For a select few, the need for renovations to Lakeview Arena is both physical and emotional.
“I met one of my friends here and it helps me get through a lot of things,” recalls young Mark Cambensy.
Hockey helped Cambensy through bullying and type one diabetes. Playing the game aids in management of the eleven year old’s blood sugar.
“We’ve struggled a little bit keeping it in the target area,” says his mother, Kristen, “But hockey really helps keep him active and makes him happy. That’s the most important thing is that he’s happy doing it.”
The friend this peewee hockey player met at Lakeview Arena is his role model; a division one athlete who’s been down an eerily similar path.
“I grew up playing here, I learned how to play hockey here, and it eventually led to me playing division one hockey at NMU,” explains Northern Michigan University senior hockey player Aaron Leach.
Leach played peewee hockey at Lakeview Arena, too. Just like Mark.
“My dad grew up playing hockey here and my grandpa coached here,” Mark continued, “It really helped shape my hockey career.”
When Leach was Cambensy’s age, he too was diagnosed with type one diabetes.
“It’s pretty hard having diabetes and playing hockey, but I was able to manage it with my friends and family and coaches. Hockey really helps.”
Hockey created a get-away for Mark, and a role model in Aaron. Which is why the $150,000 on the table through Kraft’s Hockeyville USA contest means so much to families just like the Cambensy family.
PHOTO COURTESIES: Cambensy Family; Corey Genovese of PhotoYoop