St. Valentine’s Day Massacre slated for Saturday
Four years ago, Andrew Knoll was vacationing in Breckenridge, riding a chairlift up for another run, when he was “conned” into playing some winter rugby. Really, he was talked into trading his ski pants for shorts for one of the only rugby tournaments played on (at least) 12 inches of snow in the world, an event filled with as many downed beers on the sidelines as downed players on the pitch – the annual St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.To say the experience had an impact on Knolls would be a bit of an understatement.”It was what got me into (playing with the team) up here,” he said.Knolls, now a full-time resident, is the president, captain and interim coach of the Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Team, as the Breck squad gets ready to go for a seventh straight Tommy Gun Trophy as Massacre champions on Saturday.Play kicks off at 9 a.m., and the Goose are expected to play at 10 against a team from Fort Lewis College. In all, Knolls expects about a dozen men’s and women’s rugby clubs to take part in the Sevens-rules tourney. Registration is already closed, but Knolls said if a team shows up Saturday “with the $300 (entry fee) and wants to play, we’re not going to turn them away.”The matches will be on the ballfields of Breck’s Kingdom Park, the snow groomed to make a somewhat smooth but never sturdy field for the teams to play on. With shorter fields, shorter halves and less players aside, the scene on the pitch isn’t like any other rugby tourney around.Although, the spectacle surrounding the play may be even more entertaining. Fatty’s Pizzeria is supplying eight kegs ($10 all-you-can drink, 21+), and Northside Pizza & Wings will be bringing some of its pies.Players, friends and family gather around the narrow sidelines, music playing, making the Massacre seem more like a winter barbecue than a serious competition.”It’s too much fun,” Knolls said with a laugh.
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