Most high school hockey teams are well into their seasons with practices, games and tournaments filling their schedules. Saint Patrick Hockey Club is making room on their calendar outside the rink by giving back to their community.
Approximately 15 members of this year’s team visited the Shriners Hospital for Children - Chicago on October 15 to help with a major landscaping project. The boys dug up an old garden in preparation to replace it with a wheelchair accessible garden for the patients to enjoy during their appointments at the hospital. “I wanted the boys to go beyond the world of hockey,” said current parent and assistant Team Manager Peggy Tomzik. “It was inspiring to see our boys give up a school holiday and spend their day working so hard. I was very proud of them.” After digging up old plants, raking and pre-planting, the boys also deep-cleaned the hospital’s cafeteria.
In addition to their service, the Shamrocks took a tour of the hospital with a Shriners’ representative and learned about the patients and families that the facility serves. “The boys learned that there are children their age who don’t have the opportunities they do and that there are kids with physical limitations,” Tomzik added. The team will continue its community service throughout the season, a commitment that the parents and team managers mandate, by helping to load trucks on December 2 for the Toys for Tots toy collection campaign and volunteering for a fundraising initiative in February with St. Mary of Providence in Chicago.
The Saint Patrick High School Hockey Club began its fifth season in September and has elevated its level of play by joining in the Varsity level of the North Central Hockey League. Head Coach and Saint Patrick alumnus Phil Barone ’81 states, “Moving up to Varsity this year was a big step for us but the kids were ready to be challenged after winning their division handily last year.” The Shamrock team is the only pure club team in this league. All players are Saint Patrick students and include one freshman, five sophomores and twelve juniors.