1-On-1 at Coyotes Training Camp

Earlier this week, TucsonRoadrunners.com’s Jonathon Schaffer caught up with some members of the 2022-2023 Roadrunners at the Arizona Coyotes Training Camp in Scottsdale about the upcoming NHL preseason game at the Tucson Arena. Below are some of our favorite answers.

Q: What made the preseason game at the Tucson Arena so special last season and what are you looking forward to playing a preseason game there again?

Steven Kampfer: I think it obviously shows support for the Roadrunners, it shows support for the city of Tucson. It gives the fans a chance to see the NHL guys or guys that used to play at Tucson, a chance for them [the players] to reconnect with the fans and get everyone excited for hockey down there because the season is two weeks away, then we have the home opener, so getting the buzz back to Tucson a bit.

Jan Jenik: Its exciting, home advantage for us guys who have played there [Tucson] for years. Always exciting to be back with our fans and our facility.

Josh Doan: It’s something special when you get to bring down the big team to Tucson and play in front of the fans down there, they support us year around it’ll be good to see some big-name players come down and play hopefully in a full barn and share the atmosphere with the crowd of Tucson, it’s something special and it’s cool to get everyone down there.

Nathan Smith: It’s awesome to be back in the Convention Center we’ve had a few months off now, so I think everyone is ready to be back playing hockey again. It’s nice to be back out here with the guys.

Q: You’ve been to many different arenas with different fan bases throughout your career, but what makes Arizona hockey fans so unique from traditional hockey markets?

Steven Kampfer: I think it’s the passion obviously, the snowbirds come down that like hockey or the college students at both ASU and U of A where they [the students] are around a little bit more and they start to enjoy hockey, it makes it exciting for when the hockey season starts rolling around, it gives them [the fans] something different other than football and basketball down here.

Jan Jenik: They just keep us going, in Tucson they have the cowbells its always amazing and it’s fun to play in front of them.

Josh Doan: It’s a little bit of its newness to the valley, not really new anymore but 25-30 years and I’ve said it all along that fans of Arizona are always so great to their teams and they do such a good job and its something I have been proud to be apart of since I was a kid growing up here and being a part of that kind of fan base which I still am so it’s definitely a cool experience.

Nathan Smith: It’s an exciting place to play obviously, everyone loves to be here because of the weather, we have great fans here and playing in the Mullet Arena is pretty special too.

Q: What makes Tucson a special step in your hockey journey?

Steven Kampfer: From the time I got traded last year it was comfortable. The coaching staff, players, [hockey operations] staff, the arena and surrounding areas were great, which was something my family and I enjoyed. We’re excited to be part of the organization again.

Jan Jenik: It’s a great place to live with great people around there. We have great coaches and trainers, it’s just the people around there that make it so great.

Josh Doan: One of the things is that it’s my first time down in Tucson, it’s funny being from Arizona I haven’t really been all around of Arizona yet so getting to go down to Tucson and seeing what it’s like and seeing the mountains down there and getting to know some of the people down there it’s definitely something different and unique and it’s it own little version of Arizona and I think it’s special.

Nathan Smith: It’s been great, honestly wouldn’t want to be playing anywhere else. I’ve gotten to know the guys pretty well and I love playing in front of the fans in Tucson as well, they have a great rink there and it’s a great setup for us so it’s basically a second home for me over there.

Q: The Coyotes and Roadrunners are very tight throughout the organizations. How does playing in Arizona with sunshine and warm weather correlate to the teams being tight knit groups?

Steven Kampfer: It kind of gives the guys a little bit when they get away from the rink, you’re in a little bit of sunny weather a little bit of time to recharge the batteries but at the same time you’re close enough to Phoenix and Tucson which is an hour and a half away where if something does happen and guys [players] go down we have guys that are ready to go and vise versa we’re always there. We’ve got guys knocking on the doorstep to make the team [Coyotes]. It’s an exciting time to be a Coyote and Roadrunner fan.

Jan Jenik: It puts a smile on your face waking up into this nice weather and not having to drive through the snow in the morning, can’t complain about that.

Josh Doan: There’s a great relationship amongst all the guys, that’s due to just having good people around and bringing in good people at both organizations and when you get the opportunity to share the desert together its brings guys together getting the opportunity to go out and golf together, away from the rink together, 24/7 year around because the weather is always nice, it allows you to grow together as a group a little more.

Nathan Smith: It’s awesome, we’ve got a tight knit group here [the Coyotes and the Roadrunners] and we kind of mesh pretty well, I’m friends with several guys on the Coyotes too and pretty close to them and we’re not really far either about an hour and a half; so it’s nice to be so close to each other.