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Lady RoughRiders charting a new course in Colorado

01/08/2014, 4:30pm EST
By Mike Scandura - Special to USAHockey.com

It’s sometimes said that necessity is the mother of invention. That was certainly the case for the Rocky Mountain Lady RoughRiders.

Because of dwindling enrollments, four Colorado associations — Arvada Hockey Association, the Boulder Hockey Club, the Hyland Hills Hockey Association and the Northern Colorado Youth Hockey Association — found themselves without enough girls to remain viable for the 2013-14 season.

“They would have kept going on the same way and some organizations only would have been able to fill a rec 19 team, if that,” Lady RoughRiders President Calvin Abila said. “We decided if we all combined and had a program that was developed in the northern part of the Denver metro area, it would be best for all parties concerned.”

What transpired next was that the boys’ hockey directors for Arvada (John Mckibbon), Boulder (Chris Lockren), Hyland Hills (Shawn Kurulak) and Northern Colorado (Aaron Grosul) approached Abila, who at the time was the Rocky Mountain Lynx girls’ hockey director, with the express purpose of establishing a new girls’ program.

“They said let’s become the Lady RoughRiders and become affiliated with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders,” Abila said, referring to the Tier I junior team from Iowa. “Prior to that, they had reached out to Cedar Rapids and asked if it was okay to start a program involving all four associations and they said it was, and they elected me president.

“We wear the same jerseys as the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and even have the same logos.”

When the Lady RoughRiders stepped on the ice this season they were able to skate teams at the Under-19 AA and Under-14 AA levels in addition to having Under-12 plus Under-8 recreational programs. The U8 program is a learn-to-skate program that’s open to all girls ages 5 through 8, or girls from 5 through 19 who have zero prior hockey experience and want to learn the game.

“We’re also teaching kids how to play,” Abila said. “But by combining with a great organization [the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders], it brought us an established, branded, successful program that’s known around the country. Now, more girls want to be a part of the Lady RoughRiders.”

When it comes to success, the U14 AA team already has exceeded expectations. In October, it captured the Western Regional Silver Stick Tournament and the Lady Ducks Fall Classic. Then, in November, the team participated in a showcase tournament, Chill in the Hill at the Edge Ice Arena, and posted an impressive 3-0-1 record.

“They played against good talent,” Abila said. “They were successful because their team was well-coached and the girls are hard workers.

“They came together as a unit and wanted to compete to the best of their ability.”

Jean Cote, a veteran youth coach in area associations, is the U14 AA head coach. His assistants are Shane McGregor and Jordan Slavin who, during the 2009-10 season as a freshman, became the first active University of North Dakota female player to compete for the United States in the IIHF World Under-18 Championship (where the team earned the silver medal).

The Lady RoughRiders are realistic about what they hope to accomplish not only this season but also in the future.

“Our goals are to get girls on the ice to play ice hockey and learn the game of life,” he said. “We’re offering them opportunities to play ice hockey.

“If a girl goes on to play college hockey, that’s a bonus. We want good structure, practice time and game time and, most importantly, for the girls to have fun. All that other great stuff like winning and getting college scholarships is a bonus.”

Another bonus, so to speak, is the play of the U19 AA team that faces off against girls in a league that has AA teams plus club teams from local colleges such as Denver University, the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University.

“Our high school-age girls are really playing against college-age girls,” Abila said. “They’re competitive in all of their games. We have a young team this year. Most of our girls are freshmen and sophomores.

“They’re getting that experience and they love it. That’s what we’re offering.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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TIER I GIRLS - Marlborough, MA
Michael Bontatibus (Hooksett, NH)
Brea Boone (San Clemente, CA)
Jennifer Cameron (Hollywood, FL)
Kelly Cooke (Andover, MA)
Stephen Drain (Milton, MA)
Jennifer Glynn (Leominster, MA)
Michael Goodwin (Upton, MA)
Melanie Gotsdiner (Plano, TX)
Katie Guay (Mansfield, MA)
Bryan Harrington (Franklin, MA)
Samantha Hiller (Boulder, CO)
Jamie Huntley (La Jolla, CA)
Rachel Hutchinson (Brewster, MA)
Ted Kellar (Cheshire, MA)
Adam Kiel (Milford, MA)
Jessica Leclerc (Old Orchard Beach, ME)
Matthew Lowe (Hudson, MA)
Cameron Lynch (Somerville, MA)
Kyle McQuoid (Clinton, MA)
Brian Milliken (Leominster, MA)
Jarred Mitrano (Haverhill, MA)
Kristin Moore (Salt Lake City, UT)
Crystalle Parent (Londonderry, NH)
Chelsea Rapin (Shelburne, VT)
Chris Riley (Sterling, MA)
Jill Salvo (Long Beach, CA)
George Soares (Cotuit, MA)
Jackie Spresser (Aurora, CO)
Brienne Stewart (Tulalip, WA)
Melissa Szkola (Clinton Township, MI)
Bridget Waitkus (Attleboro, MA)
Joshua Wang (Cambridge, MA)
Carol Weston (Bristol, VT)
Taylor Willert (Sun Prairie, WI)
Mackenzie Williams (Rome, NY)

TIER II GIRLS - Amherst, NY
Brittney Berning (Litchfield, MN)
Kayleigh Bowers (Dallas, TX)
Tony Brovata (Sanborn, NY)
Francesca Clemente (Brooklyn, NY)
Samuel Cucinotta (Kenmore, NY)
Nicole Davis (Crystal Lake, IL)
Kevin Frankowski (Depew, NY)
Michael Fusani (Depew, NY)
Kendall Hanley (Allen, TX)
Daniel Iulianello (Webster, NY)
Katrina Kleinschmit (East Lansing, MI)
Amy Loughman (Teaneck, NJ)
Janine Martinez (Lovonia, MI)
Ceci Morris (Hoffman Estates, IL)
Peter Nigrelli (Buffalo, NY)
Andrew Nosek (Buffalo, NY)
David Panek (Buffalo, NY)
Jodi Price (Arkport, NY)
John Rivera (Farmington, NY)
William Robins (North Tonawanda, NY)
Stefanie Schmitz (Farmington, MN)
Scott Smith (Webster, NY)
Sara Strong (Grand Rapids, MI)
Randy Szukala (North Tonawanda, NY)
Alex Valvo (East Aurora, NY)
Madeleine Weeks (Philadelphia, PA)

TIER I YOUTH - Green Bay, WI
Travis Ahlberg (Birchwood, WI)
James Blankenship (Rhinelander, WI)
Scott Bokal (Manchester, MO)
Gerald Borman (Eagan, MN)
Denny Bourgoin (Lewiston, ME)
William Conybear (Madison, WI)
Nick Cristan (Hudson, WI)
Robert Dawson (Winfield, IL)
Shane Dillon (Saumico, WI)
Kyle Domin (Bozeman, MT)
Anthony Guzzo (Spokane, WA)
Jonathan Haas (Fitchburg, WI)
Andrew Hudson (Manchester, MO)
Jeff Klein (Denver, CO)
Michael Lacina (Omaha, NE)
Kyle Larson (West Liberty, IA)
Travis Larson (West Liberty, IA)
John Melancon (Lyman, ME)
Gabriel O'Lena (Soldotna, AK)
Karl Olm (Madison, WI)
Robert Pagani (Beecher, IL)
Richard Palo (Foristell, MO)
Dylan Peper (Arvada, CO)
Curt Peterson (Aldie, VA)
Daniel Rack (Glendale Heights, IL)
Brad Roethlisberger (Green Bay, WI)
Brandon Schroder (Wausau, WI)
Jayson Selbert (Cheektowaga, NY)
Adam Shadiow (Saginaw, MN)
James (Cody) Smith (Murfreesboro, TN)
Matthew Spaeth (Hillsboro, MO)
Zane Stout (Irwin, PA)
Mason Strom (Hoffman Estates, IL)
Todd Turner (Chicago, IL)
Michael Verdonck (Chicago, IL)
Alex Vigh (Grosse Ile, MI)
Nicholas West (Orland Park, IL)

TIER II 14 & UNDER - Hackensack, NJ
David Aiello (Newtown, PA)
Carl Barling (Sparta, NJ)
Robert Backl (St. Joseph, MN)
Danielle Bugge (West Windsor, NJ)
Fred Cleck (Annville, PA)
Paul Crosta (Morris Plains, NJ)
Morgen Dautrich (Nazareth, PA)
Michael Dimino (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Thomas Dugan Jr. (North Brunswick, NJ)
Jon Hayes (Atco, NJ)
Blake Hishmeh (Kinnelon, NJ)
Louis Imbriani (Anchorage, AK)
Alexios Karabetsos (Troy, MI)
Isaac Kessler (Ambler, PA)
Brian McCullough (Morton, PA)
Eric Michaels (Philadelphia, PA)
Robert Navickas (Morton, PA)
Donald Nichols (Dover, NJ)
Michael Oreskovich (West Deptford, NJ)
John Patenaude (Glenside, PA)
Ryan Pergola (Nutley, NJ)
Sean Perry (Kunkletown, PA)
Duncan Ryhorchuk (Hanover, MN)
Samuel Schildkraut (Media, PA)
John Thompson (Lancaster, PA)
Dalton Tice (Reading, PA)
Kevin Vena (Perkiomenville, PA)
Brett Wallen (Williamstown, NJ)
Eric Workman (Lakeville, MN)

TIER II 16 & UNDER - Reston, VA
Justin Baker (Alexandria, VA)
John Canoy (Fairbanks, AK)
Marcus Currie (Laurel, MD)
Armand DeForest (Phoenix, AZ)
Christopher Dietz (Washington, DC)
Colin Gates (Fairfax, VA)
Alex Germany-Wald (Washington, DC)
Logan Gruhl (North Chesterfield, VA)
Brian Jansen (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
Jason Johnson (Lakeville, MN)
Ronald Johnson (Lake Wylie, SC)
Richard Jondo (Baltimore, MD)
Richard Kuerston (Atlanta, GA)
Gary Labelle (Arlington, VA)
Jason Lortie (Coral Springs, FL)
Michael Lucas (North Royalton, OH)
Jeremy Malin (Aldie, VA)
Jason Messimore (Knoxville, TN)
Bob Nolan (Laurel, MD)
Peter Olson (Essex Junction, VT)
Thomas Parynik (Chesterfield, VA)
Josh Pergande (Reston, VA)
Matt Pettigrew (Sterling, VA)
Richard Robichaud (Lorton, VA)
Scott Sivulich (Wasilla, AK)
Derek Vandenberg (Arvada, CO)
Matthew VanHorne (Manassas, VA)
Joel Webster (Raleigh, NC)
Justin Yott (Colorado Springs, CO)

TIER II 18 & UNDER - Wayne, NJ
Chris Bluem (Kendall Park, NJ)
David Brown (Neptune, NJ)
Michael Dalton (Camden, NJ)
Timothy Foreman (Hershey, PA)
Blaine Forkell (Souderton, PA)
Michael Forys (Cottage Grove, MN)
Timothy Funk (Rye, NH)
Jeff Greenstein (Potomac, MD)
Colin Haas (Plano, TX)
Patrick Hanrahan (Hatfield, PA)
Michael Kubec (Mentor, OH)
Benedict Manderachi (Douglassville, PA)
Jason Mandroc (Downingtown, PA)
David Maxfield (Rochester, NH)
Tom McCullough (Conshohocken, PA)
Chris McPhee (Kearns, UT)
Justin Nicol (Lake Stevens, WA)
Robert Perry (Kunkletown, PA)
Steven Sailor (Sewell, NJ)
Daniel Shilkitus (Landenberg, PA)
Chris Shoppell (Fort Wayne, IN)
Gary Shpungin (Wayne, NJ)
Andrew Suhovic (Bayonne, NJ)
Jason Theodore (North Wales, PA)
Dustin Thompson (Missoula, MT)
Brandon Uzarek (Evansville, IN)
David Zulla (Roebling, NJ)
Eric Zullo (Avenel, NJ)

HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY - Omaha, NE
David Ballantyne (McHenry, IL)
Larry Clark Jr. (Pekin, IL)
Patrick Clay (Missoula, MT)
Russell Coll (Olathe, KS)
Joshua Eiden (Saint Bonafacius, MN)
Terry Farrar (Saint Charles, MO)
Brian Fisher (Aurora, IL)
Tim Frazee (Fairfax, IA)
Colin Gruenke (Northbrook, IL)
Brian Hankes (Wheaton, IL)
Jeff Hirsch (Woodstock, IL)
Benton Kooman (O'Fallon, MO)
Robert Lowth (Rolling Meadows, IL)
Josh Lupinek (Minnetonka, MN)
Nicholas Matarazzi (Saint Louis, MO)
William Murphy (Saint Charles, MO)
Arnold Pizzutelli (Overland Park, KS)
Terrance Saunders (Manhattan, KS)
Joshua Scott (Fort Wayne, IN)
Colin Snodgrass (Missoula, MT)
J.R. Stragar (Pittsburgh, PA)
William Valiant (Corvallis, OR)

SENIOR WOMEN - Marlborough, MA
Lorraine Adkisson (Estell Manor, NJ)
Leah Buysse (Waunakee, WI)
Rebecca Caron (Belmont, NH)
Cleveland Coats Jr. (Lexington, MA)
Donald Cowern Jr. (Ashland, MA)
Keisha Dunlevy (Worthington, MA)
Mary Frey (Edina, MN)
Jean Goodwin (Reading, MA)
Jamie Lalos (Billerica, MA)
Michelle Lichterman (Mount Prospect, IL)
Paul Maguire (Natick, MA)
Bryan McKay (Groton, MA)
Kristin Moran (Sartell, MN0
Ken Murphy (Melrose, MA)
Kevin Nelson (Billerica, MA)
Stephen Phaneuf (Hudson, MA)
Colleen Reddy (Salisbury, MA)
James Riley (Lancaster, MA)
Randy Silveira (Seekonk, MA)
Cory Talbott (Edgewater, MD)
James Ternullo (Billerica, MA)
Cody Tremblay (Brighton, MA)
Edward Vahey (Wellesley, MA)
Andrea Weissman (South Grafton, MA)

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