With the summer heat bearing down on Columbia County, one Lewiston Elementary School pupil has found a way to stay cool.
Nine-year-old Nick Lanham hit the ice two years ago in an attempt to mirror the play he had seen at an Augusta Lynx hockey game.
Now fully dedicated to the sport, Lanham beat the heat this summer and several area youth players by earning a trip to Toronto as a member of a traveling youth hockey team out of Huntsville, Ala.
"I love it. Since I first watched it I knew that's what I should play," Lanham said. "I wanted to play a tough sport."
Lanham's toughness comes from playing as a 9-year-old in a 12-and-over summer league at the Ice Forum in Augusta this summer. The starting defenseman is one of the top stick handlers on his team.
His father, Desmond Lanham, said the whole thing started with a Christmas gift when his son was 5 years old.
"We got him roller blades because they had roller hockey at the Family Y," Mr. Lanham said. "He started playing that, then we went to a Lynx game one night and he asked me, 'Dad, how can I get to play with those guys down there?' That's when we made the transition to ice hockey."
Nick's love for the sport has drawn the entire family into the game. His father, who said he previously had little knowledge about ice hockey, is now one of the coaches in the summer league at the Ice Forum.
"He's got me involved in it. I kind of followed behind him," Mr. Lanham said. "It's something we both enjoy together. I've learned just as much as he has."
As for Nick's future, he still has middle school and high school to tackle. Beyond that, he has some tentative plans.
"He's not looking to go to the NHL right now. The only thing he's looking at is playing in college. His team right now is North Dakota," Mr. Lanham said. "He just wants to play hockey, that's it."
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