Four Boothbay Region Elementary School students are becoming hockey players. Third grader Desmond Conlin and second graders Logan Harjula, Landyn Rego and Anthony Barter have trained in the Bruins Academy Learn to Play program and skating at Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport for several years.
Despite the hour-long drive from October to March, the boys travel to Rockport three times a week.
“These guys are young,” said Logan’s grandmother, Teresa Harjula. “But they are so dedicated. We have practice Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and a game every Saturday at 8 a.m. That means getting up at 5 a.m. We have to be there for 7:30. But every weekend the boys are up and ready! They are all about hockey.”
The program at MRC pulls kids in from all over Midcoast Maine. “But it’s not for the faint-hearted,” said Harjula. “It’s taken seriously. Right from the start the kids know that if they do something wrong they go in the penalty box. But it’s the best way: If you’re going to play the game you have to learn the rules.”
“The program they run at MRC is amazing,” said Harley Harjula, Logan’s mother. “It’s a non-profit organization so it’s run on donations and fundraising, and we’re always looking for support both for MRC and for the boys. With the travel, the fees for ice time, and all the equipment they need, it adds up. But these boys really do just love to skate and they work really hard at it. There is some local support — Grover’s Hardware sharpens our skates — but we need to get the word out.”
In February, Barter, Rego and Logan Harjula will be going to Boston to skate at TD Garden. “They call it ‘Three-Minutes of Fame,’” said Harley Harjula. “Any players on the MRC teams who want to will go on in the intermission and play a game on Bruin ice. They are so excited.”
It’s early in the season and they play until March, but the Boothbay players are excited to be back on the ice and are looking forward to a great year for their teams.