Two Bears love being Grizzlies |

Two Bears love being Grizzlies

Rifle High students head east to play on Glenwood midget hockey teamBy Phil SandovalPost Independent StaffBrian King and Tyler McCoy have gotten accustomed to the jumbled life of playing youth hockey in Western Colorado.

Both of them attend Rifle High School, yet play for the Glenwood Grizzlies, which means a 60-mile round-trip to the Glenwood Community Center ice rink for team practices.And that’s just the 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, and holes and melting ice at outdoor facilities. For King and McCoy, a goalie and a defenseman, respectively, 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 withstand are the friendly chides of the Grizzlies’ Glenwood Springs residents.”You get a lot of crap from the guys,” said King. “It took a while for them to get used to having 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 razzing he’s been subjected to comes from Rifle residents.”I get crap from some of my friends in Rifle,” he said. “But it’s 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 nonresident players from Grand Junction – Anthony Ferrara, Shawn McKay and Kevin Young – has helped, said King.”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 Grizzlies’ goalkeeper added that the improved play of forwards Trevor Kreger and Jimmy Carter has also played a big role in 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 used 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 bothers King the most about playing on other rinks is the lack of a goalie’s crease.”That’s the worst part, because the crease is your vantage point. You think that you’re in front of your net, then you look back and you’re three feet to one side of the net.”

Early scheduled games include 7:30 a.m. starts, which means an extra cup of coffee or can of Red Bull to the players.”It’s cold, you’re tired, and you’re 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. No games have been played this season because of 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 about the future of Glenwood’s youth hockey program. McCoy said in summing up the program, “I think it’s going to grow and Glenwood’s going to win a few championships.”

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