Professional hockey in Augusta seems to be a thing of the past. No ice at the arena, no place to play. Well, that's not the case as youth hockey in the area may be at an all time high.
The Augusta Riverhawks may be dormant, but there's still ice hockey in the area.
"I think it's such a special game." said Steve Munn "I know it's not part of the culture in Augusta, but thankfully between the Lynx and the RiverHawks there's been enough people exposed to it here."
At the Augusta Ice Sports Center, the gear is a little smaller. The puck is a little lighter. The turnout is a lot bigger. The junior RiverHawks are thriving in numbers.
"Our kids are our best ambassadors. They wear their jerseys to school and they're bringing their friends. I think we're batting a thousand. Evey kid that has come out and tried it has gotten hooked." added Munn
Hooking will get you a penalty on the ice, but it's good when it comes to numbers. In one year, Augusta ice hockey has jumped from twenty to sixty players.
"Oddly enough, the kids are embracing it more than i could ever imagine." said Susan O'Brien "It's just fantastic the amount of growth that we are having."
And the enthusiasm continues to grow. Slapping away the notion the sport could melt in a warm-weather area.
"I've tried all the other sports, but i like hockey better than baseball, basketball and football." added Keelor Munn
Lena whitwell said "I think they like passing and shooting and scoring."
"Frankly, a lot of these kids that are playing here, would not be playing here if they hadn't gone to a RiverHawks game and saw the sport and wanted to try it." added Munn
So whether it's at the junior or the pro-level, the RiverHawks will be here to stay.
USA Hockey has played a big part in the success of the local squad. Funding grants to the junior RiverHawks so all their players have gear to use on the ice.