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YMCA Jr. Buffs Hockey Turns Heads

Jan 24, 2017, 13:51 PM by

YMCA Jr. Buffs Champs

YMCA Jr. Buffs Hockey Continues to Thrive in Colorado Hockey with Successful Weekend

The YMCA Jr Buffs Hockey Program enjoyed the most successful tournament weekend in its brief history. As one of the smallest clubs in the state and in just their second year as the Jr. Buffs Hockey Program, six of the hockey teams that call the YMCA home participated in tournaments over the MLK weekend. Five of those teams made the semi-finals or better in their respective tournaments. And not to be outdone, the Jr. Buffs U8 teams also participated in a local Jamboree, which, according to USA Hockey, is a scrimmage using only half ice with no score being kept.

In the 2002-2003 Bantam age division, the Jr. Buffs Bantam A team traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, and won the Grizz Cup with a heart stopping 2-0 win over Vail in the championship game. Jr. Buff winger Tyler Rowan scored the game winner early in the first period, and goalie Jack Midyette held off a very good Vail team to get the shut out. In the semi-finals, the Jr. Buffs needed to get past fellow Colorado hockey program participant Arvada Black (residing in the CCYHL Presidents Division), which they did with a solid 3-1 win. The Bantam A team is 14-0-1 in their last 15 games and is looking for its first ever CCYHL division title. 

The Jr. Buffs Bantam B squad played in the DU Pioneer Classic and lost a heart breaker in the semis to end in a tie for third place during the tournament. The Jr. Buffs had a hard fought battle versus Denver Country Club, which was the eventual tournament champion. Despite the loss, the Jr. Buffs can hold their head up high knowing that they sit on top of the CCYHL Governors Division half way through the season with a 7-2-0 record.  

The Jr. Buffs CRHL Bantam White team played in the Slap Shot tournament in Fort Collins over the MLK weekend and went 1-2-1 in their four games. They lost out on a chance to go 2-2 in their final game when Arapahoe scored with 5 seconds left to tie the game. Head Coach Kevin Simeon said, "The kids lost the first two games but never gave up and played two great games to finish out the tournament, and I couldn't be prouder of their resolve."

In the 2004-2005 Pee Wee age division, the Jr. Buffs PW B team traveled to Denver University and also made the semi-finals of the Pioneer Classic, losing to the eventual champion Tri City Storm out of Nebraska. By all accounts, the kids played extremely well. "We are growing as a team and getting stronger in our play with every game," said Jr. Buffs Pee Wee Head Coach Tony Zurn. The Jr. Buffs will return to league play this coming weekend, where they are currently in second place in the PW B Presidents Division with a 5-4-1 record.

The Lady Buffs PW team traveled to Vail and made the championship in an all-girls hockey tournament. This is the Lady Buffs second year as a team and yet the girls lost a heart breaker 1-0 to host Vail in the championship. Head Coach Frank Urban said after the game, "It was such a close game that it was a shame either team had to lose." He also added that his girls conducted themselves both on the ice and off with such class that he sees them as winners regardless of the final result.  

The 2006-2007 Jr. Buffs Squirt A team played in the MLK tournament at Arvada going 3-1 in pool play to advance to the semi-finals. There, they met the top seed of the Black Division, Boulder Hockey Club. The Jr. Buffs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and went on to beat BHC by a score of 5-2, which earned them a trip to the championship game against youth hockey power the Littleton Hawks. This is the Jr. Buffs' first team based out of the YMCA to play in a top division of any age group. This year, they have not only won a game but made it all the way to the championship game. Head Coach Stephen Cunningham said, "These kids have progressed with their skills so far since tryouts and I can see that they continue to get better as hockey players each and every time they take the ice. This past tournament was proof of that."

In the 2008-2009 age division, the Jr. Buffs Mites (both intermediate and advanced teams) participated in a local U8 Jamboree. According to U8 Director Peter Sejna, our kids at both levels performed highly with their skating and puck skills and showed skills in the games that allowed them to find success. Sejna added, "We will continue to emphasize skating and hard work in practice because at this age, that is what they should be focusing on and that is what is setting them apart when they play against other teams." 

The 2017 MLK weekend will go down as a bench mark in the Jr. Buffs short history — six teams competed and five of those teams made the semis or better with three of those five making the championship game. Jr. Buff Youth Hockey Director Chance Creger said, "To think, just a few short years ago we were just an in-house program and to see where we are today is amazing. It is a testament to the kids' hard work, their families and our coaches. I couldn't be prouder to say we are the Jr. Buffs."

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