by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell Squirt A hockey team has created quite a stir and lots of excitement for an essay-poem written by one of its members, Billy Vogt.
Actually, the entire team helped write the essay by contributing ideas, but Vogt put it together in a cohesive fashion in the form of a poem. Because of the essay, the Sartell Squirt A team has been named Honorary Fifth Team by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. On Saturday, March 21, the team will be recognized prior to the WCHA Final Five Championship Game at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. The team will receive a brief on-ice recognition during an intermission, and video of the Sartell Squirt A team will be played on the big screen in the arena.
The team essay was also selected by the Hockey Education Program Committee to be featured, with two other winning essays, during the Fox Sports North broadcasts of Hockey Day Minnesota last January. In addition, the team was featured in Let’s Play Hockey magazine.
Matt Hodson, associate commissioner of the WCHA, said the following in his invitation to the team to become one of the Honorary Five teams:
“The conference office absolutely loved the essay video submitted by Billy and his Sartell Squirt A team. We all felt the messages of positive parental involvement and of the team rallying behind a teammate’s family during a time of need is a perfect representation of what the WCHA strives to be – both on and off the ice.”
The essay contest is an annual tradition sponsored by the Hockey Education Program. It’s intended to encourage players to express their thoughts on what makes youth hockey fun and positive. The contest is open to all Minnesota hockey participants. This year, hockey players were asked to complete the following: “My parents support my love of hockey by . . . “ When the Squirt A team manger, Dena Walters, told the team about the essay, they decided to think of reasons that would make for a good essay.
Billy Vogt emailed teammates for their thoughts. Then, Vogt compiled the thoughts and created the essay, which is in the form of a poem. He decided to write an “ABC” poem, meaning all of the poem’s lines (with a few exceptions) begin with the letter of the alphabet, A through Z.
Vogt is the son of Tim and Molly Vogt of Sartell.
Here is the poem written by Vogt and the Squirt A team:
My parents support my love of hockey by . . .
Always coming to the games
Being my biggest fans
Coaching my team
Driving me to practice
Encouraging me to work hard
Finding the arenas
Going to meetings
Helping me with my equipment
Insisting on good sportsmanship (We were happy we won the Good Sportsmanship Award at our tournament.)
Just being there for us
Keeping me motivated
Letting me do a bunch of different sports
Making me do my homework before I can play (I don’t like this one.)
Noticing when I need a compliment
Organizing pond hockey games
Practicing with me and pushing me to do my best
Quickly getting me to the doctor when I had an accident
Respecting my ability
Sharpening my skates
Telling me I did good
Understanding I’m not always perfect
Volunteering in the penalty box
Washing my stinky equipment
Expecting that I do my best
Not Yelling at the refs
Zamboni(ing) our backyard rink