Balancing life, hockey a must for Rampage’s Sarver family
Shift work comes naturally for the Sarver family.
Chris Sarver is a lieutenant with South Metro Fire and Rescue in south Denver and his wife, Amy, is a pediatric oncology nurse.
Their three young boys – Sam, 11; Tommy, 9; and Johnny, 7 – have adapted quite well to taking regular shifts as well, but instead of fighting fires or saving lives, they’re doing their best work on ice for their Colorado Rampage teams.
Sam plays on the Pee Wee A team, Tommy on the Squirt A/B team and Johnny is on an Advanced Mite team. The package deal doesn’t end there, however. Chris got his coaching certification and helps his sons’ coaches when he can. Amy co-manages the Pee Wee and Squirt teams and helps with the Mite team.
“I have really good friends who help with all three,” she said. “It keeps our schedules organized.”
And what a schedule it is. Chris and Amy said they’re at Colorado Sports Center four nights a week, for up to four hours, for practices, while weekends are consumed with games all over the state. One weekend in late February, the boys had games in Arvada, Monument and Pueblo. Chris and Amy had to call for backup – grandparents in this case.
Neither parent grew up playing hockey, but Amy grew up in rural Minnesota with five older brothers, so she was no stranger to pond hockey.
The introduction came through an inline program at Skate City in Colorado Springs when Sam was in kindergarten. Tommy joined a few years later and they progressed from rec teams to club teams.
By the time Johnny was ready to try it, the older boys wanted to give ice hockey a try and the rest is history.
“Sports in general have been a huge part of my life, and I’m happy they’re involved because of the life lessons,” Chris said. “I’m glad they’re experiencing that through team sports. We’re real happy with the Rampage specifically. There is very much a family atmosphere and we’ve gotten to know a lot of families there.
Added Amy: “Joe Stanczyk has coached all three kids. Joe has so much passion for the game and pushes the kids to develop on and off the ice.”
The Sarvers’ introduction to the Rampage came through Al Pedersen, who coordinates the Mite, Learn to Play Hockey and house league programs.
“The kids just love him. He gets it started early, that’s what happened with our kids,” said Amy, adding that the club named its Mite Jamboree in his honor.
Added Chris: “Al doesn’t want public recognition. He never talks about himself at all. He’s all about the kids.”
The Rampage’s harmonious message and congruent methods resonate with the Sarvers.
“It’s neat to have coaches of older kids working with the younger kids,” Chris said. “It has a big impact on the younger ones, and it gets them into the organization. There is the same message throughout.
“Coach (Andrew) Sherman and Coach (Pat) Bingham have this philosophy of older kids mentoring the younger ones. It just fosters one whole organization.”
To show everyone they’re serious that everyone belongs, the club decided this season to have every team wear the same jerseys.
“The AAA kids look the same as the Squirts,” Amy said. “That makes it neat for the younger kids. When they go to the older kids’ games, they all wear their jerseys proudly.”
The organizational benefits are many, but they’re secondary to the life lessons, Amy added.
“Andrew takes such an interest in each of the kids – he’s present, he’s around,” she said. “He started weekly meetings where they talk about grit and a growth mindset. That resonates into schoolwork and other sports. The message they send is about gratefulness and effort and perseverance.
“It really affects the kids.”
No matter where their shifts take them.
— Chris Bayee