Success on the ice is a big deal to the Cheyenne Stampede.
But so is moving players on to the next level of hockey, and the Stampede have two players headed up the ranks.
Forwards Ryan Carroll and Drew Baggen have both signed with the Colorado State Rams of the American College Hockey Association.
Carroll is from Colorado Springs and played in 89 games in two seasons for Cheyenne, which competes in the Western States Hockey League. He racked up 33 goals and 43 assists during that stretch.
â€œRyan is a very hard worker who can contribute offensively to our team,â€ stated Colorado State head coach Kelly Newton in a press release on the Cheyenne web site, www.cheyennestampede.com. â€œWe look forward to the energy that he brings every night.â€
Baggen is from Alaska and appeared in 92 games for the Stampede. He scored 11 goals and tallied 16 assists in two seasons. He was a captain on the team this past season.
â€œDrew is a good pickup for us,â€ Newton said. â€œHe will provide a lot of the grit and toughness that we were missing last season.â€
Cheyenne head coach Marty Quarters is pleased that both players found a home at the college level and expects a few more to sign with a college team down the road.
â€œOur goal is obviously to be one of the best teams in the league, but we also want to move players on to a higher level,â€ Quarters said. â€œWe want this to be a place where players want to play because they know they will get a chance to move on.â€
One of the main focuses of the Stampede going forward into the offseason is to put a team together that will be poised to contend for a league title during the 2013-14 WSHL campaign.
â€œWe are going to be hitting the recruiting trail hard, checking out a couple of showcases, and looking for the best players to upgrade our team,â€ Quarters said. â€œWe have an entire summer to find players and weâ€™re confident we will do a good job.â€
Quarters noted that it often feels as if the team works harder in the offseason than it does when the season is in full swing.
As for the type of players the Stampede are looking for, Quarters gave a simple description.
â€œWe want players who want to move up and who have the ability, the drive and the dedication to be successful,â€ Quarters said. â€œWe also want them to have good character.â€
– By Brian Lester
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