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Tri-Town’s youngest hockey players get to live the dream

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BRASHER FALLS - Some of the youngest hockey players from the Tri-Town area had their chance to skate with the state tournament-bound boys’ hockey team from St. Lawrence Central Wednesday evening thanks to the generosity of another team from the community.

Julia Rose, a volunteer with Tri-Town Minor Hockey Association ,explained that with three teams from their association heading to state tournaments a fundraiser was held earlier in the week with the team collecting the most money earning the right to skate with the varsity team from St. Lawrence Central.

The Larries headed into the New York state high school final four ranked as the top Division II team in the state in the latest’s New York State Sportswriters’ poll.

“Our pee wees, midgets and bantams held a shoot and save contest to raise money for their state tournament entry fees,” Mrs. Rose said. “Whatever team that raised the most money earned the right to play with the varsity team.”

Following the contest, which was won by the bantams (14U), the team decided to give their ice time to the association’s youngest skaters, its mites and mini mites, who range in age from 3 to 8-years-old.

As members of those two young teams stood on their skates waiting for the Zamboni to leave the ice, Mrs. Rose said, “Since our varsity team is also going to states, we thought it would be exciting for the kids to do a little skating with them and then have an autograph session.”

Tyler Bethel, 8, Audrina McAllister, 5 and Ashton Adams, 7 all said they were looking forward to skating with the varsity team.

“I know all the players and coach and want to play varsity someday,” Tyler said.

Audrina said she enjoys playing hockey “because it’s fun” and “because you get to get lots of exercise.” She also said that she wants to play varsity hockey someday, as did Ashton, who said he was looking forward to skating with varsity forward Kody Kocis.

Varsity Coach Mickey Locke said he feels events like this are important because it shows the sense of family and community that exists in the Tri-Town area.

“It’s like one big family all the way up from the mites to varsity,” he said. “We know these little guys look up to our guys, especially with the kind of year these guys have had.”

Mr. Locke said while the mites and mini mites may not of had the opportunity to skate with the varsity team before, many of them have come to the teams games and offered their support to the team throughout the season.

“Before most of the games there’s a bunch of minor hockey kids lining the halls and giving our guys high-fives,” Mr. Locke said, adding that most of the younger players strive to one day play for the school’s varsity team.

“For most of these guys, varsity level hockey is going to be the highest level they play, so this is their goal,” he said.

Mr. Locke also said he realizes his players got their starts playing minor hockey.

“Most of these guys have gone through the minor hockey system and have received so much from minor hockey, and all of the parents and volunteers, so tonight we get to give something back to minor hockey,” he said.

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