Steamboat Springs hockey ready to win with new head coach
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Quinn Dorris was the last one off the ice after Steamboat Springs High School hockey practice. The senior skated to one end of the ice, dislodged the net, brought it to the other end, then helped the rink worker attach it to the lift that removed it from the ice.
“He’s a tough kid. He’s really matured a lot,” said head coach Yancey Rushton. “He used to be, not a problem child, but the kid that’s always losing his temper a little bit, maybe cuss at the other team. He’s really grown up into a man.”
Dorris set the tone for the Sailors season by scoring the opening goal in the first game, just 55 seconds after puck drop. Steamboat lost 7-2 to Battle Mountain, but Dorris is confident this will be a season better than the last in which the boys in red went 1-9-1.
“I’m feeling pretty good about our team in general,” Dorris said, adjusting his Space Station gas station buff above a cut on the bridge of his nose. “I think after that first game, we’ll have everything worked out, all the kinks and stuff. We’ll be ready for the rest of the season.”
A huge difference between last year and this year is a new head coach. After Ernie Thiel stepped down, former assistant coach Rushton stepped up.
While the team is mostly sophomores, he is confident he can turn the Sailors into a winning team again.
“Some people do mission trips, and they go to Africa. I kind of feel like this is my mission trip, so to speak, helping these kids,” Rushton said. “That’s why I do it.”
The Sailors are already enjoying the transition to a new coaching staff and recognize that Rushton works hard and dedicates a lot of his life to the team.
“He takes out a lot of his personal time to come and do stuff for our team and makes a lot of sacrifices for the team,” Dorris said. “I think we’re starting to turn around how this program is looking.”
Many of the Sailors played for Rushton on the Vikings hockey team last year, a youth program that Rushton started in honor of his son Drew, who died in December 2018 from pulmonary veno-occlusive disease caused by aplastic anemia.
“He not only makes us better hockey players but better people, too,” said senior Coleman Bohmer of Rushton.
“He’s a role model for every single person in the community,” senior Calvin Zuschlag added.
Steamboat’s next game is at home against Glenwood Springs at 7:45 p.m. Friday. Before then, Zuschlag said his team needs to work on passing and getting their “legs skating harder.”
“I think we’re out of shape since quarantine and COVID,” he said. “We need to get back in the swing of things.”
Since the team can’t share equipment and therefore can’t use the weight room, some skills and tasks can’t be done or will be done differently. One thing the team can work on is team chemistry, which is what senior Coleman Bohmer said needs improvement. Once they start to work together better, they can start working on their one goal.
“Team goal is to win some games,” Bohmer said. “It’s our last season, so just have fun while we’re at it.”
Battle Mountain 7, Steamboat Springs 2
SS 1 0 1 – 2
BM 2 3 2 – 7
SS – Quinn Dorris, 0:55.
BM – Declan Miner (Nolan Baker), 5:27.
BM – Declan Kelly (Kyle Parliament), 5:27.
BM – Kelly (Parliament, Tyler Knox), 7:43.
BM – Jensen Rawlings (Freddy Aalto, Jack Eastabrooks), 9:42.
BM – Eastabrooks (Sonny Nordstrand, Nate Bishop), 11:44.
BM – Rawlings, PP, (Dillon Flaagan, Parliament), 2:12.
BM – Parliament, PP, Flaagan, Rawlings), 3:16.
SS – Andrew Kempers, 7:51.
Saves: BM, Logan Gremmer 11. SS, Ryan Hoffner 27.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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