Park City twins thrive on the ice, where big futures may be in store
When twins Tiana and Colten McIntyre first skated on the ice, it wasn’t for hockey. From where the McIntyres were practicing they could see the Park City Miners program practicing — but they were on the other side of the ice practicing figure skating.
“It’s funny because we started out figure skating but at the same time, we were sharing rink time with hockey so I was constantly watching them more than practicing figure skating,” Colten said. “We only lasted a couple of weeks with figure skating before we were on the other side of the rink practicing with the Park City Miners.”
For Tiana, her reasoning for quitting figure skating was about more than just an interest in hockey.
“I did not like figure skating. … Nope, not at all,” Tiana said while laughing. “As soon as I saw what they had to wear I knew there was no way I’d do it.”
It’s now safe to say that both Tiana and Colten made the right decisions.
Tiana, an offensive defenseman, was one of the first girls from the state of Utah to be invited to attend the USA Hockey’s National Player Development Camp in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
She went to the Utah state camp, where she was one of two girls selected to go to Colorado Springs with 400 other girls from the West for the tryout camp. Tiana shined enough to be one of nearly 20 girls selected to the player development camp in Minnesota, which she called a huge honor.
“I knew I was good but I had no idea I was that good enough to make the camp,” Tiana said. “It didn’t hit me at all when I found out, was just kind of in shock about it. I was in Canada at the biggest showcase in North America, sitting in my hotel room when my mom got the call and told me.”
While Tiana might’ve made the national level before Colten, he was the first of the siblings to win a state championship.
Playing with the Park City Ice Miners U14 AA team, Colten led the Miners to the title as the starting goalie for the team. He followed up that performance by leading the Park City High School hockey team to a runner-up finish at last year’s state championship.
“Being just a freshman and playing on varsity was a really cool experience because the crowd at the high school level is a lot more involved in the games,” Colten said. “I originally started on JV and then got moved to varsity when they needed a guy. The coaches let me play in one game and I did well, so from there I played more and more. Then the main goalie got hurt while playing football so I stepped in and never let the job go.”
Despite their recent success, their aptitude for the sport wasn’t immediately apparent when the siblings first strapped on a pair of hockey skates.
“We played together a lot because we were so bad that they always put us on the same line,” Colten said while laughing.
“I actually cried the first time I played because I felt that I looked bad in my hockey gear,” Tiana said. “I was by far the worst player on the team and it wasn’t even close. But once I figured out what I was doing and how to play, I started to get better and better and it all changed from there.”
The McIntyres played on the same Park City Miners team for four years until they were 13 years old and things changed.
For Tiana, she took on hockey full-time as a member of a U19 girls team in Salt Lake City. Despite the age difference, Tiana played so well for the U19 squad that she was also asked to join a U14 tournament team based in Vermont that had girls from 13 different states.
“The Vermont team really opened my eyes to the world of girls hockey and a higher level that I had never experienced before,” Tiana said. “The first time we met we had a game 30 minutes later. … That was a great experience because it got me to level I am at now because I played against some of top teams in country in that age group.”
Tiana will play this upcoming season for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U16 AAA girls team. The team is the reigning national champions in their age group and division, and it was by sheer talent that Tiana was added to the squad for the upcoming season. She is one of two new players from out of state joining the team.
“Being from Utah, there is hardly any girls hockey, and I am among one of the few who have gotten the great opportunity to leave the state to play elsewhere,” Tiana said. “I could not have gotten to where I am today, or had any success in hockey at all, without the help and support of family, friends, teammates and everyone else who has helped me along the way.”
Colten is also looking to continue his upward trajectory for the upcoming season by leaving Park City.
After attending a scouting camp in York, Pennsylvania, and a USHL pre-draft camp in Sioux City, Iowa, with the Sioux City Musketeers Junior Team, Colten feels as if he’s ready for the next step.
“Because goalies are few and far between, I want to really challenge myself and leave next year to get on a team at a higher level,” Colten said. “But for me to do that, I have to live wherever I go play. … So that means I would have to stay with a host family, go to school there and then train and play there. It sounds like a lot but I think for me to be the best I can be, I have to do this.”
Regardless of where either of the siblings end up this summer, or in their respective futures, they will also be one another’s biggest supporters, even if they don’t want to fully admit it.
“I mean for me, I’m her brother so it’s hard for me to ever know how good she truly is,” Colten said of Tiana. “Always though, we just push each other to be the best we can possibly be, and it’s worked so far.”
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