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Junior hockey players in the big league now

In February, Castle Pines Village residents Andrew Gleason and Dane Westen will realize their dream of playing hockey in Canada against the best teams from around the world in the Quebec International Peewee Hockey Tournament.  They achieved this honor along with their Arapahoe Warriors team when they won the Quebec Qualifier tournament in November.

By Amy Shanahan; photos courtesy of Michael Martin and Angelena Gleason

Andrew Gleason and Dane Westen are two 12-year-old boys who will soon experience the opportunity of a lifetime.  The boys, who both reside in Castle Pines Village are good friends and hockey teammates.  Next month, they will have the opportunity to play with their team at an elite tournament in Quebec, Canada courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche.

Gleason and Westen have both been skating since they were three years old and they currently play for the Arapahoe Warriors Youth Hockey Association at the Colorado Peewee AA level.  Their team participated in the very prestigious Quebec Qualifier tournament at the Pepsi Center in November, where they played against the very best peewee teams in Colorado.  Their team played hard and won the tournament and will now represent the state of Colorado in February at the Tournoi International de Hockey Pee-Wee de Quebec, or the Quebec International Peewee Hockey Tournament.  

When asked how he felt upon winning the Quebec Qualifier, Westen remarked, “I felt disbelief, honored and beyond excited.  It was an experience of a lifetime!”

The Quebec International Peewee Hockey Tournament has been held since 1960 and is an extremely prestigious tournament that features the very best peewee teams from around the world.  Past participants in the tournament include well-known players Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Patrick Roy.  This year, approximately 100 teams representing countries throughout the world will participate.  

Gleason and Westen are thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to Quebec with their team, where they will live with host families and fully experience French Canadian culture while playing hockey in a tournament of great historical significance.

Good friends and schoolmates Dane Westen and Andrew Gleason proudly displayed the medals they earned after their hockey team won the very competitive tournament.  The boys have been playing hockey together since they were six years old and were thrilled to share this honor together.

Another thrill for the boys is that their team will be entirely sponsored and supported by the Colorado Avalanche.  The Avalanche are paying for the team to attend and their coaches and team manager will travel to Quebec for two weeks to practice with the team.  Additionally, the boys will wear Avalanche hockey gear and are now considered the “Junior Avalanche” and will play in the tournament under that name.  The boys also had the honor of presenting awards to the “20th Anniversary Team” during a special ceremony in December as part of the Colorado Avalanche’s 20th Anniversary season.  Overall, the experience has been amazing for these young athletes.

Gleason is looking forward to traveling with his team and representing his state and country at the tournament in February, but his love of hockey is evident no matter when or where he plays.  “I love the excitement, the speed and the possibility of scoring,” remarked Gleason.  “I love being part of a team!”

Andrew Gleason is pictured here immediately after scoring which brought his team even closer to their goal of traveling to Canada to play in an elite tournament.

Dane Westen showed off his awesome defensive skills during the Quebec Qualifier tournament.  Of playing hockey with his team Westen remarked, “I love the friendships you build!”

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