click HERE for link to Rubber Hockey Magazine article (page 4)
(RMJH featured on page 8)
Aspen continues to raise the developmental bar
by Matt Mackinder- From the Editor, Rubber Hockey Magazine (Summer 2014 Edition)
While renowned for some of the best skiing in the world, Aspen is quietly assembling a formidable youth hockey program that’s building momentum both in size and competitiveness.
Founded in 1972 by John McBride - a member of the Aspen Leafs’ semi-pro team at the time - the organization has evolved into a highly structured organization that boasts just shy of 300 members and 30 volunteer coaches.
“We’re very fortunate to live in a very active community that promotes athleticism and the outdoors,” said Aspen Junior Hockey director Shaun Hathaway. “Because participation in outdoor and physical activities throughout the year is part of the culture here - the hockey players in Aspen are athletes first - it makes our job developing them much easier.”
And the results are proof positive. The Leafs’ girls and boys teams finished at or near the top their respective leagues every season, and this past year the program collected three girls recreational state championships at the 19U, 14U and 12U, levels. What’s more, Aspen’s Bantam A team celebrated an Avs Cup championship in its division, with its Pee Wee A squad finishing second.
The program will also introduce a 20U junior team in 2015-16 as part of the new Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League (see more on the USA Hockey-backed Tier III circuit on Page 8).
“With our 6U initiation program in place and now a 20U team, we can provide our players legitimate opportunities to develop and pursue hockey at higher levels from start to finish right here in the Roaring Fork Valley,” Hathaway added.