Hockey team labors for trip

Months of fund raising; a week in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden

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Next March, 15 hockey players with the Oak Creek Kodiaks will head to Iceland, Denmark and Sweden for a week of learning new cultures, meeting new people and playing hockey.

For 14 of the high school players, the trip will mark the first time they've traveled out of the country. For some, it will be the first time they've traveled by plane.

But before March comes, the team has a lot of work to do to raise the $2,500 per person cost of the trip.

"I'm just looking forward to seeing different styles of hockey and how they play over there," said Dylan Knudsen, a team member who has been playing hockey for nine years. "Just the experience of seeing how it works over in other countries."

Knudsen said he guessed the international teams might play at a faster pace than what Oak Creek team is accustomed to. He also said that he's been looking on the Internet for places the team can visit.

"I'm just hoping we can raise enough money to go," Knudsen said.

To raise money for the trip, the hockey players created a "Rent a Kid" program, in which people can pay a hockey player or a crew of players to do any sort of job, from carrying boxes to painting.

The Kodiaks are selling raffle tickets that offer a chance to win a free weekend trip to London, Rome or Paris, and the team recently finished a firewood sale, said coach Scott Knudsen, Dylan Knudsen's father.

"Hopefully it will be something that they'll remember their whole lives, and maybe it will inspire them to travel more," Scott Knudsen said.

Knudsen said he's been coaching the players since many of them were in the first or second grade, and because a number of the players are entering their senior year of high school, he thought it would be a good time to try to put together a trip for the team.

The team will spend three days in Iceland, where they'll play two hockey games with local teams and visit a hot springs, a national park and more. Next they go to Copenhagen, Denmark, where they will play several more games, visit a palace, a garden and see other sites. Then they'll make a daylong side trip to Sweden.

Knudsen said he's expecting the trip to be a learning experience for the players.

"Their eyes will be open to a lot of things," Knudsen said.

All the players, Knudsen said, are "pumped" for the trip.

Ben Montoya, another hockey player, said the farthest he's traveled is to other parts of Colorado and to some of the surrounding states. This hockey trip will be the first time he's traveled on a plane, and will be the first chance he's had to play teams outside Colorado.

"It will be cool to see if we can hang with international teams," Montoya said.

To sign up for the trip or to send donations, contact Scott Knudsen at 638-0080 or P.O. Box 226, Yampa, CO 80483. Anyone interested can come on the trip.

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