By John Michael Garcez, guest writer.
The chill of the ice. The smell of sweat. The sound of clashing sticks and pucks. The taste of hot dogs and nachos. The sight of a victorious team on ice skates. All of this is part of your average ice hockey game.Wyatt Atkins, a freshman here at Loy Norrix, is a hockey player for a team Mejier AAA, which is based in Lansing, MI. His team is one of the 8 AAA teams in Michigan.
Atkins, intriguingly, started playing ice hockey at the young age of 4, even though according to the staff of the website “youthathletic”, the recommended age to start playing ice hockey is 5. He started early because his family is heavily involved in hockey, such as his cousins being in the high school state championships. Of course, it’s not just because of his family.
“You leave it all on the ice,” Atkins said. “You work hard on and off the ice. It’s a choice to work hard.”
No sport is without its hardships. Starting off was tough for Atkins.
“I had a little bit of chub. I had to work a bit harder than the other kids to get to where they were.” Atkins said. “That being said, athletes don’t care about the tough times.” Atkins said.
“We don’t remember the low points,” Atkins explained, “because in order to be a great athlete, you must move on from the low points and make up for them.”
Though, there are rarely any fights on the ice. According to Atkins, you get suspended for 3 games.
“You’re not allowed to fight on the ice until you’re 18.” That being said, the temptation is still there, as Atkins explains.
“I was standing there in front of the net. I was looking at this one guy, and he lifted my leg, and I turned around, ready to kill the kid, but then I stopped when I saw the ref,” Atkins said.
This is quite different from the NHL, where, according to the statistics from the 2014-2015 season on the website “Hockey Fights”, about 26 percent of games had fights, with 276 players being involved in fights.
There are high moments though, such as the time that Atkins scored two goals that won the game.
“We were playing at [Notre Dame]’s rink, and I told myself before the game, ‘We’re not going to lose this,’ because we lost to them earlier in the tournament.” The team won 2-0. How did they win?
Atkins continued, “The first one was when I got a wrist shot from the hash marks. The second goal, it was the last minute of the game, one of my team-mates shot, the puck came to me, and then I took a shot and scored.”