The Palmer Lake Outdoor Classic


The Lewis-Palmer goalie faces a shot in a shoot out. Photo by Hannah Miller.

The Lewis Palmer Ice Hockey team hosted the second annual Palmer Lake Classic on the night of January 6th. The event, taking place on a frozen Palmer Lake outside in Palmer Lake, Colorado, featured thirty minute games between Pine Creek High School, Chaparral High School, Cheyenne Mountain High School, and Lewis Palmer High School. As the tournament was an unofficial CHASSA event, this truly was just for the enjoyment of the players and the fans!

Palmer Lake, which serves as a popular paddle boarding, swimming, and canoeing destination in the summertime for many Tri-Lakes residents, is also home to a large population of ice fishers when it is not being used for the annual hockey game. The outdoor ice hockey tradition is fairly new, only starting last winter in 2022. The hockey game is a one of a kind event local to the area, and is beginning to become one of the most sought after and highly attended games of the year. While two separate games go on at the same time, fans have the ability to shop for event merchandise, grab a coffee at the local food trucks brought in for the event, and rally around the bleachers cheering for their favorite team!

Captain Connor Fay (12) looks towards the Lewis-Palmer defense in search of the puck. Photo by Hannah Miller.

Captain Connor Fay (12) is a forward for Lewis-Palmer who played in the Outdoor Classic for the first time this year. “It was a great event and I had a lot of fun,” said Fay. “It is a different game when you go out there with the smaller nets and on ice on the lake. We played well as a team and had fun.” Fay also went into great detail about the preparation for the event, saying that multiple parents would head out to the lake at night and water the surface to ensure that a thick enough layer of ice was formed in time for the event.

This year, Lewis Palmer placed second in the tournament overall, with each of their games ending in a high stakes shoot out, where three players from each team faced one-on-one with the goalie of the opposing team. In the end, the Rangers lost to Chaparral in the championship game by one goal, making them the overall runner-up in the tournament. The fast paced nature of the hockey games kept fans engaged, with people from all over the Colorado Springs, Tri-Lakes, and Denver areas in attendance. According to Fay, there were at least 1,500 people in attendance that night, creating a one of a kind experience for the players.

Carter Charron (9) defends the puck near the goal to get possession back. Photo by Hannah Miller.

This season, the Rangers were 7-11-1 overall, as well as 5A Central League Champs, testing themselves against teams from all over the state. Because Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge are not yet 5A like most of the other ice hockey teams, they are repeatedly thrown into a league where the competition is very strong. “We are in 5A, and we do play against a lot of bigger schools,” said Carter Charron (9), a center winger for Lewis-Palmer. “I think we do hold our own really well. With so many talented players, the Rangers know how to play a good game, never failing to show their opponents the full might of the team. “My favorite part [of hockey],” said Charron, “is when you win a really tough game that you were in until the end. You go into overtime, everyone is exhausted, they have been playing hard…. that is one of the best feelings.”