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Mankato Adapted Floor Hockey plays first annual Hockey Day Minnesota exhibition game

KEYC News Now at 10 Recording
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 9:42 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Cheers echoed through Myers Field House Sunday for Mankato’s newest adaptive sports team.

Mankato High School Adapted Floor Hockey faced off in Hockey Day Minnesota’s first ever exhibition game.

Assistant Coach Kylie Paulson stated, “Hockey is for everyone. It’s not just for kids without disabilities. Kids with disabilities can also play, and it’s really, really cool.”

The hour-long match was organized by MSU’s Developmental Adapted Physical Education Program.

Paulson added, “It’s a really fun way to wrap up the whole week for Hockey Day, and it’s so cool to see them come out and support.”

Coach Dylan Boettcher said it’s important to get students with disabilities involved in the state’s biggest hockey celebration.

Boettcher mentioned, “For them, to get to have their own event here to kind of cap it off, it was just incredibly special.”

The 12-person team has players from both Mankato East and West.

Only four took part in Sunday’s game. Eight were absent due to health concerns.

But, with the help of their fellow high schoolers, the competition was on.

Boettcher explained, “The passion that they also have for the sport, that they were able to bring it and share with their classmates on the adaptive floor hockey team, was pretty special. I don’t think it would’ve been able to happen without them.”

Fans roared from the stands, bringing the magic of hockey from Blakeslee Stadium across the street to the indoor court.

Boettcher stated, “It turned out really cool, and it kind of introduces to some people that hockey doesn’t always have to be on the ice. It’s just as special for everybody, no matter where you play it.”

The team’s eight-game season started about two weeks ago.

Its sights are set on section and state tournaments later this spring, but Boettcher said it’s not just about the scores.

It’s about the friendships and memories the students gain.

Boettcher mentioned, “It’s the time on the bus, in the locker room and doing things like this with your teammates. It just builds such a camaraderie.”

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