The Nevada Storm is proud to announce the return of Tier 1 hockey to Nevada for the 2016-17 Season fielding a U16 AAA team to compete with other Elite organizations throughout the US and Canada. It has been over 3 years since Las Vegas has produced a Tier 1 team, but that is all about to change with Eric Lacroix (10 seasons in NHL) and Micah Sanford (BCHL/NCAA) heading up the AAA program. The Storm will implement a program that exceeds USA Hockey Tier I standards for ice time and off ice training along with a quality billeting program as well as a Unique Hockey Academy for virtual students Hockey Director and Coach in Chief, Gabe Gauthier, is excited about the transition “The program that Eric Lacroix and Micah Sanford are putting together is going to be on the level with the best programs in the country while keeping the cost as reasonable as possible. I cannot say enough about the potential of this program with these two at the helm and with the backing of rink ownership we will have as much on ice training as any program in the country.”
After playing 10 years in the NHL and another 10 seasons in the Colorado Avalanche front office, working as an NHL Scout and owning a CHL team, Lacroix is excited about the opportunity to give back “This is a unique opportunity to build an amazing program. Las Vegas is ready for elite youth hockey. We have the talent, the facilities and the backing to take this to another level. The interest in Hockey in Las Vegas is at an all-time high. Now with the NHL seriously considering us for expansion and the growth of the sport on the west coast the time is right for this step.”
Coach Sanford was already a part of Elite Tier I hockey in Las Vegas and has been instrumental in the resurgence. “It is exciting to see to the Las Vegas hockey community coming together and taking this huge step forward. I look forward to developing these kids and sending them on to play juniors and beyond.”
Hockey Director for the Nevada Storm and Head Coach of the WSHL Las Vegas Storm, Gabe Gauthier is not surprised with the transition and enormous growth within the program since he took over in the spring of 2014. “There are lots of talented and hardworking players here in Las Vegas. It has been a matter of getting them all together to achieve a common goal. The facility is amazing and the rink is buzzing with excitement, it’s the right time to make this jump to the next level,” stated Gauthier.
The Nevada Storm practice and play home games at the Las Vegas Ice Center which is the only dual ice rink in Las Vegas. The Ice Center is equipped with a shooting room, gym, full service pro-Shop and their own dressing room for all players committed to the organization. Gabe added, “You won’t find a cleaner place to call home than LVIC, it is set up to help each player achieve their highest potential. The state of the art equipment and trained coaching staff will be available to all players during their time with us.”
Kirk Brooks owner of the Ice Center as well as the USHL Tri City Storm cannot wait to bring Tier I back to Vegas – “the group of coaches that we now have on all levels from mites to juniors is quite amazing. It is truly a testament to what a hockey community can do when cooperation is the primary focus. I expect this Tier I program to rival the best ones in the nation.” On top of competing at a high level, Gauthier and the coaching staff for the Midget level team are focused on moving players to higher levels with additional training. The Las Vegas Ice Center Sports Academy offers players the opportunity to achieve academic success and really take their hockey skills to the next level. Players in this program get about 48 hours of tutoring and 16 hours of extra on ice development each month.
Finding the right fit for each player is a priority for the Storm because they know how important it is for each player to feel comfortable, even if that means another year in Las Vegas. “With the Western States Hockey League embedded in Las Vegas, we provide a great opportunity to play past the Midget AAA level without leaving home. Also, being an affiliate of the USHL Tri City Storm provides another option and is a great stepping stone to playing collegiately,” concluded Gauthier.
Youth hockey is strong as ever in the desert and with Gabe Gauthier and his staff leading the way Elite Hockey will continue to grow at every age level.
Interested players should sign up here STORMING VEGAS or email Gabe Gauthier email@example.com