Wednesday, September 27, 2000
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs youth hockey players took to the ice this week as tryouts for the 2000 season are under way at Howelsen Ice Arena.
Youth hockey league president Gary Lokkesmoe said the tryouts will conclude Friday, with practice slated to begin Sunday.
The midget, bantam, pee wee and squirt traveling teams will see their first regular-season action Oct. 13. The teams compete in the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League, where the midget and bantam teams finished third overall in 1999.
Last week, players were able to sharpen their skills during clinics offered by the arena.
The purpose of the clinics, Lokkesmoe said, was to help the players increase their speed and strength. Players skated through cones, for example, and worked on puck handling and power skating maneuvers.
"We're looking forward to the best season that the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association has ever had," Lokkesmoe said. "We believe we have a better selection, a better choice of coaches for all the assorted teams than anytime we had prior."
James Dingle, who coaches the 15-and-older midgets, said his hockey players have been looking forward to the season for several months. A number of the players, Dingle said, showed enthusiasm by participating in drop-in hockey sessions during the off-season.
"This is going to be an excellent season," Dingle said. "I think, for the first time, we're seeing the true benefits of our organization. The chemistry ought to be just awesome."
John Seymour, director of coaching, said the traveling teams would take part in about 20 games this year, including tournaments.
The midgets play with about 25 kids, including 17 who play on the traveling squad and eight who start for the house team.
The house team, which plays in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, starts practice around the second week of November. The house season is scheduled to begin in late November or early December.
Seymour said he expected another strong season from his Steamboat midget traveling team.
The 1999 bantam traveling team, which placed third in the league last year, will graduate players with experience to this year's midget team.
"I think with our league play, we should be very competitive this year," Seymour said. "We should definitely be in contention for a state title this year."
Steamboat's youth hockey association will not have a high school team in 2000, though officials have been considering the idea of starting a team since last year.
Lokkesmoe said he was disappointed but said he anticipated putting together a team for either the 2001 or 2002 season.
"We're working towards that goal," he said.
To reach Eric Rineer call 871-4229 or e-mail email@example.com