An old African proverb said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Recently, roles were reversed, as it was the children taking care of the village. A group of young hockey players from Amery spent their Snow Day giving back to the community that they feel has given so much to them.
It started Tuesday morning when families involved with the Amery Hockey Bantams team received an email around 11 a.m. that said, “Can you believe we have ANOTHER SNOW DAY?! Coach Jordan and a couple big burly dads have agreed to help us maintain our sanity and get those boys out of the house today. At 1 o’clock today, anyone who is able or would like to, can meet at Coach Jordan’s house. The Bantam Crew will head out in the community and around town to help shovel some snow and be visible. The Coaches believe this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the lessons of community service, respect and leadership on and off the ice!”
The email expressed this was voluntary. It said, “If it isn’t safe for you to travel or get out of the house, we understand. There are coaches and managers who are willing to help try to get your hockey player there if you are at work and need help.”
Two hours later about 15 bantam hockey players and a couple of sweet sisters showed up shovels in hand.
Tanner Vold, an eighth-grader wasn’t worried about making his way into town, he knew his dad’s 4-wheel drive truck would get them there. He likes that Amery is a small community where he knows a lot of people. “The best part of the day was knowing that I was helping someone who maybe couldn’t clear their driveway,” said Vold. He and teammate, Blu Anderson absolutely loved that they had cookies given to them by English teacher Mrs. Sjogren when they shoveled her driveway. They also thought it was cool that they received pizza from Mrs. Heiden who works in their school’s office.
When seventh-grader William Jensen’s father woke him up and shared it was a Snow Day, Jensen had no idea what the day had in store for him. His mother Sara said, “I would have gotten him to Jordan’s house if I had to snowshoe there with him on my back. I was very happy to see the boys out shoveling and doing a good thing in our community. Watching them travel as a large shoveling crew was pretty impressive. I did not see one sad face, those boys were all smiles and laughter. I am glad it brought them happiness to help others. I think they learned a great deal on that particular snow day.”
Seventh-grader Aaron Mork knew he wanted to help, but didn’t know how he would get there since his parents were at work. Luckily, a teammate’s dad picked him up, so he was able join the effort.
Kruse Yuhas shared that he was actually kind of excited to get out and shovel for people. The seventh-grader would spend an average day off watching Netflix. His classmate Vincent Greene shared a normal Snow Day for him would consist of going to the rink to shoot pucks, but Tuesday he was in for quite the work out before it would be time to head to the hockey rink.
The crew spent hours clearing pathways for residents and businesses all over Amery. Eighth-grade student Danny Tylee thought it was fun riding on the tailgate of the truck to get from driveway to driveway. His teammate Maxwell Mike said, “At first I thought we were just shoveling for maybe and hour, but I under estimated my coach.” When he was asked if he preferred playing hockey or shoveling snow, Mike replied, “Sorry Amery, but I like hockey more.”
The inspiring story of the players made its way onto the local news as KARE 11 gave the group a nod that evening during their broadcast. Online the WeatherChannel.com also cast a spotlight on the skaters by featuring a video of the young heroes helping push a stuck vehicle out of the snow.
Delaney Vold and Siri Yuhas, two sisters that shoveled, usually prefer their time perfecting gymnastics routines, but this day they pitched in and became just one of the guys. When asked if they had a hard time keeping up with their brothers and the others, the girl’s responded,” No! We did better than they did.”
David Anderson shared his thoughts saying, “As a parent and Assistant coach I am so proud of not only my son Blu, but the entire team for stepping up to the task. It was a long day and we practiced for one and a half hours after shoveling for five hours. As coaches, we strive to make them better people first and better hockey players second. I am thankful to be part of such a great group of kids.”
Dan Tylee’s thoughts were very similar to Andersons. “I have coached most of these kids in prior years and know that they are good kids. I also commend Jordan Maxon (head coach) for not only volunteering his time to coach our kids but to come up with this idea to teach our kids work ethic and to give back to our community,” said Tylee.
Andrea Yuhas summed it up by saying,” This group of kids and these coaches have set the bar for what coming together can look like both on the ice and off. I’m super proud that both of my kids decided to get out of the house that day and give a little back to the community. We look forward to hosting the Bantam state tournament here in Amery this year and showcasing an entire community made up of small-town folks with huge hearts.”