Registration deadline December 11, draft December 13
Crested Butte town league hockey is right around the corner. I
realize, with the recent spate of warm days, it’s hard to believe that
but the fact is, town league registration is underway and will
officially close on Friday, December 11. The draft will be held on
Sunday, December 13.
While the moans of no indoor ice still resonate in the north end of the valley, Big Mine Ice Arena is still a spectacular venue for classic down home town league play and every year, it just seems to get better.
At the top of the talent heap there’s the Eaton family, Piccaro, O’Connor, Cuilla, Miller, Ryba, the Whitings, Tanis and many more.
Then there’s the rest, all quality in their own right that are getting better with each year thanks, in large part, to Crested Butte town league.
And let’s not forget the goalies, Harris, Schaub, Bock and Brother. Each worthy in their own right often saving games for their confused teams.
The commitment has increased exponentially as well. For years, players skated with skiing on their mind. But in the past few years, that has changed as I’ve heard more and more players skiing, with skating on their mind. In fact, last year I overheard one player say, “Crested Butte’s a hockey town with a skiing problem.”
A bit of a stretch yet still indicative of the hockey affliction rampant in this town.
After two years of playing together as teams, Crested Butte Parks and Recreation is hitting the reset button for the 2009-2010 season, throwing all the players back into the draft and making new teams. Players will be rated one to five based on ability level and then the draft will be on.
“What we want to do is make sure the teams are fairly even and employees get to play for their sponsors and barflies get to play for their bars like the Eldo, the Talk or the Brick Oven,” says recreation program coordinator Lauren Alkire.
Team sponsors will pick their captains and the captains are then required to show up for the draft. Sponsors that are locked in and paid up include the Eldo, Alpengardener, Brick Oven and the Talk of the Town with Mikey’s Pizza, the Bacchanale and Last Steep all verbally commited.
Last year, 77 players signed up for town league. Currently, registration is running a little thin with just 9 players signed up.
“The optimum number is 84,” says Alkire.
Eighty-four players will give each team 12 players. As always, goalies register for free.
The current low numbers are fueling speculation that the indoor ice in Gunnison may be drawing some players down valley. If that were true, that could put the future of town league in jeopardy. Director of Parks and Recreation Jake Jones is not worried though.
“A lot of people still want to play close to home so we want to keep the league alive,” says Jones. “But, ultimately if we don’t have players, we won’t have a league. There’s something to be said for keeping it close to home.”
As we all know though, without ice you can’t have hockey and while Mother Nature has yet to cooperate, Jones sees good news on the near horizon.
“We’re hopeful for the end of this week and into next week for making ice,” says Jones. “We want to see nights in the single digits and days in the teens.”
According to Alkire, regular season play is slated to start right after the holidays.
“We’re not starting regular season play until the New Year but that will leave time open in December to practice,” says Alkire.
Games will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 and 8:45 p.m.
For more information or to register go to crestedbutterec.com.