Colorado Rampage 8U Head Coach, Coordinator, and retired NHL player Al Pedersen poses with the winners of the Intermediate goaltender challenge as part of the skills competition at the Al Pedersen Mite Classic.
Over 350 mites descended upon the home of the Rampage at the Colorado Sports Center in Monument this past month to participate in the 2017 Colorado Rampage Al Pedersen Mite Classic.
The Rampage welcomed over 210 mites to join 140 of their own players for a mite classic that featured 8U advanced, intermediate, and beginner levels. Thirty teams played in six games apiece and players also had the opportunity to take part in a skills competition as well as meet and skate with Avalanche mascot, Bernie.
Rampage 8U Head Coach, coordinator, and NHL alumnus Al Pedersen has been at the forefront of one of the nation's fastest growing and most fruitful mite programs. With help and dedication from Association Director Andrew Sherman, Al and the Rampage have been the most successful association at consistently producing the top amount of participants in the state of Colorado as part of the nation wide "Try Hockey" initiative.
The results speak for themselves. The Rampage have used an organic approach and philosophy to help them create an atmosphere that's full of fun and love for the game of hockey. Their commitment to a positive experience and skill development have made Monument a desirable place for many kids to begin their hockey careers.
"Andrew has really spearheaded the Try Hockey Free in this area and a lot of it comes down to hard work, great people around us in the organization who believe in what we're doing, and the word of mouth has been tremendous," said Pedersen.
According to USA Hockey, the Rampage were one of the leaders in the nation in 2016 with over 120 participants. Just this season there were 14 Try Hockey events across Colorado and the Rampage had the biggest turnout yet again in both the state and the Rocky Mountain District with 85 new hockey players.
"There's nothing better than seeing a kid have the opportunity to try the sport and just seeing his or her face," said Pedersen. With the commitment of it's leaders, the Rampage will continue to find success in growing the game and creating life long hockey players and fans. "If we can introduce kids to this sport at a young age, hopefully they'll take to it and become a player for many years."