Steamboat Springs A month ago, Steamboat Springs senior Jimmy Terry knew he wanted to continue his dream of playing hockey, but he wasn't quite sure how to get there.
"It's tough to be from Steamboat when some people don't even know where that is," Terry said about the geographical disadvantage the Yampa Valley plays in the collegiate recruiting game. "It's way more difficult than if I was in Michigan or Minnesota."
But a lot changed for Terry during the five days he spent in Chicago at the end of April.
Terry and junior teammate Jake Stanford played for the 21-member Team Colorado squad sent to the Chicago Showcase in Bensenville, Ill. The tournament hosted a competitive mix of 34 teams from across the country, but more importantly for Terry and Stanford, it provided some long-overdue exposure.
"Chicago started the whole thing," Terry said. "It's the best tournament I've been to in a good long while, and there's coaches from everywhere and Canada, Junior B and Junior A."
With newfound coaching contacts and recruiting interests, Terry now hopes to make the cut on a lower-tier junior program, like the Tulsa Rampage (Okla.) or the Bismarck Bobcats (N.D.) in order to grab the attention of NCAA Division I suitors.
The tryouts for these teams are scheduled throughout the summer. Fortunately, Terry will make the trip to a few of them with his compatible teammate.
"Jake and I have played together since we were mites," Terry said. "There's an unseen sense of where the other one is on the ice. We make each other better and more confident."
Stanford agreed, noting how the pair started on the team's fourth line and through the progress of the Chicago tournament, ended up on the second line.
"The whole team came together as the tournament went on, and our coach said he didn't expect us to do as well as we did," Stanford said about Team Colorado, which went 2-3 and ended its run in the championship bracket with a loss to Washington state's select team. "It was a lot of fun, and it was way cool to represent the state."
Stanford also said the trip yielded more team offers than expected. While he received some promising Division III bites, Stanford plans to make it to a series of junior team tryouts and will consider transferring to a prep school for an additional two years of high school eligibility to increase his collegiate playing stock.
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