Ice Hockey: Cherry Creek co-op team taps new coach in Mielnicki

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Cherry Creek Ice Hockey
The Cherry Creek co-op ice hockey team went 2-16-1 last season under coach David Irish, center, who has been replaced by Jeff Mielnicki for the 2013-14 season. The district co-op team is based out of Cherry Creek High School and included players from four Aurora schools last season in its first varsity season in two decades. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

GREENWOOD VILLAGE | The Cherry Creek School District co-op ice hockey team hired its second head coach in as many varsity seasons as Jeff Mielnicki now has the post previously held by David Irish.

Mielnicki’s hire was announced Tuesday on the Cherry Creek High School hockey Facebook page, along with a comment from Mielnicki: “I am very excited and prepared to lead a group of student athletes that will share the same passion for this outstanding sport. I accept the challenge and opportunity of this position and am looking forward meeting players and families in the near future.”

Based at Cherry Creek High School, the CCSD co-op team — which also included players from Aurora schools Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview and Smoky Hill — brought ice hockey back to the district for the first time since the late 1980s, when scarcity of ice time and unruly fan behavior took it off the list of offered sports.

The team returned to the ice for the first time in two decades last season under Irish, who played on the Cherry Creek teams that won state championships in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

The Cherry Creek team struggled, however, and finished last in the 15-team Foothills Conference of the Colorado High School Activities Association league with a 2-16-1 record. The Bruins picked up victories over Rampart and Kent Denver.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555