U.S. women's hockey coming to Steamboat

— Skiers will not be the only elite athletes taking advantage of Steamboat Springs' first-class facilities prior to the start of the Winter Olympic Games in February.

Local organizer Tim Greene announced on Friday that the members of the U.S. Women's hockey team will join special jumpers, Nordic combined and freestyle skiers in selecting Steamboat as their final stop before heading to Salt Lake City and the Olympic venues.

"This is great for the community and this is great for the rink," said Stacy Foster, ice arena

director. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Greene confirmed that the team will arrive in Steamboat

Feb. 1 for a practice session in the afternoon. The team will hold another practice session on Saturday as well as hosting an on-ice clinic with local women's players.

On Sunday, the team will wrap up it's visit with a scrimmage against the local Midget AA team (high school-aged boys) before leaving for the Olympics.

"We (the community) will be acting as a host for the team," Greene said. "We will provide them with food, lodging and a top-rate facility while they are in Steamboat."

Greene said a special fund-raising dinner on Saturday night would help to defray some of the costs of getting the team here. If any excess money is made for the function it will go to support community hockey programs.

Greene said getting the American team to Steamboat began at last year's NHL All-Star game. That's where Greene met Art Berguld, a senior director for USA Hockey.

Greene was able to foster the relationship with the organization and after a lot of hard work persuaded the team to come to Steamboat Springs for a short training camp.

"This is a great opportunity for Steamboat and the hockey community," Greene said. "We are very happy they chose our town."

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