Breakaways begin Stella defense vs. Fort Collins |

Breakaways begin Stella defense vs. Fort Collins

Stella has spent a pleasant summer in the possession of the Vail Breakaways women’s hockey team.

And, if all goes well, Stella, the championship trophy of the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey, will be defended in and stay in Vail by the end of the 2003-04 season. That’s because the WACH playoffs will be held in the cozy confines of Dobson Arena come April.

But before that, the defense of Stella begins Sunday at 6 p.m., against the Fort Collins Flames at Dobson in the season opener.

“They’re always a tough team,” Breakaways captain Alice Plain said. “The Flames usually have a bunch of college players and they play a physical game.”

But, then again, the Breakaways don’t back down from anybody. They showed that last year, winning their eighth Stella Cup in the 20 years that the trophy has been contested.

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Vail won its first state championship since 1997, while posting a 20-2 record. That included four wins against archrival Aspen. One of those four wins was a 6-3 triumph over the Motherpuckers in the WACH title game.

And, as a result, Stella has spent the summer with assorted members of the Breakaways. The trophy even got a trip to New York City and a visit to the Statue of Liberty, courtesy of defender Jessica Backhus.

But, now, it’s back to business. The Breakaways played in an early season tournament in Breckenridge in September with mixed results. In all fairness, the crew didn’t bring its full squad.

That squad includes Julie Alt, Jennifer Babcock, Backhus, Yodi Borg, Deb Davis, Susanne Johnson, Karrisa Keltner, Pat Lammer, Tania Landauer, Becky Maddux, Plain, Cindy Reynolds, Allison Wadey, Kristena Wyatt, Linda Osterberg and Sarah Fowler.

Bob Saxer is again behind the bench for the Breakaways and is joined by new assistant coach Aaron Madore.

New for 2003-04 are Pam VanReesma and Caroline Cox. VanReesma, a defender, is fresh out of Harvard, where she played in the NCAA women’s title game against Minnesota last spring. And, Cox, well, there’s good hockey blood here. She’s Allison Wadey’s sister.

Vail starts with four home games in the first five weeks of the season. Starting with Fort Collins Sunday, the Breakaways have the Denver Bandits, Nov. 2, the Breckenridge Blizzard, Nov. 9 and CU on Nov. 23.

For those looking ahead, the Breakaways host Aspen Jan. 18 and are down in Pitkin County on March 13.

Admission to all Breakaways home games is free. So come on out an support the state champs, as they defend their state title.

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at

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