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Balancing sports, school and social life with club hockey

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Chris McGauran leads the team in a huddle in between the first and second period.

The first puck drop of the game.

Flying down the ice for a break away.

Scoring the game winning goal.

The crowd going crazy.

These are the things that make athletes sacrifice everything for the game.

Luke French, Chris McGauran, and Burke Simpson, all juniors at Homestead, are a part of a AAA club hockey team called Milwaukee Jr. Admirals.

These boys face the struggle every day of balancing school, sports and social life.

Simpson has been on the team for five years. “Having a social life and playing hockey isn’t too hard because two of my good friends from school are on the same team which makes things easier when we are gone. The more difficult part is balancing hockey and school. Maintaining good grades to get into a good college becomes very difficult when you have practices three days a week for five hours and don’ get home till 11 most nights,”  Simpson said.

Milwaukee Jr. Admiral teams require commitment and dedication.

This is French’s first year at the association.  “Spending time with friends is one of the biggest sacrifices I have made. But the biggest was that I moved away from home 3 years ago so that I could continue my career, but one of the perks that I have had is that is how my mom has lived with me all of those years. Since I moved away I have lost some friends back home but I still try to keep in contact with as many of them as I can,” French said.

These boys not only have to balance homework and hockey during the weekdays but they are gone almost every weekend. This  means leaving Thursday or Friday and missing school. McGauran has been playing for six years. “We travel almost every weekend during our season which is August through about March and we travel all over to places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Nashville, Minnesota, etc,” McGauran said.

Since this team spends so much time together, they have become extremely close. “I am unbelievably close with my teammates. We have become less of a team and more like a family. We may disagree sometimes but when we step on the ice all of that goes away because we all have the same goal in mind,” French said.

Since they are always travelling, they don’t get much time to spend with their friends from home. This can be difficult for them but they are doing what they love so it gets them through it.

Simpson said, “Even though it’s never easy not being able to go have fun with our friends from school on the weekends it has never bothered me to much because I have all summer after the season ends to hangout with them.”

All three of these MJA boys have had the chance to play high school hockey but they continue to play AAA hockey because it is more competitive.“I have thought about playing for HHS for a while but then that would mean my friendship with my teammates wouldn’t be as and my chances to live my dream of playing college hockey would be harder to achieve because it’s less intense and competitive,” McGauran said.

Although all these boys have different skills and commitment, they all want the same thing in their hockey career which is to go as far as they possibly can.

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Balancing sports, school and social life with club hockey