Greeley hockey fans have even more to celebrate after the city council meeting earlier this month.
Mayor John Gates declared Sept. 8 Colorado Grit Day, which coincides with the start of the team’s inaugural season.
“We’re just very thankful, happy to be here and looking forward to this weekend,” said Steve Haddon, head coach of the Colorado Grit.
Officially adopted into the North American Hockey League on Jan. 6 of this year, the Grit now call Greeley home and are excited to be on the ice. The team, mostly comprised of players aged 16 to 20, has the potential to play at the highest level of the sport.
According to their website, “We chose the name Colorado Grit because we believe hockey can create champions both on and off the ice. We strive to develop character as much as skillset in our players while contributing to the community at large.”
During the meeting, the willingness of the team to enrich Greeley with acts of community service was highlighted.
“This team is really invested in being in our community,” commented Diana Frick, the deputy director of Parks and Recreation.
After making several appearances at notable Greeley events this summer, the team were also praised for “being positive youth role models in our school district.”
The entire roster of the Colorado Grit team was present at the meeting and took a commemorative photo with Gates after the proclamation.
In order to welcome the Colorado Grit more adequately to Greeley, City Council voted 5-0 in favor of allocating funds to improving the existing hockey rink located at 900 8th Avenue.
Council members Dale Hall of Ward IV and Brett Payton At-Large were absent from the meeting.
A total of $500,673 was assigned to the remodeling of some of the key components of the Greeley Ice Haus, such as the outdated locker rooms, concessions and audio-visual equipment.
A flexible space on the second floor will also be renovated to allow the Grit to book special events or store gear. Newer non-slip flooring will be installed and direct access to the shower block in the locker rooms.
“They actually are in two different spaces, ironically,” Frick said. “They have to walk all the way around currently to walk in the showers.”
A second pitch is in the works for additional modifications to the Ice Haus by adding a more decorative outdoor patio and revamping the LED marquee display on the front of the building.
The improvements to the Ice Haus will additionally impact the surrounding community, especially on campus. Many students enjoy watching the University of Northern Colorado’s hockey team dominate the ice. These new additions to the rink will benefit UNC students with having better concessions and a high-spirited atmosphere.
Arlo Hudson, a student living on campus, regularly attends hockey games at the Ice Haus.
“I had never watched hockey or had seen a hockey game until I was a student at UNC,” Hudson said. “I think it will be an asset to the community overall.”
Unfortunately, with the untimely suspension of the UNC hockey team until 2026, the future is uncertain and a petition to reinstate the team has been made.