Daily photo by John Godbey|
Parker Frith (11)of the Huntsville Chargers battles R.J. Barrett of the Memphis Blues at Point Mallard on Saturday.
Hockey makes an impact with Southern children
By Paul Stackhouse
After taking a 4-0 win over the Memphis Blues on Saturday morning at the Point Mallard Ice Complex, the Huntsville Chargers PeeWee travel tournament team was as excited as you could imagine.
The Chargers team is made up of children ages 11 and 12 from Decatur and Madison County. The Chargersí record gives a good example of how hard the players work and play. After Saturday, Huntsville improved to 16-5-2.
Besides playing in Decatur and Huntsville, the Chargers travel to games in Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and Memphis. In February, they will play in a tournament in St. Louis.
Every year, it seems as if the North Alabama youth hockey programs are improving, which benefits the children who play in them. According to the Chargersí players, there are many reasons to love playing hockey.
After the victory Saturday, members of the Huntsville Chargers travel team were asked to explain their love for the game. All agreed to participate in a survey and interview.
The players were asked to how long they have been ice skating. Almost all said they began when they were between 2 and 6 years old.
Other questions they were asked are:
1. Name three things you like about playing youth hockey.
2. What other sports do you participate in?
3. How does hockey differ from the other sports you play?
The following are their answers:
Nathan Losey, 12, Decatur: 1. You get to skate on ice. Hockey is a contact sport. I get to hang out with my friends when we practice and play. 2. Football. 3. You use a puck to score and it is a lot different and smaller than a football. You have to have great teamwork to control the puck.
Dylan Dalton, 12, Madison: 1. You get to check and make contact with other players on the ice. You have to learn to skate fast. Itís a lot of fun. 2. Football , baseball, soccer. 3. You have a lot more contact playing hockey.
Kevin Butler, 11, Huntsville: 1. You get to hit people on skates. Iím good friends with my teammates and I like hanging out together wherever we go. 2. Football, baseball. 3. You canít win a game in hockey without great teamwork.
Bryant Sivley, 12, Decatur: 1. Being a part of a good team like this one Iím playing with now. Winning instead of losing all the time. Itís fun. 2. Baseball. 3. Wayne Gretsky doesnít play other sports; he plays hockey.
Damon Wheeler, 11, Huntsville: 1. Hockey is a real physical sport. You have to work hard you get your timing down. Itís a team sport. 2. Baseball, soccer. 3. In soccer, you canít use your hands. In hockey, we get to use a stick. You donít have to wear cleats on the ice.
Adrian Majerle, 12, Huntsville: 1. You have a fast pace in hockey. Itís a contact sport. Itís a team sport where you get to meet new friends from other places than where you live. 2. Chess. 3. Everything. Just about everything in hockey is different than playing chess. In both, though, you have to think before you move.
Hunter Shaw Mason, 12, Huntsville: 1. Hockey is challenging. You have to use teamwork more than other sports. Contact. 2. Baseball. 3. You have to be balanced and skate fast all the time.
Eric Jones, 12, Harvest: 1. You go full speed all the time. Instead of a ball, you use a puck. Itís a lot more and harder to handle. Hitting other players. 2. Football, basketball, track. 3. In track, you donít try to score like you do in hockey. You play hockey on ice.
Armin Gierow, 12, Madison: 1. Hockey is a contact sport. Itís more difficult to score. You have to try and get the puck in a small goal and past a big goalie. 2. Soccer. 3. Thereís a lot more contact in hockey than in soccer.
Steven Stevens, 11, Madison: 1. In hockey, you have to assist the other players on your team. One player canít do it all. You know you did a good job if you score because itís difficult getting the puck into the net. 2. Soccer, baseball. 3. You just canít put on skates and go out and play hockey. You have to go to clinics, practice and stuff to learn. You donít have to stop at a base in hockey. Youíre always going fast. In soccer, you canít use your hands.
Parker Frith, 11, Decatur: 1. Stick handling. I like learning how to handle and score with a stick. I like skating on the ice. We get to go places and hang out with friends. 2. Baseball, soccer. 3. You canít play baseball or soccer on ice.
Christopher Farmer, 11, Gurley: 1. Action. Speed. Equipment. 2. Baseball, soccer. 3. In hockey, you get to hit people and get away with it. Of course, when you hit someone, you have to do it legally.
Hayden Melkerson, 12, Huntsville: 1. Making passes on the ice. I like practicing hockey. Itís fun, especially if you are on a winning team. 2. Baseball, tennis. 3. Hockey is more intense than baseball or tennis.
Carter Rivers, 12, Madison: 1. You get to hit someone in hockey. Making fast passes on the ice. Itís a lot of fun. 2. None. 3. My uncle (Jimmy Carter) taking me to games in Atlanta. After watching the games, I started going to hockey clinics.
Chad Robinson, 11, Huntsville: 1. You get to hit in hockey. Going to Channel Cats games with my dad. Passing on the ice and scoring. 2. Baseball. 3. In hockey, youíre always going fast — wide open.
Austin Brown, 12, Huntsville: 1. I like the speed of playing hockey. Getting to hit other players. You get to skate and play on ice. 2. Soccer, basketball. 3. Hockey is more of a contact sport than baseball or soccer. Also, I think it is more challenging.
Chargers coach Daniel Frith said a lot of people donít understand hockey.
ďPeople who donít know much about hockey think this is a violent game — itís not,Ē Frith said. ďYes, hitting is part of the game, but the players are taught how to hit correctly.
ďItís obvious the players like hockey because it is physical and fast but it is much more than that — you have to train hard and learn the right way to play the game.Ē
The Silver Sticks tournament returns to Decatur and Huntsville on Friday through Sunday. Players in the Mites (7-8), Squirts (9-10) and Pee Wee (11-12) divisions will be playing.
It is estimated that more than 30 teams will participate in the event. Games at the Point Mallard Ice Complex are scheduled for Friday morning and all day Saturday.
The finals are to be in Huntsville on Sunday.
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