Hunter Beckett, 10, was selected by the Moffat County Commissioners to skate with the Colorado Avalanche during the team’s warm-up before playing the Vancouver Canucks on March 24 at the Pepsi Center. Hunter said he is excited to skate with professional hockey players and to see if hockey is something he wants to pursue as he gets older.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Hunter Beckett, 10, was selected by the Moffat County Commissioners to skate with the Colorado Avalanche during the team’s warm-up before playing the Vancouver Canucks on March 24 at the Pepsi Center. Hunter said he is excited to skate with professional hockey players and to see if hockey is something he wants to pursue as he gets older.

Craig youth hockey player Hunter Beckett selected to skate with Colorado Avalanche

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Shannon Samuelson/Courtesy

Hunter Beckett, 10, stands Jan. 20 outside his classroom at Sandrock Elementary School. Hunter received an official Colorado Avalanche hockey puck and will get an Avalanche jersey with his name on the back when he skates with the team March 24 at the Pepsi Center.

Quotable

“Being there live is a lot better than watching on TV because you see more of the game and see all the people and players in between periods instead of commercials. On the ice, I am going to feel small. The only thing going through my head is going to be, ‘Hunter, don’t fall.’”

— Hunter Beckett, 10, on what it will be like to skate with the Colorado Avalanche during the pre-game warm-up March 24

At 5, Hunter Beckett had to decide which sport to pursue — hockey or wrestling.

Hunter had been competing for the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling program, but said he wanted to try something new.

His parents, Matt and Stephanie Beckett, had been playing hockey as he was growing up, and later Hunter decided to follow his parents.

Now, five years later, Hunter’s decision and hard work has paid off.

The Moffat County Commission chose him to skate with the Colorado Avalanche during the team’s warm-up before a March 24 game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center.

“I was very excited and surprised,” said Hunter, 10. “I look forward to seeing what I maybe want to do when I grow up in playing hockey.”

Each Craig youth hockey team nominated a player and the nominees were passed on to the commissioners.

Shannon Samuelson, director of fundraising for the Craig Youth Hockey Association, said commissioners were given the nomination forms without names so they could choose the player who deserved the award based on recommendations.

Hunter is captain of the Craig Cougars squirt hockey team, a team his father coaches.

Matt said the three coaches and all the players decided together on a captain, and the captain was the player they nominated.

“Oftentimes, Hunter is not the most talented skater on the team, but his hard work, dedication and willingness to listen, learn and try make him an asset and leader on his team,” coaches said on the nomination form. “Hunter is consistently the first one to offer encouragement to other kids or give them pointers on a drill.”

Hunter said he’s a big Avalanche fan, particularly of center Matt Duchene, and has been to the Pepsi Center before to watch the team play.

But, March 24 will be a different experience as he will be on the ice in front of a live crowd.

“Being there live is a lot better than watching on TV because you see more of the game and see all the people and players in between periods instead of commercials,” Hunter said. “On the ice, I am going to feel small. The only thing going through my head is going to be, ‘Hunter, don’t fall.’”

Hunter saved his money from chores to buy his own Duchene jersey, but he will be able to replace the jersey with a customized Avalanche jersey he’ll get at the game with his name on the back.

He also received an official Colorado Avalanche hockey puck from the team, which he plans to keep in a case and hopefully get signed.

Besides a player’s work on the ice, another component that went into selecting a skater was activities off the ice.

Hunter raised more than $1,000 the past three years for the Substance Abuse Prevention Program and also helps his grandmother around her house by collecting wood.

Hunter said he plans to continue playing hockey.

At the Avalanche game, he said he hopes to see a lot of what he loves to do most — score.

“I like how fast you can go on the ice, but I really like to play offense,” he said. “You get to score more and my brother (Holden) and I score a lot of our team’s goals.”

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