Colorado Rubber

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Colorado Springs native, Tigers lifer Turner looking ahead to juniors after inking tender with NAHL’s Grit

 

Charlie Turner has played for the Colorado Springs Tigers from Mites through 18U, having success at each level.

Now, the Colorado Springs native has the opportunity to stay in Colorado for junior hockey after recently signing a tender agreement with the NAHL’s Colorado Grit, a first-year team playing out of the Greeley Ice Haus.

“I attended the Grit’s pre-draft camp last summer and from there, I got the opportunity to play in the all-star game and have a few conversations with some of the coaches,” Turner said. “This and the relationship Coach (Kevin) Holmstrom has with the guys up there allowed me to get on the radar of the Grit and ultimately allowed for the tender.

“The Grit seem very appealing. It truly seems like joining a family and the community around them is very supportive. They already have several NCAA Division I commitments in their first year as a club, which is very impressive. I think the opportunity they have created for Colorado kids to stay in state and play a very high level of junior hockey is amazing. I am beyond exited that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Grit, and I feel very lucky that I can pursue playing in the NAHL while only being a few hours from home.”

This season, Turner is enjoying playing for the Tigers’ 18U AAA squad, calling it “one of the best seasons of hockey I have been a part of.”

“The team is just coming off a 14-game win streak, which definitely helped get some guys on radars,” said Turner. “Holmstrom and the coaching staff have done an excellent job and know that the team still has another level to reach. Personally, I have been able to put up a good number of points, but I don’t think a single one was an individual play. We work as a team for every point that goes up on the board, and that is what has led to our success thus far.”

Growing up, Turner said the game of hockey has been in his blood, quite literally.

“My mom’s side of the family comes from the Maritimes in eastern Canada,” explained Turner. “My grandfather played hockey, which led to me and all my siblings playing. My older brother Ben played for Doherty High School and he was ultimately the one that made me want to start playing. My hometown is Colorado Springs and I originally started with roller hockey until I was old enough to join the Tigers’ Mites program. Colorado College also had a big impact on me and going to games at the World Arena was one of my favorite things to do when I was younger.”

Playing for the Tigers has been a lifelong thrill as well.

“I have been a Tiger my whole life – from Mites to 18U AAA, I have always worn the logo,” Turner beamed. “Coaches Peter Geronazzo, Louis Remillard, Lance Leafers, and Joe Delich all had a big impact on me in my younger years with the Tigers and I am very thankful they were a part of my path. For my first year of AAA hockey, Shaun Hathaway brought me a winning season and helped adapt me to the new level. Joey Carroll has been my main skills coach and has been a major part of my development. Most importantly, Kevin Holmstrom has helped me develop into a player that is ready for the next level and has helped me navigate the world of juniors. I would like to thank all these coaches for everything they have done for me. This would not be possible without them.

“Colorado has been a great place to grow up playing hockey. I think I will remember all the relationships I have built through hockey. My best friends have come from the sport, and I would encourage anyone to put their kids in hockey because of the lifelong friends that come from it.”

The Grit tender signed and junior hockey now a realistic option, Turner doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

“I think it’s important to not lose focus on the next 20 games of this season,” said Turner. “I think a focus on staying consistent and being in the present is important. As far as long-term goals go, I would love to extend my hockey career into college, and I think tendering with the Grit is a very exciting and important step in that process.”

Photo/Andrew Peng

— Matt Mackinder

(December 22, 2023)

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