BUTTE, Mont. -- Kirk Golden may be the new hockey coach in Butte, but hockey certainly isn't new to him.

Golden was named head coach and general manager of the North American 3 Hockey League's Butte Cobras in March 2021, bringing years of hockey knowledge with him, both as a coach and a player. Most recently, Golden spent 2020 as the assistant coach of the Great Falls Americans, which play in the Frontier Division--the same as Butte.

Before that, Golden coached the Aspen Leafs, a U-19 girls team, to back-to-back Colorado state titles. As a player, Golden appeared professionally all over the globe, making his mark in the China Ice Hockey League in 2015-16 as one of the league's top scorers.

Now, Golden lands in Butte, tasked with turning around the fortunes of a Cobras team that went 8-28-3-1 and finished last in the Frontier Division a season ago.

"My teams are built off high-character guys; that's kind of what I like to build my teams on," Golden said. "When you have 20 or 25 guys or girls that are working hard, and you can rely on each other, that's when teams can really do something special."

That mentality has worked so far--Golden already has Butte on the right track in 2021, as the Cobras opened their season on Saturday night with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Bozeman Icedogs.

But it's right into the fire for the Cobras coming out of the win, as they'll be on the road for eight straight games before finally returning home in mid-October.

What is Golden's mentality for facing that kind of challenge? Simple. Just embrace it--make the road your home.

"When everyone's working hard, it doesn't matter what rink you're in," Golden said. "The ice is the same everywhere. You've got the same nets on both sides. You just need to get more goals than the other team."