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The City Journals

Bingham hockey team has a winning year, shows growth on and off the ice

Feb 14, 2017 01:24PM ● By Billy Swartzfager
By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
You may not know it, but Bingham has a hockey team.
The team isn’t necessarily connected with the high school, other than the squad being made up exclusively of youth who attend Bingham. Because hockey is a club sport and not sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association, few South Jordan folks may follow of Bingham’s team, though they are a pretty decent group, with a record well above .500, sitting at or near fourth place in their division.
Most high schools don’t have a hockey team, so the way the different competitive brackets are made up differs from traditional high school sports. There are two high school divisions, division one and division two. Bingham, along with traditional rivals, Brighton and Herriman, belongs to division two. Murray and Riverton also play reside in division two. Most of Bingham’s games are against division teams, though they play a few independent teams made up of players from all over.
There are only 18 players on this year’s team, which is small for hockey. Many of the players have only learned to skate within the last year or two, while others have been playing the game since childhood. Bingham is led by senior captain Taylor Telford, who leads the team in goals and assists, senior assistant captain Jordan Hansen and junior assistant captain Alex Brown. Just off the ice, the squad is led by head coach Jason Telford and assistant coach Mike Brown. Eric Allen is the team’s trustee, which, according to Allen, is similar to the team’s manager or owner. The coaches, along with Allen, bring a lot of experience to the team.
“The coaches have both played and been around hockey for a long time,” Allen said. “We are fortunate to have them both.”
The group practices at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns and focuses on various different aspect of the game, including basics. The team also learns basic various aspects of life.
“We teach them the fundamentals, of course,” Allen said, “But we also teach them about life and how to succeed after hockey and high school.”
Because there are fewer hockey teams in the state than other sports, the team participates in games and events that are a little farther away from home. The team travels to Cedar City each year, a trip the players enjoy. The team also participates in a Christmas tournament in Provo annually, though this year Bingham chose to sit it out.
To stay in shape and to look for new possible recruits, the team even takes part in a summer league. It is an opportunity for all incoming freshman to play with the team prior to the actual season as well as keep players skating. The team plays once a week during summer months, keeping players and coaches on the same page.
According to Allen, hockey isn’t too well known in the community, and the players are always trying to find new participants who may be interested in the game. It’s always a goal of the team and its coaches to help the game grow. The coaches, players and Allen himself all love the game and want as many young people to give it a try as possible. It’s never too late, either. Allen’s own son didn’t start playing until he was a sophomore.
“It’s always very gratifying to watch the tremendous amount of growth the kids experience throughout the season,” Allen said. “The growth on the ice leads to leaps and bounds in their self-esteem and self-worth.”