COMMITTED: JOHN PETERSON

John Peterson is signed and played last year for the Hampton Road Whalers 🏒
“I’m really excited about signing with the Helena Bighorns for this upcoming season. Growing up, I’d hear stories from Mike Greene and Jed Snyder about the good old days and what a great place Helena was, and is. We have a great group of guys coming in, it’s going to be great getting to play with all of them and it will be awesome playing for the fans of Helena!”
-Johny Peterson
“Johny is that guy that you want on your team. High character, high compete level and very coachable. He brings a rare combination of size and speed and plays a responsible game all over the ice. Johny is a native of Colorado Springs and grew up in the Colorado Springs Tigers organization where he learned the importance of being a well-rounded athlete on and off the ice. He will be the first guy at the rink every day and loves everything about the game. We are really excited to have Johny Peterson join the Bighorns.”
-Damon Hanson

COMMITTED: ERIK GIBBONEY

Erik Gibboney is signed and played last year for the Hampton Road Whalers 🏒
“I’m excited to be a part of the Bighorns organization! After talking to Coach Hanson and owner Mike Greene, I know that Helena is going to be a great fit for me. We are going to have a really good group of guys and I’m looking forward to starting the season!”
-Erik Gibboney
“We are very excited to be able to add Erik Gibboney to our roster for this upcoming season. Erik brings a very high skill set along with a great work ethic to our team. He is the type of player and person that we want in our program, high character, loves the game and is a lockeroom favorite amongst his teammates. He is willing to do whatever it takes for a shot at the title this season.”
-Damon Hanson

COMMITTED- SAM FEAMSTER

Sam Feamster is signed and played last year for the Pueblo Bulls 🏒
“The unexpected opportunity to play in Helena this season is a blessing in disguise for me. This is going to be a next level team with a lot of weapons on both ends of the ice. We are going to be a strong organization with leadership and positive energy. I am coming to Helena to grow on and off the ice in order to prepare myself for college hockey and have fun while doing it. I am looking forward to getting started in Helena.”
-Sam Feamster
“We are very excited to add Sam Feamster to our roster for this upcoming season. Sam is a big strong young man that has put the work in, on and off the ice and brings a high hockey IQ. He plays a two-hundred-foot game and competes all over the ice with or without the puck. Sam has the pedigree, skills and work ethic to be a top forward for us and also has the hockey bloodline. Sam’s dad, Dave Feamster is a former Division 1 college hockey All-American and a former NHL defenseman with the Chicago Blackhawks. Our fans in Helena will enjoy watching this young man play this season.”
-Damon Hanson

COMMITTED- TYLOR GREENE

SIGNED AND COMMITTED 🙌
Tylor was born and raised in Colorado Springs and played for the Colorado Springs Tigers program from age 4 to 18. Tylor Greene is signed and played last year for the Hampton Road Whalers
“I am very excited to be joining the Helena Bighorns for the upcoming season. Coach Hanson and Coach Lubin have been great to work with, and are willing to go above and beyond for their players. I enjoyed my brief time there last year and the Bighorns fans bring a great hockey atmosphere to a very nice arena. Hopefully I can help the team succeed and our goal is to play for a National Championship.”
– Tylor Greene
“We had the pleasure of having Tylor come to Helena last season to see our program, meet the coaches and play a couple of games. We really like the way he played the game, he is fast, moves the puck well, and is not afraid to engage into battles all over the ice. Tylor is going to be a top of the lineup guy that will bring an exciting style of hockey this season for the Fans of Helena.”
-Damon Hanson

Committed- Drake Flynn

Drake has spent his entire hockey career up to this point with the Wenatchee Wolves program in Wenatchee WA. We have had a chance to watch Drake for the last couple years and each time we really like what we see. Drake plays a hard gritty game and always puts the work in, on and off the ice. We are very excited to have him this season and the fans of Helena will enjoy watching him play for the Bighorns.

“I was happy to sign a tender with Helena Bighorns and I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and where it might lead me.”

-Drake Flynn

COMMITTED- TYLER BLOOM

Tyler has spent the last 4 years pursuing his dreams as a hockey player, playing 2 years for the AAA Tigers in Colorado Springs and more recently, he spent 2 years in the Chicago area playing U18 AAA for Team Illinois. We are very excited to be able to add Tyler Bloom to our roster for this upcoming season. Tyler is going to be a guy that we lean on in all areas of the game and he plays the game the right way every shift. He is a player that will lay it on the line for his teammates each and every night and we know our fans will love to see a local guy playing and being a big part of the Bighorns future.

“Helena is my hometown and I remember growing up watching the Bighorns when they were a powerhouse team. I’m excited about the coaches and new owners and most of all, I just want to bring back trophies and banners to Helena. Can’t wait to play in front of the fans!!!”
-Tyler Bloom

New Ownership Has Big Plans For Helena Bighorns Hockey Team

For nearly 30 years, Helena has supported junior hockey and with the help of the local community, new Bighorn owners, Jed Snyder and Mike Greene, are hoping to spur a revival.

Snyder is from Helena and is a Capital High graduate. He also played for the Helena Ice Pirates back in the 1990s when the franchise was in its early days and part of the Tier II America West Hockey League.

Greene was also involved in the franchise back in its early days, which is how the two new owners got to know each other.               “We were both part of the first team,” Greene said. “Jed used to work at the rink before it was open. That’s how we became life-long friends.”

Not long ago, Snyder was talking about coming back to Helena, and the two got to talking about the Bighorns.

“I told him, ‘I think I have to get back to Helena,'” Snyder said. “We were talking on the phone one night and got to wondering what was up with the franchise. Then, things went really quickly from there.”

Their past experience with hockey in Helena, was one of the things that got Greene and Snyder excited about another go around, this time as owners.

“We really enjoyed our experience here,” Greene said. “And we want to recreate that for our coaches, our players and our fans. We want to provide a really good, fun product for the community and we think we are headed in the right direction towards doing that.”

The Bighorns are now part of the North American Tier III Hockey League, which means players pay to play. The idea is for them to showcase themselves for college scholarships and the chance to advance to Tier II hockey.

 

Within that league, which includes teams from across the country, Helena plays in the Frontier Division, but after winning the league title back in the 2018-19 season, the Bighorns finished sixth and fifth respectively, over the past two seasons.

“We are all invested,” Greene said. “You have a guy (Jed) who played here and is now part-owner and myself, who coached here and is part owner. We just want to make this the best junior hockey franchise it can be.”

Damon Hanson, who finished last season as the interim head coach, will be taking on the role full time.

“We’re excited about building a program,” Hanson said. “We want to bring in quality players and try to move them on from year to year. We want to develop them as hockey players and most importantly, we want to develop them as people.”

Junior hockey can be a tough business, but Snyder said the way the Bighorns have endured provides hope for the future.                     “There hasn’t been a period where this team ceased to run operations,” he said. “And in this day and age, with the way that hockey has shifted, that’s pretty unique. It’s been around for 26 years and that’s what we want to keep alive.”

Snyder said having the right priorities would be a key part of making that happen.

“A lot of hockey has gotten diluted,” he said. “They don’t put the players and the coaches first. We talk about if we build it, they will come. So let’s put a good product on the ice and put the right kids into the community. We want the community to be involved and hopefully, at that point, you will have elevated yourself to a top-tier program.”

Junior hockey isn’t all about winning. Like minor league baseball, much of it is about providing individuals with opportunities to hone their craft and advance to a higher level.

But player development and winning don’t have to be mutually exclusive and in Helena, in the past with the Bighorns, they haven’t been as the franchise captured a Tier III national championship as recently as 2011.

“Back when it was the Helena Ice Pirates, it was on fire,” Snyder said. “People were at the games all the time, we were out in the community and people knew who we were and that’s what we want to bring back.”

(This article was taken from the Helena Independent Record.  Chris is the sports editor and lead preps reporter for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmpetey406)
Photo Credit: gmarshall_photos

Bighorns season has ended, just one spot short from playoffs

The Helena Bighorns have ended their season in 5th, just one short away from a playoff spot.  Their last game was held in Sheridan, WY, which ended in a 4-1 loss to the Sheridan Hawks.  The Bighorns held a banquet with coaches and their billet families before they headed home.  They will be back in August 2021, with a new start to a new season!

Blue Cross Blue Shield selects The Helena Figure Skating Club as jersey auction recipient

The Helena Bighorns/Blue Cross Blue Shield jersey auction held on Saturday, March 13th turned out to be a great success!  They raised a total of $3,874.00, with half of that going to The Helena Bighorns Booster Club and the other half going to The Helena Figure Skating Club.  Both the Booster Club and Figure Skating Club are local non profits in Helena.  The Helena Bighorns would like to thank everyone who participated in the auction, they will be wearing these jerseys tonight during their last home game where they face The Great Falls Americans.