Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! introduces the Breckenridge Bucks
Special to the Daily
The lights start flashing, the music starts pumping, the PA announcer’s voice thunders, “Introducing your hometown hockey team, the Breckenridge Bucks” and the packed house responds with roars.
As we all know the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in the Kingdom is always — as in all the time — a humming hive of activity with puck-smacking hockey players of all ages and skill levels, girls and boys, women and men.
The Breckenridge Bucks team is a founding member of the new Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. The league is classified as USA Hockey Junior A, meaning the players are 20 years old and younger.
The other teams in the league include the Glacier Yetis of Grand Junction, the Aspen Leafs, the Colorado Thunderbirds of Littleton, the Colorado Rampage of Monument and the Pikes Peak Miners of Colorado Springs.
Locals involved include Brad Edelberg as the general manager of business, marketing and sales, working with well-known assistant coaches Kory DeKoevend and Billy Barto.
Kory is the director of Summit Youth Hockey and head coach of the Mountain Militia spring high school team, while Billy is a coach on the Summit High School team.
Both grew up in the Summit County area and came through the youth hockey system, Brad notes.
Kory played junior hockey in Montana. Billy played in college.
“These guys will provide an excellent connection to the youth and high school programs for the Bucks,” Brad says.
General manager of hockey operations and head coach of the Bucks is Jesse Davis, a native of Detroit, Michigan. The veteran has been an assistant coach in the United States Hockey League for five years and was an assistant in the North American Hockey League for many years before that, plus he played on the professional level, resulting in strong connections on the recruiting side that should help in building an excellent team to watch.
“Jesse and wife Stephanie are very excited to move here and become part of the Breckenridge community,” says Brad.
“The process the players take to play for a team like the Bucks is a long journey,” says coach Jesse. “Players will come from all over the U.S., Canada and overseas. It is an elite level of hockey with the goal for the players to achieve a chance to play college hockey and beyond.”
Jesse adds: “Playing junior hockey is definitely an experience that these players will never forget. But it is more than just growing as a hockey player — they learn life lessons and create long-lasting bonds and relationships with people from the community.”
Brad brings another local angle, with a background that starts with being a native Coloradan who got his hockey-stick start in Colorado Springs at age 4.
“I played on some of the first youth AAA teams in Colorado, including the original Colorado Thunderbirds Midget AAA team,” he says. “I also won a high school hockey state championship as captain of Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs. In the championship game we beat undefeated Battle Mountain 2-0.”
Brad went on to play hockey for four years at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he helped the Buffaloes finish in the top 10 in the country each year.
He also worked in hockey operations for the Denver Cutthroats semi-pro hockey team before coming to the Bucks.
And he is still in school.
“I am currently in grad school at CU-Denver and will graduate in May with an MBA in sports management and a master’s in finance and risk management.”
Brad is married to Kristin, who works in the Beaver Run human resources department.
For the new Bucks, it’s about building a team for the community.
“We are looking to provide Breckenridge and greater Summit County with a place to come for family-friendly entertainment and socializing, as well as a team for locals to support and ‘get behind’ as a community,” he says.
“We will strive as well to create an opportunity for young Summit Youth Hockey players to look toward in the future,” he adds. “We intend to become a community leader and become as entwined in the community and lifestyle of Breck as possible. We hope to leverage our position in the community to grow participation in the sport of hockey in Summit and beyond.
“I think what we are bringing will be great for the community, especially young hockey players who need heroes to look up to,” the GM says.
One way to get involved in the Bucks, says Brad, is to offer housing for the players in return for tickets and more.
“We are in dire need of host/billet families to house our players. Season tickets and housing stipends will be provided to anyone who helps us out on this front,” he says.
For more info on the Bucks, here are the contacts:
U.S. Army Ranger update: Last week’s Hey, Spike! featured Blue River’s Sgt. Elliot Cochran and teammate Bridger VanNess competing in the Best Ranger contest in Fort Benning, Georgia, a most arduous competition. Well, “our” team placed 19th out of 50, and gained a lot of experience they’ll put to future good use. Well done, men.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, a former Climax miner and a graduate of Adams State College. He and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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