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Examiner
  • All smiles as Mavs camp ends

  • Tessa Johnston proved that she’s more than just one of the boys at the Missouri Mavericks Skills and Development Camp at the Independence Events Center.

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  • Tessa Johnston proved that she’s more than just one of the boys at the Missouri Mavericks Skills and Development Camp at the Independence Events Center.
    Johnston, the lone girl in the camp, wrapped it up in spectacular fashion, scoring six goals in a 24-22 victory on the final day of camp Friday afternoon.
    “I got a double hat trick,” Johnston said as she was congratulated by her campmates and coaching staff members. “I feel good about scoring all those goals because I’m a girl and I have to show the boys that I can play.”
    Upon hearing that comment, camp director Simon Watson said, “She can play. Oh, she can play. And no matter what happens out on the ice, Tessa is always smiling. She was so much fun to have in camp.”
    While the campers all agreed that fun was something they all experienced, they also fine-tuned their skills the past week.
    “This is my second camp,” said Chris Teeter, 12, a seventh grader at Pleasant Lea Middle School in Lee’s Summit, “and I had so much fun. But I learned a lot, too. The experience, of working with Mavericks players and coaches and doing so many things to help you become a better hockey player makes the camp special.
    “I feel like I’m a lot better hockey player because of this camp.”
    So does 6-year-old Cameron Hacker, who will be a first grader at Red Bridge Elementary School in Kansas City.
    “I had fun and I learned a lot,” said Hacker, who has been skating since he was 2 and playing hockey since he was 3. “I like the games and all the fun stuff.”
    Johnston, 8, perfected a special celebration move at camp, and got to show it off a half dozen times Friday.
    “The camp is fun, doing the celebration thing and all that stuff,” she said. “I wish it went on for another week.”
    As soon as the scoreboard horn went off to signal the end of camp, Johnston and Gunhar Hillman, the 7-year-old son of Mavericks coach Scott Hillman, approached his father and pleaded, “Can we keep skating?”
    Hillman grinned, and let them go back on the ice.
    “That’s something I never hear from my players,” Hillman said, chuckling. “I’m going to have to tell my big guys about that comment, but I doubt it if I ever hear it during the rigors of a long season.
    “But it lets you know that this is a game, and it should be fun, and I think the campers this week had a ton of fun.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
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