Tucker Green and Jake Garrison aren't typical Columbia County athletes.
It's not necessarily their skill or talent that sets them apart. It's more about their trade.
"It's different around here," said Green, who recently graduated from Lakeside High School. "Some people think it's cool. Some people think I'm crazy."
The two high school athletes are ice hockey players. Although the Augusta area isn't exactly a hotbed for hockey talent, Green and Garrison beat the odds last month and made it to the next level.
The two friends were both drafted by the Cincinnati Cyclones in the Central States Hockey League draft on May 20. Garrison said the CSHL is considered a junior league for hockey players ages 17-21.
"It's used as a stepping stone to college hockey," Garrison said. "In hockey, the average college freshman is, like, 21 or 22 years old, so this is where you go when you graduate high school."
Garrison hasn't earned that high school degree yet. He just finished up his junior year at Northwood Prep School in Lake Placid, N.Y. He was once a freshman at Greenbrier High School but left to pursue his hockey aspirations.
"It was an easy decision because I wanted to play hockey the rest of my life," Garrison said. "That's hard to do around here."
Garrison said he most likely won't sign with Cincinnati and will instead return to Northwood to finish his high school career. Green said he will play for the Cyclones this year.
"When the general manager from Cincinnati called, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor," Green said. "I didn't know I was going to get taken.
"It's like a dream. Ever since I was a little kid I was dreaming of making it to the NHL, and we would play for the Stanley Cup in the streets."
Both boys are still far from the NHL, but they've already made it further than any other Columbia County hockey player. The next step would be a spot on a college team after a season in the CSHL.
"This is going to be a springboard for a Junior A team or to go to college," Green said. "We don't accept any money in this league, so we get to keep our college eligibility."
Green will report to the Cincinnati Cyclones' rookie camp Friday.
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