Park City Pioneers make trek home
December 9, 2011
The Utah Senior Grizzlies are going into permanent hibernation once January comes to a close. That means the Park City Pioneers senior hockey club will be making a trek back to town, but this time on a full-time basis until at least 2014.
After leaving Park City in late July due to lack of ice time at the Park City Ice Arena, the Pioneers partnered with the Utah Grizzlies of the East Coast Hockey League and changed their name to the Utah Senior Grizzlies.
According to David Imonti, Pioneers’ general manager and a team captain, demands from the local fan base, sponsors and even opponents to return to Park City were overwhelming. Discussions began with Jason Glidden, business development manager of the Park City Ice Arena, two weeks ago when the Senior Grizzlies were exploring the idea of playing a few games in their old stomping grounds.
"In talking to them more, they expressed a strong desire to come back to Park City full time," Glidden said. "We started working on it a little bit and we worked it out. They add another element of hockey."
On Feb. 24-25, 2012, the Pioneers will slip on their red, black and white jerseys for the first time since their Utah Sr. A State Championship win last April when they host the Aspen Leafs at the Park City Ice Arena.
"We just had so much support up there, it’s hard to duplicate it anywhere," Imonti said. "The main thing is we’re not just a temporary thing coming back."
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In total, the Pioneers will play six guaranteed games at the Park City Ice Arena this season four regular-season games and the best-of-three Utah Sr. A State Championship series and will play 12 home games each season starting the fall of 2012.
"They have a lot of support from this area," Glidden said. "There are going to be some challenges as the rink is a very busy place and the ice time is a premium. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s worth it."
Imonti said the transition from the Senior Grizzlies back to the Pioneers will begin Monday as the organization will work fervently to get the word out that the team is back in town. The Pioneers will continue to play as the Senior Grizzlies until their final home game at the Maverik Center in West Valley in late January, and will remain a partner of the Grizzlies in an effort to continue to promote hockey in the state. He said the Pioneers will hold several practices and exhibition games at the Maverik Center every year.
"I was trying to figure out where to schedule Jackson Hole and they said, ‘Hands down, Park City,’" Imonti said.
For more information, visit http://www.pcpioneershockey.com .