Do It For Drew: Steamboat U10 boys squirt team qualifies for state hockey playoffs | SteamboatToday.com

Do It For Drew: Steamboat U10 squirt team qualifies for state hockey playoffs

The Steamboat Stampede’s boys U10 team, which plays in the memory of Drew Rushton, has qualified for the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association State Championships in Denver this weekend. Team members include: Ike Alexander, Finn Chapman, Fisher Gibson, Zander Harvey, Daniel McLaughlin, Charlie Moore, Joey Nelson, Claire Shea, Caden Sulentich, Sawyer Vietanen and Gavin Wittlinger. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — You’re never too young to reach the state playoffs. Such is the case with the Steamboat Stampede’s U10 boys squirt A hockey team, which, after some last-minute qualifier juggling, earned a trip to the “Final Four” state championship tournament this weekend in Denver. The team will battle Littleton, Colorado Springs and Vail for the state title.

“This is Drew Rushton’s team, and they play in his memory,” said assistant coach Mike Nelson of the 9- and 10-year-old boys and girls, whose teammate Drew, a.k.a. the “Little Viking,” passed away earlier this year. “They begin each game with a “Do it for Drew” cheer.”

Steamboat state playoff schedule

March 8: vs. Littleton at Promenade, 5:20 p.m.
March 9: vs. Vail at Sports Stable, 9:30 a.m.
March 9: vs. Colorado Springs at Sports Stable, 4 p.m.
March 10: Finals at Pepsi Center, 5:15 p.m.

Nelson added the team has been short players most of the year, playing with only 10 skaters and a goalie, while most other teams have had upwards of 15 skaters. Still, they won the President’s Day DU Pioneers championship, coming from behind to beat Arapahoe 3-2 in overtime, with Charlie Moore scoring the game-winner with a top shelf backhand. Joey Nelson saved 20 of 22 shots to help win the game.

The team faces tough competition this weekend, playing Littleton (33-0), Vail (32-2-3) and Colorado Springs (19-9-6) on Friday and Saturday, with a chance to play at the Pepsi Center on Sunday for the championship.

“They’ve been through a lot of highs and lows this season and have learned to play with purpose, whether that’s in hockey or in life,” said head coach Jeremy Moore. “The life lessons they’ve learned have been way more valuable than what they’ve learned on the ice. We’re a family of Viking warriors, fighting for Drew. It’s all been pretty inspiring for us coaches.”

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.

Family celebrates son’s love of hockey, family, friends


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