For the fourth year in a row the St. Michael - Albertville pep band has rocked Rogers Ice Arena for a Wildcats game. This year, for their continued commitment and enthusiasm Coach Dale awarded the band a plaque making them honorary Wildcats, and it all started with a fun idea and an email.
"Three years ago Coach Dale contacted me via email asking if we wanted to play," said Adam Sroka, STMA Band Director. "I believe in instilling a sense of community service. It's a great opportunity to give back."
Sroka said, "The first impression I had was Coach Dale's passion for his players and for this activity and I think our students have been really affected by that."
An affect that has proven great, as student participation has grown from 35 in the first year to over 80 this year.
Marissa Stifter is an STMA senior and four year veteran playing trombone at Wildcat games. “This is actually one of my favorite pep band [events] to come to. It’s really fun and I feel like we are actually doing something. We are not just there as an activity, we're there because we actually mean something [to the players]. “
Marissa’s experience has carried over outside of Wildcat games. “It’s been inspirational,” she said. “I didn't really think about special olympic sports at all before i started coming to this. Now that i go to it every year, i get more interested in our school's special olympics team and its just a lot of fun.”
Sydney Lenz, senior clarinet player and also a four year veteran of Wildcat games, added, “The first year we got to meet the players. They were so excited and when you saw them playing on the ice, they were having a blast which was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. That just kept me coming back because every time you get to see returning players and how they grew. It was really cool.”
Sroka concluded, ”I think enthusiasm is infectious and [the students] really latch on to that. Really emphasizing how inspiring it is for them to come out and watch these players because what they do is really remarkable.”