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Garth Brooks Takes To Pegula Ice Arena For Special Camp

by on May 02, 2015 4:50 PM

With a week between the second half his six show stop in State College, country star Garth Brooks used at least some of that time to help with a great cause.

Called "Teammates for Kids" the program was started in 1999 by Bo Mitchell and Brooks. The camps focus on the importance of teamwork, family and respect. In addition, the program has teamed up with athletes across multiple sports to convert their stats into donations that help kids in need. On tour Brooks will do them as frequently as he can, a chance to make the most of every stop along the way.

The foundation has raised over $100 million to help children in over 60 countries around the globe.

On Saturday the focus was hockey. Even with the ice melted from the Pegula Ice Arena surface nearly 50 kids broke into teams to play floor hockey with the help of players from both of Penn State's men's and women's ice hockey teams.

With Brooks cheering the entire time, dressed in a blue sweatshirt and jeans, it was hard to pick out one of the nation's most famous music stars. But as he pointed out later, elementary age kids don't have any idea who he is, but that doesn't mean they can't have a good time with him.

"The most fun I've ever had on tour are the camps," Brooks said standing on the arena floor Saturday. "These camps right here, over all of the years, are the most fun. I'm so glad that this foundation has been around long enough for us to make the impact that we have. If we make one of these kid's days better or help them feel better about themselves, this whole camp, this whole tour was worth it."

Even if Saturday's camp was a casual affair, that didn't mean Penn State's hockey players weren't in a competitive affair. Goaltender Matthew Skoff coached up his not even four-foot-tall goaltender while Eric Scheid worked on quick passes with players not bigger than their hockey sticks.

"Obviously I'd like to beat Skoff if our teams face off," Scheid said laughing. "But I think the biggest thing for me is to show kids about our game. It's growing but it still has plenty of room to grow, especially college hockey. If one or two of these kids today come out of here grow their love of the game I think that's great."

"To believe in themselves and love each other, if that comes through the game of hockey or the game of life, that's all we're after." Brooks said as a ball rolled by his feet.

On the stage Brooks will finish his long stay in State College this weekend. 

But for a few hours inside Pegula Ice Arena, he hoped to make a memory that will last far longer than just a few days.

 

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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