Final weekend of Fall Faceoff a go; AJH to host Avalanche’s Mites programming
While Aspen Junior Hockey’s 27th annual Fall Faceoff tournament got off to a bumpy start, it all came together in the second weekend and it’s full steam ahead for the third and final weekend of play at Lewis Ice Arena.
Because of a positive COVID-19 case at the Aspen Recreation Center, the first weekend of the tournament — which had been scheduled for Oct. 15-18 for the older age groups — had to be canceled. But after a deep cleaning of the facilities, this past weekend went off as well as could be hoped, with the Littleton Hawks sweeping through the 14U A, 12U A and 12U B tournaments.
“It went really well and I think they were really happy with everything. It was a nice start for us to be able to provide that and give some kids some normality and a feeling of competition,” new AJH executive director Harlan Pratt said. “Our Aspen kids haven’t really been able to play games for a while, so it was a nice treat for them to do it.”
The third weekend of play begins Thursday evening and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols related to COVID-19, spectators aren’t allowed but games are streamed on LiveBarn.
The Fall Faceoff is AJH’s largest fundraiser, along with the annual Stirling Cup weekend that was canceled this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, AJH was only able to bring in about half the normal amount of teams for the Fall Faceoff tournament this year.
In regard to the cancellation of games that first weekend, Pratt understands it’ll be safety first this winter and teams will have to learn to adjust to the new reality.
“That’s kind of the nature of the beast we are in this year,” Pratt said. “At the end of the day we have to look at the safety of everybody and that’s just the way it’s probably going to be all year long. This year is changing daily, changing weekly, and we just got to adjust and do whatever we got to do.”
AVALANCHE BRING MITES PROGRAMMING TO ASPEN
The NHL’s Colorado Avalanche are bringing their “Mile High Mites” program to Aspen Junior Hockey next month. Part of their “Learn to Play” program, kids ages 4-10 (as of Sept. 1) can get their skates wet in the sport with no long-term commitment.
For $190, the Mites will receive six on-ice instructional sessions and a full set of hockey gear to keep, including a stick, helmet, skates, gloves, pads, pants and a Mile High Mites jersey. Hope is for an Avalanche alumnus to join the kids on ice for one of the sessions here in Aspen.
“That’s kind of what it is, to get kids to try hockey and get their gear and have an opportunity to get on the ice a little bit and not with that full commitment and see what happens,” Pratt said. “See if kids enjoy it and then hopefully if they do we can get them into our actual Mite program, which has really good numbers already this year.”
To register, go to ltpavalanche.leagueapps.com. Registration ends Nov. 9, with the first session scheduled for Nov. 13.
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