Grizzlies gear up for another season
The Glenwood Springs Grizzlies midget hockey team has another year under its belt at the Community Center ice rink and for many of the players, just a year of playing hockey.
Last year’s squad finished 4-26-1, but a majority of the players were in their first year of hockey. This season will be different in terms of experience, according to head coach Tim Cota.
“The big thing (this season) is obviously experience,” Cota said. “A lot of kids last year hadn’t even stepped on the ice before, so it was a learning process. We’re not starting off from square one.”
The Grizzlies, who open their season Friday night at 8 p.m. against Kremmling, lost just three seniors to graduation of last year’s squad. This season there are 14 seniors on the team and also a number of players moving up from the bantam level who have game experience.
“We have a lot of first-year (midgets) moving up from the bantam team who I expect to have an immediate impact,” Cota said. “It’s a good group of young kids who have some experience under their belt.”
Captains Ben Guska and Adam Hansen, along with alternate captain Heidi Wild, are the top returning skaters for the Glenwood team.
“We’re not overly big, but we’ve got good team speed,” Cota said.
At goaltender, Cota has three players competing for the starting slot and “is just waiting for one to step up.”
This is the third season the Grizzlies call the Community Center their home ice and the second season in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League.
The program continues to grow with 34 players out for the midget squad this year, compared to 26 last season. With the bump in numbers, the Grizzlies are able to field a varsity and junior varsity squad this season.
Friday night’s game against Kremmling is the first of a three-game set. The Grizzlies host Kremmling in back-to-back varsity games Saturday morning. The first game is scheduled to start at 9 a.m., followed by a 10:30 a.m. game.
The games are open to the public.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.