Hockey Heroes Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

usah hockey mag april.may cover As part of Hockey Weekend Across America, USA Hockey Magazine asked fans to send in essays describing their hockey hero. They received a number of entries focusing on a range of different hockey inspirations, including valued teammates, inspirational sons and daughters and even professionals in the National Hockey League. USA Hockey Magazine recently published 10 of their favorite essays in their April/May digital issue. AHAI is proud to share that 2 of the 10 essays selected were from our Illinois hockey community!

My Uncommon Idol
Jacqueline and Ryan Fisch, Crete, Ill.

I’m not a person who really idolizes people, but today something became quite obvious: I should idolize someone and that person is my son, Jacob.

Over the course of a few days, Jacob played 16 games as he helped two teams realize championship outcomes, all the while playing a position he just started not much more than eight weeks ago. He never complained, not even after eight-plus hours of hockey, and not once did he say, “I’m tired, I’m hungry, this hurts, I can’t, I won’t, I don’t want to.”

My son is a good sport, who celebrates every victory his team achieves, and he doesn’t dwell on the disappointments.

My son is humble. Over the weekend he received plenty of compliments and accepted each and every one of them with graciousness.

My son knows how to listen. I mean, really listen. Another team’s coach gave him advice, which he immediately sought to apply to his game.

My son understands value. At the conclusion of the second place Silver Mites victory, the team he was guest-goaltending for presented him with a puck.

When we got home, I explained that his plastic and marble trophies are just reminders of instances of a job well done, but the puck is the trophy that means something. It’s the one he was given for being there for others, and giving it his all.

My son is tenacious. Giving it his all this weekend meant wetting his pants during one of his back-to-back-to-back games because he didn’t want to get off the ice and let his team down.

My son is determined to excel in everything he does, including academics, which he proves with every test and every quiz he takes.

My son is a believer. He believes people are kind, that the dark is scary, that Santa is real, that God made a lot of cool things, that the elf-on-the-shelf really leaves him and his sister, Talia, notes and that he can be awesome at anything he wants to do. He doesn’t express anger, he doesn’t discourage himself to failure and he doesn’t quit.

I can’t adequately express my admiration, my respect, my pride, my joy and the love that I have for my son, my idol.


A True Inspiration
Art Donnelly, Jr., Gardner, Ill.

As someone who has been following women’s hockey for more than 20 years, I could write an essay on any of the girls and women who play on boys’ teams and some of the issues that they have had to deal with, my step-daughter included.

However, my new hero is Denna Laing. I have never met her, but I have friends that know her very well. When she was injured during the outdoor game, it made me realize it does not matter who you are; a fluke accident can change your life and that of the people around you.

I’m looking forward to the day that Denna can lace up the skates again and give us all a thumbs up on the ice. To watch her skate again would be wonderful.

Categories: Hockey Headlines, USA Hockey News

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