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The Jr. Thunder Hockey team wins three championships in a row

The Jr.  Thunder Hockey team wins three championships in a row


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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Jr. Thunder High School Team is the Mid America High School Hockey League champion for the third year in a row.

“I'm really proud of them,” coach Devon Smith said.

“Obviously we've won three championships in the last three years, which is pretty good coming from Wichita,” player Lucas Marks said. “So I think you can obviously attribute that success to coach Mike and coach Devon. But I think it's the team chemistry that pushes us over the edge on a lot of teams.”

The Jr. Thunder Team is made up of kids from schools in the Wichita area including Campus, Valley Center, Goddard, Andover, Derby, Northwest, Bishop Carol and more. They play against teams from all over the country.

Most of the boys have been playing together for ten years.

“The simplest way I can say it is these guys, these guys are my brothers,” Marks said. “I go to battle with these guys every day, compete with these guys every day, outside of hockey we hang out every time we can. It's just the best environment to be in, and I'm very grateful for that.”

“There's something different about the community, and how everyone is just united and together,” player Nathan Zane said.

“I've known all these guys since I was little. They are like my best friends,” said player Aiden Fyffe.

Marks says it means a lot to have a team that travels with him like a family.

“Just having that support system… because obviously you have your family at home, but to have a family when you're in Jefferson City or when you're in any of these other places, it's just an incredible feeling, and you feel very much supported, and this is great. To see these guys every day that I come to the rink and every day that I come out of the rink, that's the most motivating thing for me, and I think a lot of us do too, so it's great.”

Even though they say Kansas isn't known as a hockey state, the sport still means the world.

“I played basketball, I played football, I played all sports, and this one is just different,” Zane said.

“It's the best sport,” Marks said. “It doesn't get a lot of exposure, especially in this part of the country, so it's just great. It teaches you great character, strength and how to be a teammate, and the people here are just great.”

Many of the players plan to try out for collegiate teams, and five players made it all-conference.

“That's pretty impressive, and most people don't even know we exist,” said parent Rose Inkelaar. “These kids spent hours and hours at the rink. The bond they have with each other and these coaches really helps bring these kids together.

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