YORK, Pa. — A shot, a pass, and a purpose.
Twelve players for the York College of Pennsylvania men's club ice hockey team have been teaming up with the York Polar Bears, a special needs team that formed six years ago.
"There are so many great life lessons that are attached to being mentors to these young hockey players," said Rich Guinan, head ice hockey coach at York College of Pennsylvania.
Twenty young hockey players of all abilities have been learning to skate and play.
"To be able to work with the Polar Bears has been a really rewarding experience as well," said Ryan Schaeffer, a senior at York College. "It's a lot of fun getting out there every Friday night with them and doing events like this. It puts a smile on all of our faces to see all of them having a lot of fun."
Super senior Jonathan Habermann said the connections he makes here are a big highlight of his time at York College.
"Obviously we're busy college students and we're still here all the time helping out the kids," he said. "It means a lot to not only the kids, but the parents too. It's great getting to communicate with them and seeing how they've grown not only as hockey players, but as individuals. It's great to see."
All that hard work culminated in the second annual charity game at York Ice Arena on Saturday.
Players from both teams suited up in donated custom-made jerseys as they combined squads and faced off, giving players a chance to show off their skills in front of a live crowd.
Here, it's not about the results on the scoreboard, it's about building a bond.
"It's fun, it's meaningful, and we're using the game to give back. I think that's extremely important," Guinan said.
Proceeds from the raffles, donations and baked good sales will be split evenly between the two teams, helping them keep their sticks on the ice for another year.