EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

December 5, 2012

Floor hockey for kids finishes debut season in Lawrence

LAWRENCE -- It started with some good old fashioned floor hockey for 30 boys and girls from Lawrence and it ended recently with a good old fashioned pizza bash.

In between, those children who took part in the first annual Lawrence Floor Hockey League at St. Patrick’s Church gym on Broadway also combined to read 84 children’s books as part of the “Play & Read” program.

Organized by long-time local hockey player, coach and writer, Jay Atkinson, to deem his fall floor hockey experiment a success would apparently be an understatement.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Atkinson, a college English professor at Boston University, who also started the popular “Fun Hockey League” in Methuen, for those that didn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to play youth hockey.

“We got a grant from the Boston Bruins as well as generous donations from Lawrence Rotary and Lawrence Exchange clubs,” said Atkinson. “In fact, Dan Murphy from Northmark Bank, which also helped us out, had a ball coaching the kids at age 70. The money paid for jerseys, equipment, sticks, etc. But the key was we had a winning partner in Father Paul O’Brien at St. Patrick’s church.”

According to Atkinson, the first week 14 kids showed up. Word of mouth spread and by the end, 30 kids. The first year he started the Fun Hockey League in Methuen 18 kids showed up.

Most of the kids, ages 4 to 13, had never experienced hockey before.

“Certainly, the plan is to grow the program next fall,” said Atkinson.

As for the experience, Atkinson said it was even better than he imagined.

“One week this four-year-old girl approaches me with a serious expression, like she has something incredibly important and perhaps even frightening to ask me,” recalled Atkinson. “I bend down so I can hear her in the din of the gym, and in a tiny voice she says, ‘Can I play goalie, please?’ I think I startled her when I laughed pretty hard.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Wrigley Field celebrates 100th birthday Phelps returns to the pool Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement
Boston Sports
Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Farrell on Pineda: 'When it's that obvious, something has to be said' McAdam: Both sides respond to Pineda getting ejected for using pine tar Sox finally call out Pineda for pine tar use Felger vs Tanguay: The Marchand tripping debate Wrigley Field celebrates 100th birthday Phelps returns to the pool Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Merloni: Transfer Rule 'ruining the game' Gomes: Ceremony showed healing is ongoing Pedroia: Game-winning play 'kind of a crazy deal' Babcock: 'An exercise in skating up and down the rink' Rask: Chara's become better at screening Miller: Flu 'a scary situation' Florek: 'It's a feeling I've never felt before' Iginla hungry for first Stanley Cup Running Strong: How the Bruins National Anthem brought Boston together