Hockey events hope to `score for charity | AspenTimes.com
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Hockey events hope to `score for charity

Tim Mutrie

The Stanley Cup, the prize awarded to the NHL championship team each year, is known as the people’s trophy. On its hooped silver base appear the names of every player and team ever to win it. And as is custom, every winner of the Cup actually wins the Cup – to have and to hold – but for just one day.

While the Cup is housed at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for most of the year, it is brought out on tour for special occasions, like the NHL All-Star Game weekend, which kicks off next Friday in Denver. And, as luck would have it, the second annual the “Big Time Hockey in a Small Mountain Town; Road to the NHL All Star Game” charity event in Aspen which begins tonight.

Fourteen ex-NHL players are participating in the event, which benefits the valley nonprofit Neighbor to Neighbor. The festivities begin tonight with a welcome party at the Hotel Jerome, beginning at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, the team of ex-NHLers – including six former Stanley Cup winners, and several players participating in the NHL Heroes game next weekend at the Pepsi Center in Denver – will lead a youth skills clinic from 9 a.m. to noon at the Aspen Ice Garden. Players with the elite senior men’s hockey team, the Aspen Trashmen, will also participate in the clinic.

Saturday evening, the NHLers and the Aspen Trashmen face off for the main event of the weekend: a hard-hitting game between the two teams. Doors open for the event at 5:30 p.m. at the Aspen Ice Garden.

“It’s truly a community event,” said Wily Manering, a player/coach with the Aspen Trashmen. “And it should be one of the finest hockey games that anybody has ever witnessed to date in this city: exciting, fun and rough.”

The NHL Alumni team rosters includes: Ian Turnbull, Rob Gilbert, Garry Howatt, Neal Broten, Ron Duguay, Stewart Gavin, Ken Linseman, Tony Tanti, Terry O’Reilly, Don Awrey, Reed Larson, Bob Nystrom, Glenn Anderson and goalie Eddie Mio.

The Aspen Trashmen feature a lineup of more than 20 area residents, most of whom have collegiate Division I experience, and one Trash player, Mike McNeil, played with the NHL’s Quebec, Nordiques.

“The NHL players who are coming have great hands, hundreds of years of NHL experience,” Manering said. “The Trash, on the other hand, have 8,000 feet and all the advantages that come with that.”

After the game Saturday, Club Chelsea is hosting a benefit party. Tickets for all the NHL Alumni-related events this weekend are available at the Wheeler Opera House box office, or on the Internet, at http://www.aspenhockeyclassic.com.

On Sunday, the weekend culminates with the unveiling of the Stanley Cup at Gondola Plaza, at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Cup will be on display at Gondola Plaza, at the base of Aspen Mountain, from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Manering, who’s sponsoring the weekend of events along with Greg and Jane Hills, and Stars Memorabilia of Aspen, hopes to raise between $50,000 and $100,000 for the valley human service organization Neighbor to Neighbor. Neighbor to Neighbor supports 19 agencies in the valley, including Asistencia Para Latinos, the Buddy Program, the Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention and Mountain Rescue agencies.

“We’re all looking forward to the addition of some Denver NHL All-Star Weekend add-ons in the community of Aspen,” said Patrick Flatley of the NHL Players Association. “Besides visiting one of the best ski destinations in North America, we are also excited about helping the community score for charity.”

For additional information about events, contact Neighbor to Neighbor at 544-7384.

“The NHL Players Association and the All-Stars alumni group are bringing a major-league cast to town,” Manering said. “They’ve really backed us on this project. And make no bones about it – both teams are winning for charity, but each team also wants to win the hockey game too.”


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