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By DYLAN MALONE
Mitchell Voglewede loves to play hockey.
He's not just any hockey fan, though. Mitchell is nine-year-olds.
"Mitchell has been playing hockey since he could walk," proud dad Chad Voglewede noted.
The energetic young kid has been skating on ice since he was 20 months old, according to his family. The spring of his second birthday he was entered into skating initiation programs at the McMillan Ice arena in Fort Wayne. At age five, Mitchell was placed in a "Mite" level hockey team, a league normally for players 2-3 years older, but just the right fit for Mitchell who thrives on the defensive end of the rink.
"he hates to leave the goal unprotected," his dad explained. "His strong skating helps him on that side of the rink, I think."
Mitchell scored his first defensive goal at age six on a breakaway. He also played goalie for a few seasons where he rotated the position with defense.
Now all grown up at nine years old, Mitchell spends his time at Canlan Ice Sports where he practices for league competition, like the one that led him all the way to Canada this past month.
It was at Canlan that he was invited to play for the a "Select Mite" travel team last year where he thrived on defense and goalie. The team traveled as far as four hours away playing several Canadian teams which proved to be invaluable experience for Mitchell and his teammates.
Recently, Mitchell was asked to play for the Komet Squirt team where he has settled at a defensive position for the travel squad. The Fort Wayne team is a member of the Buckeye Hockey League and travels regionally to Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Toledo, Louisville, and Bowling Green, Ohio. The squad has had some success this season winning a major tournament in Detroit as well as the Silver Sticks tournament locally in Fort Wayne.
The tournament at Silver Sticks was what allowed Mitchell and his team of junior Komets to travel to a larger venue at Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada where they spent almost a week playing tournament games. Most recently, Mitchell and his team traveled to Detroit for the Motwon Classic tournament this past weekend where the team placed second losing in the championship game, 7-1.
Far from done, Mitchell will wrap up his 40+ game season at the beginning of March with many training practices and scrimmages through June.
Several local sponsors have stepped forward to aid Mitchell play the sport he loves including Adams Memorial Hospital, Eichhorn's Jewelers, and Kintz Insurance.
Oh yeah, and he goes to school, like every other nine-year-old.
Mitchell attends St. Joseph's Catholic School where he has been on the honor roll every semester according to his proud parents.
"St. Joe has been a huge part of his formation and strengths," Mr. Vogelwede explained. "Mrs. Alosio his teacher and Mrs Hormann have been there for him as well. Mitchell balances his spiritual life, school, play, and sports well."
Mitchell points to another local standout as his hero and motivator. Recent Bellmont grad Brian Hakes paved a similar path coming up the ranks of the hockey movement from St. Joe to the present where he still spends time on the ice. Hakes or, "Big Brian" as Mitchell refers to him, is a huge role model for the nine-year-old.
Mitchell is coached by Mike Robinson, Jeff Robertson, Sean Asiala, and Kevin Irons.