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Thunder Bantams honored by state for outstanding 2-11-12 season

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ALBANY - The 2011-12 St. Lawrence Thunder Bantam hockey team was honored at the New York State Capitol Building on Wednesday after producing one of the outstanding seasons in North Country history.

The honor was presented by state senators Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo.

The Bantam Thunder were one of five area youth hockey teams to capture New York State Amateur Hockey Association titles this winter. They went on to play at the USA Hockey Tier II 14-Under tournament in Wayne, New Jersey, where they advanced to the national championship game before setting for the silver medal.

“I’ve had the honor of hosting a number of athletes in the Capitol, but rarely are they as young as this group,” said Senator Ritchie. “While they may only be in the early stages of their athletic careers, they have just as much drive and determination as any older team I’ve met. As a former hockey mom, I know how much hard work goes into this sport and I’m happy that my colleagues and I had the opportunity to recognize the team’s accomplishments today.”

Senator Griffo noted the team’s talent and enthusiasm.

“In the North Country, hockey players and their families are used to early mornings and weekend practices as an accepted way of life,” he stated. “These players skated through their regular season and worked hard through the playoffs, all the way to the championship game. It was a good day to recognize their accomplishments and share our pride with their coaches.”

Coaches Bobby Smith, John Hart and Todd Manning were also honored.

“Standing behind the St. Lawrence Thunder is a dedicated team of coaches, who not only mentor, but inspire these young athletes,” said Senator Ritchie. “They—along with a dedicated group of family, friends and fans back home—were instrumental in pushing the team to excellence.”

In addition to being presented with official Legislative recognition to commemorate their achievements, the St. Lawrence Thunder also took a tour of the Capitol, and joined Senator Ritchie and Senator Griffo for a pizza lunch.

The Thunder lineup consisted of players from several North Country communities including; Logan Brothers, Nathan Burnett, Jon Paul Chauvin, Bailey Conklin, Austin Cousineau, Brandon Cousineau, Shane Cryderman, Logan Ford, Tyler Fobare, J.D. Greenway, Hayden Hart, Bailey Hewlett, Patrick Manning, Maddox Merry, Kaden Pickering, Jordan Robert, Ben Sprague, Chad Varney, Tyler Valdez and Wyatt Wilmshurst.

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