With Fall Faceoff a wrap, Aspen Junior Hockey’s season is officially here
With Aspen Junior Hockey’s Fall Faceoff officially a wrap, the hockey season is officially here. The 26th annual tournament — which is the largest fundraiser for the local youth hockey organization — came to a close Sunday after three weekends of near non-stop action at both Lewis Ice Arena and the Aspen Ice Garden.
“The tournament was a huge success,” AJH executive director Shaun Hathaway said. “Logistically it’s always difficult, but to have the support from the city and the volunteer help was huge. It kept everything on track. Again, we never were behind schedule.”
There were 86 teams that took part over the three weekends, most coming from the western United States. The Fall Faceoff also had six teams from the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation, including its women’s national team. The Mexican women played exhibition games against Aspen’s 19U AA team as well as the Aspen Mother Puckers.
This was the second year Mexican teams made the trek to Aspen for the tournament.
“Great to have the kids here from Mexico. They added a lot to the tournament,” Hathaway said. “It’s nice to provide that for the community in having that business pumped into the economy. The estimate is several million dollars, which is always a nice thing for the community.”
While none of Aspen’s teams came away with any championship wins over the three weekends, Hathaway was happy with how they played. Most of the local players are just coming off their fall sports season and the Fall Faceoff rosters were only decided days before the tournament.
With the Faceoff finished, Aspen Junior Hockey can turn its attention toward its main winter season, which is ready to begin in earnest this weekend.
“A lot of these teams coming in have been playing for a full month, prior to coming here,” Hathaway said of Aspen’s competition. “It’s always tough in October because you are still balancing the fall sports and we want our kids to maintain their fall sport commitments. But we had a great turnout and it all came together in the end very nicely.”
The upcoming winter season will include the Aspen High School hockey team, which can officially start practicing Nov. 18.
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