Letter: Great season for Vail Huskies hockey
Edwards, CO Colorado
I think it was William Shakespeare who wrote: “The greatest words of quill or pen are those that said ” what might have been.” After a hockey season that ended like this year’s season for the Battle Mountain Huskies, it would be easy to dwell on “what might have been.” Trust me, for most of the day after the state final game, our family was. But as we talked about it as a family, we decided to think about what was – and how far our team came.
At the beginning of the season few would’ve have predicted we’d be in the state final playing for the state championship. Thinking back on what the team accomplished this year – let’s just say it didn’t start off like a championship season.
The season started out roughly, when we lost several players to suspensions, with each of them missing several games. Then early in the season, we lost two key defensive players to injuries for several weeks each. We played the first several games with players covering different positions and plugging holes.
In those games we were inconsistent. It was clear there was a lot of talent on the team – but with players in unfamiliar positions, the boys showed a lot of heart but not a lot of discipline. In particular, in the two losses to Summit we looked like a highly talented, but undisciplined bunch ” easily taunted into penalties and then beaten.
But as the season went on, we continued to win against every other team, and something started to change. Maybe the seniors realized this was their chance, or the players started to see how much talent they really had, and what might be possible if they could harness it. Maybe the coaches got through, or the team captains, or the players just started to trust each other. It’s difficult to tell.
We kept winning – beating some teams by six, seven and eight goals. Soon we were ranked number one in our league and we beat Air Academy and Cheyenne Mountain. When we beat Lewis Palmer, the then-number one team in the state, our Battle Mountain Huskies knew they were for real.
Then came the playoffs. We played four games, including the championship. We didn’t exactly breeze through the first three rounds; winning by just one or two goals, all of them scored in the final minutes of each game. Nail biters? More like cardiac arrests, especially for the parents and coaches. So when you think about what might have been – its easy to see that we might not have made it to the championship at all. It’s easy to imagine we could have lost to 16th seeded Chatfield in Round 1, who we only beat by one goal. Or Summit in the grudge game. We tied up that game with 1:47 left, and then won it with a goal scored at 0:14 seconds left. Even the Ralston Valley game was essentially a one goal game that could have been a loss.
Sure losing the state final is tough. And it hurts. Nobody wanted it to end that way and we were all devastated. I think sometimes there’s nothing to learn from losing – sometimes it just sucks. Mark Spitz, the great American swimmer, once said: “I just can’t forget losing. I never will.” And Vin Scully said: “Losing feels worse than winning feels good.” I know I hope I never again have to see heartbroken faces like those of our team as they left the arena after losing the final, especially those of my sons.
But I think this loss is different, and there is something to learn. I don’t know who said “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but I think it’s the right thought. Let’s think about the 20 teams we beat this season and congratulate our Huskies on an incredible run – one that ended just a little differently than we’d hoped.
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