Former Jr. Grizzlies now captains of T-Birds, Rampage teams
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Most players skating for the top AAA programs in Colorado are homegrown talents.
But for three teams’ captains this season, those honors belong to a trio of former Utah Jr. Grizzlies players.
Forwards Mason Mannek (Herriman native, captain for Colorado Thunderbirds’ 16U team) and Jake Jensen (Salt Lake City, Colorado Rampage 15U) and defenseman Reed Dolph (Park City, Thunderbirds’ 15U, pictured) played on the same Jr. Grizzlies’ Pee Wee AA team four seasons ago under coach Brandon Mannek.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m shocked that all three are captains,” said Mannek. “However, I would say that I am very happy for them that their teammates and coaches feel they are worthy of being leaders for their respective teams.
“We have always been fortunate in Utah to have teams where all of the players are very close to one another. I believe that is because there are a lot of players with the same mentality as Reed, Jake and Mason.”
Mannek added that he still keeps tabs on the talented trio.
“I have had the pleasure of watching all three of them play while in Colorado and they have all greatly improved,” Mannek said. “They have always been talented players, but while playing for some of the top organizations in Colorado, they are learning to play the game at a high speed and play against some of the top teams in the United States and Canada.”
Mannek also noted that he sees more talent coming out of Utah as numbers continue to flourish.
“I think it is good for Utah hockey to see that these three are captains for their respective teams as it is always good to see your teammates be successful for the teams they move on to, but they are just a small group of the many players from Utah that could and most likely will end up in the same situation,” said Mannek. “I have always felt that Utah hockey players as a whole have been some of the hardest working players and great teammates I have had the pleasure of coaching.”
— Matt Mackinder