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Arctic chill: taking it to the rink

Hockey may be an unusual sport for Texans to play, but for freshmen Cameron McCann and Mason Smith, hockey is just as major a sport as football or baseball.

The two are members of the Brazos Valley Bucks, a high school hockey team at Arctic Wolf Ice Center in College Station.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to play,” Smith said. “I’ve been playing for five years.”

Though Arctic Wolf Ice Center hasn’t been around for a long time, the Bucks have become a successful, hard-working team.

“We haven’t really won that many tournaments, but we won the prep-season last year,” Smith said.

This season, they hope to win more games.

“I’ve been playing for three years,” McCann said. “The A&M hockey team made me want to start playing.”

While Smith devotes his time to hockey alone, McCann participates in track and wrestling as well.

In the first year of high school, playing any sport and attending school is tough to balance, but, it can be especially difficult for a hockey player.

“Mason is focused, he gets along with everybody, and he’s super friendly,” English teacher Canita Lee said. “You need to be able to work as a team, and I know he takes on a leadership role off and on the ice.”

Falling behind in school is not an option for most kids involved in extra-curricular activities, and the ability to keep it up and excel in all that they do, is what stands out about Smith and McCann.

“Cameron is a great kid, and he is very attentive in class,” Spanish teacher Atanasio Valadez said, “He’s a positive role model, and very much so.”

Not only are they busy with multiple practices every week, but the team has to travel for a lot of games.

“I’d say it’s pretty time consuming because you have to practice about everyday after school,” McCann said.

The Bucks are the only team at their skill level and age division in Brazos County.  Unlike large cities that are home to many ice rinks and hockey teams, Bryan/College Station simply doesn’t have the population to account for more than one high school team.

Because of these factors, players like Smith and McCann have to take advantage of  each opportunity they have to play other teams and focus on school and workouts that much more because of the added time that must be spent traveling.

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