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Set a goal: Airmen start up street hockey at Whiteman

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Hockey sticks were available for members who did not have their own gear and jerseys were used to distinguish the teams. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Hockey sticks were available for members who did not have their own gear and jerseys were used to distinguish the teams. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Only one goal and goalkeeper were available for the initial meeting. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Only one goal and goalkeeper were available for the initial meeting. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Aaron Bendel, the extramural hockey goalkeeper from the 509th Munitions Squadron, guards the goal during a practice session at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. The hockey team was organized by members of the 509th MUNS to provide Team Whiteman with an opportunity to join a team closer to base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Aaron Bendel, the extramural hockey goalkeeper from the 509th Munitions Squadron, guards the goal during a practice session at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. The hockey team was organized by members of the 509th MUNS to provide Team Whiteman with an opportunity to join a team closer to base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Wayne Haug, the extramural hockey referee from the 509th Munitions Squadron, watches members of Team Whiteman play hockey at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Haug is part of the team in charge of organizing the hockey events at Whiteman. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Wayne Haug, the extramural hockey referee from the 509th Munitions Squadron, watches members of Team Whiteman play hockey at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Haug is part of the team in charge of organizing the hockey events at Whiteman. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Currently, the Whiteman Fitness Center does not have hockey listed as an intramural sport, but the members hope to raise enough interest to begin building teams within each squadron and host tournaments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Currently, the Whiteman Fitness Center does not have hockey listed as an intramural sport, but the members hope to raise enough interest to begin building teams within each squadron and host tournaments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman attempt to take control of the ball for their team in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. The teams were open to anyone who was interested in testing out their hockey skills or wanting learn more about street hockey in general. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman attempt to take control of the ball for their team in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. The teams were open to anyone who was interested in testing out their hockey skills or wanting learn more about street hockey in general. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Street hockey goalkeeper gear ready to be used in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. For the initial meeting, only one member was available to play as the goalkeeper. As interest in the sport grows, the members hope to have more options to allow players to rotate positions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Street hockey goalkeeper gear ready to be used in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. For the initial meeting, only one member was available to play as the goalkeeper. As interest in the sport grows, the members hope to have more options to allow players to rotate positions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. The old skate park outside the fitness center provides the teams enough space to practice techniques and play games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Members of Team Whiteman participate in the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. The old skate park outside the fitness center provides the teams enough space to practice techniques and play games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

AA member of Team Whiteman prepares to hit the ball during the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Until there is more interest in the sport, the teams will continue to play in shoes and with street hockey gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

AA member of Team Whiteman prepares to hit the ball during the first extramural hockey practice at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Feb. 17, 2018. Until there is more interest in the sport, the teams will continue to play in shoes and with street hockey gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- When it comes to February’s bitter winds, many would agree that they are an unpleasant side effect of winter and that outdoor sports are out of the question until things warm up. However, for those who enjoy playing the rough and tumble game of hockey, an icy breeze signals it is once again time to pull the equipment out of the closest for another season of fun.

At Whiteman Air Force Base, hockey can be hard to come by. The closest place to play is in Independence, Missouri, more than an hour dive away and league fees required to play range into the thousands of dollars. This leaves those on base who wish to play without an option. That is until U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Wayne Haug and Staff Sgt. Aaron Bendel from the 509th Munitions Squadron decided to step in.

On Feb. 17, Bendel and Haug organized the first street hockey event at Whiteman AFB. The event was held at the old skate part near the Whiteman Fitness Center and participants from all over the base were broken into teams equip with hockey sticks, tennis shoes and jerseys to compete against each.

“We are just two guys who love hockey and want to be able to play close to home” stated Haug, who also refereed the event. “We also hope that this will show the base that hockey has an interest at Whiteman Air Force Base. We want to be able to support either a yearly or quarterly tournament, and if participation is high, a base-wide hockey league.”

The three-on-three style games allowed for a tournament format to be played and with a lone goaltender, teams were required to take the ball out past the designated marker in order to change from defense to offence. Excitement was abundant as two of the games culminated in shoot outs with the goaltender making cat like saves.

Overall the event had an atmosphere of sportsmanship and camaraderie not just between the individuals on the three-man squads, but as a collective group. Laughter and joking dominated the conversation with talks of when the next event will be held.