Grizzly Hockey welcomes Colorado Avalanche Alumni Association to Glenwood Springs for Dec. 7 exhibition match

The Glenwood Springs Grizzlies 12U A team celebrates their Fall Faceoff tourney win in Aspen on Oct. 30.
TK Kwiatkowski/Courtesy

In a first-of-its-kind event for the city, Glenwood Springs-based youth hockey program Grizzly Hockey is set to host the Colorado Avalanche Alumni Association for an exhibition match, scheduled for Dec. 7 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

The event, open and free to the public, kicks off with an open ice session at 5 p.m., allowing attendees the opportunity to skate alongside former NHL stars. The excitement continues with a family after-party at the Hotel Colorado from 8:45 to 10:30 p.m. Guests can interact with their hockey heroes, gather autographs, and partake in a silent auction featuring signed memorabilia.

“This is going to be the biggest hockey event that Glenwood Springs has ever seen, period,” said Grizzlies Executive Director T.K. Kwiatkowski. “We are excited to be able to host an experience like this for the hockey community. Not just the kids, but anyone looking to get on the ice.”

The event marks a significant milestone for Grizzly Hockey, showcasing the program’s growth and commitment to fostering a love for the sport. A testament to this dedication is Grizzlies coach A.P. Parrish, who has been with the program since 1999, starting as a player at the age of five and later transitioning to coaching in 2020.

Parrish shared his enthusiasm about the upcoming event and its significance, especially for younger participants. 

“It’s going to be an amazing experience and obviously, it’s super exciting for the kids,” Parrish said. “It’s an opportunity for these kids, and even adults, to meet some of the players that they look up to.”

Parrish emphasized the thrill of playing alongside professional athletes, an experience he has had while playing in net during a similar event for Aspen Junior Hockey. 

“You feel like you are a pro playing against those guys,” he said. “I was a huge Avalanche fan growing up, so playing in net against these guys, it’s scary but it’s a lot of fun.”

Juli Rathke, Executive Director of the Avalanche Alumni Association, expressed her excitement for the collaboration with Grizzly Hockey. 

“We are excited to see the enthusiasm of the Glenwood Springs and hockey community to kick off the season,” Rathke said. “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with T.K. and the Grizzlies organization.”

Rathke also highlighted the event’s broader significance. 

“Our mission is to grow the game and make it more accessible,” she said. “But it means a lot to these alumni to be able to share what hockey means to them and how it has developed them as players, men, and human beings.”

Among the notable players expected to attend are John-Michael Liles, Kyle Quincey, and Milan Hejduk, whose careers have left indelible marks on the NHL.

Expected players:

  • John-Michael Liles
    • Played in the NHL for the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins.
    • Drafted in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche.
    • All-CCHA Second Team (2001), All-CCHA First Team (2002, 2003), CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman (2002, 2003), AHCA West Second-Team All-American (2002), and AHCA West First-Team All-American (2003).
    • NHL All-Rookie Team (2004).
    • Set records as a rookie defenseman with the Avalanche for goals and points.
  • Kyle Quincey
    • Named in the OHL Second All-Star Team in the 2004–05 season.
    • Eastern Conference’s Best Defensive Defenceman in the OHL.
    • Placed third in voting for the OHL’s top defenseman award (Max Kaminsky Trophy).
  • Milan Hejduk
    • Won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goalscorer (2002–03).
    • Scored his 300th career NHL goal in the 2008–09 season.
    • Played his 1,000th career NHL game in the 2012–13 season.
    • Scored his 800th point in the NHL, becoming the third Czech-born player to reach this feat.
    • NHL All-Rookie Team (1998–99), All-Star Game (1999–2000, 2000–01, 2008–09), Stanley Cup champion (2000–01), Bud Light Plus/Minus Award (2002–03), Second All-Star Team (2002–03).
    • His number 23 jersey was retired by the Avalanche in 2018.
  • Yan Stastny
    • Helped the Omaha Lancers win the Clark Cup playoff trophy and the Gold Cup National Championship (2000–01).
    • Drafted in the 2002 NHL entry draft.
    • Played for Team USA in the 2005 IIHF World Championship.
  • Rick Berry
    • Drafted 55th overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche.
    • Played 197 career NHL games, scoring 2 goals and 13 assists.
  • Brian Willsie
    • Drafted 146th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
    • Named to the OHL First All-Star team.
    • Represented Canada at the 1998 World Junior Championships.
    • Set a franchise record with 26 goals in 75 games for Lake Erie in the AHL (2009–10 season).
  • Derek Armstrong
    • AHL Second All-Star Team (1999–2000).
    • Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as Calder Cup Playoffs MVP (1999–2000).
    • AHL First All-Star Team (2000–01).
    • John B. Sollenberger Trophy as AHL Top Scorer (2000–01).
    • Les Cunningham Award as AHL Most Valuable Player (2000–01)​​.
  • Darren Helm
    • East First All-Star Team (2006).
    • East Second All-Star Team (2007).
    • CHL Memorial Cup All-Star Team (2007).
    • Stanley Cup champion (2008, 2022)​​.
  • Shane O’Brien
    • Led all AHL defensemen in scoring during the 2006 Calder Cup playoffs with six goals and 22 points in 19 post-season games​​.
    • Stints with seven NHL teams during a nine year NHL career.
  • P.A. Parenteau
    • AHL Second All-Star Team (2007–08).
    • AHL First All-Star Team (2008–09)​​.
    • 296 career points in the NHL.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.