Head Coach Allen Magie of Skylands Kings Squirt White is once again promoting his “Skate It Forward” initiative for the month of December. Coach Magie purchased American Flag stick tape for his team who skated in support of military men and women serving at home and overseas this holiday season. This is the second season in which Coach Magie is promoting his “Skate It Forward” initiative for youth hockey. The Skylands Kings Squirt White team’s home rink is Skylands Ice World located in Stockholm, NJ.

“It is important to remember those individuals who are protecting our freedoms and who are providing us with the consistent opportunity to live freely and do what we love here in the United States. I felt that we needed to give something back to those heroes, and I thought it was important to drive home a message to my players, that message being – they get to play hockey and do what they love because our military heroes continue to dedicate their lives to protecting our freedom,” Coach Magie said.

The team joined up with Macopin Middle School located in West Milford, New Jersey to participate in the Operation Thank You Project which is headed by Macopin teacher Richard Dygos. Operation Thank You was started in 2003 by Dygos in order to help put a smile on the faces of brave troops serving overseas. To date, over 500 care packages have been sent overseas due to the generosity of surrounding communities. The Skylands Kings Squirt White team collected items for the soldiers and were able to send various care packages overseas for the holidays with the help of Dygos and Operation Thank You. Dygos visited the rink during one of the team’s practices to speak with the team and thank them for helping our military men and women. Some of the care packages from Operation Thank You are also donated to the Support Our Four-Legged Soldiers run by Frank Yevchak, also a staff member of Macopin Middle School. Support Our Four-Legged Soldiers is committed to improving the lives of America’s unsung heroes – Military Working Dogs and their handlers – who are defending our freedom both here and abroad in times of war and peace.

“My wife, Dawn, teaches at Macopin School. What the staff does for their students and the community is pretty amazing. I am honored that Rich let us be a part of Operation Thank You so that my team was able to help America’ heroes. I would also like to thank Macopin’s principal, Marc Citro, for allowing my team to join together with the school for this initiative,” Coach Magie said. Macopin School has also been named a National School of Character.

Macopin Middle School’s Vice Principal, Matthew Striansse, Frank Yevchak founder of Support Our Four-Legged Soldiers, Richard Dygos found of Operation Thank You, and Principal Marc Citro. Pictured are the boxes of items that will be donated to soldiers overseas.

Coaches (left to right): Assistant Coach Chris Watt, Assistant Coach Art Prunty, and Head Coach Allen Magie.
Players (back row left to right): EJ Santiago, Luke Noonan, Anthony Prunty, Jack Jarosiewicz, Rylan Gibbons; (front row left to right): Aiden Parlapiano, Matthew Watt, Allen C. Magie, Luke Jarosiewicz, and Mia Abruzzese.