Youth Hockey Growing in Tri-CitiesPosted: Updated:
PASCO, Wash - The children all follow behind Colton Yellow Horn, trying not to slip on the freshly scraped ice as they warm-up for their hockey practice. The plinks and bangs of pucks missing the net and smacked the boards echoes off the walls as about a hundred kids practice with their respective youth hockey teams.
"It's surprising to see this many kids out here," says Americans forward Yellow Horn. "When I moved out here they told me it wasn't much of a hockey town, but I disagree now." Every year the youth hockey program in the Tri-Cities is growing. About 400 kids are enrolled right now, with the numbers rising bit by bit each year. "Our success is directly tied to the success of the Americans," says volunteer Lori Holloman. "If they're having a good year we have a good year and enrollment goes up."
And this year the Americans are off to another great start. They've won 5 of their last 6 games and they hold a 17-10 record on the year. That means more and more kids are tying up their skates and hitting the ice in hopes of becoming just like their favorite Americans.
12-year-old Reilly Sokol says Johnny Lazo is his favorite American because "he's small, he's fast, he's like me!" But the kids get more than just entertainment from the Ams, they also get a lot of help at practice.
Ams Forward Blair McCauley grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He says the Manitoba Moose players were always at his practices, which is why he loves helping out the youth in the Tri-Cities area. "I'm trying to teach them a few things, I'm not sure if it's sinking in though! But yeah, it's a lot of fun."
If you would like more information about youth hockey in the area, log on to www.tcaha.com or contact Lori Holloman at the Tri-Cities youth hockey organization at (509) 947-4828.