Thursday, February 24, 2005
Dave Strang is the coach for the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team and the Steamboat Squirt team. Last weekend, he was on the bench, leading both teams. At times, the only difference between the two was the size of the skaters on the ice.
The Squirts (ages 9 and 10) picked up first place in the Blades of Steel tournament in Fort Collins, outscoring their four opponents 28-2, dominating the puck en route to the title.
"They looked like a teeny-tiny, high-level hockey team out there," Strang said. "What's so amazing about them is they are able to respond to the things I talk to them about so quickly."
Strang provided an example, citing his desire for the team to spread out on the ice and focus on passing the puck around. They listened.
"Other teams, they had no idea what to do against that," Strang said. "They went out and looked like a high school team, just miniature. I was drawing up offensive plays and cycling plays on the bench and within two or three shifts, you'd see them do it. They are starting to understand how the game works."
Steamboat defeated Fort Collins, 5-1; New Mexico, 9-0; Colorado Springs, 8-0; and Pueblo, 6-1, in the championships.
"We controlled the puck so much during those games," Strang said. "The other teams didn't have a chance to do anything. When they did, our defensemen don't let them come into the zone. They have great checking skills, and the forwards understand the need to get back and help out. They are playing so well as a team. I'm so proud of those guys."
Team members are Logan Banning, Brady Bender, Ben Bradfield, Jack Lupori, Jake Miller, Jonathan Milne, Christian Ramirez, Sam Samlowski, Tyler Scott, A.J. Strickland, Eric Trousil, Jace Worden and Jarret Walt.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org