Blach, Bryant ‘great ambassadors’ for Rampage program
Coaches coach and players play, but who does the rest of the things needed to operate a successful youth hockey organization?
For the Colorado Rampage, a USA Hockey Model Association and a member of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, there are many people behind the scenes who have been crucial to the club’s successes on and off the ice.
“Ed Blach and Todd Bryant are two guys that make things happen for the kids,” said Andrew Sherman, the Rampage’s 18U AAA coach and owner of Colorado Sports Center (CSC) in Monument. “Both have been with us for several years.”
Bryant, who owns a construction business, is the club’s director of Tier 1 travel and also an assistant coach for Pat Bingham’s 16U AAA team.
“Todd’s son is going to college, but he’s continued to give back to the club,” Sherman said.
Blach, an executive consultant in the veterinary industry, is the club’s executive vice president-registrar.
“Not only does he make sure the rosters, etcetera, are how they need to be, but he helps with proposals to host USA Hockey events,” Sherman said. “He helps with budgets and many other day-to-day operations of the club.
“Both of these men are great ambassadors. They always have smiles on their faces.”
For Blach and Bryant, the joy comes from helping kids who were in the same position as their own.
“I don’t do it for the recognition, but for the kids,” said Blach, whose two sons, Granger, 16, and Grogan, 12, skate for the Rampage. “I was always involved in their teams as a manager, and I enjoyed contributing. I don’t skate, never played hockey, but I’m a big believer in kids gaining life skills from team sports. This is well worth the time investment.”
Bryant played youth hockey growing up in Detroit and continued playing after moving to Colorado more than 30 years ago.
“My son (Jake) being a goalie, it was important to find the proper coaching,” he said. “I was drawn to the Rampage because of the coaching and the background of success they had. I really felt at home around Sherm.”
As the Rampage’s travel hockey program grew, Bryant’s hockey and professional backgrounds became more clear assets.
“The position has evolved,” he said. “Growing up in Detroit, I understood how the travel works.”
Blach’s C-suite experience is combined with a down-home sensibility, an excellent combination for the community-centered CSC facility.
“I’ve always tried to be supportive and when Andrew approached me to be registrar, I agreed,” he said, adding with a laugh, “Next time, I’ll find out what it is first.
“It doesn’t matter what you sell, all business is the same. It’s all based around satisfying people and delivering what the customer base wants. It all translates.”
He added, “I came from a farming background, and a high percentage of coaches and players come from small towns. This (Rampage and CSC) is a piece of small-town community. People look out for each other. Andrew has a constant focus on helping more kids through the great game of hockey.”
Bryant has seen many different types of hockey programs over the years, and he said the Rampage’s approach sets it apart.
“The key thing with Andrew is mentoring along the way,” Bryant said. “Guys like Kevin Patterson and Ryan Massa mentored my son. Another thing with Sherm is there is no nonsense, so some kids leave early. You have a lot of kids with the Rampage who are late bloomers and who are willing to give up a lot in life to realize their dreams.
“That’s why I believe in this program – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You put the time and effort in and you can reach your goals.”
And that is a big reason why Blach and Bryant are giving their time and effort to the Rampage.
— Chris Bayee