Craig Youth Hockey Association keeps fighting during military appreciation games | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Youth Hockey Association keeps fighting during military appreciation games

With a temporary change of colors, Craig Youth Hockey Association paid tribute to the troops in its own unique way.

The 18 and under Midget team hosted its home opener Saturday, complete with a doubleheader against Viewmont of Bountiful, Utah.

The series was considered a scrimmage against the out-of-state team, the top squad among Utah's Division I high school groups, boasting an 11-0 record going back to September.

Though the Vikings put the pressure on the Bulldogs with a 12-0 morning game and an 11-1 afternoon matchup that ended with a single Moffat County goal by Wyatt Boatright, it was a ceremony between games that meant a great deal to players and coaches.

A military appreciation theme included a presentation by the local color guard at center ice complete with the national anthem by the Moffat County High School band.

Craig players donned specialty camouflage jerseys resembling military fatigues.

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Zach Soron said he was honored to be part of the ceremony. Plus, the camo uniforms had a unique effect in a hockey rink.

"It was a lot easier to tell who was on my side with those colors," he laughed.

The games may have been as difficult as a boot camp for new recruits, but without having to worry about Colorado Recreational Hockey League opponents, coach Tim Knez said playing a strong foe only serves to improve his players' skills.

"It was great for them to see what kind of teams are out there, and even though we lost pretty bad, they never gave up, they kept fighting," he said. "It makes us better when we come back to the caliber of teams in our league."

The Midget team will next play in Glenwood Springs Dec. 8, 9 and 10 against two CRHL teams: the Glenwood Grizzlies and the Hyland Hills Jaguars.