Coyotes hoping to bring back hockey

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The drive to bring a competitive men's hockey team back to Steamboat Springs begins Saturday at Howelsen Ice Arena.

"The urge to form a (men's traveling) team has been there, consistently for the last couple years," organizer Jens Owen said. "Last year a men's team from Steamboat traveled to a couple of tournaments informally. We are just trying to make this more formal."

On Saturday, the team, which will be called the Yampa Valley Coyotes, will hold tryouts starting at 3:45 p.m. at Howelsen Ice Arena.

The tryouts will be used to select players for this year's team, which will play a minimum of three weekend tournaments and four home games. The individual season dues are $300 per player, which can be paid by the player or by a corporate sponsor.

The team will be ranked in the USA Hockey's intermediate men's level.

Owen said the team will begin practicing in November, at which time he is hoping to have a season schedule completed.

He said the Coyotes would not play in a formal league but would pick up games against other teams in the region including squads from Crested Butte, Vail, Aspen, Rock Springs, Vernal, Grand Junction and Craig. The team also might play Front Range teams this season.

Owen is hoping the team can play home games on Friday nights when the Steamboat Springs High School team is out of town.

"We want fans to be able to find an entertaining hockey game at Howelsen Hill every Friday night," Owen said.

He is hoping that the men's traveling team can add to the depth of the Steamboat hockey community. Steamboat has had men's traveling teams in the past -- but Owen thinks it's been at least five years since the last one skated on home ice.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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