This weekend will mark the start of a new chapter in a growing NA3HL hockey rivalry between a pair of Northeastern Wyoming hockey organizations.
The Gillette Wild will travel to Sheridan for a game at Whitney Rink in the M&M’s Center, before returning home hosting the Hawks at Spirit Hall Ice Arena on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday night, and 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
Gillette Wild Head Coach Ethan Hayes is aware of the importance of his team’s games against Sheridan.
“I think the two cities’ rivalry plays a huge part in our games,” Hayes said. “We only have two guys from Gillette on our roster, but we can feel the need to perform well against Sheridan. The games with them are big for our fans and that makes them big ones for us, because of the rivalry between the two towns.”
Said rivalry began with the Hawks organization coming to life for the 2019-2020 season, and the two teams have faced one another eight times annually since. Sheridan leads the all-time series having won 15 of the 24 contests. Since Coach Hayes took over the Wild program in 2020-2021, the series have been played to a draw with both teams having won eight games each.
The Hawks enter the weekend with a 3-4-1 record and sit fifth in the Frontier Division. Sheridan is 0-1-1 at home, and 3-3 on the road this season. They’re being led in scoring by Makhai Sparks, and Parker Norling, who have each recorded 13 points. Sparks, from Boise, ID, has six goals and seven assists, and Norling, from Andover, MN, has two goals and 11 assists.
Gillette is 6-1-0-1 and sit in second place in the Frontier. The Wild are 2-2 at home, and 4-0 on the road this season. Gillette is being led in scoring by St. Michael, MN, product JP Johnson. Johnson has recorded 16 points, scoring 11 goals, and assisting on five others.