Kalamazoo Wings hockey players #24 Elgin Reid and #20 Nick Sirota read the story “The Hockey Card” to four 5th grade classes at Riverside Elementary School in Constantine on Thursday (March 14). Reid and Sirota also answered questions and gave student autographs. Mike Modugno, who does public relations for the team came with the players.
The Kalamazoo Wings, nicknamed the K-Wings, are a professional ice hockey team in Kalamazoo. A member of the East Coast Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, North Division, they play in the 5,113-seat Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo.
The group was invited by Mark McGlothlen, who is student teaching at Riverside. McGlothlen is a sports writer for WLKM Radio 95.9FM in Three Rivers. His wife teaches at Eastside Elementary School in Constantine. Several students asked questions about the history of the hockey team.
Modugno said the team has been in existence for 39 years. “Our current record is 30 wins, 25 losses and 5 overtimes or shootouts. We have ten games left. We’re ranked ninth in the conference, four points away from a playoff spot,” he said.
Reid said he began playing hockey when he was 4 or 5. “A lot of guys on our team learned to play when they were young. I took figure skating then played hockey in Canada,” he said.
A student asked who the hardest team was the K-Wings have played. “It’s the Reading Royals in Pennsylvania. They’re first place in their state and I think going to the playoffs,” Reid said.
March is National Reading Month. Reid and Sirota emphasized the importance of reading to students.
“We have a lot of readers. When we’re riding on the bus fpr ten hours or more going to a game, a lot of our players read,” Reid said. “It’s a great way to kill time and keep our minds sharp.”
“Our goal is to win a championship. Your goal is to win too. You win when you read. We read to learn,”Sirota said.
“I played all the sports I could, but school was the most important to me. Use free time for sports. Don’t put sports ahead of school,” Reid said.
Source: Story and photo contributed by Angie Birdsall.