By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
Tom Nagoda hasn't hoisted it, neither has Ken Harjes or Steve Ivers.
In the 10 years the Red Dogs senior no-check hockey team has hosted their yearly invitational tournament, they have never been on the receiving end of the tourney trophy.
"We've helped hand out a lot of trophies over the years," MCHS math teacher and forward Ken Harjes said. "But we're always hoping that our year will come around."
The Red Dogs will try to disprove the saying, "It's better to give than receive" on Friday night when they take to the ice for the first game of the three-day, home-ice tournament.
The Dogs will drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. against Steamboat Springs.
The tournament plays host to five teams in addition to the Red Dogs, and three states will be represented.
Rock Springs, Wyo. and Vernal, Utah represent the tournament's out-of-state competition, while Denver, Grand Junction and Steamboat Springs will send teams from Colorado.
The wide array of teams from across the Rocky Mountain region means that the Red Dogs never know what they'll be up against.
"You can never anticipate what a team will bring for players. We've had some teams come in with anything from college hockey players to guys who can barely skate," Red Dog forward and Craig Intermediate School Counselor Tom Nagoda said.
Vernal is specifically under the Red Dogs' microscope, because of its close proximity to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
An anonymous Red Dog was overheard mentioning, "Didn't I hear Peter Forsberg is heading to Salt Lake? Let's hope he doesn't stop in Vernal."
It is unlikely a Forsberg-caliber player will grace the ice at Loudy-Simpson, but the Red Dogs know the teams they've invited are no slouches.
"We'll have four tough games this weekend," Ivers said. "We've played all these teams and we know they're good."
For those hockey fans and players looking for alternative entertainment, a tailgate party will be held Friday night in the Loudy-Simpson parking lot with food and beverages for everyone.
The community is encouraged to attend.