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MARQUETTE – After a record setting season of 55-5-2, the Junior Wildcat U14 Bantam team won the first state championship for their age group in over 20 years. The team now advances to the USA Hockey National Championship and is turning to community for financial help to travel to South Bend, Ind. on April 4.
“I think our team is making history,” said team captain, Joe DeMattia. “There hasn’t been a Bantam AA team that has done this in Marquette since 1995. It doesn’t happen every day, or even every year. Having the community behind us means a lot to the team and we want to work our hardest to represent Marquette.”
The team asked 1999-2000 Legion player and community advocate, Andrew Lorinser, for assistance and a Gofundme page was created to collect donations. Lorinser said the support celebrates a positive relationship between the players and the city, and fosters youth appreciation for the community in which Legion plays.
“Legion is now the pinnacle level of Junior Hockey in Marquette,” said Lorinser. “All players, from U6 and up, look to this team for inspiration. This is bigger than hockey. Legion’s participation in this tournament of a lifetime will inspire young players for generations to come.”
After a precarious period in Marquette when participation for youth hockey was on the decline, Lorinser said hockey is making a comeback in the city. The success is attributed to a ‘Learn to Skate’ program and the NMU Wildcat’s 2019 partnership.
Legion has three weeks to prepare, raise funds and get to the national tournament. The costs of which averages out to about $1,500 per player. With 17 players and three volunteer coaches, the team is turning to the community in hopes of raising $27 – $30,000 before April 4, 2019.
Lorinser is collecting donations for Legion at gofundme.com/legionnationals. Sponsorship levels are also available. Checks can be made payable to ‘MJH – Bantam AA | C/O Paula Sides’ and delivered to 327 Quarry Rd. Marquette, MI 49855. For more information, contact Paula Sides at (906) 869-2435.