Hockey rumbles onto ice

Youth tourney this weekend

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Rocky Mountain Rumble youth hockey tournament

Nov. 10 to 12 at Howlsen Ice Arena

Friday

Steamboat bantam vs. Littleton, 1:45 p.m.

Steamboat squirt vs. DU, 3 p.m.

Steamboat peewee vs. NCYH, 4:15 p.m.

Hyland Hills bantam vs. NCYH, 6:30 p.m.

Littleton squirt vs. Foothills, 7:45 p.m.

Hyland Hills peewee vs. Provo, 9 p.m.

Littleton bantam vs. Hyland Hills, 10:15 p.m.

Saturday

DU squirt vs. Littleton, 7:45 a.m.

Foothills squirt vs. Steamboat, 9 a.m.

NCYH peewee vs. Hyland Hills, 10:15 a.m.

Provo peewee vs. Steamboat, 11:30 a.m.

NCYH bantam vs. Steamboat, 12:45 p.m.

Steamboat squirt vs. Littleton, 2 p.m.

DU squirt vs. Foothills, 3:15 p.m.

Steamboat peewee vs. Hyland Hills, 4:30 p.m.

NCYH peewee vs. Provo, 5:45 p.m.

Littleton bantam vs. NCYH, 8:45 p.m.

Steamboat bantam vs. Hyland Hills, 10 p.m.

Sunday

Squirt third-place game, 6 a.m.

Bantam third-place game, 7:15 a.m.

Bantam championship game, 8:45 a.m.

Peewee third-place game, 11:30 a.m.

Squirt championship game, 12:45 p.m.

Peewee championship game, 2 p.m.

— For three days this weekend, Ski Town USA will be more like Hockey Town USA as the annual Rocky Mountain Rumble takes center stage at Howelsen Ice Arena.

"This tournament is great because our kids get lots of ice time and lots of experience," said Bob Milne, coach of the Steamboat Springs Squirt B team that opened its season in the Continental Youth Hockey League last weekend with a 3-1 victory against Summit.

But Milne knows the season is still young, and he is excited about this weekend's tournament because it will allow his team to play several quality teams. The games will not count in the CYHL standings.

"We play several games in just a few days," Milne said. "That allows our players to see where they need to improve. They can make adjustments right now - not in seven days, when they play their next game."

The tournament also provides a great chance for the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association to raise money for its teams and showcase Howelsen Ice Arena.

"This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the season," said Amy Hill, tournament director.

The tournament raises money through tournament entry fees and the sale of T-shirts and concessions. That money is used to support the teams during the season and keep the association on track.

The tournament is free to spectators and begins at 1:45 p.m. Friday with a contest between Steamboat Springs and Littleton bantam B teams. Steamboat's squirts will take the ice at 3 p.m. Friday in a game against the University of Denver squirts team. Steamboat's peewee team will open against the Northern Colorado Youth Hockey team at 4:15 p.m. Friday.

Those games will be among seven scheduled for the opening day of the Rumble. The action will continue Saturday with games starting at 7:45 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. On Sunday, there will be championship and third-place games.

"Playing away makes us appreciate the incredible facilities we have in Steamboat Springs," peewee coach P.J. Wharton said. "For a town our size, this is the finest facility that we play in. It goes head to head with the arenas in Colorado Springs and Aspen. This is as good as it gets."

Wharton said his players just love to play hockey, and getting the chance to play at home makes it that much better. His players don't have to travel this weekend, can sleep in their own beds and head home between games to grab a sandwich if they want.

"Hopefully the tournament gives them four chances to play," Wharton said. "They just love to play hockey, and this tournament is a lot of fun."

The Rocky Mountain Rumble, which is for B-level teams, is the first of two major tournaments that will take place at Howelsen Ice Arena before the new year. The Ski Town Hockey Classic, another big fundraiser that features higher-level A teams, is scheduled for Dec. 1 to 3.

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