I don’t know what it is that makes us “get the feels” when we learn of teenagers, or young adults, caring about the feelings of others. Is it because as we age into adulthood, we tend to become a bit jaded and more cynical? That we just see the world going to hell, and that the future generations just don’t care about humanity, and GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!
I think that maybe, we just like having the reminders that young or old, there are plenty of good people out there that want to share their time with other good people. There are people out there that want to help, and make a difference to someone else’s day.
That brings me to why I wanted to bring attention to the efforts of members of the Colorado State Hockey team. Recently, about half of the roster from the team spent the day with a group of children from Respite Care in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Respite Care is a non-profit organization that provides short term, quality care for children with developmental disabilities, giving respite to their families, and enhancing the quality of life for the entire family. We believe that a child with a disability is a child first and that his or her challenges are secondary.
Respite Care provides programs and services for over 140 families in Larimer County and delivers more than 50,000 hours of care annually. We provide before and after school care, enhancement programs, overnight, vacation and crisis care up to 14-days for families in need.
First year goaltender Dax Deadrick was kind enough to talk to me about the visit and the activities the team and kids participated in. The day was a huge success! The players, children, and parents all walked away with great memories and smiles for days to come.
Can you tell me a bit about your day with the kids?
It was a great experience for not only myself but everyone involved that day. For myself I had to attend class until 3pm, then I had previously been informed to meet at one of the local bowling alleys in Fort Collins to meet and greet the children from Respite Care. I have always loved not only participating in these events but I have always loved giving back to the children personally. So after class I drove straight home so I could grab a couple sticks I had laying around from my previous season. I already had plans to give away a couple of those sticks to the children I would be spending time with at Respite Care. I have always been a huge supporter of giving back to the kids and knowing I could make their day that much better has always been enough for me to always make things like that happen.
After I got the sticks prepared to give away I headed up to the bowling alley where we would greet all the children and spend a few hours bowling and hanging out with them. After spending a few hours getting my butt kicked on the scoreboard I talked with the staff at Respite Care, and explained to them that I had a couple sticks waiting and picked out for a couple children in particular that were goalie fans and just loved Rams Hockey. We got everything figured out and as the children were packing up and getting ready to leave I pulled out a couple sticks and asked Brady and Mathew how they would like to have their very own goalie sticks. The children and the staff at Respite Care were extremely happy with the team and how happy the children were after the event. Colorado State Hockey prides ourselves and has always been a huge supporter of giving back to the children and volunteering around community.
I know that’s an expense out of your pocket. That was very kind of you.
I have always been a big supporter of athletes giving back to the children and handing off their personal possessions to a child who would get much more joy out of it than themselves. I have made efforts like this ever since I started playing Junior hockey at 17 years of age, and to now as I’m working my way up in my current college hockey career. You really start to notice that you aren’t just playing a sport anymore as you get further and further down the lines of your hockey career. You really start to realize how much of an impact you actually have in the world, and having to accept and appreciate that you are a role model to many children. My whole life growing up as a young goaltender I had always aspired to be like the older goaltenders and I looked up to those athletes tremendously. Idolizing an athletes means you not only look up to these people but you follow their every action as you aspire to be just like them in every way shape & form.This realization slowly started when I was 17 years old playing in my first year of junior hockey. I had traveled to California with my teammates as we had a 5-Game Away Schedule on the road. My coach that year was Derek Armstrong, which had just retired from the Los Angeles Kings not to many years before then, so we got the opportunity to go to the rink in the morning and watch the pregame skates of the Kings and the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was an amazing experience to be up close and personal with our role models that we all aspired to be one day. The Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney had just finished up his pregame skate and as he got off the ice he called me over and started a brief conversation. He asked me how my road trip was going and concluding he ended up handing me his personalized stick before he left for the locker room. This is the moment in my life where I can look back and realize how much little actions as simple as giving a hockey fan or child your stick and attention can make such a difference in their lives.
Giving back and paying it forward has always come first in my life, as I enjoy knowing that little actions and being a good role model can create a positive impact in the lives of these children.
How was the overall experience for you?
I truly enjoyed it. I have always loved gaining the opportunity to volunteer around the community and join my teams in interacting with the youth. Volunteer opportunities have ranged anywhere from skating and coaching aspiring hockey players in the youth programs, to participating in an event, spending our day hanging out with children that are involved in the organizations such as Respite Care.
There is an overwhelming amount of nastiness and hate in this world today it seems. To learn of a great organization such as Respite Care, and seeing teams within the ACHA reaching out and doing what they can to provide some special moments for their community, is always an effort we should cheer on.