SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Part of balancing the demands of life in the United States Air Force, is finding time for hobbies and interests. For some airmen — that means life on the ice.
With the Shreveport Mudbugs thriving in Shreveport-Bossier; George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum gives people of all ages a scoring chance in the rink.
“I was still stationed out in Las Vegas and I got an email from a buddy of mine who knew I was coming back here and he said hey there’s hockey and I didn’t believe him,” said Zachary Proano.
“When I got orders to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana I was like aw man there’s probably no hockey there, and then I got here and I was like there is this is awesome!” recalled Richard Capuano.
The Barksdale Bombers are one of four teams in the Mudbugs Adult Hockey League made up of... well, airmen.
"We get to come out and play and relive our glory days and pretend we're young again and have fun," said Gerrick Hoffman.
“On the roster we have roughly about 20, not everyone shows up every week you know we have work obligations and TDY‘s and things like that,” Capuano explained. “So I have anywhere from 10 to 15 I’d say show up for every game.”
Time on the ice an outlet for airmen to stay active and socialize with others off base.
"I come from a base that had team prior got really excited and came out here and I’ve been a part of it ever since," Hoffman said.
With the constant flow of diverse airmen making stops at Barksdale, for some, this league gives them the comforts of home.
“I’ve been playing since I was a kid growing up in North Dakota so I’ve played hockey pretty much my entire life it’s been a great experience playing here with these guys,” Proano said.
“I got here and I figured hockey days were over and we weren’t going to be playing anymore and I was pretty excited to get here and find out that there is such a huge hockey community," Hoffman said. ”We get to even come out and coach the younger kids and spend even more time on the ice which for me is a fantastic thing."
Most of the guys take it even further, volunteering as coaches in the youth leagues.
“We take our experience from being in the northern parts of the country growing up, I grew up outside of Boston, to be able to bring that experience and teach these kids is awesome,” Capuano said.
In November, the Bombers traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the International Armed Services 40 team Tournament.
“Made it all the way to the championship which is pretty awesome,” Proano said, “We definitely try to represent the community while we’re out there as well and let folks know we’re from Barksdale and that’s in Shreveport Louisiana and there is hockey in the south.”
For more information on you can get involved in league play with the Mudbugs — or maybe just learn how to skate and play click here.