Steamboat Hockey Classic back for third year | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Hockey Classic back for third year

Austin Colbert

Members of the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks alumni pose after the 2015 NHL Alumni Classic, which raised a record $30,000 for Steamboat Springs youth hockey.

— Entering its third go round, the Steamboat Hockey Classic is building quite a reputation. Not only has it quickly become a hot ticket for local residents, but even those in the greater hockey universe have noticed the event’s unique character.

After witnessing a similar event in Aspen two and a half years ago, event co-chair Chris Campanelli decided to bring something similar to the Yampa Valley to act as a fundraiser for the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association. With National Hockey League alumni providing the main draw, the event raised $7,500 for local youth hockey in 2014 and blossomed to $30,000 in 2015.

"This year, we are looking to hopefully surpass that. It's just a cool thing," Campanelli said. "It's a great way to celebrate the game. It's our third year, and every year, we make it grow a little bit."

With the help of co-chair Kerry Shea and numerous volunteers, the 2016 version, which takes place Friday and Saturday in Steamboat Springs, has again stepped it up a notch. Not only will the four-part festivity feature many NHL greats — from Stanley Cup champions to Olympians — but the NHL Player's Association has also stepped in to become an official sponsor.

The first Hockey Classic featured only Detroit Red Wings alumni, while last year, the Chicago Blackhawks joined. This year’s theme is the "Original Six," referring to the first six NHL teams, and members of each of those franchises will take part in this year's Classic.

"We've got all kinds of great, great names that are going to be here," Campanelli said. "It just promises to be an amazing time. This is a great way to celebrate the great game of hockey."

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Events begin Friday with a player meet and greet at Howelsen Ice Arena beginning at 3:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., the NHL alumni will take to the ice for a skills exhibition, with the help of 30 local youth hockey players who, by selling the most event tickets, earned a spot on the ice.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, there will be a HockeyPalooza Auction Party at the Sheraton Ball Room.

The main events take place Saturday, with the charity hockey game between the NHL alumni starting at 4 p.m. at Howelsen Ice Arena. Saturday's nightcap will be a benefit concert at the Sheraton featuring Todd Park Mohr from Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Tickets start at $20 per person for the skills competition and alumni game; a ticket to the auction party is $75, and tickets for the concert are $55. A bundle package — which covers admission to all four aspects of the Classic (skills competition, auction party, alumni game, concert) — is available for $125.

"I'm trying to encourage people to act now," Campanelli said. "We've got limited seating at Howelsen Ice Arena, and we've sold a lot of tickets."

For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit steamboathockeyclassic.org.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert