They do get it – from the hockey rink, to the bench, to the community in general.
All of the junior players in the LaGrange Street Hockey League are learning about more than the fundamentals of the game. The boys and girls in the local league do know what it means to lend a helping hand.
The hockey youngsters are thinking about other people who just might be less fortunate than themselves. LaGrange Street Hockey coaches Brett Miolen and Glenn Cunningham are making sure of that.
“We teach our kids to give back. I like seeing smiles on kids faces,” said Cunningham.
With that in mind, all of the youth players at Sunday’s Toys for Tots junior street hockey game brought a Christmas present for a needy child in the LaGrange area.
“Because of those presents some kids will get a gift for Christmas that would not have gotten one (otherwise),” said Cunningham.
The local street hockey team collected two boxes of Christmas presents for the Toys for Tots Foundation over the weekend. All of the gifts will go to area children.
There was a wide variety of Christmas presents, too. The donated gifts included stuffed toys, a soccer ball, a football, dolls and games of virtually every kind.
Harry Varner, the grandfather of one of the junior hockey players, was glad to see the generosity. Varner enjoyed the street hockey, too.
“This is bringing out their true passion. The players are learning about passing, teamwork, sportsmanship and confidence,” said Varner.
He is the grandfather of junior hockey player Spencer Varner. LaGrange player Hayden Pope brought a present, too, along with his hockey intensity.
“I like working with my team and strategizing. I’m good on defense,” said Pope.
Thirteen-year-old Shelby Snelson of Greenville also played some Sunday afternoon street hockey in La-Grange. Snelson donated a Christmas gift, too, before stepping on the floor in the junior hockey match at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center.
“This was real fun. Street Hockey is my No. 1 priority. You need to run fast, and you need good aim. Street hockey is one of the best sports that you can play,” said Snelson. “I’m good at blocking.”
Landen Gogel, an 11year-old goalkeeper, is even better at keeping the hockey puck out of the net. He is one of the more experienced hockey players from LaGrange.
He is a hockey player 24 hours a day. Gogel lives it one game at a time.
“I’m improving every day. Hockey is not only physical, but it’s mental (as well). You need to be in good condition,” said Gogel.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net.