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Cool Kids

The Casper Oilers

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02/01/2010 - While most Casper kids were sleeping in and playing video games all day during Christmas break, the Casper Oilers pee wee hockey team was competing in Pelham Canada in the Silver Stick International Tournament. These kids were the first team from Wyoming in all age groups to qualify for the International Tournament. Over their Thanksgiving break, the kids competed in Westminster, Colorado in the Highland Cup Rocky Mountain Regional Qualifier. Winning that event guaranteed their trip to Canada.

Taylor Edwards, Dallen Neese, and Coby Mack acted as spokesmen for the team when they chatted with me at the Casper Ice Arena. All three boys agree they hope to go back to Canada soon. The team's goal for 2010 is to practice hard and compete in the international tournament again next year.

"The team would really like to go back next year," Taylor said.

Twelve-year-old Taylor, son of Heather and Kurt Edwards, has been playing hockey for six years. He, like all the boys, loves the game. He felt the championship game in Westminster was "really challenging. They didn't let up at all," he said.

The Dean Morgan sixth-grader also said, "Canada was cool. The rinks are cool, but Canada was a little too cloudy for me."

Dallen, the eleven-year-old son of Mark and Julie, has played the game for seven years. He is in the sixth grade at Southridge Elementary School. About hockey, Dallen said, "It keeps me busy. It's fun and it excites me a bunch." Dallen said the trip to Canada was really fun.

"We played good games. We played hard and came in third place. That's pretty good," Dallen said. "It was a great experience."

Coby Mack, son of Troy and Heidi, has played hockey for seven years. The 12-year-old Dean Morgan sixth grader said, "I learned it when I was real small. I really enjoy skating ." He enjoyed going to the tournament and seeing what other kind of talent there is.

"It was the funnest thing I've done in my entire life," Coby said. "There were a lot of great teams."

All of the boys agreed that the experience was fun both on and off the ice. When they weren't competing, the team got to go Niagara Falls and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Coaches Wade Olson, Bob Young and Dave Solko and a number of parents went to Canada with the kids. Olson said the trip was a tremendous experience for everyone.

Like the other coaches, Dave Solko is proud of the kids. "I'm just happy to see the kids do well and see a reward at the end of the tunnel," he said. He is also proud of the parents.

"I'd like to recognize the parents for their commitment," Solko said. "Everybody pulled together and had a spirit of cooperation. We couldn't have done it without the parents."

One of those parents, Troy Mack, said, "On behalf of the parents, I would just like to say thank you Casper."

Solko dittos that sentiment. "We appreciate the support of the community. The trip wouldn't have happened without our sponsors."

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