CEDAR CITY — Ice skates, curved sticks and a puck – not exactly a common sight in southern Utah – took center ice in Cedar City Friday night.
The Southern Utah Independent Yetis broke the ice on The Glacier: Cedar City’s Community Ice Rink in Cedar City Friday night. Their game against the Salt Lake Stars marked the first official Utah High School Hockey League game ever played south of Provo.
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Videocast by Holly Coombs, St. George News
The Yetis are comprised of high school players from St. George, Parowan, New Harmony and Cedar City high schools.
The junior varsity high school hockey team was formed last year when the ice rink was put in. Cedar City resident Kerry Fain started a nonprofit organization called Youth and Enthusiasts Together for Ice to raise funds to have the rink built behind the Cedar City Community Center, 2090 W. Royal Hunte Drive in Cedar City. The rink was created to provide opportunities, including hockey, for the community kids to enjoy.
The Southern Utah Independent (0-7) started its official season in October as it played games against the Park City JV White, Herriman JV, Copper Hills JV, Bingham JV, Riverton JV, and Park City JV Red. Friday was its first home game on the rink against the Salt Lake Stars (6-1). Although the Yetis lost the game, they were proud to play on their home ice for the first time in history.
Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson dropped the first puck to start the game.
“I think this is another great thing for our community and our youth in the winter,” Wilson said. “Just by the sheer amount of kids that are here tonight, for the adult league, and the little kids in free skate, it gives our residents another fun thing to do that’s affordable during the winter months.”
Southern Utah Independent coach Chad Fain said he believes he gets more butterflies in his stomach than the players because of his excitement of being a part of the first Southern Utah hockey team. Fain said he knew the game, which the Yetis lost with the score 7-0, was going to be tough because the Salt Lake Stars have one of the best teams in the state.
“The kids like to play,” he said. “They keep getting their butts kicked a little bit but they’re doing better and better in each game and I would assume in a few years we will be one of the teams to beat.”
The team includes 17 players and includes one girl who happens to be the team captain. Courtney Morgan, a sophomore from Cedar High School, said she likes how hockey challenges her and helps her become a stronger person.
She said being captain to a bunch of boys is fun even if they don’t always listen to her because she is a girl. Morgan said she hopes to see the team continue to improve.
The next game for the team on its home rink will be Friday against the Utah County Independent at 8 p.m. The schedule can be found at the Utah High School Hockey website.
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