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Ice Dawgs make special trip to children’s hospital

UGA Hockey team returns to annual tradition following year off due to COVID
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 2:26 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The University of Georgia hockey team making their arrival Friday, “the Savannah trip is always the highlight of the year,” said senior Nate Michaelson.

Not to the Civic Center, but instead to somewhere perhaps more important.

“The hospital (Dwiane & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital) trip is the highlight of Savannah so it’s kind of the peak of the season to come out here and put a smile on these kids’ faces. I think we get just as much out of it as they do,” said Michaelson.

The Georgia Ice Dawgs getting support from some of their biggest little fans.

“Coming back here and seeing the signs these kids made is truly special,” Michaelson said.

Maybe even a little extra special this time around, “it makes you appreciate it more when it didn’t happen last year, we totally missed it. It’s great to be back out here,” says Michaelson.

While most of the patients had to stay inside due to COVID a couple got to meet the team.

Or more accurately, the team got to meet them.

“Just being able to have a conversation with these kids and learn more about them and the struggles they’re going through, it really puts in perspective on not just the position we’re in but life in general,” said senior forward Zack Bochenek.

While it means a lot to the players, this quick stop has a lasting impact on the patients too.

“Just have this short little experience it means the world to them,” said Dwaine and Cynthia Willet Children’s Hospital Artisan Resident Emily Parker.

Something Parker, as a former patient herself, can speak to firsthand.

“I can say personally I remember it 10 years later so I’m sure they will, too.”

Both sides walking away with a big win, and some added motivation going forward.

“You do it for them you know, and it gives you a little extra pep in your step,” said Michaelson.

“It carries through with all of us. We’ll be able to take this day with us for the rest of the season,” added Bochenek.

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