Renegades building momentum in Utah youth hockey circles
First, the West Coast Renegades (WCR) brought aboard former NHL Stanley Cup champion Kevin McClelland to coach in the program.
Then it was David Imonti as the organization’s hockey director.
Furthering the trend of adding high-quality staff members was the recent addition of Steve Metcalf, Zach Hale and Derek Porter in various roles.
The Renegades will also work with Cedar City’s house/rec program and Rick Henrickson’s high school select team this season.
Metcalf will oversee several free clinics for 10U, 12U and 14U age groups that the Renegades will offer in the coming months. The clinics will focus on basic skills – skating, passing, shooting and small-area games.
“We are dedicated to advancing all levels of hockey in Utah,” said Metcalf. “Upon accepting the position as director of youth development for the WCR program, one of the first steps we took was setting up our free youth hockey clinics. Because of the generosity of Joe and Lisa D’Urso, we have been able to set up three clinics each month for the next six months. The focus of these clinics is to have the house/recreation player come out and see how we run our practices and give the players the opportunity to interact with our Tier I coaches.”
There is no cost for the players to attend the clinics. The clinics are held at the Cottonwood Heights Ice Center and are held three Saturdays per month. The clinics are one hour in length from 4:15-5:15 p.m. The clinics have been sanctioned by USA Hockey and the Utah Amateur Hockey Association (UAHA). Players can pre-register on the WCR website (www.westcoastrenegades.com).
With the Cedar City deal, Kerry Fain, president of the Youth Enthusiasts Together for Ice (YETI) program in Southern Utah, said the partnership with the Renegades is a win-win all around.
“Without the help of WCR stepping up to house our rec league players of all ages, we would see our promising future and growth quickly shrivel and die, thus ending the hopes of making Southern Utah the next big boom area for hockey,” said Fain. “The WCR stepping in to help a team like the Salt Lake Rebels is just another such case. Thanks once again to WCR, we are able to find a place for these kids with the Rebels being housed under WCR, so that each of these players are still able to play and nurture their natural talent in hopes to doing something promising in their future with hockey.
“The WCR is a shining star in our state, not only in helping to restructure how hockey is in Utah, but in looking for the communities who are on the cusp of something big and need not a handout, but a hand up so that our state can start to generate the talented players I know we are capable of having here and help the level of play in our state grow.”
Hale and Porter join the WCR coaching staff after solid backgrounds in the game as players and coaches.
“I decided to join the WCR coaching staff because it was a career goal for me to develop our youth hockey players within the state of Utah, which is the place I started playing hockey when I was five years old,” Hale said. “I feel I want to give back to the hockey community because it did so much for me from the ages of five to 15. It’s so amazing to see this sport develop the way it has in this state.”
“WCR has an excellent reputation, both in the hockey community as well as among players and parents,” Porter added. “WCR offers an elite-level program for Utah kids without them having to leave the state. It’s a great opportunity to work with other professional coaches and I’m proud to be a part of the organization.”
— Matt Mackinder