The Arizona Hockey Club, Inc. who operates the Phoenix Knights Junior A hockey club announces that they have withdrawn from participation in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) effective immediately. The parent company also operates the Arizona Hockey Union youth program.
The Club is saddened by the turn of events, but the Board of Directors believes it was the fiscally responsible course of action after the Head Coach search was not successful following Colten St. Clair’s departure. The looming date to have a coach replacement, accommodating the league game scheduling process and a shortened timeline to recruit players before the end of summer contributed to the decision.
The club would like to thank all of our player & billet families, volunteers, fans and supporters. We believe we had the most passionate and giving fans in all the WSHL. We all believed in the mission of continuing the hockey careers of players transitioning from youth programs into the next chapter. While it appeared outwardly seamless, we had many volunteers behind the scenes. Special thanks go to Audrey Fine, Steven Force, David Lieb, Geoff Hudson, Melissa Yubeta and Charles Woodall-Pike.
The Knights compiled a record of 124-196-16 in their seven seasons. The highlight of their seven seasons came in 2013-14, which featured a division championship and reaching the semi-finals at the Thorne Cup Finals tournament.
The Phoenix Knights announce that Colten St. Clair has stepped down as Head Coach and General Manager. St. Clair has accepted a volunteer assistant coaching role with the University of Maine’s NCAA Division-I men’s hockey program. St. Clair was Head Coach and GM of the Knights for one season. During his tenure, the Knights were 23-26-2, and advanced to the Western Division Semifinal, before being eliminated by the Long Beach Bombers. St. Clair was also named Coach of the Year by the fan-run forum WSHL 365. We are saddened by his departure, but wish St. Clair the best in his new position with the University of Maine. The Phoenix Knights will immediately begin the process of a coaching search.
Phoenix Knights Head Coach/GM Colten St. Clair is the WSHL’s top coach. St. Clair was given the Coach of the Year honor by the fan-run group WSHL 365 on Monday. The first-year head coach said, "I am very humbled by winning this award, but I need to thank my coaching staff, and most importantly, the team that believed in each other this entire season. They were a huge part of it all, and I couldn't be more happy to have had such a great group my first year of coaching."
St. Clair was hired by the Knights in March 2017 after the team experienced a 7-42-0 record the season before. At the time of the hire, he said, “Look for a very disciplined, fast-moving, hard-nosed team pushing the pace every shift, making plays. We will be relentless and hard to play against.” That vision came true in his first season behind the bench, despite a rough patch at the beginning. After starting the year winless in their first 15 games, the Knights finished with a 23-26-2 record, and were only one win away from the Western Division Finals.
The other finalists for the WSHL 365 Coach of the Year Award were Cory Herman (El Paso), Kevin Kaminski (Fresno) and Paul Taylor (Utah).