For all the work that Durango High School senior Gus Kidd puts in on the gridiron and baseball diamond, it’s shift after shift he puts in on the ice for the Durango Demons varsity club hockey team that gets him the most excited.
The senior captain has been a force this season, as he has scored 24 goals, added three assists and leads the team in points with 27. However, he said his biggest contribution to this year’s team isn’t in the scoring department, but rather helping out a young squad continue to be successful – as Durango is out to an impressive 6-3-1 start.
“We didn’t know what to expect this season,” Kidd said. “This is the youngest team that Durango varsity hockey has ever had, and we’ve really blown ourselves away with that.”
Durango has four bantam-level players at 14 years old or younger, and an eighth-grader. For a team that has just 12 varsity players, Kidd says they’ve definitely surprised other teams in the league.
“One of the biggest things is working these kids into varsity experience and not being timid,” Kidd said. “Timidness isn’t in these young guys’ vocabulary. I mean, we’ve got our younger kids who are 5-foot-5 and 100 pounds, who are going up against a guy who is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. Working into that groove is the biggest part, and we’re all trying to do our part, and they’re doing an incredible job.”
Head coach Brian Ensign said the way his captain leads is an example for the rest of the team.
“Gus has been tremendous for us this season,” Ensign said. “I think that he’s such a good presence to have on the ice and he really knows how to get the most out of this young team. He is always one of the hardest working guys at practice and always gives it his all out there on the rink. He is such a big part of our success this season and I can’t wait to see how he continues to develop his game this year with this group.”
Kidd scored seven goals over the weekend, and leads the league in goals scored. Kidd’s play was evident on Saturday against the Albuquerque Bears. He lit the lamp and scored five goals in the series, including three, a hat-trick, in a 4-0 win, and scored two in a 5-2 win in the second game.
Ensign said Kidd has been instrumental in getting the Demons off to a fast start.
“Gus is a quiet leader but demonstrates and leads by the way he performs on the ice and his effort every single day in practice,” Ensign said.
“He will say things when he needs to and is not necessarily a rah-rah type of guy. He is constantly putting everything he’s got out there, and is a really great example for our younger guys in practice. We put Zak (Wentworth), an eighth-grader, on his line and he has taken him under his wing and tries to give him confidence. His play is outstanding and he’s the top goal-scorer in the league. There was one game where he scored six goals, and I haven’t seen that since mite hockey, it was amazing to see.”
Kidd, son of Genna and David, said he doesn’t care for his stats, but rather, he’s focused on how his teammates did.
“From where we started, to where we are now is astronomical, it’s crazy,” Kidd said.
“That goes back to the young kids developing, but if we keep improving at the rate we do, good things will come. My only goal is to improve, and everything else is a side effect of that.”
Assistant captain and junior forward Braden Lyons called Kidd “a captain’s captain.”
“Gus, from the beginning of the season, alongside myself and Joe (Arnwine), the other assistant captain, have been getting the young guys to understand what it takes to go at the varsity level,” Lyons said.
“And as a result, they haven’t been scared or anything. They’re some of the best players on the team, and honestly, other than their size out there, you can’t tell what age they are. A lot of that is down to Gus instilling in them the mentality that you have to go out there and play each shift with everything you’ve got. He doesn’t do anything if it weren’t for the good of the team. From the drills to staying late to work with the younger guys, he’s so committed to the program.”
The Demons have to travel more than most teams, with long road trips to Amarillo, Texas, and Albuquerque just to play two weekend games. But Kidd didn’t look at the long drives as a struggle, but rather, an opportunity.
“We’ve handled travel really well so far, and for us, no matter how far we go, it’s an opportunity to pick up wins against great teams,” Kidd said.
“It doesn’t really faze us and is just a part of the game, and we really hold our own when we hit the road.”
No matter what rink Kidd has to lace up his skates on, he said he’s looking forward to what the rest of the season holds.
“I really do think that this season can be something special,” Kidd said.
“I just want to enjoy the season. Hockey is by far my favorite sport of the three, and nothing comes close to it. The bond and success we’ve had already is incredible, and I can’t wait to enjoy the rest of the season.”