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Team USA Hockey Energizing Youth Players

February 19, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Team USA Hockey Energizing Youth Players
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It may not be the ice of Sochi, Russia, but these boys take to the rink like they want to play for Olympic gold.

"Because of the Olympics they have a lot more enthusiasm about learning hockey. They're more willing. I'm like 'Skate on the ice on one foot,' and normally they'd be like 'Do we have to?' and now they're like 'Ok!'," Hockey Coach Riley Klein said.

Will, Connor and Dillon all love to lace up the skates to play some hockey, but they also love to pay attention to what's happening overseas.

"Well, the Russians and the Americans teamed up and it was 5 to 2. That was my favorite part of that hockey game," Dillon Fitzgerald said.

While that wasn't the final score, it doesn't matter to him because he's watching his country compete at the highest level.

Jared: Who's your favorite player?
Will: I have absolutely no idea, because I love hockey. All of them.
Jared: So, you're just rooting for Red, White and Blue?
Will: Yes!

Even though hockey is their sport of choice, that's not all they're watching.

"I just like the snowboarding and hockey and skiing, that's what I really like," Connor Fitzgerald said.

What draws them all to a sport like hockey is competition and physicality, but also a level of focus that Team USA is showing off to the world.

"I love how intense it is. Right now, one game. They lose one game and they're out. They're fighting for gold, and I find that completely interesting," Klein said.

The fight for gold for both the men and women continue, but the boys already have their predictions locked in.

Will: I really think America is going to win.
Jared: You think they're going to win gold?
Will: Yes!

All three boys say they are inspired by the members of Team USA to be better players, and they all said they have goals to play hockey for a long time, even mentioning they want to play for the Sioux Falls Stampede if they get the chance.

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