Colorado Rubber

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Return to USPHL’s Kernels for 2024-25 season the right decision for Arvada native Winters


Camden Winters has spent the past three seasons playing junior hockey, with the last two in southwestern Michigan for the USPHL’s Battle Creek Kernels.

For the 2024-25 season, the Arvada native has decided to return to the Kernels for his final season of junior eligibility.

“The opportunity came up for me to play in Battle Creek two years ago when I received a phone call from two of my hometown friends while I was playing in Vernal, Utah,” said Winters. “After spending time in Battle Creek, it felt like a second home to me. The community, coaches, players, and my billet all made the transition for me easier. (Battle Creek head coach and general manager) Triston Jensen played a big role in my return to Battle Creek by believing in me and knowing he is trusting what he is trying to build.”

Winters explained that the positives in Battle Creek are what makes the team most appealing.

“No matter the obstacles or challenges we all faced, the team always found a way to keep level heads and make every day a better one,” Winters said. “The whole team always got along together and we weren’t just teammates. We were a family. The town, no matter what the scoreboard showed, always stood behind us making sure the stands were packed and that we felt supported.”

Moving away from Arvada was tough at first, especially as a 17-year-old playing for Vernal, but Winters has come to embrace the junior hockey lifestyle.

“Living away from home was a challenge at the start,” Winters explained. “I had to learn to not only be alone, but how to handle certain situations and challenges on my own. It helped me gain confidence in myself knowing whatever life threw at me, I could handle it. After my first year being away, I truly enjoyed the experience and maturing through the process.”

Back home, hockey became a part of Winters’ life early on.

“Hockey first came to me through my brothers as I watched them every day growing up,” remembered Winters. “I started playing by joining a roller hockey league at the age of five. As time went on, the Colorado Avalanche games were always a huge thing for my family as we attended games and watched them on TV, making my love for the sport grow fonder. At the age of eight, I decided to play ice hockey in Arvada as I enjoyed the physicality and pace of the game.”

Playing for his hometown association from second-year Squirts up until Midgets, Winters then decided to join the Hyland Hills Jaguars for his high school career.

“My 18U AA year, I was coached by Brady Reynolds,” said Winters. “He took a chance on me and trusted me when I told him I would give him and the team my all. He helped me not only on the ice, but got me to where I am today, as a person and in my hockey career.

“While playing in Colorado, I will never forget the friends and memories hockey created for me. The tournaments held in Vail and Breckenridge will always be a highlight in my career, as were the bus rides, hotel stays, and the rinks we played at. Those were always a blast. Better yet, I will never forget being able to showcase my talent and growth to my family, friends, and past coaches.”

Going forward, Winters has plans to stay on the ice as long as possible.

“While playing, I’ve always had the goal of playing pro in another country and seeing how long I can continue to play the sport at the highest level,” Winters said. “For My final year in junior hockey, I will be named the captain and hope to lead the team to success and a year we will never forget. As my life goes on at a fast pace, I hope to have no regrets and at some point, be able to coach the game of hockey at a competitive level.”

Photo/Kaitlynn Felmeden

— Matt Mackinder

(April 29, 2024)

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