Shane Breslin of St. Charles is leading his younger brother and sister with his passion for ice hockey, creating a family of hockey players.
“It’s a fun game,” Breslin said.
The 13-year-old has been playing hockey for eight years and plans to keep playing as he develops his skills.
He’s on the right track, playing for the traveling hockey team the Cyclones, based at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in nearby Geneva.
The team has different levels for players, ranging in age from six to 18.
“We’re a traveling organization for people who want to excel in their hockey career,” said Cyclones coach Anthony Monte. “The whole program is based on player development.”
He said the ultimate goal is to advance a player's career for as long as possible.
The Cyclones organization includes 350 players from the greater Tri-City area, and team travel ranges throughout the Midwest based on the level.
The team recently returned from a tournament in Wisconsin Dells, where the Cyclones took second place.
Monte played professionally for three years for the teams Wichita Thunder, Pensacola Ice Flyers and the Rome Frenzy. He said there is great camaraderie in the sport.
“You get to know the team very well,” Monte said.
When Batavia resident Anthony Rigitano’s 11-year-old son, Tony, wanted to play hockey, Rigitano found the convenience of a youth hockey program with the team.
Tony has played with the Cyclones for two seasons .
“We heard good things,” Rigitano said.
He said he notices the Cyclones organization is really good at developing the skills of individual players.
“And they make hockey fun for the kids,” Rigitano said.
Cyclones player Alex Mead, 13, of West Dundee but formerly of Geneva, said he’s tried several sports, such as baseball and soccer but still prefers hockey.
“Hockey definitely beats them all,” Mead said. “... It’s exciting and a lot fun on the ice being with friends.”
Ken Connelly of Geneva is not sure where his son’s passion for ice hockey comes from.
“It’s funny because in both sides of his family tree, there’s not a hockey player to be found,” Connelly said. “I can’t even skate. It’s great to have a kid with a passion for something.”
But Kemp Connelly, 11, has been playing hockey for seven years, and now plays all year long. He's tried baseball, but his first love is hockey.
“It’s a blast,” Connelly said. “It’s our life.”
For more information about the Cyclones Amateur Hockey Association, visit cycloneshockey.net or call (630) 262-0690. The team plays six-month seasons which begin in the fall and the spring and is based at the Fox Valley Ice Arena, 1996 Kirk Road in Geneva.