Judging by longevity only, you might call the Sun Valley Suns men’s senior ice hockey team the wise and grizzled veteran, and you might refer to the Jackson Hole Moose as the brash, up-and-coming prospect.
And you might just throw all such comparisons out the window this weekend.
That’s when the Suns, entering their 38th winter season, and the 15th-year Moose franchise will renew a longstanding rivalry that went dormant for three years because—well, the resort players just didn’t seem like each other very much.
They’ll have to like each other or despise each other enough to face off four times during the month of December.
Jackson Hole hockey fans have the first crack at watching the intense rivalry today, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 when the two teams meet at 7:30 p.m. at Snow King Center ice arena in Wyoming. The Moose are the Suns’ guests for a big New Year’s series Dec. 28-29 at Sun Valley Skating Center.
There will be a bar crawl in downtown Ketchum each night before those holiday weekend games. And the old Sun Valley ice barn will be truly hopping.
Stand assured Jackson Hole’s downtown will be hopping tonight.
Jackson Hole leads the 12-season, 50-game rivalry by a 30-19-1 count including a 17-6-1 record on the Snow King ice.In games at Sun Valley, the teams are currently tied 13-13. Although the Suns lost twice at Jackson Hole 7-2 and 4-0 on their last visit over the hill to Wyoming three years ago, the Idaho skaters have fond memories of back-to-back sweeps at Snow King Center from 2005-07.
So far, the Moose have played two home games on their 22-game schedule. They beat Park City (Utah) Pioneers 6-3 and 8-5 Nov. 16-17 for coach Bob Carruth, the former Moose goalie and pioneer member of coach Tom Evans’ Moose in 1997 who is now the Snow King Center rink manager.
Familiar Moose forwards Joe Casey and Sean Hannafin were the scoring leaders against Park City in November.
The Suns (10-5-0 last winter, 586-238-29 in 37 seasons) are looking forward to a 22-game schedule featuring 18 home games from December through the first weekend of March.
Besides the Moose games, highlights should include the annual visit of goalie Bobby Farrelly’s Boston-area squad Jan. 27-28, and the return of one of America’s best Senior A teams, the New York St. Nicks, on Feb. 15-16.
Loading with recent eastern college hockey skaters, St. Nick’s is the granddaddy of all U.S. Senior Elite franchises, dating back 100 years and claiming at least five national USA Hockey titles since 1995.
The Suns’ “Kickoff Weekend” begins Thursday, Dec. 13 with a fundraising benefit starting at 6 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum. Money raised helps the Suns finance their campaign.
Another holiday treat is the Future Suns youngsters clashing with the current Suns in a Dec. 26 home exhibition to raise money for youth hockey.
Coaches John “Cub” Burke and Steve Morcone are back to provide veteran leadership on the Suns bench.
Brand-new father Ryan Thomson, the 10th-year Suns goalie, is raring to go. Thomson (8-5-0, 4.08 last winter) has now played in 101 career Suns games with a 68-32-0 record, 4.17 goals against.
Thomson’s back-up is a good one—Sun Valley Youth Hockey product Cody Levitan, 20, who was 2-0-0 last season.
Fortunately the Suns have returned all three members of the high-scoring forward line of left wing Ryan Enrico, center Jon Duval and right wing Bryan O’Connell that accounted for 47 of the team’s 93 goals last season.
Massachusetts native O’Connell has now led the Suns scoring for two consecutive years—17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points in 12 games two years ago, and 26 goals and 14 assists for 40 points in 13 games last year. For his two-year Suns career, he has 43 goals and 28 assists for 71 points in just 25 games—thus averaging nearly three points a game.
“OC” will likely climb over 100 Suns points this season. In doing so he would join the rarified air of only three other Suns marksmen, all Minnesotans, who have 100-plus points in three seasons. They are Dave Reichel (83 goals, 92 assists for 175 points), Tom D’Andrea (64-95 assists for 159) and Steve Gentilini (55-65 for 120).
Hoboken’s Enrico (259 points), entering his 10th season, should climb three places on the all-time Suns scoring list into the eighth position. Meanwhile, 15th-year defenseman Ivars Muzis should go over 200 points while 11th-year blueliner Eric Demment exceeds 100 assists as a Suns star.
Other returning blueliners include Kris Webster, Trevor Thomas, Bryan Winkler and Zak Greenawalt. A rookie from Richmond, Vt., 23-year-old Doug Yates, played high school hockey at Mt. Mansfield Union in Vermont and college hockey at Skidmore College, and he’s looking to play defense.
Taylor Rothgeb, Chad Levitan and Scott Winkler are back on another line, while Ryan Kolquist, Charles Friedman and Blake King are skating. Danny Ward is another swing forward/defensive player, like King.
Kolquist, 31, a left wing from coach Burke’s hometown of Duluth, Minn., skated in five Suns games last winter. He played high school hockey in Indiana then returned to the Mustangs of Rochester, Minn. for Junior A’s before skating for the University of Minnesota-Crookston.
Among the weekend benefits are Sun Valley Adaptive Sports for the New Year’s weekend home series against Jackson Hole, and the Atkinson Park Penguins for the Jan. 27-28 series with Farrelly’s Boston bunch.
HEADLINE:Sun Valley Suns 2012-13 Ice Hockey Schedule
Sun Valley's Senior “A” Elite men's hockey team, entering its 38th season of competition with a 586-238-29 cumulative record, has a 22-game schedule—18 games at home and 4 away—plus 1 holiday exhibition game. All 2-game home series are played Friday and Saturdays starting at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center. Last year’s 10-5-0 team was led by top scorer Bryan O’Connell (26 goals, 14 assists), who returns to lead the new Suns edition.
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8Jackson Hole (Wyo.) MooseSnow King Center, Jackson, 7:30
Thursday, Dec. 13Suns Party and FundraiserWhiskey Jacques, 6:00
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15Park City (Utah) PioneersHome, 7:00
Wednesday, Dec. 26Future Suns vs. SunsHome, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29Jackson Hole (Wyo.) MooseHome, SV Adaptive Sports
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5Utah RebelsHome, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12Missoula (Mt.) CutthroatsHome, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19Las Vegas (Nev.) HookersHome, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28Northeast Moose Knucklers, BostonHome, Park Penguins, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2No games scheduled, Boulder Mt. Ski Tour
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9Park City (Utah) PioneersPark City and Midway, Utah
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16New York St. NicksHome, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23Hockey Source HC (Kennewick, Wash.)Home, 7:00
Friday and Saturday, March 1-2Vancouver (B.C., Canada) Moto IceHome, 7:00
NOTES—All home games at Sun Valley Skating Center begin at 7 p.m. There are three 20-minute periods. Games last about two-and-a-half hours. Ticket prices are $8 general admission, $5 for kids ages 6-18, free for kids 5-and-under.…...Suns players will have their annual Volunteer Aid Station at the Boulder Mountain Ski Tour Feb. 2, 2013…..The Suns Party and Fundraiser Dec. 13 includes a 50-50 raffle, silent auction and dinner with the Suns players from 6-9 p.m. followed by live music starting 10 p.m…….There will be a bar crawl from 4:30 p.m. until game time in downtown Ketchum before the Dec. 28-29 series with Jackson Hole….On Sunday, Jan. 20 following the Suns-Las Vegas series, players from both teams are planning to take part in the 6th annual Idaho Pond Hockey Classic at Atkinson Park…..On the Feb. 8-9 road trip to Utah, the Suns and Park City Pioneers will play indoors Friday at 7 p.m. on the Park City sheet, and then meet outdoors at 2 p.m. Saturday in Midway, Utah….
Spectators are asked not to bring alcoholic beverages into the arena. Refreshments and food are sold in the rink. Parking will be allowed in the two lots just to the western side of the rink, but no parking will be permitted on Dollar Road. Spectators can also park in the main Sun Valley parking lot by the village.
DETAIL: Helvetica, 8 pt, 9.5 pt lead, justified
YOUR INITIALS: jc
HEADLINE:Sun Valley Suns Roster for 2012-13
Listed are player names, ages, years with the Sun Valley Suns team, hometowns and previous hockey teams.
Ryan Thomson, 34, 10th yearFlagstaff, Ariz..New England Coll./Anchorage Aces
Cody Levitan, 20, 3rd yearSun ValleySV Junior Hockey
Kris Webster, 39, 19th yearKetchumSV Junior Hockey
Ivars Muzis, 39, 15th yearRiga, LatviaJuniors Riga
Eric Demment, 35, 11th yearEtna, N.H.Williams College/France
Trevor Thomas, 28, 8th yearSan Diego, Ca.SV Junior Hockey
Bryan Winkler, 28, 7th yearSun ValleySV Junior Hockey/Avon Old Farms
Zak Greenawalt, 28, 4th yearLos AngelesSun Valley Suns
Blake King, 23, 3rd yearSun ValleySV Junior Hockey
Johnny Miller, 49, 21st yearDarien, Conn.New Hampton Academy
John Stevens, 40, 18th yearAnchorage, Ak.Univ. of Scranton
Ryan Enrico, 32, 10th yearHoboken, N.J.New England College (Henniker, N.H.)
Charles Friedman, 36, 8th yearLondon, EnglandSenior Hockey League/Grumpy’s
Scott Winkler, 31, 8th yearSun ValleySV. Jr. Hockey/SUNY-Brockport
Jon Duval, 34, 7th yearBoston, Mass.Willams College/New Zealand Premier
Taylor Rothgeb, 27, 5th yearSun ValleySV Junior Hockey
Bryan O’Connell, 25, 3rd yearTaunton, Mass.Castleton State (Vt.) Spartans
Chad Levitan, 24, 3rd yearHaileySV Junior Hockey
Danny Ward, 24, 3rd yearSun ValleySV Junior Hockey
Ryan Kolquist, 31, 2nd yearDuluth, Minn.Univ. of Minnesota-Crookston
Doug Yates, 23, 1st yearRichmond, Vt.Mt. Mansfield Union HS/Skidmore Coll.
Head coaches—John “Cub” Burke and Steve Morcone.
General managers—Charles Friedman, Bryan O’Connell, Jon Duval, Ryan Thomson and Ryan Enrico.
Team doctors—Dr. Frank Batcha and Dr. Tony Buoncristiani.
Security—Jeff and Tina Carnes. Merchandise—Benefit groups