Cheyenne, WY - The final game of a hockey season is fun for just a single team: the one that wins it all. The Cheyenne Stampede may not have been that team this year, but they learned the sweet taste of success throughout the year in various "firsts" for the franchise.
First game: 09/23/11 vs. Boulder L; 5-3
First win: 09/24/11 at Boulder W; 5-4OT
First home win: 10/14/11 vs. Park City W; 6-1
First series victory and sweep: 10/14/11 - 10/16/11 vs. Park City
First win streak: 10/14/11 - 10/23/11 (6 games)
First game to score double-digit goals: 11/11/11 vs. Ogden W; 11-8
First shutout: 01/15/12 vs. Phoenix W; 10-0
First playoff game: 03/09/12 at Boulder L; 5-1
You get the picture now right? While the season may have ended though, there is a new "first" to celebrate; the third youngest player on the team is the first Stampede player to be selected to participate in Wyoming Boys State.
Every year since 1937, the American Legion chooses a small number of young men between their junior and senior year of high school to spend a week of their summer learning how to be the future members of their state and local government. Each of the 50 states (besides Hawaii) runs their own event and this year the state of Wyoming has chosen Denver Lloyd of the Cheyenne Stampede to participate.
After the news broke, I had a chance to talk with Denver about his great accomplishment.
Name: Denver Lloyd
Current Status: Amateur
Tenure with Cheyenne Franchise: 1 season
MP: First of all, congratulations on this great accomplishment. Your family must be very excited for you. What was it like when they found out?
LLOYD: They all hit me up and congratulated me so it's been a pretty big deal. They've been great
MP: So in your own words, what is Wyoming Boys State?
LLOYD: Basically a few people each year are selected from the junior class to go to this camp. You go there for six days and it's all about Wyoming state legislature. You do a lot of role play and you get divided up and simulate what it would be like to be elected to different offices so you can see what it's like.
MP: Do you want to get into government or is it something to add to a resume or a college application?
LLOYD: It's good for that too but at this point I'm just playing it by ear. I just got the letter for it and thought it was a great opportunity. Rolled with it, got selected, and going now.
MP: People learn vast amounts of life lessons playing junior hockey. What is something you feel you learned about yourself this year that will help you with Wyoming Boys State?
LLOYD: Probably that I'm more motivated and driven now. I learned to stay focused in school and the team has been really supportive so staying motivated is probably going to help a lot.
MP: You're going to be attending one of the most influential summer programs in the US for government and influential positions. Some of the notable alumni of this event include Tom Brokaw, Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, Nick Saban, and Michael Jordan. What goes through your mind when knowing you will be attending the same event that helped put these men at the top of their fields?
LLOYD: The opportunity to learn a lot is exciting. It's a good chance to get somewhere in life so, exciting.
MP: Aside from the stuff coming up this summer, lets reflect on the past season for a moment. The playoff series was a bit rough but after all is said and done, how do you look back on the year?
LLOYD: I think it was really good for me developing. Being on my own with school has been huge. Coach Heimel is coaching me up and getting my overall hockey skills better and the Stampede were very supportive with school so it was a good deal.
MP: You didn't have an outstanding year with 3 points in 39 games really because your role wasn't to score; but with age comes more ice time and skills so do you expect to come back next season and if so what role do you see yourself filling?
LLOYD: I'm not really sure what role to be honest. This year I was more of a grinder role but I'd like to be a more active player and get on the scoreboard a bit more. Still worked hard but not in a position to score a lot of points.
MP: Again, congratulations on a great accomplishment. Have a great time and good luck.
LLOYD: Hey thank you very much, take it easy.
If you would like more information on the American Legion Boys State in your state visit www.boysandgirlsstate.org.
Matt Prosser, Cheyenne Stampede Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com. Owner of Fifty8 Productions and freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU1580 Sacramento. For comments and writing ventures e-mail Matt@Fifty8productions.com. Follow on Twitter @MattProsser58 or visit www.kssusportsycle.com.
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