Our high school all-star hockey team, "The Utah Stars," just completed hosting one of the nation's premiere amateur hockey tournaments, "The Great Western showcase."
Twenty-seven teams from North America, representing amateur hockey "all stars" from Dallas to Mission, British Columbia, participated. And more than 20 teams were turned down because of lack of ice.The economic impact with all our guests from players, families, fans and support personnel was quite substantial, but the excitement of the sport is increasing thanks generally to two outstanding human beings: Larry and Margo Nate.
Over eight years ago, Utah had opportunities to send our best hockey players to complete on a national level. We had no system in place.
Through blood, sweat, tears, red tape and years of full-time effort, these two volunteers, and numerous others, have put together a team representing the finest amateur hockey players in Utah.
These young men, required to wear jackets and ties while representing Utah, travel throughout North America competing with the best other states have put together.
Having traveled with this team, I can tell you despite the stereotyped image of hockey players, your young men are some of the best ambassadors Utah has to offer.
Larry and Margo Nate have no sons playing on "The Stars," their boys graduated years ago. Their dedication to our young men and the sport of hockey is totally selfless. They are modern day sports heroes in a world of discouragement and negativity.
Thank you, Larry and Margo, for putting Utah on the hockey map of North America.
And congratulations to the Utah Stars, winners of the 1997 Great Western Showcase.
Mark Van Wagoner
Salt Lake City