Summit High School close to naming new hockey coach |

Summit High School close to naming new hockey coach

The Summit Tigers play the Steamboat Springs Sailors at Stephen C. West Ice Arena on Dec. 11, 2019.
Photo by Liz Copan / Summit Daily archives

If and when the Summit High School hockey team plays this season, it will be with a new head coach.

Joey Otsuka resigned from his position as the Tigers hockey head coach because he started a new job in the Colorado Springs area.

Summit High School Director of Athletics Travis Avery said Tuesday that officials have some final candidates they are in the process of deciding among but that no final decision has been made. Avery added that he hopes to have a coach in place going into the holiday break. The Tigers will not be able to begin competition and practice as a team until more than a month later, at the earliest.

The season has been delayed, along with other winter sports, from its previously scheduled Jan. 4 start because of rising virus case numbers across Colorado. The Colorado High School Activities Association is now proposing a Feb. 1 start date.

Last winter, Otsuka led the Tigers to the Colorado High School Activities Association state playoffs.

“I think Joey did a good job,” Avery said. “Unfortunately, he had a change in job situation and moved out of county. That was the impetus behind the change, which is a positive life situation for him. But he certainly did a good job. One of the things we valued with Joey was he was even-keeled throughout things. Hockey is no different from other sports, but sometimes it’s heightened. In the hockey world, a lot of emotions are involved. Having a coach who kind of brings some balance to that, I think that’s a quality that’s beneficial going forward. Somebody who is definitely passionate and knowledgeable, who knows the systems behind hockey, but knows they are also dealing with young athletes in a contact sport.”

Avery said he and the district value how the Summit High hockey program works closely with the local Summit Youth Hockey club to continue to grow the high school program. Currently, Chris Miller, the director of Summit Youth Hockey, is leading high school age players in preseason work with the club. Miller said he is not a candidate for the high school job.

Avery said the high school team ideally would have someone with local connections but that the district is considering a mix of candidates.

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