Local girls hockey preps for weekend Dombrowski Tournament

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— The surging growth of local girls hockey will be on display in this weekend's third annual Adele Dombrowski Tournament.

The tournament begins at noon Friday at Howelsen Ice Arena and continues through Sunday. Competitors include 10 teams and more than 200 girls from several states.

The Steamboat U-12, U-16 and U-19 teams will play against teams from Idaho, Denver, Summit and Telluride, among others. The U-19 division should be especially competitive, because all the teams involved are Select A teams, which usually include high-level players who tried out for the team.

The growth of the tournament speaks volumes about girls hockey in Steamboat Springs.

As recently as 2003, Steamboat had a single girls hockey team. Since then, participation has grown to include more than 50 girls representing five teams.

Adele Dombrowski, one of the founding members of the budding program, joined the original Ice Devils team in 1998, at age 10, and played all the way to the U-19 level before her death in September 2005.

"We're thrilled with the tremendous growth of girls hockey in this small town," Kris Stouffer, Dombrowski's mother, said in a news release. "We know Adele would be, too."

Each year, Dombrowki's family presents a sportsmanship award honoring their daughter's memory to one player from each of the Steamboat teams. The award, an acronym for attitude, determination, effort, laughter and enthusiasm, was created to celebrate the players who best display those attributes. Past recipients have included Katie Lettunich, Devin Wilkinson, Miranda Schrock, Angela Palaniuk, Claire Tegl, Alice Aurin, and Emily Lich.

"We try to make this more common in the girls hockey program because of what that (award) stands for," said Tournament Director Eric Tegl. "A girl from each Steamboat level will earn that award."

Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

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