BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Some local high school hockey players are experiencing the sweet taste of victory while pledging to keep both hands on the wheel.
“I think it’s pretty awesome that we get a chance to skate with the Sabres,” said Sweet Home Central Senior Connor Beaudet.
Thirty area high schools were given a challenge by AT&T to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving and gather pledges vowing to never text while behind the wheel.
“I think it’s a fantastic message to send across to kids our age, that texting while driving is not to be advised because it could cause danger to you and those who are around you,” said Sweet Home Central Senior Matt Hudson.
Sweet Home Central High School came out on top by gathering the most pledges, winning an invaluable prize for the hockey team: a practice session with a Buffalo Sabre.
“It’s a once-in-lifetime opportunity. Everybody on the team has pretty much been coming to these games since they were 5-years-old and now you get to go on the ice and have a chance to be with somebody who’s there, up through the entire ranking of hockey,” said Hudson.
Buffalo Sabre center Cody Hodgson oversaw the team’s practice. It wasn’t that long ago he was in their shoes with dreams of making it to the pros.
“I enjoy working with kids and skating and that type of thing brings me back to when I was growing up. If I had the opportunity to skate with a couple NHL guys it was pretty cool. Hopefully I can bring the same experience to them,” said Hodgson.
Hudson and Beaudet were anxious to hear pointers from Hodgson.
“I feel like we could probably learn a lot about skating, a lot about passing, mostly the skill set stuff,” said Hudson.
“Something you don’t get every day, you have to take it in and learn because they know what they’re talking about,” said Beaudet.
Hodgson says it’s important for these teens to be responsible as people and athletes.
“I think it’s great that they did this, what they did with texting and driving and it’s nice to reward them for all their hard work. It’s a major issue today in our society and we’re trying to raise awareness and try to get rid of it,” said Hodgson.
Steve Ott was originally supposed to oversee the practice session, but was traded. The school will also have a special assembly with a Sabres player on March 31st.