Lewis named to USA Hockey U18 team
Aspen native Yale Lewis, who started his hockey career as a 5-year-old Mighty Mite in the Aspen Junior Hockey Club, will play for the USA Hockey under-18 team in an international tournament in the Czech Republic Aug. 20-22.
Lewis played on Aspen Junior Hockey teams for eight years, starting in the fall of 1987, before joining the AAA Vail Elites as a 14-year-old. During those years he also took instruction from several coaches with the Aspen Skating Club and, later, Mark LeRose, until recently the director of operations for Aspen Junior Hockey and the program’s Midget (high-school age) head coach. LeRose will join the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach this season.
At age nine, Lewis was invited to play for his first postseason all-star team. At 11 he became the first Aspen player to join Tier I Team Northwest, a AAA program based in Grand Forks, N.D., whose teams play international hockey tournaments in the United States and Canada during the summer months.
After five summers with Team Northwest and one season with the Vail Elite program, competing from Toronto to Anchorage, Lewis, then 14, enrolled at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., a 115-year-old boarding school that competes in the New England Prep League.
Cushing last won the league title in hockey in 1998 and ’96, and most of Cushing’s varsity hockey players go on to play Division I college hockey. Several of the school’s players have been drafted by the NHL. Lewis will be a junior at the academy this fall.
This June, Lewis, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left wing/center, played in the USA Hockey Select 17 Festival, an invitational tournament for the top 200 age-group players in the country. At the conclusion of the festival, a committee of coaches selected Lewis for the six-player all-tournament team and the under-18 team competing in the Czech Republic.
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