Midgets gear up for Sportsmanship
The first weekend of the Vail Sportsmanship Hockey Tournament was just a prelude.
This weekend, the big boys hit the ice. The Vail Midget AA’s and A’s host 11 teams during the course of three days, starting Friday at Dobson. Though both teams have played some preseason games, this is really the season opener and a window into the Battle Mountain hockey season.
“We’re always excited when we get to play in our tournament because we get to not only play against some good competition, but also showcase our own teams to our own fans,” Vail coach Jade Kersey said. “It’s going to be essentially a springboard to our season.”
There’s also a little matter of revenge for the local clubs this weekend. Last year, both Midget teams lost in the finals. The AA’s lost to Colorado Springs, 2-0, while the A’s fell by the same score to Littleton. Home-ice bragging rights will be on the line, especially for the seniors on the AA’s, who will be making their final appearance in this tournament.
“They definitely want to have a good showing,” Kersey said. “I know last year was a disappointment and they’re going to do what they can to do to get a victory.”
The AA’s will be hosting four other squads – Aspen (Friday, 1:15 p.m.), Steamboat Springs (Friday, 7:55 p.m.), Foothills (Saturday, 10:55 a.m.) and Littleton (Saturday, 6:45 p.m.). The top two teams from this pool advance to Sunday’s 3:45 p.m. championship game.
Eric Hansen, Derek Byron, P.J. Bevan, Ray Bernardo, Nathan Simon, Howdy Tuthill, Keith Denton, Austin Chow, Alex Biegler, Cam Carlson, Brad Myers, Greg Garman, Karl Eklund, Jason Chase and Max Miller will lace them up for the Midget AA’s.
While it’s been tough for Jade Kersey and company to evaluate both teams because of the athletes’ commitments to other fall sports, Kersey’s pleased with what he’s seen from his boys who have been skating.
“I’ve been very happy with Brad Myers,” he said. “He’s really developed a new physical nature to his game. That’s been great. He’s done a lot of scoring for us. We’re happy with Max Miller’s progress. Also, our senior contingency of Keith Denton and Jason Chase, they’ve also had good preseasons.”
The Vail Midget A’s will be playing in the blue division of the tournament with Southern Colorado (Friday, 3:55 p.m.), Hyland Minor (Friday, 9:15 p.m.) and Aspen (Saturday, 4:10 p.m.) The team’s fourth pool game will come from crossover play, played late Saturday night.
The top two teams from each pool will play the semifinals Sunday morning and the finals at 2 p.m. The red division of the MIdget A tourney includes Boulder, Denver Country Club, Hyland Major and Littleton.
“The Midget A division has been particularly strong,” Kersey said. “Last year, it was a little bit weaker. This year, it’s been very consistent throughout. So, I think it’s going to be a very competitive tournament for the Midget A’s, even more so than the Midget AA’s.”
The Vail Midget A’s include Gregory Flynn, Kyle Gilchrest, Billy Barto, Matt Heelan, Andy McNeill, Adam Weiss, Andrew Thompson, Alex Trtanj, Pat Spainhower, Coulter Somes, Seth Wickham, Eklund, Chris Chase, Greg Brodine and Peter Shelton.
In addition to the action on the ice, there will be plenty of goodies off the ice. There will be a silent auction, featuring tickets to the Avs and Colorado College, as well as gift certificates and dinners. There’s the retail table, which will have NHL pucks and sticks, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats for both Vail Junior Hockey and Battle Mountain hockey, in addition to hockey Christmas cards, jewelry pictures and frames.
Be sure to check out the Action Photography stand as well as Sportsmanship clothing from Northwest Designs.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.