Imagine looking forward to hockey practices and games with the same enthusiasm normally reserved for Christmas morning. Imagine standing along the boards, stick in hand, impatiently watching the Zamboni creep along the ice for what seems like an hour, then bursting onto the rink with a feeling of total joy. Imagine playing on a team with your older and younger siblings and cousins. Imagine playing in games that are always close. Imagine playing on a coed team with a range of abilities, yet your least experienced teammates, your most skilled teammates and you all have an equal chance of being a star. Imagine striving to win without an iota of pressure from your coach.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Yet this dream is exactly what two of my sons, one of my daughters and four of my nephews experienced when they played in Concord-Carlisle Youth Hockey’s "Hot Shots," a coed, in-house hockey league for kids ages 8-14. Ask these seven teenagers today about Hot Shots and their faces light up as they recall the winters of 2012-15, when their passion for hockey was at its peak.
What makes Hot Shots so special, so unforgettable?