Glenwood Springs Grizzly skaters set to see Avs
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado ” If Christopher Powell gets a chance to meet Colorado Avalanche forward Joe Sakic and head coach Tony Granato tomorrow, he’ll be a happy young man.
Powell might just get the chance. Selected as the Colorado Avalanche Youth Skater for Friday night’s game between the Avs and visiting Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center, the 10-year-old St. Stephen’s student and Glenwood Grizzly hockey player will lead the Avs onto the ice just before the puck drops.
He’ll get to stay on the ice, stand on the blue line with the players during the national anthem, and will be introduced with the starting lineup.
Powell, who earned the honor by putting together Christmas care packages for United States soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he’d most like to meet Sakic, who’s currently on injured reserve, and Granato.
Whether he meets them or not, the youngster’s thrilled by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I thought it was really, really, really cool,” he said with a wide smile. “I didn’t know it was coming.”
Powell and his younger brothers, 8-year-old Devlin and 6-year-old Connor, began assembling holiday care packages for troops in 2007.
“They came up with the idea because we always pray about the soldiers, that they come home safely,” the boys’ mother, Kerri, said. “Last year, we did it through Betty Scranton, who sets this whole thing up.”
It didn’t take long for the Powell brothers, all Grizzly hockey players, to realize the impact they had. One mother, whose son was supposed to be home for the holidays but didn’t make it back due to paperwork issues, called the Powells to thank them for their efforts.
“Her son was supposed to come home for Christmas, but he didn’t get to,” Devlin said. “She saw our picture in the paper and she was really happy that her son got a present.”
And so the Powells happily put together care packages again in 2008, and will probably do so as long U.S. soldiers are overseas. They come up with the contents themselves, figuring what might lift the soldiers’ spirits.
“We sent like bubble gum and beef jerky and socks, so that they have stuff to do,” Christopher relayed.
When Glenwood Grizzly board members read about what the Powells did, Christopher was nominated to be the Colorado Avalanche Youth Skater (the honor is reserved for squirt and bantam players only) on what will more or less be Glenwood Grizzly Night at the Pepsi Center.
While Christopher, who plays for the Grizzlies’ squirt team, will take the ice with the Avs, some 33 7- and 8-year-old Grizzlies will entertain the crowd by taking the ice during the intermissions.
Devlin will be one of those young skaters. He’s done it before, and can’t wait to do it again.
“They do a scrimmage in front of everyone,” he said. “After that, they have some of the mites do a shootout and they announce their names on the loudspeaker. It’s really cool.”
It’s something the Grizzlies have done for more than five years, and it’s a big deal for the young players.
“It’s life-changing,” said Grizzlies mites coach Adam McPherson. “I got to do it as a youth back in Boston and I still remember it.”
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