The winter solstice is the shortest darkest day of the year. But on December 21st, the Mac Center in Eagle River was filled with light. Enthusiastic fans came to cheer on their favorite high school hockey team, and they brought gifts as well.
Each year, the Mustangs and the Wolves take this opportunity to support a local charity. These rivals come to the game to win, but both teams know that this game is about more than just bragging rights.This year 500 items were collected for Covenant House. Gloves, socks, hair products, makeup, headphones, hats, cash, and baked goods were delivered the next day.This was a special night for some young skaters as well. Six players from the two Mustang Hockey Association Mites teams were invited to warm up with the high school players. Wolves and Mustang players had a great time, as did the Mites. When it was time to announce the lineup, they skated up to the blueline with their buddies in tow. Once players shook hands, and Mites were off the ice, it was time to get down to business.The game lived up to the hype and anticipated battle among friends.
Eagle River’s basketball teams are gearing up for another season as they build a legacy of excellence in the face of stiff competition from larger schools in the Anchorage School District and impart life lessons to athletes. Coach Sconiers of Chugiak High School (CHS) says, “I think basketball is a tremendous instrument for life,” saying that it teaches teamwork and other life skills they will need later. “Teaching and coaching go hand-in-hand,” Coach Landers of Gruening Middle School says, continuing by saying that coaching is the reason he pursued teaching. He loves seeing the smiles on athletes’ faces when they accomplish something they have never done before. For him, basketball also fills a void that some students might have in their lives.
Community and fierce competition define Eagle River’s wrestling teams. While the schools in Eagle River boast programs with state champions and titles, the sense of family from participating in such a challenging sport provides the primary draw for athletes and coaches. Austin Kraft, a senior at Eagle River High School (ERHS), says the thing he likes most about wrestling is that the wrestling community feels like a family. He explains, “I feel like it’s not just my school caring for me but the entire wrestling community caring for each other.”