McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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December 16, 2013

Kiowa boy at home on the ice

(Continued)

KIOWA —

Patrick said most of his Junior Oilers teammates live near Tulsa and don’t have to travel nearly as far to play hockey.

Patrick is a forward for the Junior Oilers, usually playing on a wing. He’s been nicknamed “Bull” by his teammates, Valerie said, because “for awhile there, he likes it when he’s going fast, he likes to keep his head down.”

Patrick got his first goal as a Junior Oiler at a tournament in Dallas earlier this year.

“It landed on my back,” Patrick said of his first goal, which came off a rebound. “I flipped the puck up, it landed on my stick, flipped it (into the goal). I was surprised the goalie didn’t block it.”

Patrick’s second year with the Junior Oilers hasn’t been without complication, however. He suffered a broken collarbone trying to clear out a puck in a Nov. 17 game and hasn’t been able to play since.

“I hit it, he banged me into the boards, my skate took out his skate and he ended up falling on top of me,” Patrick said, adding that the player who fell on him outweighed Patrick by about 50 pounds.

Patrick also added, “But I finished my shift.”

The injury left Patrick’s right arm in a sling and Patrick out of action until at least Jan. 17, when he’ll get new X-rays to see if he’s healed enough to lace up his skates again.

Though Patrick is eager to get back on the ice, Thomas said the injury hasn’t been without its benefits.

“He gets cute girls to write his work for him at school because his teacher won’t let him write,” Thomas said, laughing.

Thomas, a quality assurance specialist for ammunition and surveillance at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, said Patrick likely developed his love for hockey in school in Frederic, Wis., as most of his classmates learned to skate and play hockey very early on. Neither Thomas, who grew up in New Brunswick, N.J., nor Valerie said they played hockey as children, but Patrick’s favorite team is the New Jersey Devils.

Neither Thomas nor Valerie may have played hockey, but they could soon find themselves with not one but two children lacing up their skates. Valerie said their 5-year-old daughter, Claire, has already expressed interest in joining a team.

Contact Matt Goisman at mgoisman@mcalesternews.com.

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