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My oldest is 8. Like so many other kids his age, he likes hockey. Well, that might not be totally right.

He plays in an organised league.  He plays on the frozen lake at my in-laws. He plays shinny whenever he can. If there are free clinics and we offer to take him, he goes. He plays it on the Xbox. After all that, he still begs to be allowed to stay up and watch one more period of whichever game is on TV.

He doesn't just like hockey; he loves hockey.

As he is getting older, it is more and more apparent to me that he is shy and introverted. When he is in a big group of kids he tends to linger on the periphery and watch, preferring not to draw attention to himself.  He does his best not to stand out.

On the ice, the story changes. He is confident, bold and competitive; he is even a little aggressive.  Hockey gives him a place where he feels comfortable relating to others and his smile while he is on the ice lights up my heart.

Hockey has also been character building. It's taug…

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