I'm kind of excited to see what it's like, to get an experience out of it, to learn how grateful we are to have what we have." -Fort Wayne Federals Forward Brendan Lewis.
The goal of young hockey players is to score goals and move up the ranks in junior hockey leagues.
Tonight we have a story you'll only see here on WFFT about a local junior hockey team with a different goal- helping the homeless.
"It's junior hockey, and a lot of kids, they aspire to play higher levels of junior hockey or college hockey. So with our program, it's really the about the program we run, and giving the kids opportunities to move up the hockey ladder,” says Fort Wayne Federals coach Kevin Shupenia.
Shupenia has trained young men as the coach of the Fort Wayne Federals for four years.
The junior hockey team attacks boys and men aged sixteen to twenty, from across the US, and even from Canada and Russia.
And as the federals prepare to begin their season next weekend, Coach Shupenia is teaching them hockey skills and life skills.
"Let these guys see what the reality is for some other people,” Shupenia says.
The team is partnering with blessed portion ministries, a product of Fort Wayne's Pathway Church, to serve the homeless in the community.
"I think it's a growing problem... And we've seen a lot of people transition out of there into getting their own place, and there's a lot of people who are on the streets who unfortunately won't make it off the street,” says Blessed Portion Ministries founder Gina Burns.
On Friday, Federals players worked with the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, meeting with and serving the less fortunate.
Beforehand, players say they didn't know what to expect, but they did expect to change.
"Well, actually I have no clue. I'm kind of excited to see what it's like, to get an experience out of it, to learn how grateful we are to have what we have,” says Federals forward Brendan Lewis.
"It's always a great feeling, being able to go out and help people who are less fortunate than you, and just being able to go out and give them a helping hand. Puts a smile on not only on my face, but I'm sure also on all the faces that we reach out to and help,” says Federals defender Chad Swartz.
Next Saturday, October Fifth, they’re teaming up with Annie’s Publishing, and a portion of all ticket sales for the federals game is going to Blessed Portion Ministries.
They'll also have raffles- and a chance to donate.
Burns says it helps them continue their mission.
"I'm blown away, because it takes everybody doing their part, a little bit here or there. We certainly can't do what we do every week on our own, so we're humbled that the coach would think of us, and we're excited for the young men that are going to come,” Burns says.
You can find out more about Blessed Portion Ministries at-
And check out the Fort Wayne Federals at-
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