Battle Mountain hockey team gains momentum, plays Friday
Special to the Daily
EAGLE COUNTY — The Battle Mountain Huskies hockey team has been tearing up the ice this season, celebrating their best season in six years. After winning two games last weekend, Battle Mountain qualified for the playoffs. They will prepare for the playoffs by first playing a league game this weekend.
On Friday, the Huskies (9-6-1 overall and 6-5-1 in league play) will play Dakota Ridge, one of the premier teams in the league, at Dobson Ice Arena at 6 p.m. The following weekend, they will be in Aspen hoping to beat the Aspen hockey team a second time this season. The game this Friday will be followed by a celebration honoring the 10 graduating seniors on the team.
Between matches, the Huskies have been focusing their practice time on positional play tactics and game basics, strengthening their team by improving their individual skill sets. The head coach, Dennis Hextall, credits the team’s success to a combination of hard work and talent.
“There’s a good group of kids this year that want to play,” Hextall said. “They’re coachable. … I think the kids are all learning and playing well and having fun.”
Hextall was assistant coach to the Huskies for several years before being named head coach this year. Under his new leadership, the team has been showing consistent, strong performances. As the season draws near its end, Hextall credits the wins back to his athletes and the strides they have made as individual athletes.
“The credit goes to the kids,” he said. “They’re the ones who play hard.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.