Aspen Junior Hockey honoring coaches
The Aspen Times
The season is over.
The awards are coming in.
Aspen Junior Hockey officially wrapped up the 2014-15 season with the annual Coaches Appreciation Party at the Limelight Hotel in downtown Aspen.
“Dru Lucchesi was honored as the 2014-15 recipient of the Peter Whitmore Coach of the Year Award,” said Shaun Hathaway, director of Aspen Junior Hockey.
In his first season as the head coach of the Aspen High School hockey team, he directed the team to a 12-8 oveall record and a return to the state playoffs.
“He also served as the Squirt coordinator, inspiring our 9- and 10-year-old boys during practices,” Hathaway said.
The annual award is in honor of Peter Whitmore, former coach and hockey ambassador who continues to serve as an inspiration for Aspen Junior participants and future coaches.
Lucchesi is an Aspen native and Aspen Leafs’ alum.
Also honored at the annual banquet was Andy Welgos, named the volunteer of the year.
Also an Aspen native and alum of the Aspen Leafs, Welgos volunteers his time managing highly important aspects of AJH business, said Hathaway.
“His continued work exemplifies the purpose of the award, which is an acknowledgment of impactful and behind-the-scenes service that typically goes unnoticed,” Hathaway said.
In related youth hockey news, Aspen Junior Hockey and Aspen High School announced a partnership to form a junior varsity team at the high school for next season.
The Colorado High School Activities Association formally approved the addition of JV hockey earlier this year.
“With the need to provide all high school players competitive stability to continue their development, Aspen Junior Hockey is jumping on board by expanding its partnership with Aspen High School,” Hathaway said.
More than a dozen teams are expected to field JV teams next season.
“This is a great opportunity for the younger high school kids to get better before playing at the varsity level,” Lucchesi said. “I an very excited for the new development coming next season with the 20-and-under team and now the addition of a CHSAA-affiliated junior varsity feeder team.”
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ESPN’s Winter X Games is back in Aspen this week for the 20th straight year, although it’ll lack most of the usual flair. Out of precaution to safeguard against further spread of COVID-19, there won’t be any fans, any music and, well, really anything outside of the main competitions.