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NHL Stadium Series

Stadium Series is big deal to people from Colorado Springs

Bruins defenseman Carlo among those excited for city to host Kings-Avalanche game

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The NHL is coming to Colorado Springs and the people from a city known more for the Olympics than professional hockey can't wait.

The Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings will play in the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series at Falcon Stadium on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, TVAS2, AFN/sports2) and to say it has generated some excitement would be an understatement.

"This is a significant event in some ways," said Frank Serratore, the coach of the Air Force Academy men's hockey team. "For the for the city of Colorado Springs, this is going to bring in an enormous amount of business to the community, an enormous amount of publicity for the community. We can showcase a lot of things. I think it's big for our academy, it's big for the city of Colorado Springs, and I'll take it even further, I think it's huge for the state of Colorado."

 

[RELATED: Complete 2020 NHL Stadium Series Coverage]

 

This city, hard against the looming Rocky Mountains and sitting more than 6,000 feet above sea level, has long been recognized as the cradle of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States.

It hosts the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Headquarters, as well as more than 20 national Olympic governing bodies and Olympic and Paralympic training centers. But it has a growing reputation for hockey as well, especially with two Division 1 colleges -- Air Force and Colorado College -- separated by less than 10 miles. 

Now, it all gets put into the national spotlight, something that has everyone excited.

Brandon Carlo, a defenseman with the Boston Bruins, admits he will be trying to sneak a peek on TV to see what's happening in his hometown that evening. He has several buddies who will be at the game and will get reports from them as well.

"I think it's a great time to throw an NHL game in there," said Carlo, who says he can see the Air Force Academy campus from the roof of his family's home. "For the growth factor, maybe more eyes will be upon it. I think even people are just going to, you know, want to go to the game, who aren't even hockey fans, they just kind of want to experience it. 

"So, I think it'll be a popular event there and the setting … I've been to that football stadium a couple times and I think it's beautiful right up against the mountain. It'll be a really cool spot."

Ty Pochipinski has a unique perspective on the game. He grew up in Colorado Springs and attends the Air Force Academy, playing for the hockey team. He also had a couple of relatives attend the Academy.

"I think it'll be unreal for the town," said Pochipinski, a sophomore at the Academy after transferring from Colorado College, where his father, Trevor, played his college hockey. "There's never been a hockey event like [this] in Colorado Springs. I have people asking me and my family if we're going to the games that aren't usually around the hockey side of things, so to bring those people out and have them excited to go watch a hockey game is something I haven't seen before. You know, hopefully there'll be a real good crowd there and that will get people more interested. To have something like that in the Springs will definitely be special."

Serratore, who has coached at Air Force for the past 17 seasons, hopes the area realizes how special the Stadium Series will be, as well as the game at Falcon Stadium between Colorado College and Air Force on Monday.

"This is something that might never happen again in a lot of people's lifetimes, you know," he said. "I hope that anybody that enjoys sports or is civic minded says this is something that I want to be at. If you are a sports fan here in Colorado Springs or even a civic-minded citizen, a year from now, five years from now, 10, 20, 30, you want to say you know what, I was at Falcon Stadium and I saw a hockey game at Falcon Stadium. I saw Colorado College and Air Force play. I would like to see a great crowd.

"Air Force and Colorado College is big, we play for the Pike's Peak Trophy, but having this game at Falcon Stadium, it transcends that."

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