The crisp breeze Sunday harkened fall and was perfectly on cue for the first captain's practice of the 2007-08 season, held at Honnen Ice Arena on Colorado College's campus.
Alternate captain Jimmy Kilpatrick was not present because he underwent hip surgery a month ago.
Coach Scott Owens described the injury as a torn labrum.
"He's out until probably November," Owens said, adding that Kilpatrick's absence will hurt in the early going. "From what I've been led to believe, he's rehabbing it extensively. Hopefully he will be able to play by Thanksgiving."
Kilpatrick said he is rehabilitating twice a day, seven days a week and, as of right now, does not plan to redshirt. He first noticed the injury in "the last third of the season," but he nor trainer Richard Quincy could not pinpoint the exact cause.
"It was a nagging thing throughout the season and it wasn't an easy diagnosis," Kilpatrick said. "But the MRI showed it wasn't good.... We tried to treat everything else possible because I didn't want to miss a game."
Kilpatrick said he tries to be around the team as much as possible and does many of his workouts alongside the Tigers during weightlifting sessions.
"I'm trying to stay positive," he said. "I'll try to be there as much as possible without getting choked up about it."
Kilpatrick and his mother, Diann, spent the first week after his surgery at sophomore forward Mike Testwuide's house in Vail.
Junior Cody Lampl said he expects to play forward this season. Recruited as a defenseman, Lampl switched to checking-line forward last season and provided a physical presence in the corners.
"We all have the same goal in mind, to make it to the Frozen Four and win a conference title," captain Scott Thauwald said. "We're a close group and both the underclassmen and seniors are doing a good job of making the freshmen feel comfortable."
The freshmen certainly seemed comfortable as they delivered checks and passed the puck confidently.
"We need guys to step up and play physical this season," Thauwald said. "It was good to see bodies being thrown around a little bit."
Sporting a slightly-raised red scar on his right wrist, sophomore left wing Bill Sweatt, said his wrist is all healed and was pleased with the first-day effort.
"That was like we were playing a real hockey game," he said. "It was intense."
Although Sweatt was still the fastest player on the ice, it looked like a few more Tigers could push him this season.