Craig Puck Ewes renew rivalries after season off

Puck Ewes upcoming schedule

(home games at Moffat County Ice Arena)

Nov. 23 vs. Vail Twin Peaks 6 p.m.

Dec. 7 at Down Valley Divas 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 at Vail Twin Peaks 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 11 vs. Violent Femmes 6 p.m.

The Puck Ewes, Craig’s women’s hockey team, are back on the ice after taking a forced year of leave from competition.

Due to departures and other issues, the Craig team couldn’t put together a roster and had to sit out a season in the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey Mountain Division. But some players are back, and newcomers have joined the fold to get the Ewes back in action.

“We’re happy to be playing again,” said Gayle Criswell, the team’s player/manager. “We had one that was pregnant last year, one that had moved away who has now moved back, and a brand new player" to help us play again.

The Ewes have been going strong since the mid '90s, and have taken on teams from many of the ski towns on the Western Slope and high Rockies in the WACH for the past several years. They host games at the Moffat County Ice Arena and travel to Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Breckenridge and others, creating good rivalries along the way.

While there are some newer members to the team, a core of players have been around for a while, making the Ewes more than just a traveling sports team.

“It’s a social thing for all of us, as well,” said Charlene Abdella, a founding member of the team who’s stuck around. “Going on road trips, playing one team, staying overnight then playing another team. It’s a blast.”

That fun was missing last year for many of the players. Some Ewes played with teams in Steamboat to get their hockey fix during the winter, but it wasn’t the same, Criswell said.

“The ones of us that did go and play in Steamboat, they welcomed us and appreciated us playing with them,” she said. “But it still wasn’t the same as playing with our team.”

But now they’re back and continuing to push for new members. Abdella and Criswell emphasized that skating or shooting skill is not necessary. Anyone with an interest or desire to learn the game will be welcomed.

“We all have extra equipment, or you can rent a pair of skates and skate around at practice Sundays,” Abdella said. “Most people who try it, they know relatively soon if they’re going to like it or not.

“It’s a great workout obviously, there’s nothing like hockey for a workout.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

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