By: Sam Alexander

The Laramie Hockey team won their first two games of the 2020-2021 season on Nov. 7 and 8.

After practicing since September of 2020, the Laramie Outlaws were nervous but ready for their first game.

“It’ll be the first hockey game of the season, and that’s always a little nerve-wracking because you don’t really know how the team is going to perform,” Laramie Outlaw Keegan Miller said before the game. “Hopefully with a little luck and lots of effort we can do really well.”

Miller was not disappointed by the results.

The Laramie Outlaws played two games, both against the Casper Oilers, and won them 4-3 and 4-2 respectively.

“I think capitalizing on their penalties and also moving the puck well and finding the net [contributed to the Outlaws’ wins]” Laramie Outlaw Kyler Russow said.

Two wins was just the start the Outlaws were looking for to their six-month season.

Both games were played in Laramie; one on Saturday, Nov. 7 and the other on Sunday, Nov. 8.

It is common for multiple games to be played against the same team within a couple of days to maximize the number of games that can occur with minimal travel, especially since towns such as Laramie only have one hockey team, resulting in the need for a lot of travel to play games and tournaments.

Throughout the season, the Outlaws travel to tournaments as far away as Nevada.

While many of the players are used to traveling for games and tournaments, many are not used to the changes that coronavirus brings to the season.

Players often must put on their uniforms and equipment at home due to the maximum capacity of five players in the hockey locker room.

Hockey masks also must already be on when the players arrive at the rink, and the amount of time players come in contact with one another is minimized in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Attempts to avoid the spread of coronavirus can also lead to the cancelling of games and tournaments or a team temporarily shutting down for two weeks if there is a possibility of a COVID-19 case on the team.

“They do a good job,” Miller said. “If there is a possibility of a case, the team will either be shut down for two weeks or they will have everyone test.”

Coronavirus also impacts the number of parents who can watch a hockey game by setting a rink capacity.

“The rink capacity is at 70 people including players, officials and everyone, so there are [only] 20-30 fans, which is really weird to see,” Russow said.

Despite these changes, the Outlaws have managed to thrive in the first games of their season, and they hope their success continues.