Photo by Hans Hallgren

Hockey season on the way

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— Peek into the Moffat County Ice Arena at about 7 p.m., and you will see aspiring hockey youths claiming to be the next NHL superstar.

They imitate players with names such as Joe Sakic, Mark Messier and Alexander Ovechkin.

They zoom around the ice, chasing a black rubber puck, and some even chasing a dream.

"I want to make it to the NHL," Noah Booth said.

"I just like to hit people," said Bubba Ivers, who also is a football player at Craig Middle School. "I like hockey more, though. I want to play in college first, then the NHL."

Whatever path these players take, it starts at the Ice Arena.

Skaters from ages 5 to 18 will partake in stick-handling drills and skating, passing and shooting lessons.

"These teams are recreational but competitive," President of Craig Youth Hockey Chris Reilly said. "Anybody can sign up - boys and girls."

There are plenty of roster spots still available, Reilly said.

"We take them all," he said. "The very good players all the way to the ones who can barely skate."

Reilly recommends the house league - purely recreational - for first-timers, but said the travel teams brings the best to the ice.

The travel teams play in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League with games against teams from Oak Creek, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Vail and Steamboat.

"It's a great opportunity for the kids," Reilly said. "They learn cooperation, dedication and, more importantly, respect."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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