Former Steamboat Springs hockey player Ryan Dingle will be running seven youth camps throughout the summer in Steamboat Springs. Dingle plans to play for professional team in Cortina, Italy, next year.

Photo by John F. Russell

Former Steamboat Springs hockey player Ryan Dingle will be running seven youth camps throughout the summer in Steamboat Springs. Dingle plans to play for professional team in Cortina, Italy, next year.

Former Steamboat hockey player Ryan Dingle to host camps

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Camp schedule

High school camp: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday ($300)

Bantam and Peewee camp: Aug. 1 to 5 ($300)

Girls: Aug. 8 to 12 ($200)

Shooting camp: Aug. 9, 11 and 12 ($125)

Conditioning camp: Aug. 9, 11 and 12 ($150)

Squirt camp: Aug. 19, 20 and 21 ($125)

Goalie camp: Aug. 19 to 21 ($100)

*All camps are at Howelsen Ice Arena. Visit www.steamboatyouthhockey.com to register.

— The idea happened on a sleepless night in Victoria, British Columbia.

Before a game for the Victoria Salmon Kings, former Steamboat Springs hockey player Ryan Dingle thought about where he was headed.

“I woke up and thought, ‘What am I going to do next?’” Dingle said. “What’s next on my plate? I had this epiphany of doing this camp. Hopefully this is only the beginning.”

Dingle, who spent his freshman and sophomore years in Steamboat and grew up in the hockey program, is spending his first full summer in Steamboat in 11 years.

While he’s here, he decided there was no better way to stay in hockey shape and give something back than to do hockey camps for the high school and Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association. The first camp, for high-schoolers, begins Monday.

“I feel like these things are so much more influential when the players can see someone that has made it,” said Brent Tollar, the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association director. “They all want to play college. Now they can see someone that has done that. This gives them so much of what they want.”

For Dingle, now 27, things are starting to come full circle.

After spending his freshman and sophomore years of high school attending The Lowell Whiteman School in Steamboat Springs, Dingle transferred to Battle Mountain his junior year to play Triple A junior hockey. During his senior year, he moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to play for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League. In December 2002, he was traded to the Tri-city Storm in Kearney, Neb. He joined the University of Denver for the 2004-05 season and helped lead them to their second straight national championship. He played two more years for the Pioneers, where he was the third leading scorer in the nation.

In 2007, he signed a professional hockey contract with the Anaheim Ducks, before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009. He spent one year in the Flyers organization before playing for Victoria this past season.

Dingle admits that professional hockey hasn’t been all smiles. There are plenty of ups and downs he has had to deal with while still trying to achieve his dream of one day playing in the NHL.

“I’ve grown tremendously mentally and maturity-wise since I first signed the professional contract,” said Dingle, who wants to make the camps an annual event. “It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. It’s tough at times when you see guys you’ve outscored in past years and they all get the chance and you bite the bullet. But it’s tough to complain in my situation. I get paid to do something I love.”

To register for a camp, visit www.steamboatyouthhockey.com.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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