Youth hockey tournament brings thousands to Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The annual President’s Day hockey tournament is in town this weekend and hundreds of kids and families came to compete.

Going on nearly 40 years, the tournament has become one of the country’s biggest amateur hockey events.

“I just think it’s really exciting,” said Sertich rink director Jen Wiley. “We have a Canadian team, we have teams from California, from Florida, from Utah, from Texas. It’s just really neat I think for the local kids to be able to play other teams.”

Some teams traveled more than 1,200 miles and brought friends and family.

“I think it’s really great that they get to compete against all different levels and teams from all over,” said parent Melanie Knutsen. “You kind of get to see how good they are, how bad they are, what they need to work on, their strengths and weaknesses.”

The tournament began at 6 a.m. Friday morning and will go to late Monday afternoon. In a four-day period, 100 teams will compete in over 220 games in five different age divisions.

“Every team is guaranteed four games when they get here, no matter what,” said Wiley. “And then after that, depending on how many teams sign up in each age division, there will be what’s called a seed game.”

That will determine the top teams in each division before a championship game is played.

Knutsen said it’s important her son play the game because of what he can gain.

“He gets the pride of being on a team that succeeds or he feels the sorrow of a loss and I think that either way it helps him out as far as his person and growing up,” said Knutsen.

With hockey being a big sport in Colorado, directors said it’s part of the reason teams enjoy playing in this tournament.

“I think because of the hockey community, we’re pretty well respected in the Colorado Springs area so I think teams love to come visit and love coming to be a part of it,” said Wiley.

The tournament is estimated to bring in $1.5 million this weekend to the Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak region.

The games are free and open to the public. The games are being played at World Arena Ice Hall, Colorado College’s Honnen Arena, Cadet Ice Arena at the Air Force Academy, Sertich Ice Center, Colorado Sports Center, and the Pueblo Plaza Ice Arena.

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