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Neutral Zone: Doan, Knies to host youth hockey camp, Matthews' ascension, my awards ballot

Craig Morgan Avatar
June 22, 2022

When Josh Doan and Matthew Knies were coming up through the Arizona hockey ranks, there were summer skating camps hosted by famed Auston Matthews teacher Boris Dorozhenko, or by former Coyotes skating coach and current Rangers skills coach Mark Ciaccio, but there was never anything that encompassed everything a kid would want in a hockey camp.

Starting next week, the Valley products will change that. The longtime friends will host the Knies and Doan Hockey Academy at the Coyotes Community Ice Center in Mesa from June 27-30. The camp is planned to run all day for three age groups — Mite U8, Squirt U10 and Pee Wee U12 — while Bantam 14U and High School 18U camp will run from 1-5 p.m.

Joining Knies and Doan on the ice will be Doan’s Arizona State teammates Jacob Semik, Ty Murchison and Riley Stuart, along with Knies’ brother, Phil, who currently plays for HK Nitro in Slovakia. There might be a guest appearance by another semi-famous Doan, too.

The idea is to incorporate off-ice and on-ice training sessions that include conditioning, skills work, video sessions and fun games. There will also be gifts and prizes.

“That’s probably the biggest thing is that we want to make sure the game stays fun for the kids because if you’re enjoying the game, you’ll never stop playing the game,” said Doan, a Coyotes prospect. “I think what we’ve gone through for so long is we’ve seen good friends of ours stop playing hockey because they didn’t have a lot of fun at times in the game.

“When you’re in the middle of summer, there’s not a lot to do outside in Arizona so this is a chance to put on a camp in the middle of the summer heat to give back to the kids and the community and just to be around them and get to know their faces. The hockey community in Arizona so small; you want to kind of get to know them as well as you can so you can stop by and say, ‘hi’ whenever you can if you’re at the rink.”

Knies, a University of Minnesota sophomore, got some initial help coordinating the camp from Jacob Mars, the director of Minnesota Hockey, the governing body of youth and amateur hockey in Minnesota. Knies hopes to make this an annual event, with a possible move to the Ice Den Scottsdale in future years.

“I was talking to people and I think that there were almost 300 kids that tried out for a youth team here in Arizona, so there’s always kids that want to play hockey, but there’s not always a chance for them to do it,” Knies said. “There’s not a lot of ice time, there’s not a lot of teams to play for and there’s not enough rinks for all the kids who want to play.

“It’s such a growing sport, and there’s so many kids that want to play so I think this just kind of gives those kids a chance to be around NHL draft picks and college guys and players that they want to grow up to be like. It’s just gonna help those kids build their dream up, be on the ice more and learn what it takes.”

Knies and Doan joined the PHNX Coyotes show on Wednesday to discuss more details about the camp, their friendship, the growth of hockey in Arizona, and both players’ recent invitation to the 2022 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

Auston Matthews addresses media after winning the 2022 Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. (USA TODAY Network)

Matthews’ ascension

Toronto Maple Leafs center and Scottsdale product Auston Matthews swept MVP honors at the NHL Awards Show on Tuesday. He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP (as voted by media), and he won the Ted Lindsay Award (players vote) as most outstanding player.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, last year’s winner, and New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin were the other finalists.

Matthews had a league-high 60 goals and 106 points (sixth in the NHL) as the Maple Leafs finished with a franchise-best 115 points. Matthews is the second American to win the Hart, joining Chicago’s Patrick Kane (2016), and he is obviously the first Arizona product to win the award.

Here is a look at the voting, with first, second, third, fourth and fifth-place voting in parentheses.

Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in a landslide, Colorado’s Cale Makar won the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman, and Detroit’s Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, with former Coyote and current Maple Leaf Michael Bunting finished third..

Here is the voting for those three awards.

Norris Trophy

Vezina Trophy

Calder Trophy

Julien BriseBois of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Chris Drury of the New York Rangers and Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche were named the three finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

My ballot

The Professional Hockey Writers Association believes in transparency. With that in mind, here is a look at my ballot for the major awards on which I was asked to vote.

Hart Trophy
1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
2. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers
3. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
4. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
5. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers

Norris Trophy
1. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
2. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
3. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Adam Fox, New York Rangers
5. Devon Toews, Colorado Avalanche

Calder Trophy
1. Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings
2. Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks
4. Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings
5. Matt Boldy, Minnesota Wild

Lady Byng Trophy
1. Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild
2. Kyle Connor Winnipeg Jets
3. Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes
4. Anton Strålman, Arizona Coyotes
5. Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars

Selke Trophy
1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
2. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
3. Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames
5. Anže Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

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