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Dozens of locked-out players make surprise visits to youth practices

Daniel Alfredsson

Ottawa Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson, of Sweden, warms up prior to an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal, Saturday, Jan., 16, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Graham Hughes)


Earlier this month we reported on Carlo Colaiacovo, Shawn Matthias, and Matt Stajan joining 11-year-olds for their hockey practice. That has proven to be one of many such stories.

With the players’ locked out, the NHLPA has been working to surprise minor hockey players by attending their practices, according to a TSN report.

“Someone needs to gain by this work stoppage, and why not youth hockey?” said former NHL head coach and current Detroit Red Wings assistant Tom Renney. “I think players participating in youth practices as guest instructors or participants is wonderful. Also, I know of a healthy number of NHL coaches doing the same thing.

“Honest to goodness good intentions.”

One recent example is Daniel Alfredsson, who spent some time with the 16-year-old members of a Midget B team in Ottawa last week.

“It was a lot of fun,” Alfredsson told The Associated Press. “The surprise of the kids -- they were just going to start scrimmaging when I stepped on the ice. And they said, ‘What are you doing here?’ They were so shocked.”

Alfredsson stayed after the practice to sign autographs and talk with the teens and plenty of other young hockey players have gotten similar memories over the past weeks.

Already, at least 75 players have combined to log more than 100 hours practicing with over 1,000 kids.