USA Hockey Magazine

February 2017

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Page 26 of 59

BIG FEBRUARY 2017 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 25 L ike most kids his age, Michael Linder dreams of one day playing in the NHL. Or suiting up for the Boston Red Sox. Or maybe even becoming an Olympic wrestler. But it's hockey that occupies the lion's share of this 11-year-old's time. A t y p i c a l d a y s t a r t s w i t h a n e a r - ly-morning game of knee hockey. If his twin brother, Jack, or older brother, Billy, aren't around, Michael stickhandles through the chairs and table legs in his Branford, Conn., home. After school, the fourth grader at Francis Walsh Intermediate School can be found watching hockey highlights on his computer, or outside playing street hockey in a nearby cul-de-sac. The brothers are often joined by Zack Jones, a neigh- bor who plays on the varsity high school team, for a 2-on-2 game. The stakes are high with their own version of the Stanley Cup up for grabs, and emotions can run hot when it comes down to crunch time, which often coincides with dinner time. "They don't cut Michael any slack," says his father, Dennis. "If Michael misses a pass, Zack will tear him up." Dreams A Relentless Drive and Passion For The Game Helps Youth Hockey Player Reach For The Stars By Harry Thompson || Photos by John Steady Little Man,

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