Hockey in Craig is growing.
The Craig Youth Hockey Association has expanded its Midget division for high schoolers to two teams from one, the numbers in the younger divisions are growing and the Introduction To Skating and Hockey program has some of its highest numbers ever.
"We have full teams in every division," the association's President Mike Boatright said. "We've expanded the schedules and everywhere we look we have more interest."
The Midgets program has expanded this year to include a new team, called the Moffat County Bulldog Club Hockey Team.
"We're only allowed to have 20 guys on a roster and we have 24 at that level this year,"
he said. "So we've gone to a two-tier program."
The Bulldog team is the varsity group and the Cougars will be the JV team. Boatright said that they adapted the high school's mascot but are not associated with the school.
"The school was more than willing to let us be Bulldogs," he said. "We were told that because of Title IX, we can't be a part of the high school unless it adds another sport for girls."
The Bulldogs will remain in the Colorado Youth Hockey League to play its games. Moffat County will debut the new uniforms next Friday at Loudy-Simpson Ice Arena. They'll play Kremmling at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs have 22 regular-season games scheduled as well as two tournaments.
"We've expanded the season for everybody," Boatright said. "We had requests to increase hockey so we did our best to do it."
The Midget program is expected to continue growing. The feeder program into the Midget level is expected to help the Bulldogs' roster grow to 27 next year.
The association hosts the introduction program to give those of all ages interested in hockey a chance to learn. The clinic is going on four days a week through Nov. 21.
The younger program is available for ages 11 and under and is 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The 12-and-older group skates in the evening Mondays and Wednesdays.
There are 61 participants in the program.
"We've had a lot of new people sign up and come aboard," Boatright said.
"It's been exciting to see the momentum continue from year-to-year."
Puck Ewes help youths
The Craig women's hockey team, the Puck Ewes, started its season last week.
"We have a similar group to what we've always had," Gayle Criswell, team president, said. "It's a lot of fun with our tight-knit group but we're always looking for new members."
Criswell is helping to set up a girls program through the CYHA.
"We're organizing a girls team because there is interest there," she said. "Hopefully it will also help our program grow."
The all-girl youth team is for players age 13 and younger. Any female age 15 and older can play with the Puck Ewes.
This is the second season for the women to be in the Woman's Association of Colorado Hockey.
"We are really working hard to be more competitive in the league," Criswell said. "We feel like we are improved."
Red Dogs eye win
The men's program includes two teams, the more competitive Red Dogs and the Ice Dogs.
Greg Neal is the president of the Red Dogs.
"We brought up to Ice Dogs this year to play for us," Neal said. "That's good progress for the program."
The Red Dogs finished second last year in a city league in Steamboat Springs.
"We took second last year and we're going to take that experience and improve to first this year," he said. "We have 20 guys on the roster, which is the most we've had."
The team will also host its annual tournament Jan. 6-8 with 12 teams from three states.
"We're coming off a great season last year," Neal said. "We have 25 games this year and we're really looking forward to it."
For information regarding any of the leagues call Boatright at 824-2046, Criswell at 824-8048 and Neal at 824-7452.