For the Steamboat Stampede U19 girls hockey team, the Adele Dombrowski Mountain Day Tournament is the pinnacle of the season and brings out the best in the girls on and off the ice.
Former Steamboat hockey star Dombrowski died in 2005 at the age of 17 and the tournament is named in his memory. While no active players were alive on the Stampede’s U19 team in 2005, head coach Mike Nelson said that Dombrowski’s spirit lives on through these girls every season.
Dombrowski’s mother, Chris Stauffer, returns to the tournament every year to speak with the girls and spread her daughter’s message of having a strong work ethic, working hard, being a good sport and, most of all, having fun. Lives.
“It’s inspiring to be a part of the tournament,” said Mira Smith, a player on the Stampede’s U19 team. “It’s really inspiring to know how much Adele loved playing hockey. It makes us feel warm inside and gives us a new sense of gratitude to be able to play.”
Smith noted that there are not many home matches on the team’s schedule, and being able to perform at a high level in front of their friends and family makes the Adele Tournament the most special of them all.
The U19 tournament begins Friday with Wyoming taking on Steamboat. The Stampede managed to strike first with the only goal of the opening period, but Wyoming battled back to tie the game at three each by the end of regulation.
In a three-versus-three sudden-death overtime period, Steamboat’s Claire Shea buried the puck in the back of the net with an assist from Allie Nelson to secure a 4–3 victory for Steamboat.
Shea said being able to do it in front of so many young girls in the Stampede program makes it especially exciting, and the U10 girls are her favorite cheerleaders.
“That overtime period was some fun hockey,” Shea said. “That’s when those butterflies turn into excitement, and it feels really good to be out like that. It was a great feeling to hear everyone cheering and the whole team coming out for you.”
Shea was surprised at how much the tournament has evolved over the years. This season brought many teams to compete in multiple age groups, causing the tournament to be spread over two weekends.
Mike Nelson believes the Adele tournament is the largest in the state and potentially the largest in the region. He was pleased to see eight teams competing at the U19 level, but hoped to see more teams join in the future.
The Stampede will continue play over the weekend with two matches on Saturday and the U19 and U16 finals on Sunday.
“You get these girls’ goosebumps at every Adele tournament,” said Mike Nelson. “It just means so much. There’s the Adele Tournament and then there’s the state finals. This is the weather here. All the other tournaments are fun, but these are the two tournaments you want to win. “For Adele to win would mean a lot at this state and regional level.”