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'#HockeyIsFun' Essay Contest Winner, Finalists Revealed

By Respect Group, 03/05/24, 11:00AM EST


Over 300 entries were received

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud to announce the grand prize winner and finalists of the tenth annual Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport. This year's theme was '#HockeyIsFun'. The contest was designed to engage players in an educational manner while encouraging them to express their thoughts on what life skills they learn from playing hockey.

Over 300 essays were submitted and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in partnership with Respect in Sport want to thank everyone for their participation. Based on the quality, creativity and passion demonstrated in their submission, five finalists were selected with one of them emerging as our grand prize winner.

Vincent Pullo of Tecumseh Minor Hockey Association is this year’s winner, who wrote about how his hockey team supports him and gives him confidence away from the rink. For being named winner, Vincent will receive a $1000 worth of CCM Hockey Gear.

The Essay Contest video is part of the OMHA and Respect Group's #HockeyIsFun series, which showcases why kids love to play hockey in their own words. It's important to hear directly from the players on why #HockeyIsFun.

“Respect in Sport is about providing a positive environment for all, so that hockey players can enjoy the game, and learn from the positive adult role models around them, like parents, coaches, and officials,” said Respect Group's Ontario Director Mark Allen. “Respect Group is very proud to support the OMHA Essay Contest and wants to thank every player who submitted an essay and also congratulate the five Finalists."

Alayna Binstock (Aurora), Luke Rupke (Amherstburg), Adam Chaudry (Milton) and Jack Vandergoot (Mount Brydges) were selected as the four finalists. For their tremendous writing abilities they will receive an OMHA prize pack. You can check out all of their entries below.


Vincent Pullo (Tecumseh Shoreline)

Hockey is an amazing sport, and I think it's really fun! I am the only player from my school on my hockey team, but that's what makes it special. At first, I was nervous because I didn't know anyone. But guess what? It turned out to be awesome!

My teammates are cool, and they have always made me feel like I'm part of the team. We skate fast, pass the puck, and try to score goals. But the best part is, we learn to get better together. If I make a mistake, they don't get mad. They help me learn how to do better next time. We're like a family on ice!

Playing hockey has not only been fun but it's also made me more confident. The confidence isn't just about hockey, it's helping me at school too! I feel braver answering questions in class and talking to new friends.

We practice a lot, and every time we play, I feel more confident. Our coaches teach us how to play safely, have respect, and have fun. It doesn't really matter if we win or lose. Or course, winning is great, but what's more important is playing the sport I love and making new friends.

There's also something really cool about being in a game. Hearing my parents and other people cheer for us makes me super happy. They shout our names and clap, and it feels like I'm a big star in the NHL. We all work had, fight through tough games, and share fist pumps and smiles, no matter what the score is.

In hockey, every day is an adventure. I've made new friends, I'm getter stronger, more confident, and I always have fun. I think everyone should try playing's the best!

Finalist Essays

Jack Vandergoot (Mount Brydges)

My name is Jack and I think hockey is the funnest sport in the world. It is a game easily played all year round. On my team, I get to make new friends. We get to travel away from home for tournaments which is the best!  Even if we do not win, it’s still a blast! At home, I get to play hockey with my family and friends in the basement.  My dad put hockey nets down there so I can practice, but also play mini games with my family after school.  In the summer, we put the nets on the driveway and play road hockey too!  My Dad also built a rink outside for the winter and our whole family plays hockey together and has so much fun.  Hockey isn’t just something that I can play to get exercise, but It is a game to enjoy with friends, family and teammates to have the most fun no matter what the weather is like!

Alayna Binstock (Aurora)

Hockey is a fun and challenging sport. Even when competition is tough. I always look forward to the next game or practice. I believe hockey is the number one sport bringing joy to all who play.

One reason why hockey is so much fun is because it’s a team sport. When I come to the rink it’s always fun talking with my teammates and catching up, even if we just saw each other yesterday! In hockey, everyone needs to work together as one unit. When a goal is scored everyone celebrates, not just because we scored but because everyone worked hard and contributed. This is why teamwork makes games so much fun, everyone working together.

Another reason why hockey is so fun, and rewarding is the challenge. There is always something I can improve on. The fact that there is so much to learn and discover makes practice fun. That’s why I love the challenge that comes with this sport.

One thing I look forward to the most going to the rink is the fast-paced action. Whichever team we’re playing it’s always intense. I feel this truly makes hockey so incredible. When I put all my energy into an intense game, I feel tired but happy. That’s because it’s the hard games that are the best.

Whether it’s the teamwork, challenge, or intensity, there is always something amazing to find in the world of hockey. That’s why I believe hockey is the most fun. Creating joy for all who play.

Adam Chaudry (Milton)

I want to tell you about why I think hockey is fun. None of my friends from school play hockey, but that did not stop me from falling in love with the game.  I get to skate on ice, chase a tiny puck with a stick, and go faster than I can ever run. It is like playing a super fast video game, but in real life!  I play defense so I don't get to score but when my team scores it is an amazing feeling.  I love how we all celebrate afterwards.  But hockey isn't just about scoring goals but it is also about learning stuff that you might not learn in other games. My coaches tell me about teamwork and how it takes a team to win a game. This season has been tough.  We haven't won any games but I have made new friends who I would have never met at school. My mom and dad say that hockey teaches me important lessons, like hard work and not giving up. They tell me to never give and keep trying, and eventually we will win.  So, that is why I love hockey. It is not just a game but it is also fun, I get to meet new people, and next month our team is going bowling.

Luke Rupke (Amherstburg)

Hello, my name is Luke Rupke, and I am a 13-year-old goalie for the Amherstburg Stars Maroon.  This is my first year playing hockey and I think playing hockey is fun for many different reasons. One of the reasons I love hockey is that my teammates are very encouraging and supportive. Being the goalie can be hard and there is a lot of pressure, but we always have each other’s back and always stand by one another. Hockey is fun to play on the ice and off the ice with your friends. Hockey can make fantastic friendships that can last for a lifetime when you meet new people and work together to be the best that you can be. Hockey is fun to play because everyone has an important role to play on their team. Whether it's being a forward, defenseman, or goalie like me, everyone plays an important role in helping the team win. Playing hockey has taught me many important life lessons like showing up on time for practice, and the importance of being there for your team and working together. I have made memories playing hockey that will last a lifetime.


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