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Hockey 101 comes to close

Jason Starr

BRECKENRIDGE – Somehow, it all works out.

Rotating 200 players into 101 hours of hockey, securing referees, goalkeepers, scorekeepers, dealing with an unknown number of walk-up registrants, keeping the whole thing up and running for five days … “It just kind of manages itself,” said Breckenridge Outdoor Education event coordinator Lisa Seaman of the Hockey Ultrathon at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

“Last year we had no idea,” Seaman said of the two-year old event. “We just made it up as we went along.”

One of the biggest logistical lessons from the first Ultrathon is that people don’t always stay with the team they are assigned. Some player groups sign up as teams, others as individuals; some register months in advance, others during the event.

All the players are placed on a squad, which is scheduled to play about 14 one-hour shifts at normal and odd hours of the day and night over the 101-hour event. That’s the plan.

In actuality, each shift becomes a pick-up game where anyone suited up can play. Sometimes the benches are packed, other times they’re short. The freedom of ice time has become part of the Ultrathon’s appeal.

“People want to play as much as they can,” said BOEC marketing assistant Justin Kupperman. “People see a team that’s a little light and say, “hey, I can play with you guys,’ or they can switch jerseys (and play with the other team).

Friday night began the influx of Front Rangers and out-of-towners. Until then, locals carried the game, shift after shift.

“People start to get tired,” Seaman said. “They play six to eight games a day. They’re beat. It works out perfectly because we need refreshers by (the weekend).”

Much of the organizational work is done in May. By event time, the volunteers are lined up, the referees and scorekeepers are scheduled, the happy hour bands are booked and the T-shirts and jerseys are ordered.

“The lion’s share of my work is in the couple weeks preceding the event,” Seaman said while working the graveyard shift early Friday morning. “The event itself is just staying awake, staying fresh and being on the front lines for 100 hours.”

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at jstarr@summitdaily.com.


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