Sailors junior first to sign with new hockey team | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors junior first to sign with new hockey team

Austin Colbert

— The newly formed Steamboat Springs junior hockey club is a long way from a full roster, but it made progress Wednesday with the announcement of its first signing. Local star Jack McNamara, who will be a senior at Steamboat Springs High School next fall, became the first to ink with the still unnamed team.

"I'm stoked," McNamara said. "I'm super excited for the opportunity I've been presented here. We have such a great hockey community."

The tier 3 team will begin play in October and compete in the USA Hockey-affiliated Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. While the team plans to add players from across the continent, signing as many local players as possible has been voiced as a primary objective from the start.

So, it just made sense to make a Steamboat kid the first to sign.

"To represent our community and our town here is kind of a dream of mine," McNamara said. "It's amazing to play on a team that is going to bring in players from all around North America. The fact that I was able to sign first and complete that process is special to me."

McNamara, who was born in Minnesota and moved to Steamboat about 10 years ago, comes from a dedicated hockey family. He was a key piece of the Sailors' varsity team last winter, which went 13-7 and made the state quarterfinals.

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The season helped fuel his desire to play after high school. Last weekend, he traveled to Denver for the junior hockey team's camp and tryout, which resulted in a spot on the roster this fall.

"He's a fantastic young man who we feel exemplifies what type of players we want on our hockey club," head coach Misko Antisin said in a news release. "Passionate, driven, an excellent 200-foot hockey player that can skate."

McNamara is set to graduate in December, making him eligible for the entire season with the junior hockey league team. He won't play with the Sailors as a senior.

His hope is to catch on with a college team the year after, or possibly join Steamboat's parent team, Canada's Salmon Arm Silverbacks, which competes in the British Columbia Hockey League.

"It's an opportunity for me to pursue my goal of playing college hockey," McNamara said. "It's pretty special to be able to say I was the first to sign here with my hometown junior team."

McNamara is one of four SSHS hockey players heading to Denver this weekend to compete in the CCM Hockey Showcase, a chance for athletes to develop their skills and maybe gain the attention of next-level scouts and recruiters.

Joining McNamara on the Front Range are Jordan Gorr, Nate Kelley and Peyton Tritz. Gorr was a senior this season, while the other two were sophomores.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert