice president Shawn Babin. He has been with AHU for a number of years, and is continuing his love for the sport of hockey.

“I enjoy the good family atmosphere and I have the ability to coach how I want to coach within the guidelines of AHU,” Babin said. “I became involved when our west side teams had nowhere to go and we were welcomed by AHU. The program has good leadership, coaching and gets along well.”

Coach-in-chief Kurt Goar will be back to help with developmental hockey skills to the players.

“We try to keep all the parents involved and we show the families and the players that it’s about having fun, with more emphasis on life lessons rather than winning and losing,” Goar said. “It’s important for the kids to see their parents hold responsibility with helping with the success of the club, not just the coaches. The club is unique when we allow parents to get involved because they get to see both the success and also the failures of the sport of hockey. They learn that there is a lot of work to get your kid to where they need to be.”

Goar believes that the families benefit from seeing the sport from all angles, including the fact that winning isn’t the only goal, and that the club brings different types of families together. He hopes that his own son will make lifelong friends from the club.

“Everybody comes together and helps each other out,” Goar said. “I don’t coach my own son; I just like to watch him as a parent. I like him to learn lessons from other parents as well.”

AHU will continue its promotion of long-term growth and development of their players over this next season. The returning coaches are all proud to offer their high-quality coaching skills to the players and their families.

— Katy Wolpoff

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