HARWICH ─ When you're a high school hockey program looking to boost your numbers and get more kids interested in the sport what do you do? If you're the Monomoy-Mashpee Monarchs you take it to the floor. Floor hockey, that is.
Parent organizers and staunch supporters of the Monarchs program, Paul and Shannon Tambolleo worked with local team members, including their sons Noah, Jonah and Lucas, to find a fun way to introduce kids to hockey without involving skates or ice time. Floor hockey seemed the perfect answer, and on Nov. 16 team members held their second of what they hope will be many public floor hockey evenings.
“Hockey numbers for Monomoy are always a challenge; they're always a challenge for smaller schools like Mashpee, and that's why Monomoy and Mashpee have to unite, to make it a viable team,” said Paul. “The goal is to eventually have enough kids at Monomoy stay at Monomoy.”
Paul said the events not only introduce kids to hockey by getting them on the floor for pickup games, but it also allows prospective students to see Monomoy Regional High School perhaps for the first time.
“A lot of times people have never been to this high school,” he said. “It's a nice opportunity to see how beautiful it is, then meet the team, get to have pizza with them, a little camaraderie, and get them excited about hockey.”
Talking to players definitely helps fuel that excitement, since each is passionate about the game and building the program is something each wants to see happen.
“When I first started playing, the program wasn't really as strong as what I was used to,” said senior captain Will Wahtola. “I really want to help grow our school and hockey as a whole. I love hockey so much and would tell anyone to play.”
Wahtola said the bonds between teammates are lasting.
“There's nothing else like a hockey bond,” he said. “Nothing else beats it.”
Griffen Handler agrees.
“My best friends played hockey all their lives,” he said. “It's just a sport I fell in love with. I came into it late, but I'm so happy I came into it. It's definitely my favorite sport. Just the whole atmosphere.”
Noah Tambolleo, also a team captain, has been a regular fixture on the ice for the Monarchs and enjoys sharing his passion with the younger players that come to floor hockey nights.
“Nights like this we can actually get with the younger kids and youth leagues and it just keeps them in the loop with everything,” he said. “I hope it keeps kids within the school district so we can have more kids coming up, and it helps with the overall program.”
The next Floor Hockey Night is in the works. Follow @ChroniKat on Twitter for updates.