Relocated Pahrump teen discovers ice hockey team in Vegas

The McDowell family had to move because they were freezing in Iowa.

Their teenage son, Ben McDowell, really didn’t care where they moved but gave them only one condition and that was the new place had to have a hockey team nearby.

It sounds easy, but the parents moved to Pahrump. Where did they find the hockey team? Despite being in the middle of the desert, there is an ice hockey league in the city of Las Vegas.

“That’s all he cared about was the hockey team,” Becca McDowell, Ben’s mother said. “We just moved here to Pahrump in August.”

She said the family was living in Iowa and that’s where her son learned to play hockey.

Ben McDowell is 15-years-old and has played the sport for the last four years.

She said her husband saw an ad for free hockey lessons and that’s all it took.

Ben McDowell is 6 feet 2 inches tall and loves the game.

“I am big and so I play defense,” he said. “I like the game because you skate, it’s rough and you can hit people on the boards as hard as you want.”

He attributes his abilities on the ice to good coaches.

“I have slowly progressed in skating, but it has taken all four years and I am always learning,” he said. “I am getting better each year.”

Of course, he was surprised like most people, that Las Vegas even had hockey for high school kids. He knew they had a new professional team, the Vegas Golden Knights who will debut in the NHL this fall.

“Vegas is in the middle of the desert and I didn’t think they would have as many teams as they do,” Ben McDowell said. “The league I am in is the ADHSHL, which is the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League.”

The league had a Presidents Day tourney over the weekend where his team, the Storm, played five games. They won the first game, tied the second, lost the third but made it to the semifinal game and won that, which put them in the final game.

“The last two games we played two Canadian teams,” he said. “We beat the second Canadian team, 2-1, in the finals and that went to overtime.”

Ben McDowell was happy and surprised to beat the Canadians in hockey.

“We beat them at their own game,” Ben McDowell said. “We knew we could do it, but a lot of people didn’t think we could.”

Ben plays hockey at the Las Vegas Ice Center, which offers introductory hockey lessons for free.

The Las Vegas Ice Center announced there will be two free ice hockey introduction sessions for 10-year-olds and younger on Feb. 25 from 3:30 4:30 p.m. and from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. at the center at 9295 W. Flamingo Road. For more info call 702-320-7777 or see This free opportunity to try ice hockey is sponsored by the Las Vegas Ice Center and the Vegas Golden Knights.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at

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