The Aspen Leaf All-Stars topped the Detroit Red Wings Alumni (a.k.a. Oldtimers) 7-4 in fast paced and well played exhibition match at The Aspen Recreation Center (ARC). The 11th Annual Stirling Cup All-Star Weekend benefits Aspen Junior Hockey and includes the hockey game, a golf tournament, parties, concerts, a silent auction and plenty of action on and off the ice with the RedWing Old Timers. NHL Hall of Famer Dino Ciccarelli and noted tough guy Joey Kocur, a 4 time Stanley Cup Winner, joined in the mix this year. NHL vets John Ogrodnick, Dennis Hextall, 4-Time Cup Winner Darren McCarty, Spartan Kevin Miller, Paul McKinnon, Wayne Presley and Craig Wolanin and more rounded out the Red Wings roster.
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The Aspen Leafs took advantage of the friendly home ice at the ARC as age and the altitude (8,000 ft) as well as a short bench worked against the Red Wings squad. The Wings jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead as Aspen's net minder Greg Baldrica shook off a few cob webs at the thought of facing the veteran NHL players. Eventually, the Leafs turned up the speed and scored goals in quick succession. Led by Detroit native Geoff Lubin who netted 2 goals and 1 assist. Aspen Junior Hockey's new director Tanner Williams (he moved to town 2 weeks ago) showed he belonged by lighting the lamp for Aspen's first goal. Aspen High Coach Al Butler also tallied once for the Leafs. The strong Aspen D was anchored by Lindsey Holmbeck, Brett Norris and Peter Scott.
The competitive contest was closer than the final score indicated as Aspen exploded for two late goals to break open a 4 all tie. Baldrica then stuffed 2 RedWing penalty shots from Darren McCarty (14 NHL Seasons, 4 Cups) and Kevin Miller (620 NHL games, 8 Teams). A meaningless Aspen goal with 10 seconds left created the final 3 goal margin. It required a strong team effort for Aspen to top the former NHL pros. In the end the Aspen Leafs just had a little more gas in the tank.
The comraderie between the two teams and between the fans and players was fantastic. The RedWings were happy to meet and greet the fans, and The Stirling Cup game has gone a long way to ease the tension between local Wings supporters and the Colorado Avalanche fans who used to heckle them. Always a highlight... in between periods, The CHUCK-A-PUCK. For a $5 contribution fans get a numbered puck to toss on the ice...closest to the center ice face off dot wins a large pot of money. This years winner Tim Cooney was extremely accurate...his puck landed directly on the dot---he donated the proceeds back to Aspen Junior Hockey.
The Stirling Cup All-Star Weekend is a celebration of the life of the late Stirling Cooper...a beloved local Husband and Father who passed away in 1999. The beneficiary of the events, Aspen Junior Hockey, is known as one of the finest youth hockey programs in Colorado. Aspen has built a reputation as a great Hockey Town. There are plenty of opportunities in Aspen for adults and kids, males and females, youngsters and oldsters to get out there on the ice and play. Aspen's Winter leagues are forming soon...so click Aspen Parks and Rec (Ice Hockey) and join a team today.
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