Ice Wolves trio does New Mexico proud at Silver Sticks
It would be a supreme accomplishment for one New Mexico team to capture a regional Silver Stick championship.
The New Mexico Ice Wolves (NMICE) did that recently, and then some.
The Ice Wolves had three teams (Squirts, Midget Minor 16U and Midget Major 18U) win the Rocky Mountain District Silver Stick Regional in Westminster, Colo., and all three received invitations to play in the International Silver Stick Finals in Canada last month. The Squirts went to Pelham, Ont., where they ended up winning the tournament, while the Midget Minors went to Newmarket, Ont., and the Midget Majors to Sarnia, Ont.
Mike Curtin said the trip to Canada for his Squirt team was “quite an experience,” including winning the championship game 4-3 over the Oak Ridges Kings.
“The Canadian families we met were very friendly and amazed that our New Mexico team was willing to travel so far to play hockey,” Curtin said. “The majority of our games were very close from start to finish and we had to play all of them like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After winning the championship game, some of the kids got together to play pond hockey for a few hours on a frozen pond – something that most of the kids never got to experience back in New Mexico.
“Our team has developed so much in such a short period of time that it’s truly amazing. I am honored to be able to coach these kids who continue to show us all that when we make sacrifices for each other and believe in one another, we can accomplish anything.”
The NMICE Squirt team is comprised of forwards Logan Coulombe, Kieran Curtin, Davis Flint, Connor Glover, Nicholas Kaufman, Enzo Ramazzini and Trevor Runck; defensemen Sabastian Gonzales, Ainsley Jakaboski, Grant Jakaboski, Marcos Martinez and Bona Shay; and goalies Hunter Bauer and John Sanchez. Assistant coaches include Scott Bauer, Matt Coulombe, Carl Glover, J.C. Jakaboski, Oscar Martinez and Walter Ramazzini. Deanna Flint and Trevor Flint serve as team managers.
Richard Shanks coaches the NMICE 18U squad and noted that chemistry with his team is outstanding as the majority of the players have played together for the past 6-8 years.
“We have played in the Silver Stick Regional many times and have a handful of second-place finishes,” Shanks said. “This year when the boys won the championship, it was a great feeling – that feeling of reaching the summit of the mountain. My enjoyment was for the boys to see them relish in victory. Unlike so many teams that shop players and pick up pieces to try and become better, this team has just continued to work as a unit and their success was built, not bought. That component, the building, is what makes this journey so special.
“What I enjoy most about this team is the fact that it is a team. We do not have one superstar. Every player contributes and each game we have a different hero.”
Shanks’ 18U team is made up of forwards Ricky Haverland, Jason Knoll, Ty Kohlrust, Garrett McKinstry, Alex Perry, Killian Ramazzini, Chance Shanks. Marcus Trujillo and Kyle Usiak; defensemen Steven Bitzer, Tanner Colyer, Kyle Chandler, Sammy Hughes, Zac Lepori, Tyler Lovette, Seth Mitchell and Spenser Smith; and goaltenders Sam Fisher and Max Hoffman. Russ Osborne is the assistant coach, while bench coaches are Brian Hughes, Tim Kohlrust, John McKinstry and Walter Ramazzini and team managers are Michelle Knoll and Kim McKinstry.
Russ Payson is the head coach of the NMICE 16U team and boasts forwards Danny Cain, John Charles, Aidan Gantt, Ysidro Gravelle, Theo Hummel, Justin Lucero, Cameron Paradiso, Seth Payson, Leandro Richert, Jeffrey Schetnan and Ismael Valle; defensemen Tristan Colyer, Michael Garrity, Damian Jordan, Carson Schramm and Gabe Valle; and goalie Tyler Talbott. The team’s assistant coaches are Patrick Garrity and Todd Gravelle and Barry Charles serves as the team manager.