Aspen’s Maruk honored by Capitals fans |

Aspen’s Maruk honored by Capitals fans

Tim Mutrie
Aspen resident Dennis Maruk - seen here with the Washington Capitals in the early 1980s - will skate with the Trashmen of Aspen when they face off with the NHL Alumni All-Stars Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at the ARC. Photo courtesy NHL.

In the early 1980s, when Dennis Maruk was a goal-scoring machine for the Washington Capitals, Caps fan used to shake the building with chants of “MARUK, MARUK, MARUK.”

And Maruk, now the 48-year-old head coach of the Aspen High School hockey team, gave Caps fan plenty to cheer about, particularly during his All-Star season of 1981-82, when he scored 60 goals and had 76 assists. To date, only 15 other NHL players have twined 60 goals in a season.

Last month, the Capitals celebrated their 30th anniversary and, as part of the festivities, fans were asked to select the Caps’ All Time 30 Team. While some time has passed since Maruk was voted Washington’s most popular player in 1979-80, the fans remembered him with their ballots, as Maruk joined more contemporary Caps stars like Jaromir Jagr, Scott Stevens, Peter Bondra, Dino Ciccarelli and Mike Gartner on the team.

On March 19-20, during a Caps weekend home stand against the Rangers and the Thrashers that doubled as the anniversary event, the group was recognized by the team and its faithful, an experience Maruk called “a special honor.”

“The fans remembered me and that meant a lot, because it’s been some time,” said Maruk, who also works at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen.

“I’d kind of forgotten about that ‘MARUK’ chant they used to give, and that was heard in the stadium while I was back there, which really touched me. It means a lot to be remembered as one of the top players in the club’s history, and that’s something you don’t forget.”

On Saturday a team of NHL Alumni All-Stars is descending on the Lewis Ice Arena at the ARC to face off with the Trashmen of Aspen, a team of local players less distinguished in the hockey world.

And while Maruk could have suited up with the NHL players like Glenn Anderson, Neal Broten and Bernie Nichols, Maruk elected to skate with his new hometown team, the Trashmen.

“We’ve got a tough game ahead of us, no doubt about it,” said Maruk. “I mean, they’re bringing in some real ringers. But we’ve got some top players from the [Aspen Men’s Hockey League], and some younger legs, too, and I think it’ll be a fun weekend with a good hockey game.

“We want to win but we want to have fun as well,” he added.

Faceoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets, available in advance at the Red Brick Building in Aspen or at the door beginning at 5:30 p.m., cost $10.