First of 3 Fall Face-Offs ‘phenomenal’ |

First of 3 Fall Face-Offs ‘phenomenal’

Aspen Bantam A player Maggie Melberg (also a star of Aspen's U-19 girls team), with 'C' at center, watches her shot find the goal against Arvada Sunday at the Aspen Ice Garden. The action was part of the 11th annual Aspen Face-Off tournament. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox

The first of three weekends of the 11th annual Fall Face-Off hockey tournament in Aspen commenced Sunday evening, after a total of 68 games at the Aspen Ice Garden and the Lewis Ice Arena at the ARC.”It was phenomenal, a great tournament,” said tournament director Tim Ware. “But I’m tired. I need a shower, a shave and a hot meal.”Who could blame him?

The hectic schedule began Friday morning and the games routinely ran until after midnight. On Saturday and Sunday, games started at 6 in the morning.”I’ve now got four days to recover,” he said.About 660 hockey players under the age of 18 descended on Aspen for the tournament, which is gaining national notoriety. In the next two weeks, teams from California, Texas, and New Mexico will skate with the best Colorado has to offer.This past weekend featured four divisions: Squirt B (9- and 10-year-olds), Peewee B (11- and 12-year-olds), Bantam A (13- and 14-year-olds) and Midget Major AA (15-, 16- and 17-year-olds).

Aspen was represented in each division, with mixed results.Aspen’s Squirt B team won the consolation championship with a 4-1 win over Arvada, while the Peewee B team narrowly missed making it to the championship game, finishing in third place. Aspen’s Bantam A and Midget Major AA squads had rough tournaments, finishing 1-1-2 and 0-4, respectively.”You can’t be disappointed, it was such a good tournament,” Ware said. “We have some strong teams playing next weekend and we’ll see if we can fare better and get [an Aspen] team into the finals.”Ware added that both the Aspen Bantam B and Peewee A teams, which will be competing next weekend, are very promising.

“We have high hopes for them,” he said. “Those teams are good, strong teams,”Divisions competing next weekend include Squirt C, Peewee A, Bantam B and Midget A. The final weekend belongs to the ladies and the little guys, with the under-12, under-14 and under-19 girls divisions facing off. Several Mite teams (under 8 years old) will also be playing. “That’s like little bumper cars on ice,” Ware laughed.Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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