Hershey Bears Share Knowledge with Milton Hershey School Ice Hockey Players
The Hershey hockey community came together on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Milton Hershey School for an immersive learning opportunity.
Hershey Bears hockey players joined MHS student-athletes for lunch and conversation. The shared meal followed a special Bears team practice held at the outdoor Spartan ice rink.
“This is awesome. It brings me back to when I was a kid, we would skate outside a lot,” Aaron Ness, Bears Defenseman, said. “Anytime you can jump outdoors and change the pace a little bit it is a lot of fun.”
The visit is one of many ways Hershey entity partners connect with students at the school Milton S. Hershey founded more than 114 years ago.
“It was a very cool experience to learn about how they played in college and their path to the AHL (American Hockey League),” MHS senior Josh Acosta, a right wing on the Spartan ice hockey team, said.
Acosta even met his Bears counterpart, right wing Garrett Pilon—something he described as a great experience. Pilon has played hockey since he was two years old and remembers viewing professional players as his heroes. He doesn’t necessarily classify himself as a hero but appreciated the opportunity to share his experiences with younger players in his own community.
“Ice hockey is a great way to learn about teamwork and comradery,” Pilon said. “It is very important that you not only work hard but also have fun.”
Hershey entity partners, such as the Bears, and the greater Hershey community provide many exciting opportunities for MHS students. The entire Hershey Entertainment and Resorts team—including the Bears—supports the school through building personal relationships and mentoring, offering paid internships for students and recent graduates, volunteering at campus events, attending MHS athletic and performing arts events, and offering career-focused programming.
The Bears and Spartan athletes interact annually, and students often visit GIANT Center to cheer on their local AHL team.
Josh and Sage Burmeister, MHS goalies, said attending games so close to their school gives them the opportunity to analyze how professionals play and apply these lessons to their own techniques.
“Through opportunities like this, MHS ice hockey players have a unique opportunity to not only watch professional hockey players but then ask them questions about their skills and what it takes to excel at the professional level,” Vance Cole, MHS ice hockey coach and alumnus, said.