A hockey league begun for kids in the Parkland is introducing local pre-teens to a sport rarely seen played in southeast Missouri — and the response has gone beyond all expectations.
The man who got the ball rolling last fall is Dale Luster of Park Hills and he couldn’t be more excited.
“Me and my family were at the Bonne Terre Family Fun Center,” he said. “They had just opened up their small roller skating rink and I requested to speak to the manager, Michelle Boren. I asked if me and my son could come in either before or after hours with our own hockey goal and shoot the puck around a little bit. I promised we wouldn’t hurt or break anything.
“I could tell she was thinking about it a little bit. She said, ‘Well, you know we thought about doing hockey’ and then she kind of went from there. I told her that I played before and had liked the sport and if she wanted to get something going my wife and I would volunteer our time to coach a team or two. I never knew it would be as big as it is right now, though.”
Since starting in November, the league now has more than 60 kids playing on six teams — three of them for kids ages 7-9 and three teams for the 10-12 age group.
“And that’s after our first season,” Luster said. “Most people didn’t even know about it or hear about it. It’s still very much in its infancy. We put up Facebook posts on local groups and, before the first open skate, my wife and I hoped we’d have enough players to shoot the puck around a little bit and maybe have two teams play here and there very informally. We didn’t expect to have six hockey teams.
“We also have a Learn to Play program where we have several little bitty guys and girls out there who are just starting out walking really. They’ve got skates on and they’re playing hockey, too. It’s really cool.”
According to Luster, for the most part each coach has their own team — but not in every case.
“A few of us coaches coach multiple teams because we had so many players that somebody had to coach them,” he said. “I coach two teams — a 7- to 9-year-old team named the Snipers. The second one I coach is a 10- to 12-year-old team, and that is Team Slash.
“Michelle didn’t want us to turn down anybody — which I love. We’re a very inclusive hockey group. We’re not excluding anybody yet and we want to continue that as much as we can.”
Not only has Boren encouraged a league where every kid can play, but she has also purchased hundreds of dollars of hockey equipment that she loans out or gives away to all the kids who need it to be able to play.
“It’s a pretty expensive sport to get into and so many of the kids are using her gear out there,” Luster said. “If she hadn’t bought the gear, if she hadn’t offered the rink, none of this would have happened.”
Luster also had words of appreciation for his wife, Jamie.
“My wife does so much behind the scenes — it’s crazy,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here without her. We have a Facebook group that’s specific to the hockey league. There are a couple of hundred people on there. My wife is very active in that. She pretty much runs everything that I don’t want to do! It’s the hard, tedious stuff and she does it like a champ.
“She assembled the teams pretty much and she quickly brought to my attention that we had so many kids that we didn’t have enough coaches. She asked me, ‘Who’s going to coach?’ I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know.’ I offered it to one fellow and he said, ‘No, I can’t do it. I can’t take on that many guys.’ It’s a full-time job, that’s for sure.”
Luster has been surprised by how quickly non-skaters have picked up the skill in just a few months.
“The thing that amazes me is that most of the kids who played for the season could hardly skate at all at the very beginning of the season,” he said. “Some never even really held a hockey stick.
“When we had our first open skate I thought, ‘My gosh, what have we gotten ourselves into?’ Not many of them had a clue, but you could see they were enjoying it. They were having fun. Come to find out, a couple of those kids who had never even held a hockey stick played in the championship game.
“They wanted to play and they picked up these skills that are very unnatural and ran off with them — or skated off with them. They did a great job. I’m so proud of everybody. I’ve had so many parents come up to me happy, but say, ‘You know, so-and-so wants to play hockey again next season.’
“Me and my wife are saying, ‘Great! That’s awesome! We’ll see them next season.’ They say, ‘Well, we’ve already paid for soccer and football and baseball and basketball.’ They take money and the kids are really good at the sports, but they don’t want to play those sports anymore — they want to play hockey.
“It’s not ice hockey — it’s roller hockey. The rink isn’t regulation size and the nets aren’t regulation size and we have so many things that technically shouldn’t work, but we make it work and everyone loves it. It’s a very unique experience in our area and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
For more information visit the "Bonne Terre Family Fun Center Hockey" page on Facebook.
Spring has nearly sprung and it’s time to shake the winter chill off the golf clubs and hit the links for Mineral Area College Foundation’s annual golf tournament on May 2 Crown Pointe Golf Course.
MAC Foundation uses the proceeds to provide scholarships and enhancements to the college’s quality education.
The MAC Foundation Golf Tournament offers both morning and afternoon sessions on May 2 (rain date, May 16). Teams can register for the 8 a.m. session for $360 and the 1 p.m. session for $400. The deadline to register is April 20. Teams that register by April 10 are entered in a drawing to win a dozen Pro V1 golf balls.
Team packages for the four-person scramble include complimentary green fees, cart rentals, mulligans, beverages, souvenirs, an awards dinner and auction, and a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes. Showcase prize tickets, skins and barbecue will be sold on the course. Parkland Health Center is the presenting sponsor.
Businesses can offer additional support by purchasing a $100-hole sponsorship. Hole sponsors will have their name boldly visible on the course.
Additional sponsorship opportunities can be viewed online at www.MineralArea.edu/foundation, by calling (573) 518-2114, or by sending a check payable to MAC Foundation at P.O. Box 1000, Park Hills, MO 63601.
Kevin Thurman, director of development for MAC, said that this tournament is widely known as one of the best tournaments in the area.
“We consistently have a full slate of teams participating in this event for many reasons. We offer high-quality prizes including great hole-contest prizes,” he said. “We offer $1,800 in prize money to the winning teams and most importantly, the money goes to a great cause.”
The profits from the golf tournament supports the MAC Foundations annual fund which will benefit MAC students with needed tools and technology.
A Farmington man was injured Saturday evening in Shannon County.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the 6:45 p.m. wreck took place when an eastbound 2018 Polaris Razor driven by Christopher M. Williams, 38, of Park Hills, traveled off the right side of the roadway, struck a tree and overturned. The wreck happened on County Road 305, a mile west of Eminence.
Williams was reportedly not injured, but a passenger, Kiley L. Wadlow, 35, of Farmington, was transported from the scene by Air Evac to Mercy Hospital St. Louis for treatment of serious injuries.
Williams was reportedly wearing a safety device at the time of the accident, but Wadlow reportedly was not.
Anyone passing by has probably noticed the bright tie-dyed clad windows while driving down Main Street in Park Hills.
Peace of Mind is the newest addition to downtown Park Hills and the owner hopes to bring the community together through art and hand-made creations.
Peace of Mind Owner Scott Micke said they opened their first store in Sullivan in 2015. It all started because he would go out and do a lot of music festivals.
“I always thought it would be cool to be a vendor and always admired what they did because they got to live that free life,” said Micke. “Over the years I have met a lot of people at these music festivals and that is where I get my stuff from.”
Micke said after opening the store in Sullivan, he opened one in Rolla a year ago. He said he grew up in Bonne Terre and his brother lives near Park Hills so he decided to open up a store down here.
“We are 100 percent owned and operated by family,” said Micke. “We try to be as involved in the community as possible. We do T-shirt contests where we do an art thing and the coolest piece of art that gets submitted over a 30-day period will be put on T-shirts.”
Micke said they also do a lot of live music. Once a month he will get a band for a free concert. He added they will grill up some hot dogs and hamburgers to give away and bring people together.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said Micke. “We will have Jimmy Theabu performing on April 8. He played for the Schwag for many years. He is going to come down and do an acoustic session here that Sunday. He plays bluegrass style music, jam band style and he is a Grateful Dead tribute band.”
Micke said he will do that at least once a month during the summer months and he feels over time it will evolve into something that is pretty cool.
“We try to get away from the stigma. We are not just a head shop,” said Micke. “We don’t want to be just ‘that head shop’, we want to be that place where families can bring their kids. A place where they can pick out some cool T-shirts and jewelry and where the local artists can sell their art and handmade items.”
Micke said it’s about bringing people together and it’s a store that is kind of put together by the people. He explained that the store in Sullivan probably has at least 100 pieces of handmade art around the entire store.
“It really involved into a community store. There are handmade candles, handmade necklaces, all hand-blown glass and a lot of different items,” said Micke. “We have a lot of that there and I am hoping we can get that edge down here. It’s cool when people can bring in their stuff they make.”
Micke said every piece is unique and that is what is so cool about it. You won't see in a catalog or anywhere else.
“It’s stuff that is truly unique to that area,” said Micke. “We are hoping to get that down here and we are already starting. We recently bought some Tree of Life necklaces down here that are handmade and some walking sticks. It will grow the longer we are here.”
Micke said so far it has been amazing and the response from the community has been a blessing. He said they are grateful for every bit of it.
“To all the artists, come on out, let’s see what you got,” said Micke. “We are going to start doing a lot of custom T-shirts. We have been working with Epson to get a direct-to-garment printing set up. People can bring their art in and we can scan it in or take a photo of it and actually put it on T-shirts right here in the shop.”
Micke said they have extra space in the back and it is something they are really excited to do.
“There was a young lady who did a Peace of Mind shirt and a company in California, Seedless, who put it on the shirt (and) ended up buying the rights to that shirt to reproduce it on more products because it was truly amazing,” Micke said. “This endeavor is going to be fun and I am glad the city was so accepting.”
The shop features an array of T-shirts, clothing, incense, posters, jewelry and more. Micke hopes to also have a glass-blowing demonstration at some point and everyone will be able to see the process and understand why glass pendants cost so much.
“We also hope to pull out local musical talent to play at the shop, nothing hardcore though, we really want to keep it family-friendly,” said Micke. “The head shop portion of the shop is in the back and anyone who goes back there has to be 18 years old to enter.”
Micke said the youth really love the T-shirts and he wants them to be able to come in and enjoy the shop. The shop offers military discounts and senior discounts and they accept all major credit cards.
For more information on the shop visit their Facebook page Peace of Mind or to shop online visit https://www.peaceofmind.buzz/.