Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Steamboat Springs For the past 10 years, local hockey player Dusty Henning has waited for the day he would be noticed.
But when you are a young hockey player from a small skiing community such as Steamboat Springs, you have to be patient. Henning knows firsthand just how hard it is to catch the eyes of top college or club scouts who rarely visit this part of the country.
But this month, the 17-year-old defenseman for the Braves midget hockey team will get his shot at the Chicago Showcase Tournament.
"This was huge," Henning said Wednesday as he made a three-plus hour trip to Denver to practice with Team Colorado. Henning was selected to play for the team in the Chicago Showcase, which will be held April 17-21, during a tryout earlier this winter.
The purpose of the event is to give players such as Henning a chance to get noticed by the scouts who could help his career gain steam with a college or top national club team.
"I just want to play hockey," Henning said. "I don't really know what to expect (from the tournament) other than speed."
Henning will play for Team Colorado against other top state and regional teams from around the country.
He said the level of play will be fast and he knows the top players will display an incredible amount of speed. His job will be to keep the fastest players on the ice in front of him.
"This is a great opportunity for Dusty," local coach Dave Strang said. "There will be lots of college and club teams there looking for some good players, and it should open a few doors for him."
Doors that are hard to even pry open when the player hails from Steamboat Springs.
Henning is one of 17 kids from the state that were selected to represent Team Colorado. He has tried out for the team twice. Last year, he failed to make the cut.
"Size and attitude that's the difference between making it and not," Henning said. "This year I changed my attitude and it paid off big time."
Henning and the team will play its first game April 17 against Team Northwest. Teams will compete in pool play. The winners will advance to a series of elimination rounds.