Travel Hockey Community, As the 2017-18 hockey season winds down, plans for spring programming and the 2018-19 hockey season are well underway. Since the original announcement of the partnership between the Arizona Bobcats and CAHA Chandler back in January, the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association completed the Tier I application approval process. For the upcoming season, the Jr. Coyotes and AZ Bobcats will operate Tier I/AAA programs at the Ice Den Scottsdale and Ice Den Chandler respectively. We acknowledge that this partnership was likely surprising to many, and that some parents and players may still be trying to understand the impact it will have on travel hockey in the state.
We appreciate your patience as the new organizational structure was finalized. Rebuilding is a term commonly used in the sports world when a team or organization makes changes to its management, coaches and/or players. Often this type of change is driven by unmet expectations. Change can also be necessary when goals are reached, and/or new opportunities are presented. The latter is what has occurred here. In addition to the partnership with the AZ Bobcats, the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association(s) (CAHA and CAHA2) have restructured organizational charts to ensure that each program is adequately staffed with the most experienced leadership to guide and support its players, coaches, parents and teams.
For the upcoming season, Mike O’Hearn will resume the responsibilities of leading the youth hockey programs and will oversee the operational aspects of hosting two Tier I hockey programs. As the association prepares for its 20th season, O’Hearn has been present since the first player registrations were submitted in 1998.
Working with O’Hearn to facilitate the off-ice and business operations of the programs will be Executive Director Kristy Aguirre. Aguirre’s hockey career spans over 15 years, and her knowledge and relationships in the industry have proven to be invaluable. In addition, John Allen will be taking on the role of Foundation Director, managing the organization’s scholarship program, athlete billet needs and donor relations efforts to support the continued growth and development of youth hockey in the community.
On the ice, each program will be led by a dedicated hockey director supported by a committed coaching staff and team managers. Marc Fritsche, Jr. Coyotes Elite Hockey Ron Filion, AZ Bobcats AAA Hockey Kenny Corupe, Jr. Coyotes AA Hockey To field the most competitive teams possible, and to create an environment in which player development remains the focus, the Jr. Coyotes and AZ Bobcats will join forces at the Tier I level (13U – 18U). By hosting a uniform Arizona Tier I Tryout, Directors and coaches will identify the Top 35-40 players in each age division, with the goal of rostering teams that will continue to contend and have success at the national and international level. The Jr. Coyotes will maintain their association with the Tier 1 Elite League; the Bobcats will remain a member of Tier 1 NAPHL. The benefits of these affiliations have resulted in the advancement of numerous Jr. Coyotes and Bobcats alumni over the years.
We are confident that this partnership will only enhance those numbers further in the years ahead. In the younger age divisions, the focus will remain on skill and player development. Both the Jr. Coyotes and the Bobcats will roster AAA teams in the Mite, Squirt and Peewee divisions. F
Head Coaches for all teams will be announced immediately following the USA Hockey National Tournaments the week of April 9, 2018. TRYOUT INFORMATION Registration for Tier I & Tier II Tryouts is now open online: Tier I Tryouts Ice Den Scottsdale & Ice Den Chandler 13U, 14U, 16U & 18U = April 13-15, 2018 15U = April 21-22, 2018 www.icedenscottsdale.com/tryouts Jr. Coyotes Tier II AAA & AA Tryouts Squirt – Midget AAA Mite – Peewee AA Ice Den Scottsdale May 4 -13, 2018 www.jrcoyotes.org AZ Bobcats Tier II AAA & AA Tryouts Ice Den Chandler Squirt – Midget AAA 14U & 16U AA May 5-10, 2018 www.azbobcats.org
To play Tier I/Tier II hockey requires a significant investment of time and financial resources. We understand and respect the commitment required, not only by the players, but also their families and support systems. It is our goal to provide the best experience possible for all our players and their families; an experience where athletes can develop on and off the ice, and one where they are also proud to be members of the Arizona hockey community.