Hal Jordan is expected to be named the next Lewis-Palmer High School ice hockey coach.
“The expectations are pretty high here,” said Jordan, a retired Air Force major and long-time club hockey coach. “This is a great program. We have some great kids.”
Jordan, 45, will replace Steve Fillo, the only hockey coach the school has ever known. Fillo stepped down earlier this year after building the program from the ground up. He directed Lewis-Palmer to two state titles and seven consecutive playoff appearances in seven seasons.
“I'm just honored to pick up where he left off,” Jordan said. “Steve set a lot of things in motion and did a lot of great things here. He was almost like a super hero.”
Fillo shoes will be hard to fill. He compiled a 112-37-7 record, including 15-5 in the postseason. His Rangers teams got the Final Four in 2007 and 2008 before taking home back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010.
“Our first state championship was a special moment,” said Fillo, who coached at Coronado and Pine Creek before taking over at Lewis-Palmer. “We entered the playoffs as a sixth seed (out of 16 teams), and were the underdog in every game after the first round.
“My son, Stevie, had died the September prior to the season's start driving home from hockey practice at the University of Alabama. It seems every kid who had played for (Lewis-Palmer) up to that point was at the memorial with their jerseys on, and we would play the season with #11 patches on our jerseys. For me, I found comfort and solace in returning to the familiar and losing myself in my normal everyday tasks, including hockey.”
That emotional season continued deep into the Rangers' playoff run.
“Both of our Final Four games went to overtime,” Fillo said “I don't think we won our earlier round games by more than a goal each time. In the state championship game we were out shot and out played by a more athletic and deeper Ralston Valley team, but we never gave up and hung around with them. We were losing 2-1 heading into the final minute of the game and dramatically managed to score a goal to tie it up after we had pulled our goalie.
“When we scored the game-winning goal in the first overtime session, the kids immediately emptied the bench and dog piled, while we coaches - myself in particular - were crying. No yelling, no hooting and hollering. Just tears. It was that emotional a moment. Our own `Miracle on Ice.'”
Fillo is reminded of that game every day.
“I have the team picture that was taken after the trophy presentation framed and hung in my family room at home,” he said. “In the picture, I'm still crying 15 minutes after the goal was scored. It was pointed out to me by one of my players, Brent Schwarz, that the championship game was our 11th consecutive win since we had last lost in January, and that Stevie wore number 11. The players were all aware of that significance.”
Jordan seems to be the perfect fit for the job. He is one of the co-owners of Colorado Sports Center, where Lewis-Palmer practices and plays its home games.
“I've been coaching in town since 2001,” Jordan said. “Most of our kids go to Lewis-Palmer and I have a good relationship with them. We have three kids who go to Palmer Ridge.”
The Lewis-Palmer hockey team is a combined District 38 team with Palmer Ridge.
Jordan doesn't plan to make any drastic changes to the program, but he has expanded the locker rooms at the arena, adding several more showers in the process. He also plans to make subtle changes to the uniforms, as well as including a way to honor Dylan Redwine with a ribbon on the back of the team helmets.
Redwine went missing Nov. 19, 2012, the day after arriving in Vallecito to spend Thanksgiving with his father during a court ordered visit. Dylan was 13-years-old at the time and was an eighth grader at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. Dylan and his mom had moved to the Monument area from Bayfield a few months before. Dylan's father, Mark Redwine, said he left his home to run errands that morning and when he returned Dylan was gone. Earlier this month, Redwine's remains were found in La Plata County.
Jordan will have two main assistants; Mike Prudhomme and Kevin Magarucci, who doubles as Lewis-Palmer head athletic trainer.