Just as winter has begun to take Northwest Colorado by storm, the Craig Red Dogs look to take the ice by storm as they kick off their season.
The competitive men's hockey team will begin their season with a free night of drop-in hockey at 8:30 p.m. tonight at the Loudy Simpson ice arena.
The Red Dogs hope to build on last season's success that consisted of two second place finishes in the four tournaments the team participated in.
Player/Coach Tom Nagoda hopes the 2000 team will finally break through and win the championship of the local tournament held in January.
The influx of new players on last years team from the northern tier states and Canada brought a new talent and enthusiasm to the Red Dogs. Coupled with the maturation of second year goaltender, Steve Ivers, the expectations for this season are high. Nagoda said that the new refrigeration system at the ice arena should give the Red Dogs much needed ice time to become a more cohesive team.
"The level of hockey should be outstanding this year," Red Dogs player Tyler Baskfield said. "We are on the brink of being a extremely talented hockey team. We manage to have fun both off and on the ice. Combine that with a couple of tournament wins and it should be a great year for Craig hockey."
With the quality of play picking up and hockey gaining in popularity through out the comunit, The Red Dogs expect some good turn outs from local hockey spectators at some of their upcoming tounaments. There is no admision charge to any of the Red Dog home games and people can expect to be entertained if they show.With the recent instalation of heaters in the arena a Red Dogs hockey game will be a great way to spend a winter evening.
Anyone who is interested in playing competitive hockey for the Red Dogs is invited to drop by the arena Thursday night and observe or skate with the team. Players who are unable to make tonight's practice, but are interested in participating, call John Doane at 824-1082.
This years team fee is $220 per player, which includes 48 nights of ice time and membership in USA Hockey. Practices will be Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights beginning November 16.