Breck Bucks goalie Oliver Elvenger moves to USHL team
BReck Bucks vs. Colorado Thunderbirds
Friday, Nov. 27 — 7:50 p.m., Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge
Friday, Nov. 28 — 7:50 p.m., Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge
Tickets for both games are $12-17 and available at the door or online through www.breckenridgebucks.com.
Count this as a win and a loss for the Breckenridge Bucks.
On Nov. 18, the team announced that starting goalie Oliver Elvenger was packing up for Iowa to play with the Waterloo Blackhawks of the United States Hockey League. The 18-year-old Swede posted a 5-0 record with the Bucks and is the first Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League player to earn a call-up.
“That next level is bigger, stronger and faster,” said Davis, a former coach in the elite USHL. “He (Elvenger) will be competing with and against players that have been drafted to the NHL, and just about everyone in that league has Division I commitments. It’s the cream of the crop for sure.”
Based in the Midwest, the USHL has 17 teams classified as Tier I junior hockey league by USA Hockey. That’s the highest level in the states, and for most players in the RMJHL — home to the Bucks and six other Tier II teams — it’s the next stepping-stone to a career on the ice. The results speak for themselves: Last season, seven USHL players were chosen in the first round of the NHL entry draft.
“It will be good for him to fill in and get that experience,” Davis said of Elvenger’s move to Waterloo. “He’s young enough and has time to keep learning.”
Davis was impressed with Elvenger’s performance in Breckenridge. When he heard about the opening through his USHL network, he immediately thought of the 6-foot, 185-pound goalie.
“With goalies it’s all about size and quickness, and he has both,” Davis said. “He’s very quick on his feet and moves fast, up and down, side to side. That’s the kind of attributes you look for in a goaltender. He’s got the best of both worlds.”
The Bucks now turn to backup Lincoln Riley. He missed a few games early in the season with an injury and is now back at full health. He’ll split time with Fairplay local Reiker Edstrom and Summit High School senior Wyatt Dickerson, who got his first taste of RMJHL play Nov. 21 against the Pike Peak Miners.
“It’s just a domino effect,” Davis said. “One guy gets pulled up and another guy takes his spot, so it’s a great way to keep getting them the experience they need. It’s pretty cool how that works.”
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