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Ski Town Classic gives local hockey players a chance to test skills on ice

Steamboat Pilot & Today
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— Three teams with ties to Steamboat Springs will take to the ice at Howelsen Hill this weekend hoping to capture a title in the hometown Ski Town Classic.

“This tournament is a chance to bring some teams to town that our players don’t normally see,” said Brian Ripley, Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association director. “This event will draw teams from the Front Range but also teams from Wyoming and Utah.”

The locally run tournament, which is the second of three that have played at the Howelsen Hill Ice arena since November, will feature a four-team Bantam “A” division, a four-team Bantam “B” division and a six-team Peewee “A” division.

Teams will play a round-robin format on Friday and Saturday before being seeded for Sunday’s finals. The top teams in the round-robin will face each other for the title.

Each year the Steamboat Youth Hockey Association hosts a tournament for every age group during the winter including the Squirt division for players under 10, the Peewee division for players under 12 and the Bantam division for players under 14. The association also hosts a girls tournament and a Mites tournament later in the year.

The Jim Fournier Rocky Mountain Rumble got things started the first week in November and featured Peewee “B” and Squirts teams. The Adele Dombrowski tournament, which will take place Dec. 9 to 11, will feature U12, U14 and U19 girls teams. The Mites tournament, for players younger than 8, will be held over President’s Day weekend this year.

This weekend’s action will kick off Friday at 12:45 p.m. when the Steamboat Peewee “A” team takes on a team from the Northern Colorado Youth Hockey Association. At 4:45 p.m., the Northwest Colorado Blizzard, a team made up of players from Steamboat, Moffat County and Oak Creek, will face off against Littleton.

Also that night, the Steamboat Bantam “A” team will face Northern Colorado Youth Hockey at 8:15 a.m. Games on the opening day will continue until 10:30 p.m. with back-to-back games with teams from across the state, Wyoming and Utah playing.

The action will continue on Saturday with the Blizzard taking the ice at 7:45 a.m. against the Jr. Buffs, the Steamboat Peewee team playing at 9 a.m. against Foothills and the Steamboat Bantam team returning to the ice at 2 p.m. for a game against Park City.

At 3:15 p.m. the Steamboat Peewees will play its final pool play game against the Evolution, the Blizzard will face off against Foothills at 7 p.m. and Steamboat’s Bantam “A” team will take on Wyoming at 8:15 p.m.

All three local teams will return to the ice on Sunday for consolation games and the finals. The title game of the tournament will feature the top two Bantam “A” teams. That game begins at 2:30 p.m.

The tournament will feature a silent auction to help support the Neal family of Craig. The family lost their home in a Nov. 18 fire.

Kate Znamenacek, administrative assistant and tournament director for the Steamboat Youth Hockey Association, said fans can bid on auction items all day Friday and Saturday.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966


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