SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls Stampede returns to the ice Monday night for its third game in four days. It’s a busy stretch of hockey, but the team still took time out this morning to teach the next generation of players.
More than 30 kids escaped the bitter cold today by heading to the hockey rink for a youth skills camp.
“My mom saw it on the internet and she thought it would be good for me,” 8-year-old Maverick VanEngen said.
“I hope we get to meet the goalies,” 8-year-old Jaxton Blais said.
The event was hosted by the Sioux Falls Stampede in partnership with the InSports Foundation.
“These kids look up to our guys like they’re NHL players and it’s an opportunity to give back. You look back 15 years ago, our players in the same position so it’s just a win-win for everybody and we look forward to doing these type of things all the time,” Stampede head coach Marty Murray said.
“It’s always good to give back to the community and help them out, learn to skate, learn to shoot, all those types of things,” Stampede defenseman Garrett Sundquist said.
The InSports Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance and sporting opportunities to help kids to get in the game.
“Having one child in the program, hockey’s on the up-and-up, so it’s great to combine and work with them to continue to grow the great game,” Murray said.
A former NHL player, Murray has been on skates for as long as he can remember.
“I think it was in my blood. I come from a family where hockey was on the forefront all the time, hockey and baseball sporting family, so I think I started skating when I was 2-years old and never looked back,” Murray said.
“I’ve been on skates ever since I was about 2-years old. My older brothers as well, same thing, on the ice, since they were young, so my dad just put us on the ice as soon as we were born,” Sundquist said.
Once these players step onto the ice, the Stampede has one goal in mind.
“To go out and have fun and to try your hardest and enjoy coming to the rink with a smile on your face,” Murray said.
The Stampede will attempt to get back into the win column tonight against Lincoln. The puck drops at 6:30. The game was originally scheduled for December 13th, but was postponed due to COVID-19.