Those involved know they’re in for long days with little sleep and hours and hours of cheering and shouting.
Still, the coaches, players and fans of the three Steamboat Springs youth hockey teams that will join 11 other clubs this weekend in the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association’s Ski Town Classic Tournament at Howelsen Ice Arena are eager for the puck to drop.
More than 35 hours of youth hockey are on tap.
“It’s fun in a weird, perverse way,” said tournament director Scott Matthews, who will oversee more than 35 hours of youth hockey starting today and running through Sunday. “It’s really fun to see the kids. We try to put on a great tournament, and the kids always have a fun time. They love playing hockey.”
They’ll all get their chance.
The teams will be split into three divisions, six to Bantam A and four each Bantam B and Pee Wee A.
Steamboat will field competitors in each division. Every team will get four games, three leading up to a final Sunday round that will determine champions.
The Pee Wee division will play its championship at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, the Bantam B squads at 1 p.m. and the Bantam A team at 2:30 p.m.
“The kids are so excited,” Bantam B coach Brent Tollar said. “They love when the tournaments get here, especially when you get to have one at home.”
The event starts at noon today and concludes with 10 p.m. games. It starts again at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and runs through 10 p.m. games. Sunday’s action starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends with the 2:30 p.m. Bantam A championship.
Tollar said the atmosphere at the tournament, free for all fans, should be great for all kinds of hockey lovers.
“People come from all over for these things. Even if a Steamboat team isn’t on the ice, there will be a great game going on,” Tollar said. “One game will be getting over and the next will be kicking on. By Sunday, the parents and kids will all be beat.”