Since 1971, high school hockey has existed in some form or fashion in the Owensboro community. Through the years, several different iterations of teams have competed against opposition from all over the state and region for bragging rights.
Some teams have won championships, while others have done well to put a team on the ice for competitive play. What has remained steady though, is support on a municipal and personal level in the community.
Because of the legacy left by organizations gone by, the Owensboro Rampage hockey club is able to compete at the varsity level. Rampage manager and scheduler Bruce Lindsay believes that Owensboro is the best hockey town in the Midwest because of the community’s support.
“One of the recurring comments we receive from visiting teams is that our facility is top-notch and our community is a great place to visit,” Lindsay said. “Coaches repeatedly mention how much they enjoy our downtown area and our downtown restaurants. They love the parks, and most importantly, they love our ice rink.”
Edge Ice Center, home to Rampage hockey, has been around since 2009 as the only municipally-owned ice rink in the entire state of Kentucky. Edge has hosted state tournaments, local tournaments and league action for the Rampage, helping to foster a community of support for the budding program.
All the efforts finally paid off in 2012, as the Rampage won the Kentucky High School Hockey League state title for the first time in program history. In 2016, Owensboro brought home its second title, knocking off teams from larger cities such as Lexington, Louisville and Evansville. After a youth movement over the last few years, a retooled Rampage squad is hungry for more success, which Lindsay believes is within reach.
“This year, with growth in size, speed and maturity, we feel we will be one of the top two teams in the state and most likely a favorite to bring the state title back to Owensboro,” Lindsay said. “As with any team, we won’t know how well we will play as a team until the puck drops and we get to play some games. It will be fun to see which players step up to lead and who will be the major contributors to our success.”
The Rampage roster is comprised mostly of local high school students — ranging from schools such as Apollo, Owensboro, Owensboro Catholic, Daviess County, South Warren and Bowling Green. The local ties are what make Owensboro’s roster special, considering the size of some of the cities with which the Rampage compete for trophies.
“Most teams we play are typically from large metro areas where they have a significant pool of players to choose from,” Lindsay said. “Given that we are not in a large metro area, we typically have a smaller pool of players to choose from each season. Remarkably, it’s not unusual for Owensboro to remain competitive against teams that are from many traditional hockey cities such as Pittsburgh, Michigan, Canada, Wisconsin, Minnesota and beyond. I believe this is a true testament to the hockey family we have here; the volunteers and the dedication to the sport that continues to grow.”
Rampage games will begin Sept. 14, and they are free to attend for the general public.
Owensboro Rampage 2019 Roster
Players: Wesley Bowlds, Baxter Brown, Thomas Burke, Jake Cissna, Lance Crabtree, Wyatt Fireline, Max Holder, Elijah Howard, Clay Howard, Jackson Lindsey, Chandler Link, Branson Link, Ryan Payne, Layton Pulliam, Josh Ratusny, Erik Whited, Ian Wilson
Staff: Head Coach – Eric Brown, Assistant Coach – Steve Roberts; Assistant Coach – Aaron McFadden