At its annual Awards Ceremony held each year during the American Inline Hockey League National Championships, the AIHL presented the Arizona Ghostriders elite adult hockey teams with the AIHL 2017 Organization of the Year Award.
While the AZ Ghostriders elite and minor men’s and women’s teams did not make the AIHL Finals held May 19-21, 2017, at the Las Vegas Roller Hockey Center, they did have two players there representing the Ghostriders and Lady Ghostriders teams, Allie Era and Paige Hinrichs, at the AIHL Awards ceremony on Fri., May 19, along with Head Coach John Marr.
The AIHL 2017 Organization of the Year Award acknowledged the AZ Ghostriders as the “most organized team throughout the season, and for its off-rink mission of raising money for cancer research.”
And another, major reason for the prestigious AIHL award presented to the AZ Ghostriders is the historic move that Head Coach Marr made in entering a women’s team in the elite AIHL men’s division in the Pacific Southwest Division last December for the 2016-2017 season.
The AZ Lady Ghostriders made history on Dec. 10, 2016, at the initial AIHL Pacific Southwest Division regular season kickoff by winning a game. The Lady Ghostriders continued to be tough competitors for the remainder of the season. As a result of the impressive statement made on the rink by the Lady Ghostriders, the AIHL Board voted unanimously to form a new AIHL Women’s Division for the upcoming season.
As the first and only women’s team ever to compete in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL), the Lady Ghostriders made a challenge to ALL women’s teams and players around the nation in December 2016 to form other women’s teams and play in the AIHL in the new Women’s Division that is set to begin with the 2017-2018 season in December.
“Congratulations to all my Ghostriders athletes for earning the AIHL Organization of the Year honors,” said Coach Marr. “By your outstanding sportsmanship, professionalism and dedication to the Ghostriders Hockey mission of putting others, first, each and every one of you earned this top honor from AIHL. You, the Ghostriders athletes, are what makes everything we do possible.”
“For the AIHL to recognize the importance of including and elevating women’s elite hockey by voting for the creation of a new Women’s Division for the 2017-2018 season was historic,” said Brian Craven of Eustis, FL, near Orlando, owner and primary sponsor of the AZ Ghostriders AIHL franchise. “And then, for the AIHL to recognize the AZ Ghostriders as the top organization for 2017 is a validation of their commitment to AAU’s motto, ‘sports for all, forever’.”
Craven’s son Mark, 22, has played for four seasons on the AZ Ghostriders men’s elite AIHL team, as well as on the Ghostriders tournament teams that compete in major tournaments across the nation. Craven is also head coach of the Florida Ghostriders elite roller hockey team based in Eustis, which represents the Ghostriders and Grow Hockey Movement in major tournaments throughout the Southeast.
Both the AZ Lady Ghostriders and the AZ Ghostriders men’s elite and minor teams are now getting ready for a busy summer tournament season, competing in TORHS2hot4ice Nationals set for July 6-9, 2017, in Tampa, and the State Wars United States Roller Hockey Championships on Aug. 4-6, 2017, in Detroit.
In addition to being part of the Shadows Hockey AAU Level 3 organization based in Phoenix, AZ, the AZ Ghostriders are also affiliated with Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., based in Tampa, which raises money for youth and adult roller hockey development programs and also for cancer research into the deadliest cancers that most often affect Hockey Moms. The organization has raised thousands of dollars for cancer research while competing in the national level tournaments. Craven serves as a Founding Director and Secretary to the Board of Directors of Grow Hockey Movement.
Grow Hockey Movement is currently recruiting a Tampa Lady Thunder team to join the Women’s Division of the AIHL in 2017-2018, as well as men’s elite and minor teams.
About Ghostriders Hockey
The AZ Ghostriders and Lady Ghostriders are Level 3 AAU elite roller hockey teams that are part of the Shadows Hockey organization, a nonprofit IRS 501(c)3 and affiliated with Grow Hockey Movement, Inc. In addition to competing in AIHL and representing the highest level of the sport, the AZ Ghostriders teams also have as their mission to raise money for cancer research and caregiver support in honor of Hockey Moms.
About Grow Hockey Movement
Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., is a nonprofit national C-Corp IRS 501(c)3 based in Tampa Bay that has as its mission the promotion of ball and roller hockey for boys and girls of all ages through scholastic and community programs, regardless of ability to pay. It also supports adult elite AAU and RHA men’s and women’s teams competing in the AIHL and major regional, national and international roller hockey tournaments.
About American Inline Hockey League
The American Inline Hockey League, abbreviated as AIHL, is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates an elite nationwide league of franchised member clubs, all of which are currently located in the United States. Headquartered in Orlando, FL, the AIHL is considered a premier inline hockey league in the United States. The Champions Cup is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season, along with other awards including Organization of the Year. The 2017 Elite Division Champions Cup winner is the New Jersey Alliance; the Tier 1 Minor Division Champions Cup winner is the Philadelphia Liberty Blue and the Tier 2 Minor Division winner is the Philadelphia Liberty Red team.