Silver Kings invite rivals to home ice
The Park City Silver Kings are hoping that by hosting the Sun Valley Suns they might catch a couple of their rays of success.
The Silver Kings, a super team of players from Park City and Salt Lake that play on various teams in the Salt Lake County Hockey Sunday Night A Division, are hosting the Sun Valley Suns this Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at the Park City Ice Arena.
The Silver Kings and Suns are the best of the best from the recreational ranks, says Silver Kings player and manager Eric Miller. Some are former semi-professional players or Division I college players.
According to Miller, the experience in Sun Valley is something to strive for. The team’s ganes are one of the biggest events in town. When the Suns games are scheduled, the town rolls out a big banner and the entire community heads to the rink. The team, which is undefeated thus far this year, is fully sponsored and they travel to play some of the best teams in the country throughout the season.
"The Suns have been going for 20 or 30 years," Miller said. "They have been a foundation. They are a household name in Sun Valley."
With that kind of history, Sun Valley is a tough team to beat.
"We are definitely the underdogs," admits Miller. "They vie for the national championship."
But he still expects the Silver Kings to give the Suns a run for their money.
"Man for man, we have a similar level of talent, but they are more organized," Miller says.
"It’s people that want to play full-contact hockey," explains Miller.
Besides Miller, the Park City players include Dave Napiwocki, John Grisevich, Eric Moldenhauer and Eric Dufford.
Many of the players balance their playing time on the Salt Lake leagues and the Silver Kings with coaching as well, so practice time is at a premium. Sun Valley is established enough that its players make a little money participating and concentrate fully on the one team.
The two-day tournament is part of a much larger rivalry between other Western Resort town teams. Most of the players have traveled to other resort towns for tournament in the past. Before Christmas, the team traveled to Sun Valley for another tournament. This year, with the establishment of the Park City Ice Arena, the team decided it was their turn to host a game or two. The level of competition is comparable to that of a good college game, Miller says.
"Hopefully, this is the first of many games for this organization," Miller said. "The rink up here has allowed us to have a home ice."
Miller spends countless hours on the phone trying to keep the collection of players together and practicing just enough to compete with the other resort town teams.
The tournament will start on Friday night following the public skating session, so Miller is hoping to attract those already at the rink as well as much of the Park City and Salt Lake communities. They have enlisted the services of the Park City Rugby Football Club to serve cold beverages and are hoping a little bit of their fan karma will rub off in the process.
"It’s the same thing — where a tourist or a local or anybody who wants to see and be a part of an event that’s exciting to watch and social as well," Miller said.
Miller eventually envisions sponsorships, a Web site and a fan base comparable to that of Sun Valley and Jackson, but for right now, he is just hoping for a good turnout over the weekend.
"We expect to fill the place," Miller said. "The players have friends coming. It’s a good enough level of hockey that they are excited to come up for it."
The Silver Kings will take on the undefeated Sun Valley Suns Friday, March 2 at 9 p.m. and again on Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Park City Ice Arena. Admission is $5 for adults and youth 10 and under are free of charge.
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