High School Hockey Thrives in Arizona Despite a Lack of Rinks
PHOENIX – Arizona may not be a hotbed of hockey, but the number of players the state is producing is on the rise, including a handful of NHL stars and prospects.
Some players born in Arizona have been drafted in the first and second rounds of the NHL Draft in recent years. It’s proof that Arizona’s youth and high school hockey programs are thriving, despite the lack of available rinks or regulations from the Arizona Interscholastic League, the governing body for high school athletics in Arizona. Students of Seton Hall Reflect at the Center for Sports Media Gala
Instead, future NHL prospects emerge from the Arizona Independent High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) and the Arizona Hockey Union (AHU), a travel league for young players. And they attract a record number of entries.
According to USA Hockey’s 2021-22 report, Arizona has 9,232 youth hockey players registered, up from 7,781 in 2016-2017, representing an 18.6 percent increase over five years. That number includes boys and girls who play youth sports, either for a high school team or on a team like the Coyotes-sponsored Arizona Kachinas, a women’s hockey program.
This season, AHSHA has 768 players on 40 teams across multiple divisions representing 14 schools. There’s one all over the valley, in Tucson and Flagstaff. Last season, AHSHA had 692 players, so it grew by about 11% last year alone. This is practice.
“As of 2016, we have 32 teams,” said AHSHA member Jim Hertle. “We’ve seen a 25% increase in the number of teams, and that probably equates to the number of players per team, which is usually between 17 and 20.”
Despite hockey’s growth and popularity, the sport remains outside the AIA umbrella.
To become an AIA-sanctioned sport, a body representing the sport—usually a conference committee—must appear before the AIA’s board of directors and make plans as part of the company’s plan. . That has never happened in hockey. 카지노사이트
“People are talking about hockey, but there hasn’t been a lot of push to make it an AIA sport,” said AIA sports communications director Seth Polansky. “The AIA does not leave well and add sports as the Board of Directors is responsible for making those decisions. But if the Board of Directors decides that sports should be placed under the supervision of the association, then we will -start the management process. (Hockey) needs a lot of resources and a team that believes in it.
In the meantime, AHSHA continues to operate independently of the AIA and has achieved success along the way.
“Of course, it would be nice to partner with the school, and then you can talk about putting those kids in pep rallies or the student yearbook,” said board member Jon Shivener. . Administration of AHSHA said. But most of these kids come from school they don’t really wear their shirts. I don’t think we will be able to maintain the number of members that would be required to have official affiliation.
Even without the AIA connection, the sport is growing in popularity among high school students. Shivener said there are advantages to not being affiliated with the AIA, including the league’s ability to control its presidents who are not part of the high school league.
“We are left to make decisions that we believe are best for dealing with unique challenges specific to hockey,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to join all the kids who play sports regardless of where they go to school.
“So, in a sport that’s still developing and still has a long way to go, not having that freedom and that flexibility and that inclusion can make it more difficult if we’re part of the AIA.”
One of the biggest issues AHSHA is battling is ice season and the ever-increasing number of attendees, it could be a bigger issue. According to the 2020 US Census, more than 4.8 million people live in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
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“We have more hockey players here than these slabs (of ice) can accommodate,” said Kenny McGinley, AHSHA president. “We have a desire to add more teams and we have a desire to add more practices and games to our schedule.”
To make ice time work for each team, Arizona rinks are shared by several schools that work together to find ice time for practices and schedule games.
AHSHA’s personal YouTube account occasionally includes live streaming and streaming of games in a play-by-play mode, which has generated a large number of viewers.
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