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Mite Jamboree with Eastview Varsity in the Apple Valley Patch

January 28, 2012
Eastview Boys Hockey

Eastview Boys Varsity, Mite Hockey Players Connect During Jamboree

On Sunday, the Eastview varsity boys hockey team will coach and mentor Mite-level youth hockey players in an outdoor hockey tournament.

On Sunday, Eastview High School's boys varsity hockey team will try to remember what it was like to be in elementary school.

In other words, they'll have to think like a Mite.

Thirty-three high school players will be coaches, mentors and buddies to more than 120 Mite-level youth hockey players—ages 5 to 8—on Sunday during the second-annual Eastview Mite Jamboree hockey tournament, an afternoon of outdoor hockey at the Apple Valley Teen Center rinks.

Members of Eastview's Blue Line hockey booster club and the Eastview Hockey Association wanted to find a way "to create a deeper connection" between the high school and youth hockey in the community, said booster club member Mike Wohl.

One collaborative effort lets the Mites skate on the ice before Eastview varsity hockey games, Wohl said, but the tournament helps form more personal connections.

It also gives the high school players a chance to give back to the community; for some, it's the last chance to do so before graduation, Wohl said.

Each of the 10 Mite teams will play two games on Sunday, and in between they'll hang out and skate with their teammates and high school players. Siblings also can skate throughout the afternoon.

"It was a pretty special event," Wohl said of last year's inaugural tournament. "Everybody had fun."

Lien Dauk, a youth-hockey parent with the EVHA, said building relationships is probably the most important piece of the tournament, which she hopes will continue and improve each year.

A lot of the value for the Mite players is in recognizing that one day they, too, could be high school hockey players—"knowing that this is where [the high schoolers] started," she said. "They were once a Mite as well."

Eastview senior captain Scotty Nelson said he and his teammates also get to work on their leadership skills.

"We really just try to set a good example for the little guys," Nelson said.

Though the tournament has a philanthropic purpose for the high school student-athletes, Nelson and Wohl said the tournament isn't at all devoid of fun for them.

“I think they have as much fun doing this as the little guys do," Wohl said.

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The tournament is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, and will go on within a temperature of -5 degrees to 35 degrees Fahrenheight; the weather forecast for Sunday predicts an 18-degree high and partly sunny skies.

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