~ byTrevor Phipps ~
The Woodland Park High School Hockey team has hit the ice in its inaugural season, but is shaking off some rookie mistakes.
The team has suffered three losses, starting off with a 0-3 record. However, Panther hockey coach Chad Mason remains optimistic about their forthcoming chances in their debut year of ice action.
Mason knew the start of the season would be tough. According to the hockey coach, Woodland Park High School is a 3A school playing in a 5A league since that is the only high school league offered in the state of Colorado. The first four games for the Panther Hockey boys are definitely a test of the team’s toughness.
The first game the team played was against Castleview and their second was against Valor Christian. Both teams are super tough Denver squads. Both schools invest a lot into their hockey teams and are both in the top-four best hockey teams in the state. The Panthers suffered brutal losses during their first two games against the two well-established hockey teams.
They lost to Castleview by a score of 9 to 1 and they fell to Valor Christian by a score of 10 to nothing.
Last Friday night the Panthers played a home game at the Air Force Academy Field House and lost again by a score of 7 to 1. Mason anticipated that the game against the undefeated Crested Butte Titans would be a hard one since the Titans beat up Coronado High School during a previous game. Next week the Panthers face the 0-3 Coronado Cougars, so they could face better odds.
Despite the team’s first three losses, Mason is still confident that the Panthers will be successful during their first year on the ice. “The kids are all in good spirits and excited to play,” Mason said. He knew that the first four games would be the toughest ones for the team that is quite literally playing out of their league.
According to the coach, the team is optimistic about the outcome of their season. Mason says that in between practices, “the kids are chompin’ at the bit to get back on the ice.” Currently, the team practices at the World Arena once a week. Starting soon, the Panther boys will be headed up to the ice rink in Victor to add two more days a week to their on-ice practice sessions.
The Panther ice heroes play most of their home games at the Air Force Academy Field House and other venues in Colorado Springs. However, the team does have three non-conference games scheduled right here in town at the Meadow Wood Sports Complex early next year on January 3, February 2, and February 17.