New Breckenridge teams joins Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

A new Breckenridge franchise will take the ice this year in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.

“Adding such a qualified ownership group in Summit County is a tremendous achievement for our league,” said Shaun Hathaway, president of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League and director of Aspen Junior Hockey. “Coupled with the recent expansion in Steamboat, having another first-class operation in Breckenridge only strengthens our ski-town and Front Range rivalries and once again significantly raises the bar for the entire league.”

The primary owner of the new Breckenridge franchise is Janesville Jets general manager/head coach Joe Dibble from the Tier-2 North American Hockey League.

“We are excited to begin our partnership with the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League and the entire Breckenridge community,” Dibble said.

“Our goal is to create more opportunities for players to develop and advance, and we believe Breckenridge is a perfect market to achieve success.”

The Tier-3 RMJHL now has a direct tie to the Tier-2 North American league.

Joining Dibble as a member of the Breckenridge ownership group is Janesville assistant coach Kyle Forte, according to the new franchise announcement.

The new club will take the place of the former Breckenridge Bucks’ team that has moved to a non-USA Hockey league.

Last year, Dibble was named NAHL General Manager of the Year.

During the 2014-15 season, his team set the NAHL single-season record for wins (49), points (100) and fewest goals against (114), while promoting 12 players to NCAA Division I hockey.

The team will play at the Stephen C. West Arena in Breckenridge.

The Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League, heading into its second season, will feature seven teams next season: Aspen, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Denver, Monument and Colorado Springs.

“We are very happy to announce the addition of Joe Dibble and his ownership group as the new operators of the Breckenridge franchise in the RMJHL,” Commissioner Mike Gempeler said. “He brings a wealth of junior hockey experience to our league, and a direct connection to NAHL markets is invaluable.”

“With Steamboat’s affiliation with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League, Breckenridge now provides the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League direct access to the top two Tier-2 junior leagues in North America,” Hathaway said.

The Aspen Leafs won the inaugural championship in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. Next season, they will play at Lewis Ice Arena.