Photo by Brian Ray
Steamboat's Marley Loomis moves the puck down the ice during the match between the Steamboat U-12 team and Colorado Select U-12 Blue team at Howelsen Ice Arena in Steamboat on Satuday afternoon. The game was part of the Adele Dombrowski Tournament.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Steamboat Springs The veteran players on this year's Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association U-19 girls team are some of the program's last players who had the honor and opportunity to play alongside Adele Dombrowski.
And the team could not do more to honor their former teammate - Dombrowski died in 2005 - than play with the success they have this season.
The U-19 team has amassed an impressive 13-2-1 record overall, 10-1-1 in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League.
"That's the best record in the history of the program," Steamboat U-19 coach Alexa Pighini said. "We've never even had a winning record."
Saturday, at the second of three days of action at the tournament named in Dombrowski's honor, the U-19 girls were looking to bounce back from a 4-0 loss on Friday to an elite-level team from Idaho Falls.
But before they dropped the puck against Colorado Select, the U-19 players lined up on the ice as Kris Stouffer, Dombrowski's mother, presented the annual ADELE sportsmanship award - an acronym for attitude, determination, effort, laughter and enthusiasm, created to celebrate the players who best display those attributes.
Awards were given out to players from all three of Steamboat's participating girls teams - playing in the U-19, U-16 and U-12 age divisions - but Stouffer got a little choked up when presenting the U-19 award.
"This one's the hardest because it's the last team that Adele played with - it's such a thrill to see you play so well," Stouffer said before presenting the award to Jessica Fox.
Meghan Lukens won the award for the SSYHA U-14 girls team, which was playing up in the U-16 division, and Marley Loomis won for the U-12 girls team.
Pighini said she attributed much of the success of this year's team to the impacts of a growing program that puts more girls on the ice.
"I think it's the girls - this the first year where the majority of girls are not 'never-evers' - never having played before," Pighini said.
Having seen how far her girls and the program have come in recent years, and having coached all three Steamboat age levels in those years, Pighini could appreciate the U-12 action as Steamboat ran away with a 5-1 win against Colorado Select White.
"We've been coming on more as a team as the girls understand their roles on the team," U-12 coach Herald Stout said, as his team sat at 3-1 in the tournament with a shot at winning the round-robin division title. Play concludes today.
The other divisions will be determined with championship games. The U-19 championship is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Howelsen Ice Arena and the U-16 championship is at 1:30 p.m.