Setting an example by giving back locally

Published 10:25 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

Albert Lea girls’ hockey team visits with St. John’s residents

Players from the Albert Lea girls’ hockey team took some time out of their Thanksgiving break to do a little volunteer work Friday morning.

The entire varsity team, along with head coach Josh Funk, spent around an hour and a half talking with the residents at St. John’s Lutheran Community in Albert Lea. The girls started in the chapel, where they talked with some of the residents who were curious about the team and the sport of hockey. Players took turns answering some residents’ questions, asking some questions of their own and even answered a few trivia questions that were posed to them.

After chatting in the chapel, the players walked the hallways taking some individuals back to their rooms and bringing some to the cafeteria. In the cafeteria, the players were able to sit down and have some one-on-one conversations with the seniors as they enjoyed their lunch.

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Funk talked about why he incorporates community service into his coaching philosophy.

The girls sat with many seniors in the chapel and answered questions before heading to the cafeteria to talk with residents as they ate lunch. – Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune

“It’s very rewarding,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for the girls to get out in the community and promote girls’ hockey. It’s part of our rebuilding culture to get out in the community and let people know that we’re good people on top of being good hockey players.”

He said this isn’t going to be the last time the team gets involved out in the community, and they have a few plans for special games throughout the season to help with people in need throughout the community.

Among getting out and helping people with snow removal and yard work, he wants to hold toy donation games and a teddy bear toss night. During the teddy bear toss night fans would be encouraged to bring along a new teddy bear and after Albert Lea’s first goal they would be tossed onto the ice. The bears would then be collected and donated back to less fortunate children within the community. Nothing has been set on the schedule yet, but the team hopes to do more in the near future.

“I want to emphasize how good it is for athletes and high schoolers to get out in the community,” Funk said. “It’s good for them to get out and see the history that has gone through Albert Lea. It’s good for them to see the older community and see how they react to seeing them. I think it’s very beneficial for them to see a different side of life.”

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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