Montana essentially goes full tundra in the winter, with temperatures reaching below 32 degrees Fahrenheit at least five months out of the year. As you'd imagine, sports and games played in the frigid air are pretty popular. The Flathead Valley has not one but two world-class kickass ski hills in Blacktail and Big Mountain. The Stumptown Ice Den is a year-round ice facility making it the only frozen sheet in the state during the summer months. Native home to Olympic skier Maggie Voisin and Team USA Olympic hockey defenseman Jake Sanderson, the kids who play in the frozen air in the Flathead Valley go on to represent our country at the highest level. We, as locals, treasure this atmosphere, and something that SWAE had to get in on.
SWAE sponsored jerseys for the local Whitefish Amatuer Hockey Association (WAHA) in early 2022. We designed custom jerseys for the team inspired by the recently added NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. It seemed like a no-brainer considering the newest NHL franchise was making waves across the US. The jerseys feature custom logos and modified colors to give the Squid an exclusive SWAE feel.
The hockey community across the Flathead Valley has thousands of passionate members, both in the adult and youth circuits. The two ice skating facilities in Whitefish and Kalispell are built almost entirely from volunteer efforts by parents of kids with a passion for hockey or adults who hunger for the health benefits and camaraderie that the sport brings. The beers flow easily at adult hockey events, and the atmosphere is much more relaxed than in your typical US hockey leagues. One of these events, The Brewers Cup, was hosted last weekend. A meet-up for all the breweries across the state to field teams, the beer sales, and team entry fees all go towards providing access to youth hockey programs. Nothing gets hockey players going like crushing cans for a cause.
The inaugural season of the SWAE Squid saw many new faces joining WAHA, and the Squid drafted three of these new players. The "rooks" turned out to be pretty damn good and got the team some somewhat lopsided victories to start the season. However, as the season went on, the competition evened out, and the Squid lost some close games down the stretch. Finally, coming into the semi-final game against a formidable opponent, the Squid held off a late last-minute rally to ensure a spot in the next week's championship game by winning 4-3. For some, the pursuit of a dream happens on the ice, and while we haven't quite achieved our ultimate goal - it is more within reach than ever.
Artist Credit for Front Logo:
Bruce G Giulio Jr.