The Lewis-Palmer ice hockey team got creative this year in its fundraising efforts.

In August, months before the puck was scheduled to drop at the Monument Ice Rinks for the Rangers’ home opener, the team hosted The Taste of Monument in the Lewis-Palmer High School parking lot.

“We did it this year because of the coronavirus concern, but it went so well we’re considering something like this every year,” said Lewis-Palmer coach Scott Bradley.

The event was organized by several people involved with the Lewis-Palmer hockey program, including Bradley, team manager Anne Johnson (her son, Nathan, is a junior on the team) and long-time team helper Tammy Kleinsmith (her son, Sam is a senior on the team).

“The event was a great way for the players to raise funds for the hockey program and interact with the local community,” Tammy Kleinsmith said. “It was a lot of fun and think it can turn into a great tradition.”

On Aug. 15, the team hosted a drive-by event in the parking lot of the high school. 150 tickets were sold to the event. Each participating restaurant received a percentage of the ticket sales.

The Taste of Monument brought together eight Tri-Lakes area restaurants (Texas Roadhouse, Jimmy Johns, Pho, Arlene’s Beans, Taste of Monument, Black Forest Cafe, Jarrito Loco and Pies and Grinders).

“It really helped support those local restaurants who were hurting,” said Johnson, a math teacher at Palmer Ridge. “We’re already thinking bigger and better.”

Lewis-Palmer is a combined District 38 team with players from nearby Palmer Ridge. The hockey team needs about $15,000 to cover the season’s ice fees, mostly at Monument Ice Rinks (it’s home ice for practice and games) and other venues around the Pikes Peak region. The Taste of Monument brought in about one-third of the funding needed to pay for the ice.

“Ice gets more expensive every year,” Bradley said. “And the program has never received any direct money from the district. We do fundraisers and other things to raise the money we need.”

In recent years, the Lewis-Palmer hockey team usually hosts a large live/silent auction and dinner at the Great Wolf Lodge. But the team did not think it was right to hit up local businesses for donations to auction off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to give people who have donated in the past to our auction the opportunity to still be involved,” Johnson said.

The start of the season has been pushed back from its usual mid-November start to early January by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

As a way to keep his kids sharp, Bradley and other coaches in the area and around the state are allowing their kids to play for club teams. Lewis-Palmer kids will play under the banner of the Rampage and operate out of Monument Ice Rinks. The Rampage played the Pine Creek club team in its season opener on Friday at Sertich Ice Center.

Lewis-Palmer was 10-9-1 last season and lost in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Rangers won state championships in 2010 and 2011.

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