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Town Honors GN Bruins, Hockey League Champions

In what has become a town tradition where residents who have attained an outstanding accomplishment are honored at a Town Hall reception, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Councilwoman Anna M. Kaplan and the North Hempstead Town Board last week paid tribute to the Great Neck Bruins Pee Wee and Bantam hockey teams, the 2012 Long Island Amateur Hockey League (LIAHL) Tier A division champions.

“One reason I believe North Hempstead is one of the best places to live in the country is because our town is blessed with extraordinary families and people who unselfishly give of their time to help make our community a better place,” Supervisor Jon Kaiman said, addressing the two teams and the room full of supporters including coaches, family and friends.  “Your triumph is North Hempstead’s triumph.”

The two teams—the 12-member, 10 to 12-year-old Pee Wee squad and the eight-member, 13 to 15-year-old Bantam team—went 23 and 1, and 13 and 1 respectively for the season.

“It’s a big deal when you take into consideration that many of these kids have to make practice at the crack of dawn while taking care of their academic responsibilities,” said Chris Goodrich, a former Bruins turned coach from Mineola. “They’ve learned through this experience that hard work and perseverance breed success.  It makes me proud.”

Grace Pavlovich, 12, not only made her coach and family proud, but as the only female in the group, she sent the message that girls can thrive in what is essentially a male-dominated sport. Pavlovich, a student at Willets Road School, plays left wing and has been playing since she was 4. “The championship games were the most exciting because we weren’t expecting to win,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Town Councilwoman Lee Seeman, whose district encompasses Great Neck Estates and Great Neck Plaza, said she is always encouraged by the extraordinary accomplishments of North Hempstead youngsters such as the Bruins and the dozens of Intel Science competition finalists honored at Town Hall over the years.

“I feel proud that you are the future leaders of our town,” she said.

Newly-elected Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, whose district is made up of Great Neck and Great Neck Gardens, said the teams of Bruins are and example for their peers.

“They have shown that with hard work, you can accomplish most anything,” she said.