Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs High School hockey team is not Steamboat's only team of high school-aged players making progress this season.
The Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association Midget Major A squad, competing in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, has amassed an impressive 6-1 record thus far and currently holds first place in the eight-team league, one spot above the Moffat County Bulldog Hockey Club, who handed Steamboat its only loss.
"It's all the kids that aren't on the high school team, seniors to freshmen - a good mix of guys and also Emily Birch, who's just a great player," Steamboat assistant coach Bob Kuusinen said of the Midget team. A few players on the team also play on the Sailors development squad.
Vladan Chase leads the Midget team with 10 points, through eight goals and two assists. Sean Kuusinen and Ian Berry have been splitting time in net, each posting a trio of wins.
Now the Steamboat Midgets are looking ahead at a hectic month filled with nine games, starting with a Saturday doubleheader. Steamboat will face Grand Junction at 8:30 a.m. and again at noon Saturday at Howelsen Ice Arena. But the weekend action does not end there. Steamboat heads over Rabbit Ears Pass on Sunday morning to face the Kremmling Cattle Kings at 8 a.m. at the Chuck Lewis Ice Arena.
"It's outside, and it's colder than heck, but that's how hockey should be played," said Bob Kuusinen, who grew up playing pond hockey in Michigan.
The Midgets regular season finishes Jan. 23 in Craig, with a fitting rematch between the rivals. Regular season records then determine seeding for the early February, double-elimination tournament in Grand Junction to determine a RMYHL champion.