By Christopher Waters
The North Central season is well underway and there is great hockey being played in all divisions! You can go to the AHAI page to follow stats and standings (www.ahai2.org). North Central is the largest conference and our organizations are highly involved in their schools and communities.
Mentor Program Builds Leaders and Community
The program pairs high school players with youth players, and is designed to provide leadership development opportunities while forming friendships and fulfilling community service hours. Each year the program has continued to grow and attract additional mentors who are encouraged to collaborate activities.
Interested mentors must complete an application, which is reviewed by the mentor program director and hockey director. This year, 16 boys and girls high school players are participating in the program.
“We’ve received positive feedback from mentors, youth players, coaches and parents,” said Tim Riley, program director. “Our mentors have a strong passion for the game and a desire to share that passion with our youth players. It’s what’s helped ensure that the program remains successful and meets its goals.”
High school players are assigned to a team, which they mentor all season. This includes participating in practices along with planning off-ice social activities. Most importantly, mentors encourage camaraderie between players and the mentors.
For those youth players whose bedtimes allow it, they can often be found in the stands of their mentor’s high school game cheering on their favorite Wildkit.
Kings using marketing to increase attendance and awareness
The Kings High School Hockey Club has 5 participating High Schools. So far this season they have had a light and sound show at their home opener, chuck a puck, 50/50 raffle, gift basket raffles. One of the high school choirs sing the national anthem and a military veteran performs the ceremonial puck drop. They have also had a T shirt giveaway to the first 15 high school showing their student ID. This season they live stream their games with professional play by play announcers and in the future will be hosting a Food Pantry Donation Night – Asking anyone attending to bring in a canned food.
Developing players on and off the ice at St. Pats
Saint Patrick High School Shamrocks have made some big improvements for the 2019-20 season! Along with a new look consisting of vegas gold helmets, green pant covers and custom gloves, the Shamrocks also moved into their new locker room painted in Green and Gold! To add to that, The Shamrocks are doing “life skill day” once a month. Each month the boys meet with the coaching staff to learn valuable life skill that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with hockey. These lessons include ‘How to tie a neck tie,’ how to change a wiper blade,’ how to change a car tire, how to balance a checkbook’ and several others. The goal for Shamrock hockey is for each player to not only graduate from the program as a better hockey player, but a better man. Just one of the many values instilled at Saint Patrick High School.
Leyden player writes an outstanding essay about his journey
“Eventually I came out to my parents, family, and made an Instagram post for the rest of my friends, but more specifically, my hockey team. The day that I posted on Instagram, March 24, I quickly found out that all of my friends had my back and continued to stick by my side no matter what. My teammates not only accepted me, but have been comfortable enough to carry on as if nothing had changed, which in reality, it didn’t.” Read the rest of the essay here.
Teacher Appreciation Night is a big success in Deerfield
Deerfield recently hosted its second annual Teacher Appreciation Night. It was a big success last year, with close to 25 teachers showing up. They all wore the jerseys of the students who invited them to the game.