Stirling Cup returns Saturday with Dallas-Chicago alumni all-star game
Ed Belfour might be dealing with an internal conflict Saturday in Aspen. The former National Hockey League goaltender will represent the Dallas Stars organization in the Stirling Cup NHL All-Star Classic at Lewis Ice Arena, where he’ll face off against the Chicago Blackhawks alumni.
Belfour began his career with the Blackhawks, spending nearly a decade with the team. After a short stint with the San Jose Sharks, Belfour eventually signed as a free agent with the Stars, where he helped Dallas win the 1999 Stanley Cup.
“It will be fun,” Belfour said. “I’m hoping I can play for both teams. We’ll see what happens.”
This is Belfour’s second year taking part in the Stirling Cup all-star game. He also represented the Stars alumni last fall against the Colorado Avalanche alumni. This year’s game will again feature many former NHL players, including Eric Daze, Reid Simpson, Brian Noonan and Marty Turco.
Also on the ice will be various local hockey coaches as well as Belfour’s son, Dayn.
“We love the people. We love the organization — it’s first class,” Ed Belfour said. “We had just a first-class time last year and really enjoyed ourselves.”
Dayn Belfour called the Roaring Fork Valley home for a while when he worked for Woody Creek Distillers. The Belfours are in the process of starting their own distillery in the Dallas area, called Belfour Spirits.
“He really enjoyed his time. He’s really looking forward to coming back and seeing a lot of the friends he made while he was working there,” Ed Belfour said of Dayn. “It’s definitely a lot of work, but it’s going to be worth it. Dayn loved working there at Woody Creek and it’s going to carry over as a big help for us.”
Saturday’s all-star game is just a piece of the 17th annual Stirling Cup weekend, named after Stirling Cooper, a popular Aspen resident who died in a 1999 hiking accident in Utah. The Stirling Cup is the second largest event fundraiser for Aspen Junior Hockey, after its “Fall Faceoff” youth tournament in October.
On top of the all-star game, AJH is putting on skills clinics Saturday morning and will host its annual Stirling Cup Golf Classic tournament at Aspen Golf Club on Sunday.
Saturday’s all-star game starts at 6 p.m. and general admission tickets are only $5.
“It’s a great thing to bring these teams to Aspen, but the why is really the fundraising aspect,” AJH executive director Shaun Hathaway said, noting the organization attempts to subsidize approximately 70 percent of its fees through fundraisers, donations and sponsorships.
“Partnering with Jody Cooper in remembrance of her late husband Stirling Cooper is a great thing. To parlay that into being able to fundraise for our organization, we couldn’t operate without this thing.”
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With 5,000-square feet of turf, Elite Performance Academy will cater primarily to lacrosse and soccer at the start, but with hopes of expanding to other sports in the future.