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A classy team

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opinion Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Hockey has not always been known as a “sportsman’s sport.” We see examples daily on television that demonstrate all of the attributes we advise our players to never participate in.


A recent game in which the Brainerd Peewee B2 team that I coach beat a very good Woodbury team was different. During the game I noticed hard play, good passing and respect from both teams.

Afterward, I witnessed eye contact during the handshake, comments like “great game, coach” and a few smiles. The Woodbury team then clapped as we got our trophy.

That sort of thing is typically unheard of. These same boys, I learned later, had filed out of their locker room before the game to thank a veteran in the stands.

Each thanked the gentleman for serving for their country. They all smiled and shook his hand, and some even saluted. I had not noticed this, because I was in my own locker room getting my team ready.

I learned about it later when that veteran, my dad, told me the story. He was equally impressed by this group of kids — and by their coach, Steve Wills, for teaching them that the game’s outcome is much less important than the actions of the kids who play it.

What a great example of classy coaching and a classy team.

Dalen Hodge