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NHL hockey, Aspen-style

Steve Benson

So, there’s gonna be some good hockey in Aspen this weekend, eh?

The NHL Alumni All-Stars face off against the Trashmen of Aspen Saturday night at the Lewis Ice Arena – the fourth meeting between the teams in the last five years.

Fourteen former NHL stars will play, including greats like six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson; 1980 gold-medal Olympic team member and 17-year NHL veteran Neal Broten; 21-year NHL veteran Bernie Nicholls, who scored an amazing 70 goals in 79 games with the L.A. Kings in the 1988-89 season; and Reed Larson, the first U.S.-born player and sixth defenseman in NHL history to score 200 career goals.

Making it even better is the fact both teams are playing to win – real hockey with real hockey players. (That’s not always the case in alumni games that feature celebrities playing with NHL vets.)

Wily Manering, a member of the Trashmen who helped develop the event five years ago, said the game will be competitive and intense.

“Both teams really want to win,” Manering said. “I can tell by the players they’re bringing that they want to come out of here with a win.

“Believe me, they’ll be pissed off if they don’t.”

The NHL Alumni team leads the series 2-0-1.

The Trashmen took the 10th Rob Hutton Invitational with four straight wins and a championship victory over California Sunday morning, outscoring the opposition by 32 goals.

Luke Richardson, who currently plays for the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, will also be skating for the Alumni All-Stars.

“This is something that the city of Aspen deserves to see – what a current NHL player plays hockey like,” Manering said. “This is a real treat.”

The Trashmen have an 18-man roster built completely of locals, including some who grew up in Aspen and were raised in the junior hockey program. All of the players have either college or professional hockey experience.

“We’re really proud to have the city put this event on,” Manering said. “A lot of these guys are home-grown, and it’s a great way for the hockey community in Aspen to see what Aspen junior hockey has produced.”

Aspen High head coach Dennis Maruk – a former NHL All-Star who played for Minnesota and Washington and was recently named one of the 50 greatest players in Washington Capitals history – will be skating for the Trashmen.

“Dennis is excellent, you can see why he scored 60 goals [in one season] in the NHL,” Manering said. “His passes are magic, his linemates have never scored so much with the passes he puts on their sticks – it’s a pleasure to watch him play.”

The game will also pay tribute to Chuck Carlson, a former member of Aspen’s men’s league who died of cancer two years ago.

“He played here for many years and was just very passionate about the sport,” Manering said. “He was always out helping kids – he was the hockey players’ hockey player.”

Carlson’s retired No. 11 jersey and his name have been permanently imbedded in the ice at the Lewis Ice Arena – from the same spot where he scored a winning playoff goal years ago.

Donations to the Chuck Carlson Memorial Fund, which helps benefit youth hockey, can be made Saturday night.

“His wife, De Carlson, said he had always told her he wanted to take care of kids and help them,” Manering said.

The money goes to helping children whose families can’t afford to pay for them to play hockey.

Face-off is at 6:30 p.m. at the Lewis Ice Arena. Price of admission is $10 (under 5 years old free).

Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com


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