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Littleton Hawks win international hockey tournament

To claim the title, they beat five teams from all over the world, including their rivals, the Boulder Roughriders, in the championship game 2-1.
Littleton Hawks win international hockey tournament
Posted at 10:51 AM, Feb 07, 2024

Winning a hockey tournament is immensely fun, but winning an international hockey tournament before becoming a teenager takes something special.

The Littleton Hawks 12U AA CSDHL team recently returned from Port Huron, Michigan, where they won the International Silver Stick Tournament. To claim the title, they beat five teams from all over the world, including their rivals, the Boulder Roughriders, in the championship game 2-1.

“It was awesome," said forward Tyler Smith. "I’m going to remember it.”

“[It's] probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said goalie Vito Giardino.

Littleton Hawks win international hockey tournament

“It’s an amazing moment. It’s surreal," said All-Star defenseman Brody "Goldilocks" Gold. "It was so nerve-racking before the game and so much, it was so fun.”

“Just seeing the happy tears from probably more than half the team, it just kind of hit me — this thing is really important for these guys," said head coach Kyle Hull. "So from that standpoint, it was really special.”

“Everybody worked hard for it," said goalie Adam Thompson. "I feel like our team really pushed through and worked hard to win the tournament.”

No one worked harder than Gavin Patterson. The forward was named an All-Star and earned the title of tournament MVP.

However, medals and accolades mean little when compared to the look in the eyes of coach Gary TenEyck.

“It’s just fun," said TenEyck, who's been coaching squirts and pee-wees for over two decades. "I love the kids. I love to see them improve and grow and learn the game of hockey. That’s the rewarding part of coaching.”

Littleton Hawks win international hockey tournament

Coach Gary is beloved by his team, and even though he's been around the game for so long, he's never won a tournament of this magnitude.

“It's emotional," said TenEyck with tears in his eyes. "You don’t have the opportunity to do this every year, and when you get a group like this and you can win, it’s very special.”

Next up, the 12U AA CSDHL Hawks are off to Chicago for their league playoffs. However, youth hockey tends to be transient — kids move, change teams, or abandon the game. The time this group has together is waning.

“We're so close together, we're all friends," said Gold. "We work well [together], we have good [chemistry]. Since we're so close, it’s like we’re never going to be together again. It’s really tough.”

No matter what happens down the road, Goldilocks, Coach Gary and the Hawks are forever champions.