USA Hockey Magazine

February 2017

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26 // FEBRUARY 2017 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Michael gives no quarter, and expects none in return. That's just the way it is when NHL dreams are on the line. But the odds of those dreams coming true are even steeper for Michael, who happens to be a dwarf. Not that that's stopping him from aiming high and shooting for the stars. And those who know him best aren't ready to bet against him. " He h a s t h e sa m e d r e a m s a s h i s ave r- age-height peers," says his mother, Megan. "He's 100 percent convinced he'll be the first little person in the NHL. There's nothing you can tell him to make him think otherwise. And why would I?" Like most dedicated hockey parents, the Linders spend most nights and weekends during the season helping their children's dreams take flight. They shuttle the three boys back and forth to various practices and games within the Yale Youth Hockey Association. It's a full-time job that takes precision planning that would make an Army logistics officer envious. On one Saturday in early December, the Linder family maneuvers are in full swing with back-to-back games at the Northford Ice Pavilion. Michael is on the ice for an early afternoon game against Greenwich while Jack waits on deck. Elsewhere, Billy has a 14 & Under game. The day actually kicked off several hours earlier with Michael competing in a wrestling match, where he pinned a bigger opponent in 30 seconds. Like so many active youngsters, Michael finds that his various activities fit together like an athletic jigsaw puzzle. "Playing hockey makes me a better wres- tler, and wrestling makes me a better hockey When he's not on the ice, Michael Linder can be found on the baseball diamond or the wrestling mat.

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