Hockey:Longtime coach Provenzano headed to CHSAA Hall of Fame

By Scott Kaniewski Updated: December 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm • Published: December 3, 2013 | 9:15 pm 0

Four state championships. Almost 400 career victories. And 40 years of coaching.

Those individual accolades mean plenty to Mike Provenzano. But his favorite highlight might be one that meant something more for the sport than for himself.

On Jan. 29, 2014, Provenzano, the long-time Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain hockey coach who retired after the 2010-11 season, will be inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame as the first hockey representative.

All those honors and records, but it was when hockey was sanctioned by the CHSAA in 1975 as a varsity sport that stood out as a highlight for Provenzano.

"We'd been playing hockey in the Springs since the 1940s and high schools treated it like a sport even though it wasn't sanctioned," Provenzano said recently. "It still wasn't the real deal. But when that happened (being sanctioned) it started growing with teams. That was kind of the highlight of my whole career."

In 30 years with Palmer, Provenzano won three state championships. In nine years at Cheyenne Mountain, he won another one. Provenzano posted a career record of 394-200-15 (267-159-9 at Palmer, 127-41-6 with the Indians).

Wayne Marshall, a longtime Air Academy coach who went head to head against Provenzano numerous times, liked seeing his friend get selected.

"He's earned it, he's put in his time," Marshall said. "We knew going against each other that you better bring your A-game because that's what it's going to be. Those were great games to play."

Since Provenzano left Cheyenne Mountain, the Indians have failed to make the playoffs. Hockey fans can still see Provenzano in the stands, as he watches both Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain on occasion. He admittedly has thought about getting back into coaching, but other than his summer High Altitude Hockey Program he hasn't jumped back in yet.

He's got plenty of memories to tide him over anyway.

"There were a lot of good times," said Provenzano, who was told by the CHSAA that he is the first hockey representative in the hall. "Of course those state championships were great."

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