Wednesday, January 06, 2010

WCCO story on Eagles and Augsburg

From our active Facebook page comes a link to a story from WCCO ...
Giving Everyone The Opportunity To Play Hockey -
Minnesota is known as the "State of Hockey" so a special organization is proving hockey is for everyone in the state.

Minnesota Special Hockey launched four years ago. Now there are four teams in the metro area.

If you ever need a pick-me up, check out the Woodbury Eagles. You can't help but feel good watching these athletes play their hearts out.

"I love playing it," exclaimed 11-year-old player Grant Jobe.

Each player is unique. Some skate and some are pushed by others. They range in age from five to over 40 year old. They all have developmental disabilities and they all love hockey.

"To me, it doesn't matter. Hockey is hockey. If you want to go out there and work the puck around, go for the net, that's what it's about," said Jill Pohtilla, Augsburg Women's Hockey Coach.

For the first time, the Augsburg College Women's Hockey Team hosted the Eagles. The college athletes offered pointers and played side-by-side with the special team members.

"It reminds you of how much fun it is and why we started playing and how awesome it is that anyone can play," said Augsburg player Toni Menth.

Being included has meant the world to Grant and his family.

"He would be sitting on the bench pretty much most of the time if he was playing with a regular hockey team. This way he gets to play a lot," said Grant's mother Jennifer Jobe.

The Eagles are improving their skills, but this league is about much more than the game. Coach Joe Kelly described a moment he'll never forget. When one of his athletes, nicknamed "Bomber", made a goal for the first time.

"When Bomber got back to the box, he started crying and that meant more to me than anything I've ever seen here. That's what this brings to these athletes. It's a chance for them to achieve some stuff that they've never achieved before," Kelly said.

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