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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI men’s hockey team training Junior Rams

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – January 5, 2005 – It was hard to tell who was having a better time—the members of the men’s University of Rhode Island hockey team or the members of the Southern Rhode Island Junior Rams peewee hockey team.

Joking around, listening intently, making friends and becoming better hockey players were all part of the mix during an off-ice training session run by the members of the URI club team for the boys in the local youth hockey program at URI’s Bradford R. Boss Arena.

Since the beginning of the hockey season, the URI team, which is ranked first in the nation among club teams, has been working with the peewees on their off-ice training regimen and their skills on the ice.

Kirsten Maar, a board member of the Southern Rhode Island Youth Hockey Association, instructor in URI’s Communication Studies program and academic adviser to the URI men’s hockey club, said it was URI hockey coach Joe Augustine who made his players available to the peewee team. “The URI players and our guys are forming friendships,” Maar said. “The older guys are great role models.”

Augustine observed the different drills and stopped to offer encouragement to the youngsters. “All this work is going to help you become big and strong like these guys,” Augustine said pointing to his players.

The peewees were like water bugs darting from one station to the next, their legs moving as fast as their mouths. They did agility drills, lateral movement drills to strengthen their skating strides and step drills to bolster their leg strength.

Matt Lysic, 11, of South Kingstown, said the off-ice training is fun. “You need to work on these things to become a better hockey player.”

“I like working with them because they know what to do,” added Michel Dubuque, also of South Kingstown. “They know more because they play college hockey. I like them all.”

“I just like it,” said Grant Gulla, another South Kingstown member of the peewee team. “It’s great to see and work with college hockey players.”

The positive feelings are mutual. Rhody players Steve Baker of Cohasset, Mass., and John Brennan of Bryn Mawr, Pa., worked with the youngsters on the step training.

“The kids have a lot of energy,” Baker said. “They tell us they want to come by our places so they can play street hockey and football.”

Mike Curran of Devon, Pa. said the young skaters are very responsive. “When I was a kid, I loved it when older guys showed me how to be a better player. They’re the same way.”

The head coach of the peewees, Tom Maselli, said the instruction is fantastic. “They are being taught how to train off ice. The kids really look up to these guys because the URI players are all so polite and courteous.”

URI player Ryan Windish of Hatboro, Pa. is a junior elementary education and communication studies major. “The kids work hard. They have a good time and we do too.”