Youth hockey players headed to Lake Placid for Winter Games

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Tri-County Youth Hockey’s Squirt travel team will play in Lake Placid next weekend during the 34th Empire State Winter Games. The team’s head coach is Scott Bader of Albion, back row in center. His son Carson, second from the right in the bottom row, plays on the team. Another Albionite, Max Hapeman, plays on the team. He is to Carson’s right and slightly behind. Several other players with local connections are on the team.

BROCKPORT – Some local youth hockey players will get to experience the thrills of the opening ceremonies, while mingling with some top winter athletes next weekend.

Tri-County Youth Hockey’s Squirt travel team won’t be in Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics. But the team will be traveling to Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Olympics. They will be playing in the 34th Empire State Winter Games, which is touted as the largest, multi-sport amateur athletic event in North America.

“It’s not the usual hockey tournament,” said Scott Bader, head coach for the team based in Brockport. His son Carson is one of the players. Another Albion boy, Max Hapeman, plays on the team of 9- through 11-year-olds.

The team is one of two from Western New York picked for the 8-team tournament at the Empire State Games. Two teams are chosen from the western, central, eastern and northern regions of the state. A team from Batavia also will play from WNY.

“It’s really exciting for the kids,” said Bader.

The team got off to a torrid start this year, winning their first 13 games, outscoring opponents 80 to 20. That strong start earned them an invite to the Empire State Games. Besides Bader, the team is coached by Dan Viola and Jesse Rausch.

Each player will receive an athlete jacket and be part of the opening ceremonies. Bader said at many hockey tournaments, players spend down time in a hotel. At the Empire States Games, they want to see the other sports – the bobsled, alpine skiing, luge, ice skating, speed skating and ski jumping.

Team members include Carson Bader, Evan Bovee, Gaven Egan, Ella Fadale, Max Hapeman, Jonathan Lomonaco, Jeremiah Rausch, Nickolas Rippe, Henry Schultz, Dominic Viola, Hayden Watt, Joshua Wood and Majia Young.

The team didn’t include the trip in its budget, and Bader said the group welcomes donations to help cover the travel costs. Some local businesses have already chipped in, including a $600 donation from Citizens Bank, $100 from St. Mary’s Athletic Club, $240 from St. Mary’s patrons, and other donations from Frank’s Auto and Gordy and Maureen Watt.

For more information about helping with the trip, contact team manager Kristin Bovee at