Pink in the rink: Steamboat Stampede opens season with breast cancer awareness game
The Howelsen Ice Arena stands filled up Saturday night for Steamboat Stampede hockey’s U19 girls home opener, but this year it meant a little more.
Steamboat hosted Cherry Creek for the Stick it to Cancer pink game in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness. The Stampede came out victorious 4-0.
This was the first time the Stampede program hosted a pink game, and the organization worked alongside UCHealth Jan Bishop Cancer Center and the Bust of Steamboat to share information on the latest testing and treatments at the game.
Senior captain Allie Nelson thought it was amazing to play in front of such a special and lively crowd while getting back on the ice for the first time this season.
“It was fun to start again,” Nelson said. “It has been a while since we’ve played together and it is exciting to start the season at home.”
Following a scoreless opening period, Nelson and sophomore Claire Shea managed to find the back of the net in the second. Shea buried two goals to give the Stampede a 3-0 lead at the second intermission.
The girls did not slow down and even extended their lead in the third when Taylor Bennett scored to all but close out the game. Goaltender Audrey Becker earned her first shutout of the season in the first game.
“We were all nervous with it being the home opener and we’ve had a couple weeks of practice but it is still pretty early to have a game,” Shea said. “Being able to see what we did out there, that was really cool.”
Stampede head coach Mike Nelson has coached the squad for three years and has always wanted to help host an event for breast cancer awareness. He knew this was his year to step up.
Prior to the game, he talked to the girls about how meaningful it is to the community. He is grateful for the incredible support of the fans and event sponsors. His message is to continue painting the town pink.
“I told them before the game this is a big community event and it is important so let’s go out and give it our best, but sometimes it is more than just a game,” Nelson said. “This was about the event and the community support and seeing everyone here in pink was really exciting.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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