Hockey heroes

Laurie Kleisinger/President of the Board of Directors Vail Junior Hockey Association

We were very lucky to find Jade Kersey as our new hockey director. He has played every level of hockey from youth to professional, as well as coached Division I college hockey. He has thrown himself into the day-to-day running of our club. He coaches our coaches, works with each of our skaters, counsels our parents, and has taken over the helm of the new high school program. His master’s degree in education, and undergraduate degree in organizational management have been put to the test innumerable times, all to his credit.Although hockey is not an inexpensive sport (VJHA does offer scholarships), it would be much more so without the hard work and follow through of our A No. 1 fund-raiser, Louise Funk, and her capable crew including John Garnsey and George Shaeffer. Our club is extremely lucky to have them, and we are grateful. Through their efforts, and others, our membership only pays about 40 percent of the actual cost for the program. These fund-raisers have implemented a successful sponsorship program which many local business have so generously chosen to participate in.At our highest level of sponsorship, we would like to thank our platinum level team sponsors ($6,000 donation): Alpine Bank, sponsor of the Pee Wee A team; Beaver Creek Resort Co., sponsor of the Midget A team; Evergreen Lodge, sponsor of the Squirt C team; the Gallegos Corp. sponsor of the Girls U-19 team; George Shaeffer Construction Co, sponsor of the Bantam A team; Hill and Co Integrated Marketing and Advertising, PJA Land Planning, Resort Concepts, sponsor of the Midget AA team; Slifer Smith and Frampton, sponsor of the Squirt B team; Vail Resorts Development Company, sponsor of the Mite team; Vail Resorts, sponsor of the Bantam B team; and Wells Fargo Bank, sponsor of the Pee Wee B team.At the gold level ($3,000 donation), we would like to thank the following businesses and organizations: Dundee Realty, First Bank of Vail, Funke Skate and Hockey Supply, Maximum Comfort, Northstar Lumber, Thul Electronics, Vail International Hockey & Merv Lapin, Suzy Bruce and Spencer Blair, the Vail Valley Foundation, and Venture Sports.We would also like to thank our silver sponsors ($1,000): Alpine Construction, Base Mountain Sports/Beaver Creek, Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Buzz’s Boots and Boards, Colorado Business Bank, Domino’s Pizza, The Golden Bear, Havlik Real Estate and Management, Inter-Mountain Engineering, Jerry Sibley Plumbing, KC Company, Mountain Home Corporation, Olson and Sons Construction Co, Sabo Electric, Select Surfaces, Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Vail Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, WestStar Bank, White River Development, and Wire Nut Electrical.Thank you also, to Aalta Sports in Beaver Creek at the bronze sponsor level ($500 donation).We are very grateful to our webmaster, Kindler Chase (older brother to two current VJHA players), and his company, who designed and maintains for us the best youth hockey Web site to be found in cyberspace. We invite you to browse our site at to see what we’re up to and what a great job Kindler does.The Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers were also very generous to our organization while they were here during their preseason camps. Both organizations not only promoted goodwill and enthusiasm for the sport of hockey throughout the community, but our club also benefited from signed jerseys to auction off, as well as the entire gate receipts for the inter-squad scrimmage that the Florida Panthers so generously set up for our club.There are a few volunteers who have really gone above and beyond the call of duty already this year. We would like to acknowledge and thank Beth Chow and her committees for their professional and capable management of our November Sportsmanship Tournament. The tournament, which ran over three weekends, accommodated more than 35 teams and 500 youth. The teams who participated had nothing but kind words for Beth and our club. Also on the must-thank list is Rick Pileman, who in the 11th hour helped to get the Vail Ice Dome set for zoning change approval. He worked tirelessly, rapidly and efficiently on what was a monumental task. The many skaters of our club, as well as countless other adult and other clubs’ skaters are extremely grateful and lucky to have someone like him willing to put in the time and effort necessary to accomplish what he did.The youth hockey season is a long one, with some teams starting as early as August, and going until March. The many coaches who volunteer their time, referees, managers who put in the time planning the season for their team, and the parents who drive as far as Laramie, Wyo., or Telluride for their children to play league games are all to be commended and thanked for their tireless dedication to the youth hockey players of the Vail Valley.With the fantastic backing and support of organizations, businesses and individuals like these, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish, and provide for our skaters as we strive to help mold these youth into the next generation of confident, capable, creative young men and women.

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