By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Playing sports is hard enough, but add a physical disability on top of that and it's a lot to tackle.
That's where role models come in and Friday in Overland Park a boy learned firsthand how far you can go whatever your limitations.
The Ice Breaker Hockey Tournament is set to kick off at the Sprint Center Friday at 6 p.m., but one local hockey fan got a sneak peak of the action and got to meet his personal hero at the same time.
Friday was the day Elliot Huels of Overland Park, KS, has been looking forward to for years. The young hockey fan was born with only one full hand, but he's never let that stop him. He and his dad built a special glove so he can hit the ice and he's even taught himself to play the guitar.
Huels has had a lot of help along the way, including a unique friendship he's forged with Notre Dame hockey goalie Joe Rogers. Rogers was born with the same disability, but he's made it all the way to the collegiate level.
The two have been pen pals for the last four years with Rogers offering advice and support to Huels. Friday they got to meet for the first time.
Notre Dame is in town for the Ice Breaker Tournament and Rogers said it's great to see how far Huels has come.
"It's been a few years, we've been communicating through email. It's been really neat to see how Elliot has grown and now he's getting older we are able to talk more frequently," Rogers said.
For Huels, the meeting helped reinforce a motto he's always tried to live by.
"Stay strong, never use excuses, never give up," he said.
For those who may have had any doubts about who Huels will be rooting for in the hockey tournament, he was very adamant in his response.
"I want the Irish to win ever since I figured out who Joe is - I've been a big fan of the Irish," he said.
Huels has also gotten a lot of help from the local Shriners club. They've paid for him to attend a special camp near St. Louis that helps children learn to adapt to their disabilities.
If anyone wants to catch some of the hockey action, the tournament starts Friday and runs through Saturday.
Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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