Amateur hockey team Moffat County Vigilantes coming together
Team organizer plans to have games starting October
This fall, there may be a lot more than usual going down at the Moffat County Ice Arena at Loudy-Simpson Park.
The venue is set to become the home rink for the Moffat County Vigilantes, a burgeoning amateur team put together by Chandler Holguin.
Holguin, 19, is a hockey player and enthusiast originally from Parker and currently living in Denver who sought out towns that would be interested in having such a squad. The metro area couldn’t accommodate him, and though acquaintances suggested towns like Vail or Aspen, he wasn’t sure such places would be financially feasible for athletes.
“It’s not a great place for guys who are just coming up, and I’m trying to keep it in a moderate price range for the guys to play,” he said.
Craig, on the other hand, was just right.
The Vigilantes is intended to be a developmental team, one which is a stepping stone for hockey players starting small and hoping to make their way to bigger things.
Holguin was recruited by Daniel Webster College in Nashua, New Hampshire, but he felt the school didn’t fit his needs in studying business. The formation of the Vigilantes is something that combines his favorite sport and entrepreneurship.
He met with county officials in recent weeks to approve use of the arena, and he hopes to host tryouts in Denver and Steamboat Springs this summer with games beginning in October. He has applied to be part of the Black Diamond Hockey League.
Holguin already has some players from the East Coast who have expressed interest, as well as some in Denver and in Craig. He hopes skaters from Moffat County High School will have an interest in being part of the effort.
“I’d love to see local talent,” he said. “I’m never going to have a closed tryout, because I know that sucks and you miss out on a lot of great talent that just didn’t get the exposure.”
Part of the structure of a semi-professional team dictates that membership won’t be free — players have to contribute to costs like ice time, travel expenses and equipment. Holguin is already bringing in as many sponsors as he can to ease that part of it, including Silverback Hockey, which provides sticks.
“It’s not uncommon, but it’s not exactly run-of-the-mill, so I’m hoping that, within a year or two years, we can have sponsors and ticket sales and merchandise sales that will cover everything so that we can let the players focus on playing hockey,” he said.
Between now and the potential start of the season, Holguin’s schedule is packed with sizing up players and promoting the Vigilante name every step of the way.
“I want to be able to pack this place in the first game and let people see how much fun it is,” he said, motioning to Moffat County Ice Arena. “I want as many people as possible here and to let kids in the youth program see they can work their way up. It’s a good goal to have.”
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