Though South doesn’t have a hockey team, the passion to play hockey drives some South players to find a game.
Senior Scott Eckman grew up in St. Louis loving hockey. Playing in his basement with plastic equipment, he knew he would want to play later in life.
“I’ve always loved hockey; it’s such an adrenaline rush,” Eckman said.
Without much hockey here in the Kansas City area, it’s hard to find somewhere to play, but he finds time.
“Practice is hard,” Eckman said. “There’s a lot of skating and hitting.”
Regardless of hits and injury set-backs, Eckman won’t stop playing hockey. He plays on defense for a high school level team for the Junior Mavericks. They play in the Mid-America High School Hockey League.
Eckman plays for a Single-A team.
Senior Blair Sanders plays for a Double-A under the Junior Mavs system.
The Single-A team is the highest of the three. Then the Double-A and Triple-A.
Named the Kansas City Jets, this Double-A team travels playing in games and tournaments.
While Eckman plays defense, Sanders is a goalie.
“Practice is different for a goalie,” Sanders said. “We do different types of drills when the team is doing fastbreak drills or something.”
He practices eye movement and improves his reflexes to become a better goalie, Sanders said. Mental stability is another key. Once a goal is let in, the key is to not stress out. Sanders said he tries to focus so it doesn’t happen again and he doesn’t let the team down.
Senior Liia Butler has played hockey ever since her brother started playing. Butler plays for the Lucky Ladies, her mom’s team, as a goalie.
Whenever they find a tournament, they look to join to have some fun.
“It’s really hard to explain, and you have to know the rules from the day you start playing,” Butler said. “It’s a complicated game.”