For 36 winters at Sun Valley, through bone dry seasons and deep snowfall, the Sun Valley Suns senior men's hockey team has brought people together on weekend nights for hooting and hollering and enjoying some lightning-fast hockey.
It's bone dry again, and the Suns are still lacing them up.
The 37th winter season of the Sun Valley Suns men's senior hockey team is due to begin Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16-17 with the visit of the McCall Mountaineers to Sun Valley Skating Center.
Opening faceoffs are 7 p.m. each night. Camp Rainbow Gold is this weekend's benefit. The Suns didn't play McCall last season but the Mountaineers have been one of Sun Valley's toughest rivals, leading 18-13-1 in the seven-year series.
Fifth-year forward and co-general manager Cody Proctor of the Suns said the team's "Kickoff Weekend" begins Thursday, Dec. 15 with a fundraising benefit starting at 6 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum. Money raised helps the Suns finance their 20-game hockey campaign.
Two live bands will provide music. There will be raffle prizes and memorabilia that will motivate hockey fans including a NHL Detroit Red Wings signed hockey jersey.
Sun Valley has a 20-game schedule including 18 games at home and two games away at the Utah Senior Grizzlies in January. The season continues through early March.
The Jan. 13-14 trip to Utah's 10,100-seat Maverik Center in West Valley City—ice hockey venue of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games—will be a fun trip. On Friday and Saturday nights that weekend, they will take the ice about 9:30 p.m. after the ECHL Utah Grizzlies games.
Former Suns player and local junior hockey product Cody Lampl, 25, is currently a 5-10, 175-pound defenseman for the ECHL Grizzlies, who play a 72-game schedule. Lampl was traded to Utah from the Idaho Steelheads in the off season. Currently, Utah is tied for second place in the four-team ECHL Western Mountain Division, six points ahead of Idaho.
The new edition of the Suns will look slightly different without longtime scoring stalwarts and linemates Jamie Ellison and Vilnis Nikolaisons.
Last winter, the Suns welcomed a new scoring star in Massachusetts native Bryan O'Connell out of Taunton. The fleet forward from Castleton State in Vermont joined the team four games into the 16-game season and became the leading scorer with 17 goals and 14 assists in just 12 games.
O'Connell will lead a Suns squad that should provide plenty of thrills for the Sun Valley faithful this winter.
Sun Valley Suns 2011-12 Ice Hockey Schedule
Sun Valley's Senior "A" Elite men's hockey team, entering its 37th season of competition with a 576-233-29 cumulative record, has a 20-game schedule—18 games at home and 2 away. All 2-game home series are played Friday and Saturdays starting at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center. Last year's 10-6-0 team was led by top scorer Bryan O'Connell (17 goals, 14 assists), who returns to lead the new edition.
DATES OPPONENT LOCATION, BENEFITS
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16-17 McCall Mountaineers Home, Camp Rainbow Gold
Wednesday, Dec. 28 Future Suns vs. Suns Home, Brett Sammis Scholarship/SV Jr. Hockey
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 30-31 Utah Rebels Home, Hailey Ice
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7 Aspen (Colo.) Leafs Home, Sawtooth Pony Club
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13-14 Utah Sr. Grizzlies Away, Maverik Center, West Valley City, Utah
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21 Utah Sr. Grizzlies Home, Sage School
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28 Boston (Mass.) Gutter Snipes Home, Park Penguins
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4 No games scheduled, Boulder Mt. Ski Tour
Friday, Feb. 10 Missoula (Mt.) Cutthroats Home, Sawtooth United F.C.
Saturday, Feb. 11 Missoula (Mt.) Cutthroats Home, Sun Valley Ballet
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18 Langley Senior Chiefs (B.C., Canada) Home, SV Adaptive Sports
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24-25 No games scheduled
Friday and Saturday, March 2-3 McCall Mountaineers Home, Girls on the Run
Friday and Saturday, March 9-10 Russia Home, Wood River Baseball/Softball
NOTES—All home games at Sun Valley Skating Center begin at 7 p.m. There are three 20-minute periods. Games last about two-and-a-half hours. Ticket prices are $8 general admission, $5 for kids ages 6-18, free for kids 5-and-under......Season tickets for $100 per person are available by emailing email@example.com...... The Dec. 28 Future Suns-Suns game is a holiday exhibition......For their only road series, the Suns will play Jan. 13-14, 2012 at the 10,100-seat Maverick Center, also known as the "E Center," in West Valley City, Utah near Salt Lake City. It was the primary venue for ice hockey events in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The Suns and Sr. Grizzlies will take the ice about 9:30 p.m. those two evenings after the conclusion of the Utah Grizzlies ECHL games. Formed in 2009 and formerly known as the Park City Pioneers, the Senior Grizzlies are a USA Hockey Senior "A" Elite team.
Suns players will have their annual Volunteer Aid Station at the Boulder Mountain Ski Tour Feb. 4, 2012.....Spectators are asked not to bring alcoholic beverages into the arena. Refreshments and food are sold in the rink. Parking will be allowed in the two lots just to the western side of the rink, but no parking will be permitted on Dollar Road. Spectators can also park in the main Sun Valley parking lot by the village.