By Griffin Kilby and Pete Kamman
BIG SKY – With the anticipated start of a new season at the Big Sky Skating & Hockey Association rink at an all-time high, a few local players couldn’t wait for freezing temperatures to get their hockey fix.
The group made history this fall by placing second in the Pocatello, Idaho “Hocktoberfest Inline Hockey Tournament.” Ten athletes, mostly with minimal roller hockey experience, laced up the blades to face off against teams from Salt Lake City, Utah, Boise, and Pocatello.
In the club’s inaugural match, Big Sky was on the winning side of a 10-4 decision versus a Salt Lake City club. Following a string of victories, including a thrilling overtime win against a strong Pocatello team, the boys from Big Sky made it to the finals.
The offensive style of play was an advantage for experienced ice hockey players Pete Kamman, Patrick Kamman, Ben Almy, Ryan Blechta, and Griffin Kilby, while goaltender Chris Kamman played strong for the Big Sky club.
Pete, a veteran roller hockey player and coach who spent time in Namibia, Africa, teaching players of all ages the game, was proud of his team’s performance.
“Our scoring touch and aggressive play made up for our inability to stop,” he said. “It’s a similar game to what our ice [hockey] players are used to but the stopping technique and slower pace make a huge difference. All things considered, the boys did a great job!”
The team looks forward to next season and hopes to find a place to practice in the spring.
Kilby, a board member with BSSHA, has high hopes for inline hockey in Big Sky. “As interest in all brands of hockey grows, the BSSHA’s goal of having a covered facility for winter could mean great things for inline sports in the summer months,” he said. “There isn’t an inline rink in our state. If Big Sky became the first, it would be a great way to draw people to our community.”
Check out Big Sky Inline Hockey on Facebook to see photos and learn more about the sport.
Griffin Kilby is the BSSHA Rink Manager and Pete Kamman is a Big Sky Inline player and coach.