The state of the
rivalry is strong
Express Staff Writer
great hockey game won by the Sun Valley Suns 5-4 over the host Jackson
Hole Moose ended like all hockey games should—a pulled goalie, vitally
important face-offs deep in the Suns zone and two tired teams straining
with every inch of their beings.
were into it, too.
fought Friday night, the Suns skated away from possible fights and
avoided penalties Saturday because they had one goal in mind—beating the
Moose. Express photo by Willy Cook
when the game was done, the Moose fans threw cups of beer over the
plexiglass at the victorious Suns. Seeing it, the small but vocal group
of Suns fans lifted their middle fingers in the direction of the Moose
rooters, and the upraised fingers were returned.
had Sun Valley and Jackson Hole giving each other the finger, and then
everybody sucked it up and walked out of the rink side-by-side.
of the rivalry seems strong and healthy.
Hole in a space of five short years has created a wonderfully strong
base of fans who stridently support their team. They could chill out a
little more, if last weekend was any indication, but the Suns have had
27 years to go through their hockey ups-and-downs.
the rivalry didn’t exist six years ago. But the Suns always talked
about the advantages of having a strong rival within a four-hour drive.
And they encouraged the Moose founders back in 1996 by offering their
list of contacts and teams that routinely visited Sun Valley for games.
they’ve reached a parity where any team can win on any given night.
Two mountain towns otherwise occupied by skiing in the winter have been
turned on and revved up by the rivalry.
captain Chris Benson said, "Both teams realize our games are big
moneymakers and it’s good hockey. We should play each other eight
times over the season."
the two teams don’t like each other very much. They don’t socialize,
certainly not on a par with the Minnesota and New England hockey teams
that visit Sun Valley each year and play games as a prelude to the party
downtown. But with their two wins over the Moose this winter, the Suns
have dispelled the oft-repeated Jackson Hole notion that Sun Valley is a
fans certainly had plenty of spirit at Snow King—Matt Gorby helping to
defend the outnumbered Kris Webster against the Moose crowd Friday,
Wendy Speth telling the Moose coach what she thought of Jackson Hole on
Saturday, and Tony Mallane needling in true bleacher bum fashion.
did their part by buying the entertaining $10 Jackson Hole women’s
hockey calendar that featured plenty of scantily-clothed Miss Februarys.
And then the Suns girls went Jackson one better, as goalie Matt
Gershater came out and filmed it on video tape before the decisive third
them bared their midriffs and stood side-by-side, each wearing a letter
to finally spell out "Go Suns," and give the boys one more
shot of encouragement for their battle. The Suns loved the show of
support and got a little more energy in their legs for the final push to
beat the Moose.
hockey fans, the next games between the teams can’t come soon enough.