Ice Miners host High Mountain Shootout |

Ice Miners host High Mountain Shootout

Annual tourney helps program raise money

Park City's Liam Van Valkenburg, right, reaches for the puck in hopes of stealing possession from the Outliers' Ryken Lay, left, as Lay moves the puck down the ice during the U10 'A' division of the 2017 Spring Park City High Mountain Shootout at the Park City Ice Arena on Friday afternoon. Park City fell to the Outliers 3-1.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Running a youth hockey program requires a lot of work and money, even in a winter sports town like Park City. But events such as the High Mountain Shootout, a tournament hosted by the Park City Ice Miners twice per year, can help shoulder the load by providing funds and putting the program on the map.

The first High Mountain Shootout of 2017 occurred this weekend as the Ice Miners welcomed and hosted 24 teams. Forty percent of them were from out of state. And though the Park City teams that participated did not win their respective divisions, it was still a positive outcome for the program.

“It actually went off without a hitch,” Mike Adamek, Park City’s Director of Hockey, said. “It was a little worrisome beforehand, but afterwards, it turned out pretty well.”

Two Park City teams — U10 ‘A’ team and the U12 ‘AA’ team — reached the finals, but neither pulled through. The U12 ‘AA’ team came close after extending the championship game to overtime, but fell in a seven-man shootout.

Winning the U10 ‘A’ division were the Outliers out of Salt Lake, while the Rocky Mountain Raptors claimed the U12 ‘A’ title. The Nevada Storm and Team Wyoming won the U12 ‘AA’ and the U14 ‘A’ divisions, respectively.

Though the wins didn’t come on the ice for Park City, it was off the ice where the program really found success. Hosting an event like the High Mountain Shootout can bring with it a number of benefits, such as raising money and awareness for the program. That said, it can also present issues.

“A tournament is definitely something that can be challenging, especially because we had [roughly half of the games] up here in Park CIty and the other half down in the valley in Salt Lake,” Adamek said. “It makes it a little bit more difficult, trying to be in two different places at the same time.”

The games were split between the Park City Ice Arena, the Maverick Center, the Salt Lake City Sports Complex and the West Valley Acord Ice Center. Many of the families that traveled from out of state stayed up in Park City, which seemed to be a more desirable temporary residence, forcing them to travel back and forth through the canyon.

“Travel hockey families are pretty used to this type of scenario,” Adamek said. “It’s not something that’s enjoyable.”

A benefit of throwing an event like the tournament is the money raised. Youth hockey can be an expensive sport to play, one not every family can afford. But the Park City Ice Miners have a scholarship program given out annually to help those in need.

The tournament, along with the one in the fall, is one of the biggest money-makers for the program, helping it stay afloat, as well as get more kids onthe ice.

“It just enables hockey to be a possibility for a wider audience instead of just kids who can afford it,” Adamek said. “In other places, even in Utah, it’s kind of [an expensive] sport. I think that we’re trying our best to make sure that doesn’t happen in Park City. This tournament is just one way of us enabling to do that.”

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