‘High energy’ at Glenwood Springs youth hockey tourney

Youth hockey teams compete against each other during a season-ending tournament at Glenwood Springs Ice Rink on Saturday.
Submitted / Ham Tharp

Youth hockey teams from all around the Western Slope flocked to Glenwood Springs for a major season finale tournament Saturday.

Yet no official score was kept, the Glenwood Springs Youth Hockey executive director said.

“It’s all about fun,” TK Kwiatkowski said. “It’s for the love of skating and playing hockey.”

Hosting their annual 8U co-ed mites jamboree, the Glenwood Springs Ice Rink saw 10 teams compete against each other. Within a span of about three hours, Kwiatkowski said they essentially fit 21 games.

They didn’t take an official head count, but Kwiatkowski said there were about 100 fully padded kids going on and off the ice.

Each team, composed of about 9-10 kids, played 20 minutes games.

“It was high energy,” he said. “It’s a really fun way to wrap up the season.”

Traditionally, the 8U mite jamboree is held some time in December, but plans changed when the local ice rink had to temporarily shut down due to a mechanical failure.

The rescheduling of the jamboree, however, didn’t prevent a slew of parents from showing up Saturday, Kwiatkowski said.

“It was packed end to end,” he said.

A slew of parents spectate during a youth hockey tournament at Glenwood Springs Ice Rink on Saturday.
Submitted / Ham Tharp

Glenwood Springs youth coach Justine Smith said the 10 teams stretching from Vail to Grand Junction had nothing but excited kids taking the ice, and supportive parents in the stands.

And despite no official scores, Glenwood’s two youth teams scored plenty of goals.

“The 8U mites in particular were incredibly impressive this year,” Smith said. “They were strong skaters, they were great passers and played together with a great attitude all season.”

Accompanying the players on the ice were the older “squirts,” who helped run the play clock, music and even dressed up in the mascot Grizzly costume.

“Just the volume of people at that rink, the participation was excellent,” Smith said. “Everyone was in great spirits.”

With youth hockey now in the offseason, the Grizzlies have some fun plans scheduled for spring and summer.

Kwiatkowski said he’s currently working with the Colorado Avalanche in helping spearhead a couple street hockey events.

Meanwhile, youth hockey is also working with the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for fundraising efforts.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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