Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Vail Yeti Hockey fires up the ice at Dobson Arena | VailDaily.com

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Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Vail Yeti Hockey fires up the ice at Dobson Arena

Semi-pro hockey returns to Vail with the Vail Yeti Hockey team hitting the ice once again this winter. Dobson Ice Arena plays host to the home team as well as many top teams across the nation.

Hockey of this caliber is not new to Vail. The Vail Mountaineers team started back in the 80s and had a long run in the Valley. The Vail Yeti team hopes to achieve that same type of longevity and have grown in popularity in the past four years.

Their success has attracted talented players from the American Hockey League, which is the direct feeder league to the NHL, professional leagues in Europe and Australia as well as top college teams.

The team is lead by Bill Foster and Brent Sands, who both played for the Pensacola Ice Flyers after playing against each other in NCAA College Hockey. Foster says playing the dual role of Yeti player and coach is relatively easy because they have a great group of guys.

"Aside from a few lineup decisions we all are involved in pretty much every aspect of the team. I lean on other guys to be leaders."

In addition to a demanding home and away schedule, all the Yeti players have full time jobs. These players realize that the balancing act of work and being able to enjoy all the activities Vail has to offer and still fulfill a childhood passion for hockey is a dream come true. "Having the opportunity to still compete at this level in front of our loving fans is an absolute privilege," said Sands.

"One fan told me her little boy slept in his Yeti jersey with his puck that we gave him at the game. It's great to see their fire for hockey light up!"

If you head over to the arena, expect to see them put on a good show. "The games are competitive every night, which is extremely important to a hockey fan or player," added Foster. "That coupled with the camaraderie we have as a group makes an environment that I love and the people of Vail are starting to love as well."

If you go…
Vail Yeti vs. Pikes Peak Vigilantes
Fri. Feb 17 & Sat. Feb. 18
Puck Drops at 7:45 p.m.
Dobson Ice Arena
Adults – $10
Kids under 12 – $5
http://www.vailyetihockey.com