4 locals on Team USA Dek Hockey

  • Pictured are the four members from Athol and Orange that qualified for Team USA Dek Hockey U14 and U16 teams. Standing inside 202 Indoor Rink in Orange, pictured, from left to right, Logan Dodge, Connor Mahony, Deavin McGivern and Riley Drew. Athol Daily News/Adam Lewis

Sports Writer
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ORANGE — Four local kids will represent the their country on Team USA Dek Hockey and travel to Nitra, Slovakia, in June to compete on the national level for the U14 and U16 teams.

Logan Dodge and Riley Drew of Orange will compete on the U16 team, while Connor Mahony and Deavin McGivern of Athol compete on the U14 team. Dek hockey is a form of hockey not played on ice. All four completed two sets of tryouts that consisted of more than 100 kids. Youngsters from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were chosen to represent Team USA.

“They’re hard working,” said U16 coach Doug Croteau, who participates in events at 202 Indoor Rink, located at 207 Daniel Shays Highway in Orange. “They put in a lot of effort. Logan Dodge, very smart kid, good player, works hard. Riley Drew, one of the most talented kids all around. He’s a super goal scorer, but he does everything we ask him to do and everybody else on the team pretty much comes from the same background.”

Dodge and Drew will compete on the team as forwards. McGivern will play defense and will back up the goalie, while Mahony plays forward and specializes at left wing.

“I was (excited),” said Drew about finding out he made the team. “I knew the coach that was making the team and he really wanted me to play, so I said, ‘Sure,’ and he called me.”

The event is expected to draw 2,000 to 15,000 viewers. At least one parent is to accompany each player on the trip.

The first tryout consisted of mostly drills, while the second tryout consisted of more game action. Croteau had a hand in the tryout process as well as picking out players for the team.

“Me personally, I look for role players,” said Croteau. “I don’t go for the best players. It’s not about wanting the best 25 kids. You want the right 25 kids. A lot of the kids that I chose this year fit the team to make the team be a team. So I don’t need 25 goal scorers, I need eight defensemen that can play defense, I need some kids that can score, some kids that can play some other key roles in special teams.”

The four local players forged different paths toward making the team.

“I started when I was at Beavers, which is nine or 10 (years old),” said Mahony, who is now 13. “Beavers” is a term used for the 10-12 year old division in dek hockey. “My first game, I didn’t even know what stick I was, like a lefty or righty. So I played righty and found out I was a lefty, so I finished out the year with a righty stick.”

Dodge started playing at 4 years old and has played on travel teams, recreational leagues and competitive teams ever since.

“I just enjoyed it,” said Dodge, 15.

McGivern comes from a hockey family, which inspired him to play. He started playing at 4 and has played for nine years.

Drew started at the same age and now plays on the Greenfield High School co-op varsity ice hockey team. Drew starts in net for the Green Wave, who are 12-4-2 on the year and now rank fourth in western Massachusetts. Drew has made more than 315 saves this season competing for the Green Wave.

“It’s a lot different because I play goalie in ice hockey and here I’m like a center and forward,” said Drew about the two different experiences. “It’s just a lot (more fun) just being able to play both.”

All four players are expected to raise $2,300 to cover the expenses of the trip. Some have set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding account. Malane Dodge, Logan’s mother, will host a St. Patrick’s Day hockey tournament on March 17 and 18 at the 202 Indoor rink. The event will host teams for Penguins (ages 7 to 9), Beavers (ages 10 to 12) and Cadets (ages 13-15) and each squad will have nine players on their roster. It will run three eight-minute periods with no offside or icing called. Creating a team will cost $270 and funds raised will support both teams.

The players also welcome corporate donations, which are tax deductible. At the St. Patrick’s Day tournament, Dodge will raffle off one prize consisting of $300 worth of scratch tickets.

“I’m excited because we’re going to a new country,” said Drew. “We get to learn a new culture. It’s going to be fun.”

“I’m really excited to be traveling,” said McGivern. “I’m excited to check out new places, different cultures, different foods, and to be able to play hockey in other countries.”

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