Friday, December 21, 2007

Young hockey stars challenge Suns tonight

Holiday exhibition always a fun benefit

Express Staff Writer

Trevor Thomas (far left), celebrating a Suns goal during last Friday?s 9-8 home overtime win over Park City (Utah) Silver Kings, is a Sun Valley junior hockey product who has logged plenty of time for the Suns over the past three winters. Photo by Willy Cook

Few people could have foreseen when the Sun Valley Youth Hockey Association started up 32 years ago that the fledgling group would encourage local kids to develop a lifetime love of the sport of hockey.

That is what has happened. Local skaters have gone through Mitey Mites, Squirts, PeeWees and Midgets and have also advanced to play college hockey and lace 'em up in the competitive junior ranks.

Some of those young people will take the ice as the "Future Suns" squad today, Friday, Dec. 21, in the annual holiday exhibition game matching the kids against the grizzled veterans from the Sun Valley Suns men's ice hockey team.

Game time is 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center.

"We're trying to put together a competitive team that can play against the Sun Valley Suns," said Barbara Amick, former Sun Valley Midgets team manager who has overseen the progress of many of the youngsters in Sun Valley.

Friday's game raises money for Sun Valley Youth Hockey's Brett Sammis scholarship fund.

Some of the best youth hockey players Sun Valley has produced will take their chances against a Suns squad that could have a little different look because of the holidays.

"We'll have a few guys gone, but it should be a good game," said Suns coach Chris Benson.

High school hockey coach Andrew Hebert will guide the Future Suns and will be assisted by current Colorado College player Cody Lampl, also a Sun Valley junior hockey grad.

Among the Future Suns will be Joey Sides (Wentworth), Ryan McDonald and Matt Ward (University of Idaho), Justin Taylor (Lake Forest), Taylor Rothgeb and Danny Ward (Denver University) and Travis Amick (Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles);

Also, Sinjin Thomas (Boise State University), Chad Levitan, Spencer Brendel (juniors in Sweden), Max Kwok (Syracuse), Matt Alloway (Boise Junior "AA" Steelheads), Jeff Conover, Kyle Cole (George Washington University) and Jordan Pritchett (Avon Old Farms).

Future Suns goalie will be Regan O'Reilly (Southern Methodist University), and Patrick McMahon, current Sun Valley Midgets senior captain, is also scheduled to play.

Security will be beefed up

Security will be beefed up for all Suns hockey games.

"We're having an issue with beverages brought into the rink during games, mostly by underage kids," Benson said Monday.

Benson said the Suns organization plans to beef up security for future Suns games including this Friday's Suns vs. Future Suns exhibition that always attracts plenty of teenagers and college-age students in town for the holiday.

"All bags and persons will be subject to search," he said. "Absolutely no outside beverages will be allowed in the rink."

The Suns also play the McCall Mountaineers over New Year's weekend, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29.

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