Before the Colorado Avalanche take the ice Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks, some of the best high school seniors from the state will display their skills at the Pepsi Center.
For the first time ever, the annual Senior All-Star Game – sponsored and organized by the Colorado High School Ice Hockey Coaches Association – will be held on the “big ice” as a prelude to the Avs’ NHL game. Seniors from Colorado Springs-area schools – chosen by CHSIHCA coaches – comprise 14 of the 22 spots on the Peak Conference All-Star roster and will oppose the Foothills Conference.
The game begins at 4 p.m., with tickets going for $5 apiece. The all-star teams will be recognized between the first and second periods of the 8 p.m. Avalanche game, as will the four teams that advanced to the semifinals of this year’s state tournament.
The players from each team are also receiving free tickets to the Avalanche game for themselves and their coaches. The state tournament’s four semifinal teams are also receiving complimentary admission to the game.
“I’m very excited,” said Liberty’s Chase Bertagnolli, a GazettePreps Peak Performers first-team selection. “I put in a lot of hard work during the season, and it’s paid off. It’s going to be fun playing with the best guys in Colorado, and it should be a good experience.”
It’s a chance for the state’s top seniors to compete against each other in a special venue and enjoy a slice of NHL entertainment as well.
“It’s a nice honor, the kids really enjoy it and the level of hockey is very good,” said Coronado coach Randy Barton, who has two players on the Peak Conference team - defenseman Dalton Adams and forward Brock Lofgren. “It’s fun to watch and fun to see how the kids react to it.”
Players will wear their respective teams’ jerseys, with the Peak Conference squad wearing dark-colored jerseys and the Foothills Conference players donning white jerseys. The game will be regulation length, with three 17-minute periods and a shootout to decide the outcome in the case of a tie.
“It’s a good chance to see a lot of good talent on the ice at once,” said Fountain Valley coach Mike Payne, who will coach the Peak Conference squad along with Lewis-Palmer’s Steve Fillo. “I’ve only talked to my guys about it, but they are pretty excited.”