Viewmont chosen to play at nationals
BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL— Despite falling short of winning a Utah High School Hockey title, the Viewmont Vikings hockey team was chosen to represent Utah at the National High School Hockey Championship.
The Vikings will take on the best high school teams in the U.S., and coach Brian Acord said he couldn’t be happier about the selection.
“I’m obviously proud at the effort made by each player in the state tournament and the obstacles we’ve overcome throughout the year as a team,” Acord said. “For the season to end like this has been a great blessing, and we are going to play hard and enjoy the experience of playing on a national stage.”
The selection to have Viewmont represent Utah in the tournament came from two organizations, USA Hockey and the Utah High School Hockey Association board. The honor is normally reserved for the team that wins the state title, Acord said, but both organizations were “very impressed with the Viewmont program the past couple years,” and decided to make the Vikings the Utah representative.
Viewmont’s selection to play in the tournament is the team’s first shot at being called national champion.
“We’ve been close each year for the past four years and been a stand-by alternate several times,” said Acord, “but we’ve never gone before.”
P.J. Tanner and Travis Koury are just two members of the Viewmont squad already on the ice for the Vikings. They will have a very busy schedule in front of them; both are scheduled to play in the under-18 nationals tournament next week in Connecticut.
Others on the ice are twins Jacob and Jeremy Wiser, and their cousin, Tyler.
“All three of them play on the same line,” said Acord of the Wiser’s. “They move the puck around like magic and are always in sync with one another.”
Tanner Bangerter’s defense has also vastly improved, said Acord, and the varsity line includes freshmen Alex Barrus and Coalyon Browning, who have worked diligently to play on the same starting line as Tanner.
“The two of them have worked their way up the ladder and ended the season playing on the No. 1 line with Tanner,” he said. “We also have a third freshman to just turn 15 who is the biggest kid on the team. He’s come a long way this season and comfortably fits in as one of the team’s top defense men.”
For Acord, who said in an email that this past season was his last as head coach, he’s just excited to be part of the entire process.
“This tournament is like icing on the cake for me,” he said. “I’ll continue to support the new coach (Roger Barrus) throughout the season next year and I feel that the team will be left in great hands.”
The tournament will involve several different brackets, said Acord, and the top two teams from each bracket will advance to the semi-finals on Saturday. The finals will be played Sunday, and the winner will be crowned the national champion for high school hockey.