John F. Russell: Fresh hope for the fans | SteamboatToday.com
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John F. Russell: Fresh hope for the fans

Unless something drastic happens soon, it looks as if there isn’t going to be a whole lot of professional hockey in our future.

I haven’t had the urge to start watching college hockey, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to watch an Avalanche game that was played several years ago — but I’ve seen it from time to time as I’ve cruised past the Altitude channel on my way to some other TV program.

Luckily, sports fans in Steamboat Springs have some options to help fill those painful days until the next NHL game is played.

I’m trying instead to find the bright side of the NHL lockout.

Now, I will have plenty of time to shovel snow, I can spend more time reading and playing games with my children at night, and there is one less reason to yell at the television. If I need to yell, I still have the Broncos.

I’m sure my wife has plenty of things for me to do around the house, and I really should clean out and reorganize my closet.

However, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve discovered that I still have options that don’t involve doing odd jobs around the house.

Two weeks ago, two Nordic combined races were held in Steamboat Springs as part of a World Cup B event.

The first race was a sprint to the finish between Bill Demong and Kenneth Braaten.

I would bet that the fans who showed up that day would agree the race was more exciting than any of the professional hockey games they’ve seen in the past few weeks.

Eric Camerota, a young American skier with hopes of getting on the regular World Cup circuit, won the second event and thrilled the fans who came out to watch the race.

But if Nordic combined wasn’t your cup of tea, this week you had a new option: the Ultimate Bumps & Jumps event at the Steamboat Ski Area.

Some of the best freeskiers in the world came to Steamboat and entertained throngs of people who took a few hours away from skiing to watch the show.

It wasn’t a hockey game, but there were plenty of cheers and whistles from the crowd, just the same.

The parade of local sporting events will continue this week when Alpine skiers take center stage for giant slalom and slalom races at Mount Werner and Howelsen Hill. Early next year, NorAm snowboarding and a Disabled World Cup event will be held in Steamboat.

Hockey fans also can turn to the high school sports to fill the void left by professional hockey.

There will be plenty of prep hockey, basketball and wrestling to fill those hours of time that could have been wasted in front of the television watching overpaid athletes play a child’s game.

For real hockey fans, there is nothing that will lessen the blow of coming to terms with the realization that the Avalanche and Red Wings will not meet on the ice this season. But it doesn’t mean you have to start on that honey-do list, either.

Sorry honey.


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