I am a Hockey Player

#HockeyChangesLives

Spotlight Player

Henry Wilcox

Minnesota Wild Sled Hockey 

Meet young Henry Wilcox, one of the newest athletes within the Minnesota Wild Sled Hockey program. Five year old Henry was born with spina bifida, and uses a walker and/or crutches for mobility. For Henry’s parents, it is important to find activities that are adaptable to all abilities, where their son can participate and be a part of a team. Henry would have his first experience with sled hockey on the very first day he saw this great game in person. Brimming with excitement, Henry fearlessly took to the ice on borrowed equipment, and he never looked back. He’s found a love for the game, being on the ice and in the center of the action, and most importantly, being a part of a team with other kids “like him”. Beyond the game, Henry’s family found an incredible community who welcomed them with open arms…the hockey family. We are so thankful to Henry’s parents for taking the leap and supporting Henry’s new journey as a hockey player.  As for young Henry… we are SO proud of him for his bravery and for proving that hockey is for everyone and hockey changes lives®!

Q: What do you love most about playing hockey?

A: Hitting the puck and scoring goals.

Q: What’s your greatest hockey memory?

A: When I first got my jersey and was made part of the team. It felt great to be a part of the guys.

Q: What would it be like if you didn’t have hockey & your teammates in your life?

A: I would miss being able to play a sport and be on a team because sled hockey is where I can fit in and do what everyone else is doing. 

Q: What do you do when you’re not playing hockey?

A: I like to build blocks, build with magna-tiles, and explore outside. 

Q: If you could meeting and talk to anyone, who would you choose and why?

A: God and Curious George.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.

A: I had surgery on my back when I was still in my mom’s tummy. 

Past Spotlight Players

Eric Rud
Rochester Mustangs Sled Hockey

Eric Rud has been in integral part of adaptive hockey in Minnesota and the outstanding growth within the sled hockey program. He is a veteran sled hockey player, having played at both the state and national levels. Hendrickson Foundation was founded in 2011 by Larry Hendrickson, who surrounded himself with a small group of tremendous people to help get it off the ground…Eric Rud is one of those people. He has been with HF since the very beginning and has been instrumental in growing sled hockey participation at our hockey festival, by fielding and recruiting new teams and players through his passionate advocacy and involvement. Thank You Eric for your valuable role at HF and within the sled hockey community.

Q: What do you love about playing hockey?
A: What I love most about hockey is being able to spend time with my amazing teammates on and off the ice.

Q: What is your greatest hockey memory?
A: My greatest hockey memory is winning my first national championship in Buffalo, NY in 2009 with the twin cities team. It was especially meaningful to me because my Dad was our goalie.

Q: What would it be like if you didn’t have hockey & your teammates in your life?
A: I have amazing teammates. If I didn’t have them in my life, I would not be the same person.

Q: What do you do when you’re not playing hockey?
A: When I am not playing hockey, I am cheering on our professional teams. I am a fan of the Wild, Vikings and Twins.

Q: If you could have a meeting with anyone, would you choose and why?
A: I would like to have a meeting with Zach Parise. We are the same age. I would like to know what he does to stay in shape and play at such a high level.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: Most people do not know that I have two college degrees. One in Graphic Design and one in Sport Management.

Joe Meinhardt
MINNESOTA WARRIORS, ST. CLOUD

We are so proud to have our friend Joe Meinhardt in the spotlight this month. A military veteran and devoted father, husband and friend, Joe lives his life guided by faith and a desire to serve. Despite any hardships he has endured in life and through his service to our country, Joe is filled with warmth and positivity, and is willing to share it with others, in any situation. His dedication to lifting people up around him is nothing short of resolute. Thank you Joe, for your continued service to your team and to all of humanity. We feel your presence at HF and we are better because of you.

Q: What do you love about playing hockey?
A: What I love most about playing hockey is being a member of a team. After military service, there are a lot of vets that may fall into isolation due to internal wounds, I was on that path. Hockey revives the spirit of teamwork, cohesion, and brotherhood that is very comparable to those of a military lifestyle. It makes me feel young again!

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: As a kid my greatest memory was spending hours at the local outdoor rink, throwing our sticks in the middle, and playing pick up hockey until they shut the lights off at the park. As an adult, my greatest memory so far was a couple of years ago in a tourney we played at out in Las Vegas. It was my first time ever playing organized hockey and I scored 4 goals in my first game. I think we can all remember our first goal and even though it took me 38 years, it was special because I was skating with fellow brothers in arms.

Q: What would it be like if you didn’t have hockey & your teammates in your life?
A: I honestly don’t know where or what I would be doing if I didn’t have hockey or my teammates in my life. Even though our team has only been around for a couple of years, the bond between us guys is almost immediate and lasts a lifetime. My teammates bring a positivity and encouragement that is like no other. We celebrate life accomplishments and great moments together. My teammates have also been by my side through some very difficult times. I think that is what makes hockey so special. It’s like no other sport. You are family from the moment you step foot in the locker room. You have each other’s back no matter what the situation. I find a lot of fulfillment being there for my teammates as well as them being there for me.

Q: What do you do when you’re not playing hockey?
A: When I am not playing hockey, I enjoy being a husband and a dad to 3 great kids, Tyler (16), Myla (9), and Bryce (4). I also enjoy playing golf and have a passion for my faith and serving others. I also enjoy hunting, fishing, traveling and pretty much anything else that will keep me outdoors and active.

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone, would you choose and why?
A: There are a couple people….Pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church) because he has so much passion and speaks it in such a unique way that I relate to. My late grandfathers, so I could again tell them thank you for all they have done for me. I would also like to have lunch with every veteran that is struggling to let them know they are not alone.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: I once got stuck in a bird sanctuary as a kid and it developed into a lifelong fear of birds, but yet I fill my bird feeders weekly.

Kaleb Lockman
MINNESOTA WILD SPECIAL HOCKEY | BLAINE, MN

Meet Kaleb Lockman! Kaleb is a hockey player all-star in the Minnesota Special Hockey program. Mr. Kaleb lives and breathes hockey, and would play every single day if he could. Kaleb is an absolute gem, sharing joy and his glowing personality and friendly attitude onto all of the people and players he meets. Kaleb and his family are very involved with HF – taking on volunteer roles whenever they can. Kaleb even stepped up as a new HF model this year and he did GREAT! We look forward to seeing Kaleb and his family at the festival each year. Thank you Kaleb for being such a positive part of our hockey family!

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PLAYING HOCKEY?

A: Scoring

Q: WHAT DOES HOCKEY MEAN TO YOU?

A: My favorite sport! I love hockey

Q: WHAT’S YOUR BEST HOCKEY MEMORY?

A: Going and playing at the Hendrickson Foundation weekend

Q: WHAT DO YOUR TEAMMATES MEAN TO YOU?

A: I love them

Q: WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE HOCKEY OR YOUR TEAMMATES?

A: I would cry

John Neal
Kansas City Warriors

Proud to introduce our June hockey player, Mr. John Neal from the Kansas City Warriors. If you haven’t met him, you likely heard about him at our 2020 festival, where he was a Valor Salute honoree, and one of the Warriors who gave his stick to the Hudson Special Hockey players.

John is a veteran with service related disabilities who, in his desire to support other veterans with disabilities, found his own place of healing. Hockey has become a sacred place of belonging where teammates are like family. A true humanitarian at his core, John serves the community in a number of different facets, making the world a better place every single day. John exemplifies the HF mission, and we are so grateful to have him within our fold.

Q: What do you love most about playing hockey?
A: I love how when I am playing hockey the only thing that matters is my teammates and how I can support them. All the noise is silent and I can just focus on the moment.

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: There is something magical about playing warrior hockey. It has this healing power that is unexplainable. Hockey helps me get past my injuries and the struggles I have with PTSD. I am certain it has saved my life.

Q: What’s your best hockey memory?
A: My best hockey moment is the first time I went over the boards to join my team on the ice. It was the moment I arrived as a hockey player. Before that moment it was in and out of the doors. I was so excited, nervous, and happy all at the same time.

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my teammates. They are like family. They are what I was missing in my translation from soldier to civilian. They are my “tribe” and we take care of each other when things get rough. It is unconditional love.

Q: What would it be like if you didn’t have hockey or your teammates?
A: Lonely! My team and hockey have given me so much healing it is hard to explain. When I smile it is real, it is authentic! To be able to do that after all the struggles with injury and PTSD is something miraculous. Without hockey I don’t think I would be nearly as happy and healthy as I am now.

Q: What do you do when you’re not playing hockey?
A: When I am not playing hockey I am blessed to be able to serve disabled veterans through my work with Wounded Warrior Project. I also take time to volunteer. One of my favorite organizations to volunteer with is Midwest Adaptive Sports. I have started a new company with a friend of mine who is a recreational therapist called Hockey Heals L.L.C. Together we hope to ease the fundraising and logistics difficulties of organizing and executing top notch disabled athletic events. Spending time on the lake with my wife and friends is where I want to be for relaxation when I am not on the ice, or serving my community.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: One thing about me that others may not know is that I make jewelry, especial bracelets. It started as a way to manage Post Traumatic Stress, but has evolved into a passion and a form of art I can share with others.

Q: If you could have lunch with any one person, who would you choose and why?
A: If I could have lunch with any one person it would be Audie Murphy. I would ask him how he had the courage to do the heroic things he did. I know what his answer would be. Hopefully we would talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Together we could come up with a plan on how we can end the epidemic of 22 veteran suicides a day.

Andrew Roy
Minnesota Special Hockey

Q: What do you love about playing hockey?
A: Great coaches, camaraderie, having fun, good exercise and a good workout!

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: Wow, I think there is a lot but if I have to choose, I’d say getting a hat trick during a game against Alexandria in 2019. Second best memory would be meeting Darby!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A: Anywhere in the world, I would go to Japan because great culture and good toys! In the US I’d say Lake Placid, New York so that one day, or hopefully someday I could play at the same rink where the 1980 mens hockey team won the gold medal.

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: They mean a lot to me. They are caring, energetic and funny and like me they like to have fun!

Q: What would you miss most if you couldn’t play hockey?
A: Coaches, teammates, going to different places and seeing you guys at HF.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: I sing and I have been practicing and playing the guitar for almost 7 years.

Q: What do you do to stay busy during the off season?
A: Going for walks and watching wrestling DVDs so that I can donate them eventually. And of course seeing my dog – he’s a dachshund and he’s a year old.

Preston Bohl
Minnesota Special Hockey – Maple Grove

Q: What do you love about playing hockey?
A: My cellies! (Dad’s translation: Celebrating my goals)

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: Goooo Gophers! (Dad’s translation: Attending Gopher hockey games and even skating at one game this year!)

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: The big ice, sticks, pucks, it’s all fun!

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: They help me work hard at games.

Q: What would you miss most if you couldn’t play hockey?
A: I would miss wearing my cool equipment and jerseys.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: I love playing and wrestling with my brothers Hudson and Easton and skating at St. Louis Park’s donut hockey practices every Friday morning.

Domonic “Dom” Robertson-Cantu
Minnesota Wild Sled Hockey – Goalie

Q: What do you love about playing hockey?
A: The thing I love most about hockey is meeting new people all the time and being able to be part of a team.

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: My best hockey memory was scoring my first goal.

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: Hockey means leaving behind stress. I get to forget about having cerebral palsy for awhile, and just be a hockey player. I honestly don’t know where I would be without it.

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: My teammates mean everything to me. We are like brothers.

Q: What would you miss most if you couldn’t play hockey?
A: The things I would miss the most if I couldn’t play hockey…. My friends most, traveling with my team, being able to joke around and not be judged because of my disability. We don’t see each others disabilities – we don’t even talk about those things. And the smells. Definitely would miss the smells. 🤣🤣🤣

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: A couple of things people might not know about me. I’m really good at impressions and I can sing like Luis Armstrong.

Camden Plein
Minnesota Wild Special Hockey – Lakeville

Q: What do you love about playing hockey?
A: I love being a part of a hockey team.

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: Learning how to skate, and skating on the outdoor rink with my family.

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: Having fun and scoring goals

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: Friendships

Q: What would you miss most if you couldn’t play hockey?
A: Because I couldn’t skate around anymore with my team.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: I have 2 brothers; one that plays basketball, and one that plays hockey.

Tim & Sandy Loney
Minnesota Warrors Twin Cities (Tim) / Minnesota Wild Blind Hockey (Sandy)

Q: What I love most about playing hockey?
Tim: Scoring goals and getting assists. It’s a lot of fun to make a pass that splits the defense and frees your teammate to go in and beat the other team’s goalie.
Sandy: I love learning how to skate and learning the basics of the game of hockey.

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
Tim: From scoring in Fergus Falls, to being nick named Timber or skating in famous rinks around the state, while great memories, nothing compares as to creating memories for fellow Veterans by developing new teams around the country and then going to play them. I also love to build opportunities for players to play memorable games, be it the Warrior Showcase, Hockey Day Minnesota or playing in the Hendrickson Festival.
Sandy: My best memory is at the MN Blind Summit in August of this year. It was amazing to be a part of a team and also to be a volunteer to help with the event.

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
Tim: My teammates mean the world to me. They have my back and support me both on and off the ice. I truly believe the Warriors have the best locker room of any sport.
Sandy: My teammates are my inspiration since everyone has challenges they face but they have the most positive attitude. Everyone encourages each other.

Q: What would you miss most if you couldn’t play hockey?
Tim: That’s hard to say. Six years ago I got involved with the Warriors and their growth both locally and nationally has been my primary focus in life. Chris Price, our former president, set a goal of a team in every state and I have to say we are about half way there! With out hockey or the Warriors I’d have to fill a big void in my life.
Sandy: I can’t imagine what it would be like without hockey or my teammates.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
Tim: Tim Loney served over thirty years in the US Army Reserves. He was mobilized three times and deployed twice in his career to Cuba and to Iraq. Prior to joining the Warriors he had not skated on a team since playing intermural Hockey for Army ROTC at the U of M. During the week he is an Outside Sales Representative for Sunbelt Rentals and is their Minnesota District Ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Sandy: I love to plan “fun” events for my co-workers because too much fun is never enough! “Soup-er-bowl, “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” holiday luncheons and Retirement parties are enjoyed by many. In July, I celebrated 40 years of service with the State of Minnesota.

Sara Kigin
Minnesota Wild Special Hockey – St. Cloud

Q: What I love most about playing hockey?
A: Hockey is fun. I love hockey. My room at home is full of hockey stuff. I even have a full size Ryan Suter!

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: I love to shoot and score and having friends and family come watch me

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: I really like my teammates. They help me on the ice. They are real nice to me.

Q: What would you miss most if you couldn’t play hockey?
A: I would miss everything about hockey, my teammates my coaches, traveling and tournaments

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
A: I love to travel I love to play guitar and sing. I’m a good aunt to my nephews. I love lots of sports. I want to meet Ryan Suter!

Hannah Poshek
MN Wild Special Hockey, Alexandria Wild

Q: What I love most about playing hockey?
A: Making new friends.

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: Hockey is an extension of my family and I think of every player as family.

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: Winning the 2019 MN Special Hockey Disabled Athlete of the Year!

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: I feel like they are my siblings.

Q: What would it be like without hockey?
A: I would be sad, as I would miss my teammates and family.

Nick Boisvert
Minnesota Wild Blind Hockey

Q: What I love most about playing hockey?
A: I love spending time with people that are passionate about the game and being able to connect with people on a level only hockey players understand.

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: Hockey is life! Hockey gives me hope, it’s a place I know I belong, and it’s my family.

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: This years Summit Team USA against the celebrities I was able to play against Danny and Darby Hendrickson. Darby Hendrickson and me got into a play fight on the ice (Spartan love).

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: My teammates are my family that I get to play hockey with! They’re the ones that show me what it’s like to have a family and belong.

Q: What would it be like without hockey?
A: When I lost my sight I thought I lost hockey forever I tried to find other things to fill the void but nothing worked nothing is like hockey or your teammates. I’m so thankful for MN giving everyone a chance to play.

Evan Hesom
Manitoba Sledgehammers Sled Hockey

Q: What I love most about playing hockey?
A: Having a sport that I can play no matter what my disability.

Q: What does hockey mean to you?
A: Mostly friends and having fun. Mom says-hockey is where Evan can be himself and no one judges, he can be EVAN🤗.

Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: Scoring goals when I am playing and saving goals when I am the goalie.

Q: What do you teammates mean to you?
A: FRIENDS! They encourage me and cheer me on!

Q: What would it be like without hockey?
A: I wouldn’t be able to play hockey. I would have no friends that understand my disability.

Are you a hockey player who wants to share your story?

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Richfield, MN 55423
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danny@hendricksonfoundation.com

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