Set a goal: Airmen start up street hockey at Whiteman
By 2nd Lt. Allen Palmer, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 23, 2018
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.