Junior hockey team ropes itself a name | SteamboatToday.com

Junior hockey team ropes itself a name

Howelsen Ice Arena will be the home of a new junior hockey team starting this autumn.
John F. Russell

— You’ve got mountains to work with and plenty of skiing heritage to consider. Local wildlife includes deer, elk, moose, bears, mountain lions, foxes and marmots, to say nothing of lesser wildlife, such bulls or broncos.

With all that to play with, which direction do you go when naming a new Steamboat Springs athletics team?

A Steamboat Springs-based junior hockey team opted to go Western, and Wednesday, the squad took one big step closer to the season by settling on a name.

Say hello to the Steamboat Wranglers.

“Wranglers” was chosen from a heap of fan suggestions, a choice first submitted by Steamboat Springs resident Kim Filler. For that honor, she will receive two season tickets for the club’s first full season, an autographed team jersey and the chance to drop the ceremonial first puck at the season’s first home game.

“Steamboat is known for its western heritage, ranching traditions, rodeos and cowboy hats,” Filler said in a news release. “Steamboat Wranglers sounded like a good name for a hockey team.”

Wranglers ties into Steamboat’s cowboy and rodeo history, and indeed, the team will play next door to the town’s rodeo arena, all at the base of Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat.

Other names listed in the organization’s top 10 options were: Trapper, Bulls, Cutthroats, Jackrabbits, Stallions, Silvertips, Outlaws, Spurs and Eagles.

The team will begin its season, playing in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League, in October, and it will play through at least February, with the season potentially extending, depending on the squad’s postseason success.

It will consist of 25 players between the ages of 16 and 20, the first of whom was recently announced to be Steamboat Springs High School hockey standout Jack McNamara.

Junior hockey, at least at the Tier III level at which Steamboat will play, is a pay-to-play operation, requiring athletes cut a check for $7,500 annually to take the ice.

The season will consist of 40 regular season games, played Friday and Saturday nights. Home games will be played at Howelsen Ice Arena in downtown Steamboat.

Organizers plan to practice when the oft-used ice isn’t booked, starting at 8:30 a.m., and to partner with the high school team to have back-to-back games on weekends when both are at home.

Steamboat’s team will be a part of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League, founded in 2015. It will play against established teams in Aspen, Breckenridge, Denver, Grand Junction, Monument and Colorado Springs, as well as another expansion club in Vail.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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