Champs of the ice: Suppes family plays important role in Ice Cats Bantam B state championship

Courtesy photos
Suppes family plays important role in Ice Cats Bantam B state championship

By Phillip Harnden

This weekend Glenrock athlete Eric Suppes Jr. earned a state championship with the Douglas Ice Cats Bantam B team after three hard-fought victories.
The Suppes family is dedicated to the team with Eric Jr. on the ice, Eric Suppes Sr. acting as assistant coach and Sally Suppes filling the role of team manager. The family’s work was rewarded when the team returned from Gillette as state champs Sunday.
The team of 11-14-year-olds entered the CAM-PLEX in Gillette as underdogs, according to coach Tim Painter.
Most teams in their division have access to a hockey rink year-round. The Ice Cats rink is only available during the season and is torn down during the summer months.
Going into the final match against Laramie, Painter told the boys, “Here it is. You are playing to hang a banner. This is everything. You’ve got three 16 minute periods to put it all out there on the ice and give 110 percent.”
The Ice Cats did.
The first period was 1-1 with Jackson and the toe-to-toe battle on the ice was underway.
But that didn’t last long according to Painter.
“A fire lit up inside and the kids decided we are going to win this, we are taking home that banner,” he said.
The next two periods the Ice Cats showed the Jackson team what they were made of, winning 4-1 and taking the title.
It was a Sunday they will always remember.
Getting to the final game was a tough battle, especially when the first game was against Riverton, who had recently beat the Cats by multiple goals.
“I told them,” Painter said. ‘This is your chance to go out there and prove you deserve to skate with these teams. Don’t let Riverton get in your head.”
They finished off Riverton 4-3 Friday, and moved on.
Saturday the boys faced Laramie for the right to play in the championship game.
Laramie gave the Cats some stiff competition, but Hunter Lane grabbed the winning goal with just over a minute to play.
“That’s when I knew the title very well could be ours,” Painter said.
They finished the job they set out to do, and showed the teams with year-round hockey rinks that Douglas is a team to be feared.
“We had an awesome season. We had a great team of kids put together,” Painter said.


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