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Wildcat icers teach special ed. students to skate, shoot a puck



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March 14, 2012 - Varsity hockey head coach Dave Hague not only expects professionalism from his team on the ice, but off the ice as well.

In addition to the many hours spent practicing and playing games, Hague and his team have spent time this year giving back to the community. They have visited with elementary students. They took time over winter break to stop by Independence Village and play board games with the seniors.

Back in February, the coaches and players stepped up again as they invited eight special needs students from Oxford High School to skate with them during a team practice.

Hague said the experience was "unbelievable."

"It was a moving experience," Hague said. "I was so impressed with our players and the guys were unbelievable to all eight individuals. They had a smile on their face the whole night."

In addition to teaching them to skate, the team taught the kids how to shoot a puck and held some ice races before getting down to practice. The kids also got to ride the team bus to and from practice.

Junior Stephan Fritz said he could definitely tell the kids were having fun.

"When they would score, they would get all excited," he said. "It was good to see them all smiling out there and you could tell they were having a good time with something they may never get another chance to do."

Senior Nick Hocker was surprised at how well the kids skated.

"They picked it up real fast and I was proud of them. It made me feel good helping them out, teaching them to skate and stop," he said.

Hague said they were able to arrange the practice after one of the parents got Hague in contact with OHS special education teacher Laurie Lavins.

"We tell our families every year you are committing to a hockey program; you are not a hockey team. We really try and look at the full package," Hague said. "We think it is important to give back to the community and be involved, so we are always looking for new ideas and things like that."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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