Passion drives new Steamboat hockey director |

Passion drives new Steamboat hockey director

— A native Minnesotan who grew up slapping pucks around frozen ponds, Brent Tollar said he came to miss the fun and competitive spirit he found in hockey after a move to Colorado.

Those attributes got him back on the ice coaching and playing in Steamboat Springs five years ago, and it's those attributes that he hopes to bring to Yampa Valley hockey now that he's taken over as the director of hockey for the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association.

"The biggest thing, I want to bring out that passion for the sport," he said. "I want to bring the fun out of hockey and grow our numbers and get kids playing and working on the fundamentals from the ground up."

Tollar played in youth leagues in Minnesota and kept with the sport beyond high school. He started working as an assistant coach on various teams in Steamboat about five years ago and was the head coach for the Bantam B team last winter.

He still plays whenever he can, joining in a rec league at the Howelsen Ice Arena.

"I'm so out of shape, but I love it," he said.

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Tollar will fill the job vacated by Erik Blase, who continues to work in the sport but moved on after nearly three years serving as the director.

Tollar said maintaining the success generated by recent local teams will be his first goal and that the key to that would be a program-wide attitude.

"It begins with on-ice stuff, interacting with the kids," Tollar said. "That's what this is all about in the end. I love to know I've been hands-on with each of them as they grow up and I grow with them as they are learning the sport.

"I want to show them this isn't just a job for me," he continued. "I love it, too."

He said active recruiting efforts will help bolster the program's numbers, which sagged slightly in the down economy.

"We need to start really young and get players interested," he said. "We've had some great success in the past with our teams. We have great coaches and volunteers, people that give a lot of their time. We want to build on that. I see this program getting stronger and stronger."

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail

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