Aspen High opens hockey season Friday | AspenTimes.com

Aspen High opens hockey season Friday

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School hockey team will skate into the new season with a busy opening weekend.

The Skiers, under the direction of second-year head coach Dru Lucchesi, will play at Steamboat Springs on Friday night before returning to Aspen to host Battle Mountain in the home opener at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Aspen Ice Garden.

"So far, so good," Lucchesi said of the preseason preparations for the Skiers, who lost 12 seniors to graduation last year. "It's hard with the Thanksgiving break, but now we can get back on track."

He said the opening weekend will give the Skiers a chance to get on the ice against the prep competition.

"We have a lot of new faces this year," Lucchesi said. "We need to see how they handle the physicality of high school hockey."

He said the Skiers will use simple systems to open the season, focusing on execution and intelligent team play.

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"These kids have all played (junior) hockey," Lucchesi said. "They're young, smart kids."

He said a core group of four will lead the 2015-16 Skiers – Henry Godfrey, Vic Dunn, Burke Daily and Andy Vernier.

Vernier will start in goal for the Skiers.

Lucchesi said the team will have Chris Gregory this season with his passionate and enthusiastic play.

The Skiers also will play at home the following weekend. The Aspen High hockey team will take on Summit at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Lewis Ice Arena at the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC).

After the holiday break, the Skiers will host back-to-back games on Jan. 11-12 when Resurrection Christian and Ralston visit Aspen on consecutive days.

In other home games this season, the Aspen hockey team will host Kent Denver, Monarch.

Lucchesi said he is blessed to have an exceptional coaching staff.

In addition, he said, the Aspen High School hockey team added Keith Howie to the staff as a skill development coach.

Howie, a legendary player in college, was one of the top adult players in and Aspen and Colorado for years. He also has extensive coaching experience.

dstrode@aspentimes.com