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6 Steps of Advancing Your Game

CoE’s individualized approach led to quick results for these two Phoenix student-athletes

Two former student-athletes from the TPH Center of Excellence in Phoenix have made the jump from AA hockey to the AAA level. Gabe Stafford, a forward out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has joined the Fox Motors AAA squad after a dominant season with the AA Arizona Hockey Union. Meanwhile, his former classmate, Adam Kaplan has advanced to the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes AAA team after lighting up the AA scene.


TPH’s ‘Study. Train. Play.’ model led to quick results for the two student-athletes, and the individualized approach at the Phoenix CoE allowed the duo to formulate their recipes for success.


Gabe’s success came from fully immersing himself in the CoE’s educational, competitive, and supportive environment. Here are the keys to his success:


#1: Extra Ice Time

The opportunity to be on the ice four days a week, running drills, and receiving feedback daily, was instrumental in Gabe’s development. Overall, the additional ice time allowed Gabe to advance his skating, stickhandling, speed, and confidence. 


#2: Coaching

The on-ice and off-ice feedback were invaluable for Gabe’s overall development. Thanks to thorough feedback from his coaches, Gabe developed a deeper understanding of the game, including an entirely new perspective in terms of where he needs to be on the ice, responsibilities, and moving without the puck. 


#3: Strength Training

The coaches set high expectations for Gabe, which allowed the young athlete to develop a strong sense of accountability. The atmosphere at the Phoenix CoE kept Gabe focused both on and off the ice. He fell in love with the grind and enjoyed his time in the weight room. 


#4: Positive Atmosphere

The Phoenix CoE pushed Gabe and encouraged him to raise the bar. The positive encouragement allowed him to get better and showed him a clear path to development while still being in a positive and fun environment. “We loved Gabe’s time at TPH Phoenix,” said Gabe’s father, Jeff. “It was well worth the sacrifice of not living as a family for Gabe to be coached at TPH Phoenix. We watched him go from being good to great. We would send him back in a heartbeat and without hesitation”.


The Phoenix CoE helped Adam develop into a more complete and confident player. The Arizona native outlined how TPH helped him elevate his game: 


#5: Analyzing Video

Video is an incredibly valuable resource for teaching, and it can help players develop a better perception of the game. The opportunity to sit down with some of the best coaches in the game and break down his play allowed Adam to develop a better sense of his surroundings on the ice. 


#6: Mentorship

This was the icing on the cake for Adam during his time at the Phoenix CoE. “The staff’s belief in Adam and his ability, both physically and mentally, is really what pushed him to be the best that he could be,” said Adam’s father, Michael. “Confidence is an amazing tool and I watched Adam’s confidence grow tremendously while he was at the Phoenix CoE”.


Advance your game by taking the next step of registering for the upcoming National Virtual Open House. See you there!

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