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Squirts 1997

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Vail Squirt AA 1997/1998 Home Page
Pictures from Albuquerque, January, 1997
Article on Albuquerque Tournament
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1998 Florida Trip
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Hockey Philosophy

Vail Squirt AA Newsletter - 12/31/97

Happy New Year to All!!

First Half Review

How do you measure the success of a youth sports team? The simple and traditional approach is to look at the record. Vail's Squirt AA team finished the 1997 part of the season with a solid 14-5-2 (win-loss-tie).

The record is only a part of the puzzle, and a small part at that. I have been very pleased with the first half of the season in the following areas:

Team Play & Synergy

Our Squirts play as a team. One of our favorite locker room words is "synergy", defined simply as "1+1=3". Or, put another way, our team is stronger than the sum of our individual players.

On many teams the "good" players are constantly upset with the "bad" players. This generally destroys a team and leads to terrible play. We have kids who help each other. Many times this year I have seen a player make a mistake that led to a goal, and the team attitude has always been "that’s ok…we'll get the next one".

Effort and dedication

Our kids put forth a tremendous effort in every game. This is best evidenced by defensive play. Most kids (and many adult hockey players) skate 100% on offense and 50% on defense. The Vail Squirts skate as hard defensively as offensively, and this is often the key to our victories.

Responsibility and Challenge

Coaches can only take a team so far, and no farther. At some point the players have to take over and accept the challenge. In our Kansas City tournament we played five games against excellent teams, all of whom had more players, and tremendous depth of talent. We could easily have lost all five games. Our kids accepted the challenge and won 3 of 5, tying for first place in the tournament. At one point they asked all the adults and coaches to leave the locker room so they could "be alone and get ready". It became their team that day, and their responsibility. During the tournament we beat Kansas City, one of the best teams in the country, 3-1.

Serious time and Fun Time

The Vail Squirt AA have "serious time" and "fun time", and the kids have been doing a pretty good job of separating the two. We have had good behavior in restaurants and on the plane. The locker room knows when to "serious up" and get ready for a game. On the other hand, we have mixed in plenty of fun time, and will continue to do so.

1998 Goal: Win the Colorado AA Championship

I believe our team has a chance to win the Squirt AA state championship this season. This will be an exceedingly difficult goal to achieve, and will only be possible if all 12 players are at the top of their games, using all the synergy we can muster. We will be competing with programs with over 200 squirts to choose from, with more ice time and more coaches. However they do not have more heart or desire. If the players accept this challenge we have a chance at an upset to remember for years.

1998 Colorado State Playoff Format

There are 10 teams in the Squirty AA division, and only 4 qualify for the playoffs the weekend of March 13th, 1998. We play each team twice, home and home. The teams are:

Schedule Changes

Creating and maintaining a schedule is an enormous task, and it is very difficult to keep up with all the changes. Beth has done a fantastic job in this difficult area. Please review the attached schedule, dated 12/26/97 carefully. Remember to throw away old schedules!

Two New Squirt AA Teams

The league just added two more Squirt AA teams, which are Pikes Peak#2, and Ft. Collins. This means two more home games and two roads games have been scheduled.

As Vail Hockey players we end up traveling more than anyone would like. These two new teams have added two additional away games that I would just as soon forget. Beth juggled our schedule and managed to add the away game against Pikes Peak #2 during our existing trip to Colorado Springs on February first. This is the team we beat 6-3 in the Vail Tournament.

Game at Ft. Collins Feb 8th

The new Ft. Collins away game could only be scheduled on Sunday, February 8th at 11:30 am. It is a long way to go for a game, and I'm sure nobody is happy about this one. To minimize the travel, we changed our Banff away game to that Sunday afternoon to eliminate a trip to Denver. This means we have a busy weekend:

The Marriott in Ft. Collins has a family special. For $73.00 you can get a room with 2 beds plus breakfast the next day. We don't have a room block. You must call directly - 800/548-2635.

Colorado Springs and Albuquerque Tournaments

We are definitely in the Colorado Springs AA tournament over Martin Luther King weekend, (Jan 16th - 19th)

We are also definitely in the Albuquerque tournament on Presidents day, February 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th. Please make sure you have your room reservations. A hotel information sheet is included.

Florida Trip

The Florida Trip is a definite event, and is scheduled from Friday, March 20th - Friday March 27th. Kent Myers has secured a reasonable airfare to and from Eagle (no DIA!) We will have between 4-8 games, all at night. We will spend the first two nights in Orlando, and the last five on the Beach in Clearwater. Please see the attached "Florida Itinerary" for details.

Why Florida?

Many parents have asked "why Florida". The simple answer is, "it's warmer than Minnesota". However there are other, more important reasons. I recently had an interesting experience. I was playing men's league hockey with a bunch of locals who were 24-28 years old. They had all grown up in Vail and played hockey together, from mini-mites on up. I was struck by several things:

  1. They are still friends, having a great time playing hockey together. They look out for each other in terms of finding good jobs, and just being there if needed.
  2. They are solid young adults, working hard at various careers.
  3. They reminisce about the tournaments they went to as kids, and the fun they had.

We ask our kids to compete against the big programs, and are challenging them to win the state tournament. Florida is part of the reward for accepting this challenge, and will create memories that last a lifetime.

Florida Sponsorship Funds

If anyone is having trouble with the cost of the Florida trip, there are sponsorship funds available to cover airfare. Please call Barry for details.

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Email Barry Biegler - Barry@Resortdata.com