FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Boeing, in partnership with the Dallas Stars, hosted the Boeing-Dallas Stars Hockey Clinic for Fort Cavazos Youth Aug. 10 at the ball hockey court located across the street from Harvey Functional Fitness Center.
The court was officially opened two years ago to provide Soldiers and their families an opportunity to participate in a sport that is uncommon in Texas.
Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Felty, III Armored Corps deputy commanding general of maneuver, welcomed everyone and said though Texas may not be where the heart of hockey lies, military children move quite often.
“We’re a long way from the North; a long way from the heart of hockey, but we all know here at the Great Place we have a lot of heart,” he said. “We can be just as good as anybody else, but we need opportunities. I look at this as an opportunity to introduce this awesome sport to all of you. In a year, you’re going to be somewhere else and you might be up in the north. You might be somewhere where hockey is bigger. Maybe there’s a little bit of a spark and then one day you can be a Dallas Star.”
During the clinic, the participants were taught the proper way to hold a hockey stick and after doing a few drills, they were competing against each other in games. Former hockey player and coach Bob Bassen and former goaltender Al Montoya were there encouraging and coaching the youth. They both enjoyed seeing the kids emerge out of their shells and enjoy the game of hockey.
“We got exercise. We all got sweaty today,” Bassen shared. “We introduced them to something that they didn’t know or were familiar with and we had the great experience of working with military kids and being on a base.”
“Being able to provide access and opportunity (was important),” he said. “Here in a non-traditional market like Texas being … introduced to another sport, to know there’s other options to them other than football and soccer (is important). You don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy it and sports are for everybody.”
Cameron Barnes, 13, a Dallas Stars fan, enjoyed his time during the camp, even managing to score twice during the games. Yet, he was most happy to have his hat signed.
“It was fun,” he said about the camp. “I’m very glad I had the opportunity to get my hat signed and I had fun.”
Torbjorn Sjogren, vice president and general manager of government services for Boeing, said they were happy to give back to military kids.
“We’re proud of what we do with the military,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for us to give back. This is a way for us to make a difference for the men and women (who serve) and their kids. For us, it’s a very personal thing that we want to recognize and partner with the quality of life aspects of Fort Cavazos. It’s so powerful that we get to do that.”
Sjogren recalled Felty’s statement about military children living all around the world, saying that providing opportunities to military children is important no matter where their parent(s) are stationed.
“For these kids when they (move somewhere else) they can say, ‘I can start playing with the other kids at this base because I’ve seen hockey before,’” he said. “It was such a smart way of thinking about it. Being a part of that and recognizing that we might actually be making a bit of a difference that’s just terrific.”