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Hockey Team Brings Practice to Youngest Fans

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(Olive Branch, MS) Braden Smith loves hockey so much, he brought a friend to watch the Riverkings practice during fall break.

Smith already got his future planned out ”Uh, A hockey player. Why? Because it’s my favorite!"

A quirk in scheduling kept the Riverkings from practicing for the upcoming season at their regular home, the Landers Center.

Instead, they’ve taken up residence at the Olive Branch Ice House where almost all the youngest hockey fans learn the sport.

”My grandson Braden loves hockey. He started here last winter playing,” said Sherry Hayes of Southaven.

As many kids are showing up here to watch the team practice as adults.

Some here say it’s helping to motivate the next generation of hockey stars in an area that’s not known for growing them locally.

Diehard fans say the Riverkings have a lot of new players this season.

That’s a lot of practice and lots of opportunities here for fans and kids to watch.

It’s also getting the kids and fans a little more face time with the team, which mingles with those here to talk and sign autographs after the practice.

”This one is really aggressive and loves it, loves to play. We’ve got all his equipment, it’s actually in the car. He keeps on saying ‘let’s get my stuff!’ explained Hayes.

She thinks even her grandson’s little friend may have developed more of an interest in hockey after seeing the action up close and meeting the players in this smaller, more kid-friendly place.