Among the top players who helped construct one of the most consistent runs in Colorado hockey history, Blake Bride spent his entire high school hockey career at Monarch coming as close as possible to winning a championship.
From 2013 to 2016, Monarch played in four straight Colorado state title games. Bride played in three of those, each of which the Monarch Coyotes lost. It wasn’t until the year after Bride graduated that the Coyotes finally broke through in their fifth consecutive state title game appearance, claiming the state championship in 2017.
Bride was even a part of a Monarch club that finished runner-up for a national championship, for God’s sake. But even after all the near misses, bad bounces, tough calls and rival teams barred Bride from a prep title, he continued his pursuit of a championship after high school and it finally paid off.
On May 17, Bride and the Sioux City Stampede swept the championship series to win the USHL Clark Cup, winning the nation’s only Tier 1 junior hockey championship for the third time in the franchise’s history. It took a while, but Bride is officially a champion.
“In high school, losing three times in the championship was tough,” Bride said. “Then to not be a playoff team for a few years after that, it really felt great to win a big game like that.”
Bride, who was a team captain and finished the season with 16 goals and 18 assists, was given the Leadership and Sportsmanship Award by the Stampede. In the USHL championship series, Bride even played against his childhood best friend, Erie High graduate and current Chicago Steel player Josiah Slavin, in the Clark Cup
“It was amazing,” Bride said. “Growing up, I’d never imagined I’d be there playing in games like that. And to be able to win that game, it was just incredible.”
Since he graduated from Peak to Peak, Bride’s pursuit of a future collegiate or possibly even professional hockey career has taken him to Boston, Minnesota and even to Odessa, Texas. He has played everything from Tier 3 to Tier 1 junior hockey.
Just scraping to keep his hockey future alive step by step, Bride ended up with an offer to play hockey at the United States Air Force Academy.
“I was just hoping to keep playing and maybe go D-III,” Bride said. “I had some injuries, and then I was traded and I ended up in Odessa, Texas, and I that’s where I somehow found a way to elevate my game. Air Force wasn’t even on my radar until I visited. I liked it so much in terms of how I fit in there and what they had to offer, I couldn’t turn it down.”