There was one name circulating around the Lewis-Palmer School District when legendary coach Steve Fillo retired after last season.

Hal Jordan, a hockey lifer.

After the news broke about Fillo calling it quits after seven years and two state titles with the Rangers, Lewis-Palmer players and coaches quickly got on the horn with Jordan and asked him to take over the program.

"I remember after I heard the news, I called Coach Jordan and asked him if he'd be interested in coaching us," said senior AJ Schaefer, who knew Jordan from club hockey. "I was really trying to push him to take the job. Kind of hinting he should do it, and it'd be worth it. Stuff like that."

Jordan eventually agreed - and the program hasn't looked back.

Gifted with a tough but respectful coaching style, Jordan set a serious tone early for both the young and experienced players, and led the Rangers to an 18-3 record and a second-round appearance in the postseason.

"We had a pretty good year and I'm proud of the guys. We had some injuries that really hurt us down the stretch," said Jordan, who was without senior leaders Taylor Hill and Brayden Yatsu for the final three weeks. "But I couldn't be happier with every one of my players' and coaches' effort. They made me look good."

In dominating fashion, the Rangers had a plus-98 goal difference in 2013-14 and were the only Pikes Peak region team to make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Next season could be more of the same despite a young returning core.

"He took the program to the next level," Julian Claudio said. "They'll be young next year but Coach Jordan is an amazing coach. The sky is the limit for our program."

Brent W. New, The Gazette