Steamboat Springs Last weekend's Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League all-star game could have marked a competitive end for Steamboat Springs High School senior T.J. Anderson.
But Anderson and two players from Craig are hoping to take their game to the next level - by traveling to Engelberg, Switzerland, where they will play on the Colorado Ski Country Selects 2008 Swiss Tour.
Anderson spent the winter playing defense with a midget team in Moffat County.
"I'm really looking forward to playing hockey in another country," he said. "It should be a lot of fun, and it will be interesting to see how they play the game in Switzerland. It should be a learning experience."
From Saturday to April 13, Anderson and his teammates on the Colorado select team will face off against some of the best teams in Switzerland and central Europe. "It's a totally different game over there," said Mike Gempeler, who runs the European camps. "The arenas are bigger, and the teams play a lot more puck possession. It's an extremely fast and skilled game."
To be eligible, players had to be part of a midget or high school team in the state of Colorado, had to be enrolled in high school and needed to apply for selection.
Gempeler said that coaches and tour administrators selected the players for the final roster. The squad is scheduled to play five games and have several team practices during the weeklong trip.
"This is a great opportunity to learn more about the game," Anderson said.
He is planning on attending Mesa State College next fall and pursuing a degree in the culinary arts - maybe. Anderson said he still hasn't made a final decision on where he will attend college, or what degree he will pursue. The one thing he knows is that he wants to keep playing hockey. Hockey has been a huge part of his life since the first time he put on a pair of skates at age 5.
He was a co-captain with the Moffat County team last season and is hoping to continue playing the game he loves with club programs at the college level next season.
Moffat County players Colt Criswell and Scott Smith will also make the trip to Engelberg to play with the select team, which also includes players from Durango, Telluride, Kremmling, Summit County and Taos, N.M.
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