USA Hockey Magazine

October 2018

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Broken Hockey Sticks Find Second Life In The Sea As Oyster Breeding Grounds By Brian Lester PHOTOS BY Bob Wasno/Florida Gulf Coast University 38 // OCTOBER 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM T O E ric Mabrie wasn't a science major while he was a student and play- ing hockey at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Yet, he found himself involved in a project that is very much about science, and one that has proven to be vitally important to the environment while tapping into his passion for the game. The project is the building of reefs out of broken hockey sticks to serve as hotels for oysters. The structures, which require approximately a dozen sticks stacked in a pattern, are placed under d o c k s i n w a t e r w a y s a r o u n d S o u t hw e s t Florida and help revive a depleted oyster population while improving water quality significantly. "It's a cool way to do something for the environment," said Mabrie, who played for the Div. II club hockey team at FGCU. "Even though not everyone involved is a biology major or marine science major, they enjoy doing it and it's been interesting to see what we can do for the environment with a project like this." The project is the brainchild of Bob Wasno, a marine biologist and assistant hockey coach at the school, who was sitting around one day listening to his players complain about not having a use for broken hockey sticks. Sticks break often in hockey, and in the past, landfills served as their graveyard. Because they are made of a carbon-composite material, they do not decompose, which has a big impact on the environment. And just like that, the reef to rink project was born. Because FGCU students are required to complete 80 community service hours, the FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY PLAYERS INSTALL RINK2REEF HABITATS BENEATH FGCU VESTER MARINE LAB DOCKS IN FORT MEYERS, FLA.

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