With a robust veteran group of 15 seniors, Steamboat ice hockey is gearing up for what may very well be a particularly profitable season. Final yr the Sailors made it to the Frozen 4, and the workforce will look to duplicate that once more this season.
Brian Ripley is in his seventh yr working with the workforce however is taking over the duties of head coach for the primary time.
He is aware of it’s a lengthy season and stated he’s wanting on the strengths of every participant to “put the puzzle collectively” and get probably the most out of the Sailors.
Ripley famous some key gamers graduated, and it’ll change up the dynamic and plan of assault for this season, however he’s assured the boys will regulate.
“I’d say our energy is a bit of bit stronger on the ahead finish of this yr,” Ripley stated. “In order that simply adjustments our method a bit of bit, but it surely’s only a matter of the place these strengths and weaknesses are and placing folks in the suitable roles and proper combos to realize one of the best we are able to as a workforce collectively.”
Steamboat’s highschool hockey program at present has 44 athletes, however with solely 20 gamers allowed on a game-day roster, Ripley is happy to develop a few of the youthful guys within the junior varsity program.
Ripley is aware of that solely means good issues for the longer term, and he’s hopeful his captains and senior leaders will lead by instance and present the youthful gamers the ropes.
For Ripley, two athletes stood out of their affect and management. Seniors Andrew Kempers and Jeffrey Hubler earned captaincy for this season with the remaining 13 seniors every incomes the ‘assistant’ title.
“We determined this yr due to the dynamic of our workforce, we will have two captains,” Ripley stated. “Each Andrew and Jeffrey are going to put on the ‘C’ and we’re not going to have an alternate as a result of as I advised the workforce, we’ve so many seniors in that locker room, I anticipate all of them to be value sporting. the assistant captain letter.”
Ripley says it isn’t unreasonable to suppose a state championship is feasible, and he needs his workforce to set its sights excessive for the season. Nonetheless, he plans to have a gathering with the workforce subsequent week to go over objectives as a bunch.
He believes the Sailors play within the hardest division in Class 4A and likes to play sturdy 5A groups at the beginning of the season to see what his workforce is product of.
The Sailors have a preseason scrimmage at dwelling on Thursday, Dec. 1, towards 5A opponent Chaparral. The workforce follows that up with its first common season matchup towards Fort Collins on the highway on Friday, Dec. 2.
“Our mountain convention is actually the strongest in all of 4A, so the primary purpose is to attempt to come out on prime within the division,” Ripley stated. “That offers us an excellent playoff seed, after which if we are able to make the Frozen 4 and form of accomplish an analogous degree to what we did final yr, then I might suppose something is feasible and positively a state championship is inside cause.”
To succeed in Tom Skulski, name 970-871-4240, e mail tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.