The 20th annual Taos Coyote Classic, an end-of-season Southwest hockey tradition, concluded the Taos Ice Tigers’ season this last weekend. Jr. Ice Tigers in the 6U, 8U, 10U, and 12U divisions hosted teams from Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico for a busy three days at the Taos Youth and Family Center. The lobby was packed with families as teams took to the ice on the hour, every hour for the chance to take home a custom-made Coyote Classic trophy, crafted locally by Randy Cisneros.
Starting with the 6U Mini-Mites, the Taos team took four losses in the tournament. The 6U final game saw NM Ice take home the trophy after beating the Los Alamos Atoms 14-9. For the 8U Mites, all six teams played four games and the Jr. Ice Tigers won one game against the NMAHA Scorpions. The Amarillo Wranglers shut out the NM Ice 1 team 8-0 to take home the trophy!
The Taos 12U PeeWee Jr. Tigers also didn't find a win on the scoreboard in four games during the tournament. Coach Mark Richert shared that “even with no ‘hardware for the mantle,” he “didn't see a tear or hear a harsh word from these kids all season. They carry the internal trophy of smiles, laughs, team support, and hard work into their futures." In the PeeWee championship, the Pueblo Bulls beat the El Paso Rhinos 3-1. Says 12U Jr. Ice Tiger Elia Hurtado, “I liked that we played teams that taught us what we need to improve on. I thought it was really cool watching Colorado against El Paso in the championship, it was a good game.”
Finally, the 10U Squirts had an impressive showing against a formidable team from Westminster, Co. The Hyland Hills Jaguars took home the trophy, winning 12-1 against the Taos Jr. Ice Tigers in a defensive battle that truly tested the Jr. Taos Ice Tigers' grit. Goalie Troy Edmiston protected the goal from over 30 shots on goal with some incredible saves. He had fans from both sides of the ice cheering for him as he held off the Jaguars at 12. Forward Kellen Emory-Crowther drove in the one point, which was the only goal any team made against the Jaguars in the entire tournament! Overall this season, the 10U Jr. Ice Tigers have played a total of 28 games against ten teams from New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas, with a season record of 20 wins, seven losses, and one tie. Five of the 15 skaters were first-year skaters, and two players played up from a younger division.
While all of that excitement was going on on the ice, in the Taos Youth and Family Center lobby it was a different scene. Ice Tigers from all age divisions sported their team jerseys and cheered on all the other Jr. Ice Tigers. After seeing how other teams played, they even started cheering on their home-state competition. Says 12U Peewee Elia Hurtado, “I had a fun time with my friends, and it was a great way to end the season.” The high school Ice Tigers were supporting their legacy by working hard selling concessions and on ice as referees throughout the weekend. The town staff at the Youth and Family Center were thoughtful hosts with careful attention to the needs of the tournament and Taos visitors.
Taos Youth Hockey Association Board President James Prato gave his statement, “I’ve been so proud of watching this season's progress. Starting with meek numbers and even fewer volunteers, we experienced a great coming together of parents, volunteers, town personnel, and players working tirelessly to host one of Taos’ long-standing traditions with 20 years of the Coyote Classic Hockey Tournament. With support from the town, families in our community, and many businesses, Taos Youth Hockey is back. You could see the excitement for this great sport this past weekend with families from three different states coming to battle our very own Jr. Ice Tigers. I’m so grateful for everyone's hard work, team spirit, and camaraderie to give the kids of our county this great experience. Go Ice Tigers!” Discounted pre-season registration is opening in April if you’re interested in signing your kids up for the Taos Jr. Ice Tigers. Visit taoshockey.com for more information and registration!
Let’s Play Hockey!