February 17, 2013
Hockey was the reason many people migrated to Colorado Springs this weekend from out of state.
But those who came for the annual Presidents Day Hockey Tournament found plenty of other things to do than simply playing the role of rink rat.
The tournament draws hundreds of young hockey players from around the nation and family members who get to take in the region when the kids are off the ice.
A group from Dallas, Texas, representing a Squirt-A team called the Oilers, arrived Thursday and managed to fit in several activities between four games in the first three days of the tournament.
Kevin Stubbings and Jon Steinway, who each have boys on the team, talked about tours of the Air Force Academy, trips up the Pikes Peak Highway, ventures to the Garden of the Gods and a pickup game of pond hockey “somewhere in the mountains near Woodland Park,” as Stubbings put it.
Steinway and his 10-year-old son Frank — a defenseman for the Oilers — began their first visit to Colorado Springs by driving up Pikes Peak. While they didn’t summit, the pair made it within three miles of the top.
“Frank loved going up there,” Steinway said. “He thought it was amazing. He never saw anything like it.”
The elder Steinway said the altitude got to him a little bit above the treeline.
“I started getting a headache,” he said.
Stubbings said a self-guided tour of the Air Force Academy was one of the highlights of his trip. The man said he had been to the Naval Academy, but that was small compared to the campus north of Colorado Springs.
“It was just massive,” Stubbings said, noting that his son Aidan, 9, plays wing and defense for his team.
Other out-of-staters took in some hockey when they weren’t playing hockey.
Jutta Gebauer, of Mission Viejo, Calif., said her family not only toured the academy, but watched the Air Force Falcons beat Canisius 3-2 at Cadet Ice Arena on Saturday.
With two high-school-age boys playing in the weekend tournament, Gebauer said it has been tough finding time to do other activities.
Her sons Tyler and Travis play for the varsity and junior varsity versions of the Eagles. Gebauer said this is the family’s third time coming to the Pikes Peak region for the Presidents Day Hockey Tournament.
Gebauer and her 11-year-old daughter Marissa, who also plays hockey back home in southern Orange County, said they might be able to slip in one more non-hockey activity on Monday.
“I haven’t seen the Olympic Training Center yet,” Gebauer said. “So I want to check that out.”