Bonding is important when playing a team sport. Doing activities outside the realm of hockey has always been vital to building chemistry and making lifelong friends. One team found a way to take that aspect of team sports and use it to benefit others. On Sunday, Nov. 7, the North Jersey Aspen Kings 14U A Grey team decided to participate in the 6th Annual Hero 5k Run/Walk.

According to Matt Landolfi, assistant coach for the Kings 14U A Grey, the start of this journey began at team practices. “Before practices in August, September, and October, our team would run a mile outside as part of our dryland conditioning,” Landolfi said. “Surprisingly, most of the kids enjoyed it, and it became quite competitive. So, when we were looking for something charitable to do with the team on an off-day, the idea of the 5k run was perfect for our group.”

The team looked at options in northern New Jersey and decided on the 6th Annual Hero 5k Run/Walk. All the proceeds raised during the event went to help the student veterans of Bergen Community College, located in Paramus, NJ. The event was limited to 300 participants and managed to sell out, with 23 of those participants being involved with the North Jersey Aspen Kings 14U Grey, which included not only its players, but many of the parents and siblings.

Coach Landolfi was very proud, with some of the kids and their siblings placing near the top of their age groups in the results.  “It was fantastic to see the kids push themselves.  We only run 1 mile before practice, so this race was a big test for most of them physically and mentally. Coaching these kids is more than just teaching them the game of hockey. It’s showing them how to be good young men, how to develop habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. So things like running and staying active, and also giving back and helping others, are a big part of what we talk about with the boys.”

According to the BCC Hero Run Facebook page, the event raised $15k for the Bergen Community College student veterans and was a big success.

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