Coaches

Desert Blaze Hockey Club has experienced USA Hockey Certified coaches that offer youth hockey to players 4-18 years old.

Desert Blaze Hockey Club emphasizes player skill development, with the introduction and advancement of team play while creating a fun environment for learning.

Players are encouraged to have fun, learn the fundamentals of hockey, sportsmanship and fair play within a friendly competitive environment.

Jeff Larson - USA Hockey CEP Level 4

A native of White Bear Lake, MN, Jeff, following a standout high school career, recruited by Herb Brooks/Brad Buetow, went on to the University of Minnesota on a four year scholarship. Following came two trips to the Frozen Four Championships, two WCHA Championship Titles and elected Captain his senior year.

In 1984 Jeff signed a free agent try-out contract with the Saint Louis Blues of the NHL. After a brief opportunity with the Blues Jeff went on to play senior A hockey with the Whalers out of Minneapolis, MN and won a USA Hockey Senior A National Championship in 1986.

Tony Van Winkle - USA Hockey CEP Level 1

Mr. Van Winkle has played competitive ice hockey for 45 years, starting the sport at the early age of 4. His hockey career began in Dayton, Ohio, in a youth program heavily influenced by the IHL's Dayton Gems. He established a love for the position of goalie at the age of 8 and was fortunate to be coached and mentored by the late Pat Rupp, goalie for the 1964 and 1968 United States Olympic Hockey Teams. He has played at nationally ranked junior and semi-pro levels.

James Ruggiero - USA Hockey CEP Level 1

James Ruggiero was a Division 1A, full scholarship athlete while playing football at Kent State University.  Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, James competed in Western Pennsylvania’s youth and later adult “A” ice and roller hockey leagues from age 6 until he left the East Coast at age 23.  A disciplined scholar, he earned his teaching credential in secondary education.   When arriving in California to teach at the high school level, James became a C.I.F.

Andy Murray - USA Hockey CEP Level 3

Coach Andy Murray is a native of Massena, NY. Growing up he played soccer, football, baseball and hockey. But his first love and favorite sport has always been hockey. He learned to skate at the age of four on an outdoor rink, and as a young hockey player, he played in the Massena minor hockey program from (then) Mosquito through Junior “A.” He was lucky enough to have played on four A-level NY State Champion Teams as a Squirt, Midget, and High School player.