For Doremus family, Aspen Junior Hockey helped open doors
Sometimes in life, all that’s needed is one opportunity, that one break to make everything come to fruition.
Andrew and Jeanne Doremus and their five sons – Ryan, Tyler, Daniel, Jack and Willy – call Aspen home and each boy developed with Aspen Junior Hockey (AJH) in their youth days.
Andrew Doremus was an original player in the Aspen organization in the 1970s under founders John McBride and Pete Whitemore and played through his high school years.
Eventually, all four kids played the game, with Daniel (pictured) skating at NCAA Division I University of Denver from 2011-15, Tyler at Skidmore College from 2008-12 and Jack now in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Sioux Falls Stampede before going to DU for the 2017-18 season. Willy ended last season with the Aspen Leafs 20U team in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League (RMJHL) and Ryan was a multi-sport athlete, lettering in seven sports in high school, and now runs the AJH house program.
“Once the boys started playing, I started coaching,” said Andrew. “It’s about giving back. My firm belief is to stay and play at home. Travel during the season is key to building friendships and my family has developed lifelong friendships through hockey. We never forced the kids to play – we just facilitated travel.”
Jeanne noted that seeing all the boys play hockey and face adversity in one way or another made them stronger, more mature individuals. Seeing them leave home to play higher levels of hockey made her stronger, too.
“I have toughened,” she said. “I didn’t want to put my concerns on something they wanted that much. We just supported them – they needed to live out their dreams. It all started with Ryan and with all the boys, it was just another sport, but they stuck with it for many reasons.
“We learned to let the boys fight their own battles – there was total balance. And confidence is key. Boys knew they had our support. “AJH is the framework that started it all – they wouldn’t be where they are today without it.”
Photo/Lacey Den Hartog
— Matt Mackinder