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A kid's view of hockey at QCSC

DAVENPORT -- I never knew how great the Quad City Sports Center in Davenport was until I decided I wanted to play hockey three years ago.

My parents signed me up for a few Sunday morning camps at the Sports Center, and I found out I really wanted to play hockey. That's when my mom talked to the people at the QCSC and signed me up for a league.

When I started, I was 7 years old and that made me a Mite (which is for kids who are 7 and 8 years old). I played Mites for two years, and now I am a Squirt, which is 9- and 10-year-olds.

The other age divisions who play at the QCSC are Termites (6-under), Pee Wees (11-12), Bantam (13-14) and Midget (15-17). There is also an adult league. The Quad-Cities does not have a junior team, which is for players between 18 and 20 years old.

There are more than 700 people registered with USA Hockey through the QCSC and more than 600 players in leagues this year.

That used to mean I had to get up really early in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays. We sometimes had practices or games as early 5:30 in the morning. Now they have built a second ice surface, and that has been a great success.

There are no more early games like 5:30 or 6:30 a.m. The earliest game is 7:30 a.m., plus we now get to practice once every week instead of every other week. They still have late practices, but that's OK with me.

There are some great teams and coaches in the Quad City Hockey Association. I have learned a lot from my coaches. I think I'm improving as a hockey player.

I used to not be able to stop or shoot hard. Now I can do both. I have three goals and a bunch of assists this season.

There are only two other girls in the division I'm in. That's OK with me. It doesn't bother me playing with all boys. They are usually pretty nice to me. Not always, but that's fine.

It's kind of neat to dream that maybe I will be the first player from the Quad-Cities to play professional hockey. Or maybe one of my teammates will be the first from the QCSC to make the NHL.

The other thing I like about playing hockey at the QCSC is that I'm getting to meet a lot of new friends. I live in Rock Island, but I now have friends from Bettendorf, Moline, Davenport and even Muscatine.

Playing hockey at the QCSC has been a great time, and I look forward to playing for a long time.

-- By Meaghan Wendland, 10-year-old daughter of Jeff Wendland (January 26, 1998)

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