BUTTE - Butte loves its football, basketball and baseball, but the Butte Cobras, with its winning season, is making the Mining City a hockey town again.
“Butte’s an old hockey town and we’re trying to revive that. There’s a lot of good hockey culture here and we’re trying to revive that and with wins comes more excitement and with playoffs comes more excitement,” said Head Coach Kirk Golden.
The Cobras have made the playoffs for the first time since the team joined the North American 3 Hockey League in Butte in 2018. This season the team managed 19 wins, which ties the total wins they had in their first three seasons.
The turnaround seems to be acquiring Coach Golden and recruiting team players.
“I didn’t want to get those guys with the ego that can sometimes tear teams apart. And we really have a great group of guys that’s a bunch of high character guys that all rely on each other and when you have a positive environment that’s when the W’s start coming in,” said Golden.
The players credit their new coach for helping them bond.
“I think just the whole time has like bonded as a team and we’ve all just learned to have chemistry with our lines and just making plays and always have full effort, we’ve all bought in,” said Cobras Forward Luke Schleusner.
One major factor in the Cobra’s success is forward Nick Bradshaw who leads the division in scoring with 42 goals.
What kind of velocity do you think you get on your snap shots?
“Eighty, 70, 65 miles per hour, maybe harder, I’m not sure,” said Bradshaw.
“Yeah, hard shots, that’s what gets them. They can’t read it, can’t stop it, so it goes in the back of the net,” said Bradshaw.
Butte has a colorful history with Hockey.
A young Evel Knievel started up the semi-pro team called the Butte Bombers in 1959.
He organized a game with the Czech Olympic Team in Butte in 1960.
The Bombers were blown away 22 - 3
Hopefully, the Cobras will do better in their first playoff game Friday in a three-game series against rivals the Bozeman Ice Dogs.