The Chix with Stix, Steamboat Springs' top women's hockey team, opens its home season this weekend.
The Chix host the University of Colorado women's team at 9 p.m. Saturday and 9:45 a.m. Sunday at Howelsen Ice Arena.
"They were in some kind of collegiate club league for the past two years," Chix coach Tim Shorland said. "They are a great team and obviously have young players."
The growing number of women playing hockey in Colorado should help make for another exciting season in the women's leagues.
The Chix opened their traveling season at the Western Women's Hockey Tournament in Salt Lake City. The Chix finished fourth out of four teams, but many of its regular members did not attend the early season tournament.
The Chix also have taken part in the adult league at the Howelsen Ice Arena this fall, playing mostly against men in the "B" league.
"They were required to step it up," Shorland said. "You can ask anyone that plays in those leagues, the team's positioning is great. They play great position hockey; what we need is for the puck to bounce our way."
Howelsen's "B" league competition offered the Chix the chance to skate and play at a faster pace and at a more physical level. Last season, Shorland said, the Steamboat team was on the short end of too many close games.
Shorland also added a couple of new assistants in the offseason so he wouldn't have to work on offense, defense and goaltending by himself.
The women's "A" league, of which the Chix are members, is the highest level of hockey in Colorado other than collegiate hockey. Other members of the league are: the Denver Bandits, the Aspen MotherPuckers, the Breck Blizzard, the Fort Collins Flames, CU, the Colorado Synergy and the Vail Breakaways.
Many members of the Chix spent the summer working on their hockey game by going to camps. The social aspect of the team is still important to everyone -- coaches and players alike -- Shorland said, but winning and improving is important, as well.
"Everyone wants to get better, not just for themselves but also for the team," Shorland said.
The Steamboat Storm and Steamboat Edge are Steamboat's two other women's traveling teams. The Storm play at the "B" level, while the Edge play at the "C" level.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org