Rifle HS students feel at home with GrizzliesPhoto:5484135,left;Photo:5484133,left;
By Phil SandovalPost Independent StaffBrian King and Tyler McCoy have got accustomed to the jumbled live of playing youth hockey in Western Colorado.Both of them attend Rifle High School, yet play for the Glenwood Grizzlies, which incurs a 60-mile round trip to the Glenwood Community Center ice rink for team practices.For a start. As a team, the Grizzlies also have to endure 5 a.m. wake-up calls for early-morning games, poor lighting at some indoor rinks, holes and melting ice at outdoor facilities. For King, a goalie, and McCoy, a defenseman, on the Grizzlies’ midget (high school age) team, neither would think of changing the conditions.”I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” King said. “It’s awesome stuff.”Possibly, the hardest thing, both players have to undergo are the friendly chides of the Grizzlies’ Glenwood Springs residents.”You get a lot of crap from the guys,” said King. “It took awhile for them to get use to have a Rifle player on a Glenwood team since we’re such rivals in other sports.But, I’ve gotten used to it and all the other guys have too.”McCoy said most of the hoohaing, he’s heard comes from Rifle residents.”I get crap from some of my friends in Rifle,” he said. “But, its not that bad.”As a team, the Grizzlies have put together a 10-1 won-loss record at the midway point of its season.The addition of three non-resident players from Grand Junction – Anthony Ferrara, Shawn McKay and Kevin Young, said King, have helped.”Last year we had only one line that was producing all the goals for us,” King explained. “This year we have more depth. The three kids from Grand Junction have been our top line.”The Grizzlie goalkeeper added that the improved play of forwards Trevor Kreger and Jimmy Carter have also played a big role to the Grizzlies improved record.McCoy failed to mention names, but, said “The defense is pretty strong. We haven’t let by too many goals.”The peripheral stuff surrounding the game, other than playing hockey, took some time for both to get use to.”At Oak Creek the ice is not very good,” said McCoy. “There’s a lot of holes in it and it starts melting. The Craig rink’s lighting is not good. It’s hard to see and the ice is hard.”What bother King the most of some visiting rinks is the lack of a goalie’s crease.”That’s the worst part, because the crease is your vantage point. You think that your in from of your net, then you look back and your three feet to one side of the net.”Early scheduled games, include 7:30 a.m. starts. Which means a extra cup of coffee or can of Red Bull to the players.”Its cold. Your tired and your sluggish,” King said. “I drink two cups of coffee just to get going for those morning games.”While both are heavily involved as players. McCoy and King miss watching NHL games, caused by the owners lockout of the players.”I like college hockey, but, it’s not like the NHL. I miss watching Peter Forsberg play,” McCoy said.”I don’t think there’s anything like the NHL,” King added. “They’re so good, fast and physical. Its fun to watch. There’s nothing else to compare the play with.”And King and McCoy are equally positive of the future of Glenwood’s youth hockey program. McCoy said in summing up the program.”I think its going to grow and Glenwood’s going to win a few championships,”.
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