The DYHA Jr. Sun Devils are back in action for the 2017-18 season, entering the new year with a new Hockey Director and Coach-In-Chief in Brad McCaughey.
Ahead of his first season at the helm of the Jr. Sun Devils program, McCaughey is excited for the year, and is expecting great things for DYHA across many fronts.
With several DYHA team’s getting back in action for the first time this season this weekend, we sat down with McCaughey to get his thoughts and expectations on the organization this year.
Q: What are some of the main objectives for the organization this season?
Brad McCaughey: “I think the main objective for any organization is to have the players develop and compete…All we can handle is what’s inside our rink. Our main objective is to be the team everyone hates to play because we work so hard. That would be my main objective; that is the biggest compliment I could get.”
Q: What differences can the DYHA family expect from years past?
BM: “(Former Hockey Director) Sean Whyte had this program in a great position, so I’m just looking to build on the foundation he’s established. I don’t know they are going to see any glaring differences this year. As we move forward, I probably do things a little different than Sean, and I may implement stuff different than Sean, but as far as the quality of hockey and the caliber of player coming out of here, I don’t know if they are going to notice much of a difference.”
Q: How important is it for teams to compete for state championships and national championship berths?
BM: “My goals don’t center around win/loss. If the players are here and we can do it, great. My goal is to teach these kids life lessons, teach them work ethic, teach them team skills, stuff that is going to benefit them in the future. If you have the right group of players and the right coach and things go well, you can win a championship. But, I don’t come in looking at goals, assists, win and losses. It’s more is the player better off for being here in the end than when we started. I’d love to compete for those things, but that remains to be seen.”
Q: How impressed are you with the growth of the organization at younger age groups?
BM: “That’s a real reflection of the growth of hockey in the Valley. More and more kids are growing up Coyotes fans because they’ve been around a long time. So hockey is growing and as hockey grows, you are going to get more growth at that level. That’s largely contributed to the Coyotes and (Coyotes Director of Amateur Hockey Development) Matt Shott, and what they do with the Little Howlers, and all the programs they have going to introduce hockey in the valley. I don’t know if that’s really a program thing per say to us, as it is to a compliment to what the Coyotes are doing in getting kids interested in hockey. We follow up with that and give them an opportunity to play.
Q: What benefits come out of the Lil’ Devils development program?
BM: “With Lil’ Devils we are hoping to make a pretty big jump this year, in participation. Giving them a level after the Little Howlers to go to the Lil’ Devils. For us it’s important because it keeps those kids in our rink. We are attempting to do this ‘Lil Devils program, we are still waiting to see how many sign ups we get. We are hoping to get 30 or 40 kids and have a development league. That will be big because your whole program starts at that age, and our numbers are light at that age; that’s one of the disadvantages we have by not having a house program. We are hoping to launch that this year and that will really help with our moving up the ranks and our numbers in the future at those age groups.”
Q: What is the number one thing you are looking forward to, personally, this season?
BM: “For me, just to feel like I’m making a difference. Sean (Whyte) has done a great job here. To step in, I just want to see players develop, and to help them develop. I’ve never cared about wins and losses and who scores how many goals. To me it’s about teaching the little things, I think hockey is won by the little things.”