Glenwood Grizzlies’ new coaches eager to start |

Glenwood Grizzlies’ new coaches eager to start

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Things are changing for the Glenwood Springs Youth Hockey Association (GSYHA).

This offseason, new faces are flooding the program and filling everything from coaching openings to director positions.

Jon Thompson, a hockey coach who has been at the helm of programs ranging from Aspen’s youth teams to the women’s Mother Pucker squad, will be taking over the coaching duties for the Midget (high school level) team. He will also be the director of education and administration, expanding his responsibilities off the ice.

Thompson, a Carbondale resident, will be replacing Tim Cota, who was with the Grizzlies for 11 years before recently accepting a coaching position with the club hockey team at Mesa State College in Grand Junction. Thompson has helped out with GSYHA and worked with many Grizzlies as the director of the Bear Paw Hockey Camp in Basalt.

“I have enjoyed assisting GSYHA with power skating lessons and meeting the players through Bear Paw Hockey Camps,” Thompson said in a press release. “I am thrilled to be able to fully dedicate my time to them.”

Timothy Kwiatkowski, another face familiar to hockey in the valley, will be joining GSYHA. Kwiatkowski, who lives in Silt, has had his hand in the GSYHA since the program’s early days when the teams practiced at the ice rink at the rodeo grounds in Carbondale. He has coached the Mite, Squirt and PeeWee teams for GSYHA at some point, as well as Squirt, PeeWee and Bantam teams in Aspen. Kwiatkowski will not only serve as the director of hockey operations, but will also be the head coach for the Bantam (13- to 14-year-olds) squad.

“I am really looking forward to helping lead GSYHA,” Kwiatkowski said in a press release. “I have been working with some of the players since they first learned to skate, and it will be very exciting to help them develop to their full potential.”

The Grizzlies also have a new president of the club ” Peter Tibbetts. Tibbetts has served as a team manager in the past and has been involved with GSYHA for many years, as his two sons play hockey for the club. While Tibbetts admitted it’s hard for the program to see someone like Cota leave, he is sure Thompson and Kwiatkowski can do good things for the organization.

“This a very exciting time for our hockey club. TK and Jon bring the commitment, leadership and professionalism that will help guide us through significant changes over the next five years,” Tibbetts said. “We are very fortunate that these great hockey players have accepted director positions with GSYHA.”

One of the changes Tibbetts is hoping to see is a year-round approach to organizing and running the programs that make seasons more enjoyable and more successful. He also wants to see an upgrade in the ice rink at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Since the rink is not enclosed, the teams’ practices are subject to significantly shorter seasons and add extra challenge to compete with Continental Divide Youth Hockey League teams who are able to practice more.

“Our vision is not only to get kids into hockey but to get the existing facility enclosed and seek out sponsorships to help make that happen,” Tibbetts said.

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